What is Low Voltage Lighting?

Regular household electrical current is 120 volts. It powers most appliances and lights in the typical home. Low voltage is either 12 volts or 24 volts and is created by using a transformer to reduce household current from 120V to 12V or 24V. Many fixtures are manufactured to use 12V.

Typical Landscape Lighting

Low voltage lighting is particularly useful in track lighting, pendant lighting, recessed lighting, landscape lighting and accent lighting. Low voltage light bulbs can be a lot smaller that 120V light bulbs thereby allowing more flexibility in fixture design. They are almost always halogen. Low voltage does not equate to less power usage (although most halogen light bulbs are more efficient than other incandescent). Do not confuse volts with watts. Watts is the measure of how much power is used, so 50 watts is 50 watts is 50 watts.

Recently a lot of low voltage lighting is being converted to LED. I expect this trend to continue and to accelerate in the future. LED is much more efficient than either low voltage halogen or incandescent. Once engineers find a better solution to the heat dissipation problem you will see better LED solutions to miniature light bulbs.

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