With the holidays coming up fast I found myself face-to-face with my least favorite annual activity—hanging decorative lights in the freezing New York cold.
But what if you could just leave the lights up all year round? This year I installed Govee's Permanent Outdoor Lighting Pro kit ($399, Amazon). These weatherproof smart lights still require you to bust out the extension ladder, but can be left up year-round after you set them up just one time. Not only are the LEDs more powerful than your standard holiday bulbs, but they are highly customizable with millions of color and animation pattern combinations.
You can control the lights easily from the Govee Home mobile app or smart home hub which makes it possible to refresh the way your home looks on the fly. If you don't want pulsing red and green lights for the holiday, you can pick from hundreds of other colors and apply them to each individual light. Even basic white warm and cool lighting modes get exceptionally bright. This gives the exterior of your home some added security in addition to a boost in curb appeal.
But at $400, is the one-time setup and virtually endless customization worth the price of one of the best smart lights? Read the rest of my Govee Outdoor Lighting Kit review to find out.
Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro review: Price and availability
The Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro cost $399 for the 100-foot kit, and $699 for the 200-foot kit. Both versions are available in either black or white. As of this writing, they're sold out both at Amazon and at Govee.com.
If you're really itching for some outdoor lights, the Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights ($299 for a 100-foot kit at Amazon) are about half as bright as the Pro version, but are $100 less.
Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro review: Setup
Govee's permanent outdoor lights arrive neatly packaged in three separate boxes so that you know exactly where to get started. The first smaller box is home to the power supply cord and control box while the other two contain six 16.67-foot bunches of string with square LED lightbulbs spaced out every 16 inches along them. Each of these cords has a male and female connector on the ends so that they can connect to each other but there is a gasket and cover for the unused end should you decide you don't need all of the included cable.
While I opted for the 100-foot length, I just used four of the six cords to cover the 70 feet of decorating area that made up the street-facing eave of our home's roof. Should you need a more precise size you can cut these lights and reconnect them by stripping the cable and feeding the wires into an included silicon shell. Govee's predecessor and most competitors can't be trimmed like this so that gives the Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro a leg up.
Of course, these still have to be installed like your standard Christmas lights. Stakes are higher here since this is a one-and-done application — they adhere to your house using double-sided 3M adhesive tape — so I took my time with a dry run.
I hopped onto an extension ladder and climbed up towards the roof to temporarily pin up the lights using painter's tape. I had my dad pull the string for tightness and made sure I was happy with the LED light placement before sticking 3-inch strips of tape on the wiring. It took us just over one hour to ensure everything lined up neatly without any slack.
This initial passthrough made installing the lights as easy as peeling off the 3M adhesive on the back of them and pressing them against the eaves of my home. We used the included screw clips on the wiring between the lights for extra points of contact with the surface. It's a simple and secure system that's way less of a hassle than using the little removable plastic clips that attach to your gutters when you hang up cheap lights.
Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro review: Design and durability
The LED squares are seriously intense and feel durable — however, I'm not crazy about how far they noticeably stick out from the eaves.
These smart lights function in weather ranging from -4°F to 140°F (-20°C-60°C). They have an Ingress Protection (IP) rating of IP67 so they can sustain being exposed to dirt and water under pressure in extreme temperatures. While the lights don’t flinch at rain just above freezing temps (high 30-degree Fahrenheit range) I haven’t seen how they perform against the snow - yet. With that said, the thick wires, protective gaskets throughout, and hard protective shell around the LEDS leave me confident these will survive several northeast winters. And when it warms up, the white cabling is less likely to hold on to heat.
Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro review: Performance and brightness
The Govee Pro bulbs have a rated brightness of 50 lumens, double that of the company's lights from last year. But it's is easy to get lost in the weeds with specs like lumens, so to put things simply, they're bright.
Our home is set back a whopping 125 feet from the street but these lights helped it pop. Colors splashed all over the house and onto the grass, as you can see in the photo above. While they look best at night you can even see the glow on your house in the daytime.
My dad was annoyed by the placement of a single light located between the first and second-story eaves so he covered it in duct tape so it wouldn't be visible. Yet that little bulb shined through a layer of thick dark black tape as if it were uncovered which speaks to its strength.
Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro review: Govee app
To control the lights and access their smart functionality, you'll need to download the Govee Home app on your mobile device. The lights use Bluetooth to pair with your phone and are automatically discoverable when you open up to the Govee app's home menu. From the app, I then connected the lights to my Wi-Fi networks so I could control them over the internet and from my smart home devices.
From the main device page you can select colors, set patterns, and even segment individual bulbs to customize the way everything blends. This process is straightforward, as you see graphics of the strips and bulbs that you can tap on to apply changes.
I enjoyed using Govee's Effects Lab to make my own lighting layouts; you can pick colors from basic categories, or inspirations such as the hues of a certain place or a sports team's colors. Despite their terrible season, it's definitely a flex to be able to rep New York Giants colors on the front of my home on Sundays.
If you upload a photo, Govee's AI can extract a color palette so that you can create a theme around it.
You can also customize what times the lights go on and which color profile to use. I spent the most time using the Modes tab to pick lighting themes from preset scenes. There are dozens to choose from, with themes for each major holiday that are fully animated and cycle between colors. You can enter the advanced DIY color mode to segment individual light sections and add manage effects like a gradient or pulsing.
With the Music Mode, you can use either your phone's microphone or add a mic to the control box to sync the lights to dance with your voice or a song. While this is fun and worked well, I live off of an avenue and the background noise of passing of cars and honks would be picked up about half the time.
Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro review: Smart home compatibility
Govee's lights work with both Alexa and Google Assistant, letting you control them from those platforms. It also supports the Matter standard so they are future-proofed for platforms going forward.
I downloaded the Govee skill on the Alexa app and linked my account so that I could control the lights from my Echo Show. I wasn't thrilled by how basic the voice and touchscreen smart display skills were; they’re locked to adjusting just brightness and turning the power on and off. I was hoping to be able to select colors or edit effects in scenes.
Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro review: Bottom line
At $399 the Govee Permanent Outdoor Lights Pro are pricey but worth it if you want to light up your house like the Griswolds, but don't want to risk your neck every year on an extension ladder in the freezing cold.
Plus, the extensive customization means you can switch between colorful and basic outdoor accent lighting. I wish the bulbs were a bit more recessed, but the splashes of light cover larger areas that will make any home pop at night. This is one of the easiest investments to level up your home and transform your outdoor living space all year round.