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Most of these lights have the same basic design but it is in the coverings that they differ. The most well known model that dotted patios since the nineteen fifties is the type that has a plastic cylinder cover that comes in different colors. There are usually around eight to ten lights per string on most models. These lights are covered in an array of shades that can be really festive. Some are covered with shades that look like animals. There are some that resemble cats, dogs, frogs and a host of other outdoorsy animals. There are some that are strictly whimsy with chili pepper shades. They are a great way to dress up the patio and to extend outdoor living way past sundown. Some of these models are very simple clear or white lights dangling from the cord. Some of these types of lights are meant to mimic the sparkle of stars. There really is no limit to the styles. Most all require a source of electrical power to plug into. There are some solar models but they are not that widely available as of yet. The sting on these sets can be a bit unsightly but as of yet a better option has yet to come along.
This is a really inexpensive lighting option with some patio string lights costing as little as under ten dollars. Most of these light sets do not cost beyond twenty dollars for a very elaborate well decorated model.
These types of lights can be purchased anywhere outdoor furniture is sold. They can also be found in catalogs, online venues and discount warehouse stores. Another good source is the local home improvement store. They are widely available and usually last at least two seasons with normal use. The light bulbs are easily accessed to change.
These are primarily electrical lights and they do get hot so exposure to water and wet surfaces should be avoided. There is a potential for fire because most of the shades that are made are made of plastic if the light comes to closely in contact with the light there is the potential for a fire. These lights should be checked periodically for fraying of the electrical cord and for any other hazards.