Low Voltage Outdoor Lights

Low voltage outdoor lights operate on a 12-volt system. This safe and economical alternative to the standard 120-volt house line allows homeowners to light up a landscape without the complications of buried or protected cabling. There are many advantages to low voltage lights, including easy installation and flexibility of arrangement. Fixtures and bulbs are smaller, meaning they are less obtrusive in outdoor settings. In addition, there is no need for protective conduit as most low-voltage lights are moisture-proof. Setup does not require professional assistance. A transformer is plugged into an outdoor socket equipped with a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI). Cabling is then strung and attached to a group of lights, which may range individually from 4 watts to 50 watts. The total number of wattage in the lighting group will determine transformer size. Standard transformers will be priced according to the total amount of watts that can be handled. Cabling can be purchased separately and gauge size will factor into the number of lights and total wattage. The lower the gauge, the higher amount of voltage it can transmit.

Types of Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting is decorative or concealed, and there are numerous designs available in low-voltage versions. From traditional to modern, materials will include metals and plastics; some are camouflaged in fake rocks and pavers. Whimsical shapes in molded composites are becoming readily available as well. Also, a wide range of bulbs will fit the fixtures: from wide-beam spread to spot to muted. Tiered walkway lights are very popular, as they can be reconfigured for outdoor gatherings. Directional garden and landscape lighting fixtures are easy to assemble and mount on trellises. Low-voltage lights are also the perfect answer to illuminating pools and water features. For instance, flat mounts are suitable for decks, posts, and steps while low-profile lights are recommended for garden areas and for uplighting around trees. Dramatic directional canisters are made in many heights to highlight small areas or arched entryways. Lights are available as kits or as individual components, including automatic on/off switches, timers, mounting accessories, and motion sensors. In some cases, pigtail wiring is recommended; this allows for consistent lighting as multiple cable is wired into the transformer rather than running a single long string to multiple lights. When shopping for low-voltage outdoor lights, look for brand names; these fixtures will be well worth the investment.