How to Check Christmas Light Bulbs

As the holiday’s approach, Christmas decorations tend to make their way out around homes – including restoring those bright strings of outdoor Christmas lights for everyone’s viewing pleasure. 

While untangling your bulbs and plugging them into your facade may seem like a fairly easy task, it’s important to know which strand of twinkling pieces are still functioning in order to keep you safe during installation.

How to Check Christmas Light Bulbs

To help ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible this holiday season, here is an educational guide on how to check Christmas light bulbs.

Tools and Materials You Will Need to Check Christmas Light Bulbs

  1. Set of functional Christmas light bulbs
  2. Portable battery-powered tester
  3. Light bulb socket
  4. Voltage meter or multimeter

Step-by-Step Guidelines on How to Check Christmas Light Bulbs

Step 1: First, Separate the Bulbs

Start by separating the light bulbs from their sockets. Then, make sure to separate each of the lights from the strand so that you can inspect each one individually. Separating the lights from their strand will also make it easier to test them with a battery-powered tester, which we’ll discuss later. Make sure to label each of the bulbs with a number or letter before you begin.

Step 2: Inspect the Bulbs Visually

After you separate each of the bulbs, start inspecting them. Look for any cracks or damages in the bulb’s glass shell, as that could be a sign of issues with its internal wiring. Make sure to check both ends of each bulb and look out for any blackening or discoloration. While inspecting, also make sure to check the metal pins inside each of the bulbs for any signs of rust.

Step 3: Connect the Bulbs to a Light Socket

Take each bulb and insert it into a light socket. Make sure that all connections are secure and there are no exposed wires. Once you have secured them into the socket, turn it on and check that it is lit up. If the light bulb doesn’t light up, then you may need to replace it or move on to the next step.

Take Each Bulb and Insert It Into a Light Socket

Step 4: Test with a Portable Battery-Powered Tester

If your bulbs are still not lighting up after being connected to the socket, then it’s time to test them with a portable battery-powered tester. This device will help you determine whether or not the strand of Christmas lights is functioning properly.

To do this, simply connect one end of the tester to the base of the light bulb and press the button on the other side. If there is a connection made between the two, then the light will flash.

Step 5: Check Voltage Levels with a Multimeter or Voltage Meter

If you are still unsure about the condition of your Christmas lights after conducting tests with a battery-powered tester, then it may be worth using a voltmeter or multimeter. These tools can help you measure voltage levels in the wiring of your Christmas lights.

To do this, make sure to turn off the power to the circuit before you begin testing. Then, attach the voltage meter or multimeter to each of the bulbs and check for any discrepancies in readings.

With these simple steps, you can successfully test your Christmas light bulbs and enjoy a festive holiday season. Always remember to be safe when handling electricity and inspect all lights before plugging them in.

Additional Tips and Tricks to Check Christmas Light Bulbs

1. Inspect the light bulbs closely. Check for any signs of damage, such as melted wires or cracks in the bulb. If you notice any signs of damage, it’s best to replace them with new ones to avoid a potential fire hazard.

2. Look for broken filaments inside the bulb and test for continuity. If the filament is broken, the light bulb won’t light up. It’s important to replace any bulbs that have a broken filament in order to maintain safety during the holiday season.

3. Use an ohmmeter or continuity tester to check for proper electrical connection between the socket and the bulb. This will help you to identify any bad connections, so you can repair or replace them if necessary.

4. Unplug your Christmas lights before testing each bulb. This will ensure that the light bulbs don’t get damaged by any electrical shocks.

5. If your Christmas lights are connected to an outlet, it’s also important to check the power outlet for any signs of corrosion or damage.

Check the Power Outlet

6. Finally, never use Christmas lights that are not UL-approved and certified safe for indoor or outdoor use. This is especially true if you have small children or pets in your home, as it can be a potential fire hazard.

By following these tips and tricks, you can ensure that your Christmas lights are safe and in good working order during the holiday season. This will help to create a safe and festive atmosphere for all to enjoy!

Things You Should Consider to Check Christmas Light Bulbs

1. Check for broken sockets. Broken or loose bulb sockets can cause the bulbs to not work correctly, so inspect each socket for any signs of damage or corrosion before attempting to use it.

2. Make sure all wires and connections are tight and secure when connecting the light strand to a plug. Loose connections can cause electrical arcing, and short circuits, and can even be a fire hazard.

3. Inspect individual bulbs for any signs of damage or corrosion. If a bulb is not working properly or appears damaged, replace it with an identical one to prevent potential electrical problems.

4. Swap out the fuse on the plug if needed. A fuse is important in preventing a short circuit, so make sure it’s the correct size for the light strand you are using.

5. Test your lights by plugging them into an outlet and flipping on the switch or pressing the button to turn them on. If any bulbs don’t work, try replacing them with working ones.

6. Be sure to unplug the lights when you are done, and store them in a cool, dry place for safekeeping until next year. This will help prevent any potential hazards caused by frayed wires or exposed connections.

By Following these considerations, you can ensure that your Christmas lights are in tip-top shape. Enjoy your holiday season with a beautiful display of light!

Precautions Need to Follow for Checking Christmas Light Bulbs

1. Before you attempt to check the light bulbs on your Christmas lights, ensure that the power source to the fixtures is disconnected and unplugged.

2. Look for any broken sockets or frayed wires in the cord as well as at each end of it. Check for any possible issues along the length of the cord, such as exposed wires, that could be a safety hazard.

Look for Any Broken Sockets or Frayed Wires

3. When you are ready to check the bulbs on your lights, make sure to wear protective gloves and use caution when handling them.

4. Check each bulb for cracks or other damage that is visible from the outside such as broken glass or plastic parts. If any of the bulbs look damaged, replace them.

5. Use a multimeter to test each of the lights in the strand for continuity. Make sure that they are all connected properly and are not shorting out or have any exposed wires that could be a safety hazard.

6. If it is a newer, LED Christmas light strand, then the bulbs should be tested with a digital multimeter to ensure that they are still in proper working order.

7. After testing each bulb, it is important to make sure all of the strands and plugs are firmly connected and secure so that there will not be any loose connections or shorts when you plug them into your power source.

8. Once you have ensured that all of the bulbs and cords are in working order, plug them into a power source to test them. If they light up properly, then your Christmas lights are ready for use during the holiday season!

By following these precautions when checking your Christmas light bulbs, you can ensure that both your lights and your family are safe during the holiday season. Taking a few moments to make sure that everything is in good working order will help you avoid any potential hazards or accidents throughout the holidays.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Often Should I Check My Christmas Light Bulbs? 

It is recommended to check your Christmas light bulbs at least once a year before the holiday season begins. By doing so, you can avoid any potential issues with faulty or burnt-out bulbs. Additionally, if any bulbs require replacement, you will have ample time to find the right replacements.

Do All Christmas Light Bulbs Look Alike? 

No, not all Christmas light bulbs look alike. There are a variety of shapes and sizes available when it comes to bulb types. LED lights tend to look different than traditional incandescent lights, and mini lights usually have a different shape than regular-sized bulbs.

What Is The Best Way To Test Christmas Light Bulbs? 

The best way to test Christmas light bulbs is to use an electrical tester. By using an electrical tester, you can quickly identify any faulty or burnt-out bulbs without having to unscrew all of the bulbs. Additionally, you can also check for shorts in the wiring or power source by using an electrical tester.


Knowing how to check Christmas light bulbs correctly is essential to having a successful holiday season. By testing your bulbs once a year, you can easily identify any faulty or burnt-out lights and replace them in time for the festivities.

Additionally, it is important to remember that all Christmas light bulbs are not created equal; there are many different shapes, sizes, and types of lighting available. Lastly, the best way to test Christmas light bulbs is to use an electrical tester for a quick and accurate diagnosis. With the above tips in mind, you can enjoy a festive holiday season with properly illuminated decorations!

Photo of author

Jennifer Branett

Leave a Comment