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Outdoor Low Voltage Lighting - Adding Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting to Your Home - How do they work?, Disadvantages

lights night transformer fixtures

Low voltage outdoor lighting is a popular trend in landscape lighting for many homes and gardens. Not only do these lights cut down on electricity demands, but you have the option of adding in different styles of light fixtures and adjusting them to your taste while the system is on. With careful design and professional installation, low voltage outdoor lighting is aesthetically and functionally satisfying to many homeowners.

Low voltage outdoor lighting is more than a décor item; it is a safety feature as well. These lights help to gently bathe their surroundings in light. This includes front steps, pathways, gardens and pools at night, making your property much more safely navigable. These lights provide a tasteful way to prevent tripping and accidents as a result of visibility problems at night. Solar lights are another example of low voltage outdoor lighting, using a photocell that gets charged by a NiCad battery throughout the daytime. It charges slowly from the sun and then powers the light at night. When carefully planned and installed, outdoor lighting can transform your property at night into a tasteful and warmly inviting environment.

How do they work?

An important component of a low-voltage system is the transformer. It controls when the lights are on and also minimizes the electrical current. As you probably know, most transformers feature a timer so you can set it for any number of hours. This way you need not worry about when to turn your lights on or off.

Most lights involve relatively simple self-assembly, and include specific instructive manuals by the manufacturer. If you order or purchase a set of these lights they will usually come in a kit that features a transformer, the bulbs, connectors and at least 50 feet of cable. More lights can be added based on your specific needs with more cable and the appropriate sized transformer. Exterior light fixtures come in a wide range of designs, so make sure you look thoroughly at your options and think about the intended effect. Prices of some inexpensive kits range from $15 to $100, but the best ones are usually an investment of $300 and more. The amount you spend will depend on the number and type of fixtures and the materials they require.


One shortcoming of low-voltage lighting is that these lights are weak in power. This means they are not ideal for everyone’s needs. For example, for security lights in a parking lot, you would likely require a much higher voltage. These low-voltage lights create ambience and minimal safety lighting. The other disadvantage is that using wire that is too light can inhibit output of the lamps. If you buy a system that comes with six fixtures, for example, adding new lamps might mean you need to upgrade the low-voltage lighting transformer or add in a second one.

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