Choosing the most suitable string light hangers for your outdoor spaces might not seem difficult, but it can depend on several factors. For example, you might not be able to drill holes or make permanent alterations, making hanging string lights a challenge.
In this article, we’ll look at how different string light hangers work in outdoor spaces. If you want some inspiration for how to hang string lights, check out our full article.
There isn’t much to think about when it comes to choosing string light hangers. The only real consideration is whether you can make any permanent alterations, such as drilling holes or using sinking posts.
Also, some string light hangers will be better suited to certain spaces. For example, string light hooks will work well in covered spaces, whereas sinking posts into the ground are best for soil and grass.
These factors are highlighted in the options below, so it should be easy enough for you to choose the most suitable option for your needs.
Poles and posts will be the most suitable string light hangers for uncovered spaces. The options below are fine for backyards, patios, balconies and decks that don’t have a roof or pergola.
The easiest option for string light hangers on a lawn is to sink posts into the ground. For this, you’ll want ground spikes (like these). You can use any wood or metal posts with these ground spikes, as they should simply slide into place.
If you want to save a bit of money, repurpose some wood posts and screw string light hooks into the top. You’ll find plenty of options for these below.
- Super easy to install
- Provides plenty of flexibility over placement
- Won’t permanently affect your lawn
- Won’t be durable in wind
Alternatively, you can get string light posts that have spikes attached to the bottom (like these). The benefit of using dedicated posts is that they also have hooks on the top. Again, these are suitable for use in soft ground like lawns or flowerbeds.
String light poles are a convenient option because they’re designed exactly for this purpose. However, compared to DIY poles (e.g., spikes and posts), they’re pretty expensive for what they are. But if you’re willing to spend the money, the convenience can’t be overlooked.
- Specifically designed for this purpose
- Easy to set up
- Flexible placement
- Quite expensive for what they are
Balcony string light hangers (such as these) don’t need much explanation. They’re poles for string lights that you can fix directly to railings. As such, they’ll also be suitable for decks or any other outdoor space with a fence.
Installation should be easy. Most will screw to posts using brackets (like these). If this isn’t suitable, you could just use cable ties to hold them in place instead. Use at least 2 ties per pole to provide enough stability.
- Designed for spaces with railings – ideal for uncovered balconies or decks
- East to set up
- Suitable for renters (with the right alterations)
- As with other string light poles, they’re expensive for what you get
This isn’t necessarily an option for string light hangers, but rather a suggestion for how to use light poles in areas with hard flooring. For example, if you want to set up string lights on a patio that doesn’t have any soil or railings, just use plant pots.
A concrete or terracotta planter filled with soil is pretty heavy. Sinking a string light pole into one will provide more than enough stability. The benefit of using plant pots is that you have plenty of flexibility over placement because you can just move the pots as needed!
- Allows you to use string light poles on patios
- Lets you work with what you already have
- Plenty of flexibility
- Smaller pots won’t work well – aim for pots at least 15” in diameter
If you’re setting up string lights on walls or under covered spaces, the best option is to use string light hooks. As with the poles above, there are options for people who can’t make permanent changes to their spaces.
S-hooks (also known as butcher’s hooks) are inexpensive and versatile. They’re ideal for hanging string lights inside a gazebo, pergola, veranda, or any other covered space that has suitable fixings.
But this is also the biggest potential downside with S-hooks: you need something to hang them off. Most S-hooks are too small to hang over wood beams, so you’ll need screws, nails or metal frames to make them work. Provided you’ve got something like this already, they’re one of the least invasive options.
- Inexpensive and durable
- Suitable as a temporary option
- You’ll need something to hang them from
Adhesive hooks (such as these) are another good option if you can’t do anything too invasive. They should stick to glass, plaster, wood or any other flat surface. Ideally, choose ones that have moving hooks, as this means you can hang them on walls and ceilings.
Unfortunately, adhesive hooks don’t work too well on rough surfaces like brick. Some products claim they do (like these), but don’t expect miracles. A benefit of working with string lights is that they’re lightweight, so even if these hooks don’t have a great bond with the surface, they shouldn’t fall down.
- Easy to stick to flat surfaces
- There are plenty of weather-resistant options
- Adhesive hooks won’t work great on rough surfaces
These are a great option for string light hooks if you’re working with wood or brick. Q-hooks are standard screw-in hooks with a clip over the mouth. This helps to hold the string lights in place, meaning you can use them on ceilings and walls.
But if it wasn’t already obvious, you need to screw them into whatever surface you’re working with. As such, they might not be suitable for renters, although using them in wood isn’t too invasive. Provided you’ve got a drill, it won’t take long to set them up.
- Q-hooks will keep your string lights in place
- Ideal for working with wood, brick, concrete, etc.
- Easy to install
- Will require drilling – potentially not suitable for renters
Despite similar names, there aren’t loads of similarities between Q-hooks and Q-hangers. A Q-hanger is often a curled piece of plastic on the end of a nail – you’re probably familiar with the idea of them. They make good string light hangers if you’re working with wood. You can use them on brick and concrete, but they’ll be harder to hammer in.
The benefit of having smaller clips is that your string lights won’t move around as much. However, they can break easily when you’re hammering them in or trying to fit the light cable into them. Take care when setting them up and you shouldn’t have too many problems.
- Less obvious than large hooks
- Easy to hammer into wood
- Good for large spaces because they don’t take long to install
- The plastic hooks can break easily
Cable clips are another self-explanatory product. They’re adhesive clips that you can slot cables into, making them ideal as string light hooks. As with adhesive hooks, they won’t work well on rough or damp surfaces, so reserve them for metal, glass, plastic, etc.
You’ll be better off using cable clips instead of hooks in windy spaces, such as balconies. They’ll hold the string lights in place more securely because the clips are tighter. Other than that, there’s very little difference between the two products.
- Clear – shouldn’t be too obvious
- Suitable for windy spaces
- Won’t leave any residue when you take them down
- Don’t work on rough or damp surfaces
A light hanging kit does exactly what it says: it’s for hanging string lights. The benefit of a kit like this is that you can use it to set up large strings of lights in rooms or open spaces that are otherwise lacking supports. Essentially, the kit contains hooks for ceilings and walls along with all the screws and wall plugs you’ll need.
While you could buy all these things separately, buying a kit will be more cost-effective. Of course, all the drilling and screwing means this won’t be suitable for renters.
- Ideal for open spaces without supports
- Cost-effective way of getting all the hardware you need
- Easy to use
- Not suitable for renters
As you can see, there are loads of options for string light hangers. The best place to start is by working out what kind of setup you want and choosing your hangers from there. Use this article alongside our other string lights article to get all the information you could need about hanging lights outdoors.