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How To Hang Christmas Lights on Gutters (2024 Guide)

When hanging Christmas lights, start by measuring the area you’re decorating to calculate the number of clips you’ll need.

Default Author Icon Written by Mike Miller Updated 04/05/2024

When the holiday season rolls around, your home has a built-in structure to hang Christmas lights on: your gutters. They go all around the outside of your house, and many Christmas light clips are specially made to be hung from them. You can hang festive lights around your home’s perimeter or keep it simple by decorating only the front of your house.

Hanging outdoor Christmas lights can be relatively simple with the correct equipment, materials, and personal safety considerations. Read our guide to learn more about how to hang Christmas lights on your gutters without damaging your home or risking your safety. Also, check out the video below for an overview of the process.

Preparing To Hang Lights on Gutters

Before you deck out your home, there are some prep steps you need to take.

Make a Plan

The first step is planning exactly where you wish to install Christmas lights on your gutters and determining how many feet of lights you’ll need. It may also help to sketch a diagram of your home’s exterior to help you visualize hanging surfaces and outlet locations.

First, decide whether you want to hang them around the entire perimeter of your home or just on the parts that are visible from the street. Then, measure the length of the area where you’d like to hang the lights. You can do this on the ground by measuring the side of your home with a tape measure. For peaked eaves and gutters, you may need to use a ladder to get an idea of the total length. Factor in some slack when calculating how many feet of lights you’ll need to get the job done. 

Choose Your Lights

You have several holiday light options for your home’s exterior, but you should only use lights and decor rated for outdoor use. You can purchase outdoor Christmas lights at home improvement stores, such as Lowe’s or Home Depot, or online.

C9 bulbs are brightly colored bulbs about the size of jalapeno peppers. These are a great choice if you want a gingerbread house look. 

Plastic LED lights work best for outdoor use; they are more durable and affordable than glass bulbs. They stay cool to the touch, making them a safer option for outside; plus, they’re brighter and last longer. You can even find plastic LED lights that appear to sparkle and shimmer at night.

You can also opt for classic string lights with mini white incandescent bulbs—just make sure they’re rated for outdoor use, as indoor lights are dangerous if exposed to rain. These are the simple lights you might drape around your Christmas tree. White lights give an elegant, dreamy look to your home at night during the holiday season.

Incandescent string lights come in many other colors, such as blue, white and blue, rainbow, and everything in between. Icicle lights, which consist of a series of strings of bulbs, can be a charming choice.

Collect All Materials

After deciding where you’ll place your lights and what type to use, start collecting your materials. The first things you’ll need to hang Christmas lights on your gutters are a strong ladder and, of course, the lights of your choice.

You will also need at least one extension cord that stretches from the last string of lights to your garage or porch outlet. Make sure these extension cords are also made for outdoor use.

Finally, you’ll need plenty of gutter clips. These plastic clips ensure your lights stay where you place them, no matter the weather conditions. When buying gutter clips, it’s always better to overestimate how many you’ll need. You can purchase these items at your local home improvement store or online.

Steps to follow
Coming prepared with an action plan is the safest and most effective way to succeed in your light installation endeavors. Here’s how to install your Christmas lights without hurting yourself or damaging your house.

Gutter clips are similar to clothespins and are used to hang exterior lights on your roofline. Make sure you have at least one gutter clip for every 8 inches of area from which you wish to hang lights. 

To install gutter clips, set up an A-frame ladder and have a spotter on the ground holding it steady. Then, slide the gutter clips onto the front of your gutters between 6 and 12 inches apart. The hooked side that holds the lights should be facing outward.

After your clips are in place, attach the lights to the clips. Start with one bunch or strand of lights. Ascend your ladder and begin hanging them on the side where you plan to plug them in. Make sure the pronged end of the strand is the one closest to the power source, and ensure it can reach the power source easily when plugged into an extension cord.

Hook the first strand of lights into the loop of the first gutter clip. Continue hooking the strand into your gutter clips as far as you can comfortably reach or until you run out of lights.

Continue the light-hanging process until all your lights are in place. You will have to keep moving the ladder so you don’t have to reach and strain to hang each new strand of lights. Take breaks as needed.

Once you’re finished installing your Christmas light display, plug the pronged end into the extension cord. Protect the connection between the lights and the cord with a weatherproof cover to prevent moisture from getting into the plugs and making your lights non-functional.

How To Hang Christmas Lights With Gutter Guards

Gutter guards protect your gutters from collecting debris. If too much debris clogs your gutters, they can experience blockages when it rains, causing them to collapse from the weight. If you have gutter guards, you can use shingle clips instead of gutter clips when hanging your lights.

Shingle clips are plastic clips similar to gutter clips, but they slide under the bottom layer of shingles on your roof. It’s essentially the same process to hang Christmas lights with shingle clips as with gutter clips.

Begin by placing the clips under your shingles about a foot apart. String the lights across them after the clips are in place. If you don’t have a shingled roof, you can also opt for adhesive clips, which simply stick to the exterior of your gutters.

If you have mesh gutter guards, we recommend trying gutter hooks. Gutter hooks are designed to slip between the mesh of gutter guards so that you can use them in the same way you would use traditional gutter clips.

Safety Tips for Hanging Lights on Gutters

If you’ve ever worked on a home improvement project, you know how important personal safety is. Use the following tips to ensure you aren’t injured when hanging lights. 
Always read the manufacturer’s instructions on your materials and follow them accordingly.  Be especially sure to use lights rated for outdoor use only.
Use a spotter to steady the ladder while hanging your light display.
Even though you should leave a bit of slack when hanging your lights, you should be sure they aren’t loose enough to swing in the wind. This could lead to broken light bulbs or even the string of lights falling down.
Do not use nails or tacks to hang Christmas lights. This will damage your gutters, and the combination of electricity and metal could be dangerous.

FAQs About Hanging Lights on Gutters

What is the best way to hang Christmas lights on gutters?

The best way to hang Christmas lights on gutters is to use gutter clips that slide onto the outer edge of your gutter. The exterior loop on these clips allows you to slip strands of lights through it easily and keeps lights in place.

How do you hang Christmas lights on gutters without clips?

You can hang Christmas lights on your gutters without gutter clips by using alternatives, such as shingle clips or adhesive hooks. Shingle clips attach under the bottom layer of shingles, and adhesive hooks stick to your gutters. Do not use nails to hang Christmas lights, as it can damage your gutters and pose safety issues.

Can you hang Christmas lights on gutters without a ladder?

You can hang Christmas lights on gutters without a ladder with a light-hanging pole. From the ground, attach the lights to the gutter clip, then use the pole to grip the clip. Extend the arm of the pole to attach the clip to the gutter. Repeat the process until all your lights are attached.