Outdoor Security Lights: Line Voltage vs Low Voltage

- May 08, 2019-

Outdoor Security Lights: Line Voltage vs Low Voltage

When it comes to setting up lighting systems at home, the two options most owners have to power the units are the following: low voltage and line voltage. The options come with their own respective advantages and disadvantages, depending on the needs of the system.

This article compares low voltage and line voltage power for outdoor security lights.

Low Voltage Lights

Low voltage lights are powered by DC current, typically ranging between 12-24V DC. This range is considered to be safer than line voltage. Additionally, during installation, the wiring connections do not have to be buried, making such lights easier to install. This also makes low-voltage powered outdoor lights ideal candidates for landscape lighting, pathway lighting and perimeter lighting. In the US, low voltage installations can be carried out by non-licensed individuals.

From a cost perspective, since the electrical connections do not have to be protected by a conduit, less components are required and the lamps can be moved from one location to another with minimal effort. Low voltage lighting is also recommended for homes that host children and pets, as well as for areas that experience extended rainy seasons.

Line Voltage Lights

Line voltage outdoor lamps are powered by AC current, typically 120V AC or 240V AC depending on the country. Handling such connections require waterproof protection; and unlike low voltage power, there is potential risk of shock during installation. Due to the risks associated with handling line voltage, wirings for landscape lighting systems are buried roughly 18” deep (based on code) and/or protected by conduit. To meet this requirement, trenching must first be carried out to prepare the area.

The advantages of working with line voltage are numerous. Line-voltage lamps are brighter and do not rely on anAC-to-DC stepdown transformer for compatibility, which can sometimes become a point of failure in low voltage systems.