Are Outdoor Lights Waterproof? (Important Facts)

Are you wondering if outdoor lights are waterproof? I did sometimes ago when I wanted to decorate and light up my backyard. Here are my findings, which helped me to make better decisions.

Outdoor lights are an essential feature you can use to add value to your outer space. The brightness some of these lights emit make the outdoor space look like day time when it’s night. But when you don’t know if weather conditions affect outdoor lights, you will end up investing money on wrong outdoor lights. 

Truly, are outdoor lights waterproof? Outdoor lights are waterproof because they’re specifically designed to withstand weather conditions. The waterproof feature built into the outdoors lights makes it safe to be outdoors when it rains.

The understanding of how effective an outdoor is waterproof is essential. Because a major problem outdoor lights encounter is getting damaged by water. 

However, in this article, we are going to look at how you can effectively make your outdoor lights safe and secure to be used outside.

Why Are Outdoor Lights Waterproof?

The outdoor lights are waterproof designed by manufacturers to tolerate the harsh conditions of outside.

Outdoors lights are built with strong materials, which doesn’t easily get  damaged by rain, snow, and dust. These materials protect your lights from damage when it rains.

Some of the materials that used to produce outdoor lights are;

Composite fixtures; made from a mixture of plastics, that make it to last long. Aluminum fixtures, made from aluminum materials, which makes it sturdy and resistant to water. 

Brass fixtures, made from a mixture of copper and zinc, the brass is what is used to seal every component of the lights and prevent water from getting inside the lights.

The materials that are used to produce outdoor lights are different from indoor lights. The indoor lights materials are not tolerant to weather conditions nor can they withstand the harsh conditions of the outside.

Fitting is another factor you consider when you want to buy outdoor lights. Fitting prevents water from getting into the bulbs. So, outdoor lights can be waterproof if the fitting is properly done.

The resistance of water by the outdoor lights is a function of the materials used in producing the lights. Outdoor lights are generally produced by the manufacturers to be waterproof because of the nature of the environment they are exposed to.

Is It Safe To Leave Outdoor Lights Out When It Rains?

Generally, outdoor lights are designed to withstand the harsh conditions of outside. But some of the lights are made from strong materials to withstand the weather conditions. 

Before you expose your outdoor lights to rain or any other outside factors, check the make of the lights. Sometimes, these outdoor lights are designed to look strong but they are not strong.

Don’t just leave your outdoor lights out in the rain when the materials used to produce the lights are not tolerant or resistant.

You can leave your outdoor lights out in the rain if the materials used to produce the lights are brass, aluminum, and composite materials. If the lights are produced with different materials, then check the materials if it’s water resistant. 

You can also leave your outdoor lights during rain if the ingress protection (IP) rating is high. The ingress protection rating is a rating by outdoor lights manufacturers to show how resistant or able to withstand weather conditions.

The ingress protection rating is letter IP with numerical number attached to it.

The letter IP simply means ingress protection rating. The IP gives a clear build of the lights against weather conditions. The IP prevents the lights from being destroyed by weather conditions.

It has two numerical figures attached to the IP. That’s why you need to check the lights if it has ingress protection rating. 

For example, IP67 shows the resistance of the lights to weather conditions. The 6 the rate at which the light is resistant to water, while the 7 simply shows how dust tight it is.

The IP number ranges from 0 to 10. The higher the IP number the better resistance is the lights to weather conditions.

Don’t leave your outdoor lights under the rain or snow when you don’t have a clear knowledge of the ingress protection rating. The IP rating will help you to know how water and dust tight the outdoor lights are.

It is safe for you to leave outdoor lights that have a high IP rating number under rain or snow because these weather elements will not have any effect on the lights. Check the body of the lights, once there is no IP rating don’t leave the lights under rain or snow. 

How To Protect Outdoor Lights From Weather Conditions

There are various ways you can effectively use to protect your outdoor lights from getting damaged by outer elements.

These tips will help your outdoor lights to last longer. It also serves as a risk check of electrocution when it is exposed to water and other elements outside.

Outdoor Lighting Fixtures

The outdoors lighting fixtures help to prevent water from entering inside the lights. That’s why you need a professional electrician to help you fix the lighting fixtures of your home.

So, the permanent fixtures on the exterior part of your home, which is protected by structures such as roof or awning will make the lights waterproof. 

Once the lights are covered or installed in a shade environment, you can call it waterproof. Without these features, you may not want the light to be exposed to rain or excessive moisture.

Any other outdoor lights that are under waterproof shade are suitable for wet environments and you can refer to the lights as waterproof.

Outdoor Electrical Receptacles

Outdoor can also be rated as waterproof if the electrical receptacles on the exterior of your house are designed for outdoor use.

If the electrical receptacles are not built to be water or dust resistant, then you might not expose the lights to harsh conditions of outer space.

Outdoor electrical receptacles are built to resist harsh weather. Don’t just install any outdoor electrical receptacle because not all are water resistant. 

However, it’s important to use these weather-resistant outdoor receptacles when plugging in outdoor lights rather than running an extension cord from inside the house.

Using outdoor electrical receptacles to plug in your lights is better than running an extension wire from the indoor because you  might not be sure if the indoor receptacle is water resistant.

Use Only Outdoor Rated Extension Cords

The electrical equipment used to connect outdoor lights are part of what determines if the lights are waterproof. Especially the extension cords which have to be waterproof rated before you can use it.

Outdoor extension cords are designed with vinyl, plastic, or rubber covers to withstand the rough weather conditions.

Using extension cord that is waterproof will help to make the outdoor lights more resistant to weather conditions.

You can easily check if the cord is rated for outdoor uses by checking for the rating stamped on the body by the manufacturer 

You should choose the right extension cord for your needs. Outdoor extension cords have vinyl, plastic, or rubber covers designed to withstand rougher and wetter conditions. To confirm if your cord is rated for outdoor use, check the rating code stamped on your cord. 

The code is made up of letters and is used to describe the type of cord jacket and where the extension cord can be used. The letter “W” on the cord suggests that the cord can be used outdoors.

Protected Connected Plugs From Water

Outdoor lights plugs are important when it comes to lighting the outdoors. These connected plugs need to be protected against water, snow and dust from the outside.

The most secure and safe way to light up outside is to connect the plugs together.

This process will make it easy to detect any fault and fix it. Connected plugs should be safely installed in places that are not exposed to water.

Then wrap the connected plugs with electrical tape to make sure they don’t get pulled apart.

Though the tape doesn’t provide adequate protection against weather conditions. Therefore, use cord protectors to protect the connected plugs from water.

If you’re using power strips, use cord domes that fit the connections and power strips. While cord domes and cord protectors are resistant to water, they are not totally waterproof. 

You can place the connections on items like block or brick to keep them away from puddles and off the ground. When you properly guide your connection plugs well, the outdoor light will be said to be waterproof.

Use Insulated Metal Hooks Or Staple To Hang Outdoor Lights

Don’t use uninsulated metal hooks or staples to hang your outdoor string lights. Because when it rains, the metal hook might tend to create electrical shock.

It’s more advisable not to use metal hook without insulated but use the one with a protective vinyl eo water. Because metal without a protective vinyl can easily heat up in the hot weather, melting the jackets. 

To avoid improper connection outdoors light and there are no plastic mounting clips, cup hooks and eye screw to install your lights.


Outdoor lights are designed to be waterproof but there are other ways shared in this article to further increase it.

These ways shared here will make the outdoor lights safe and secure whenever using the electricity in open areas. However, follow the tips shared here to increase the waterproof state of your outdoor lights.