There are several differences between 120 volt and 12 volt (low voltage) outdoor landscape lighting systems. For starters, regular voltage systems operate on household 120 volt power and require connections to your home system as with any appliance. Low voltage landscape lighting systems uses a transformer which lowers the electrical output to the lights. In this case, special energy saving fixtures are used that can operate efficiently off of a lower voltage. This is just one example of the differences between the two. Installation for instance is another.
Transformers using 12 volts can be easily installed by the homeowner, whereas in the case of a 120 volt system requires professional installation by a licensed electrical contractor and in some state you have to go the cost of a permit as well.
Burying the cables of the 120 volt system can also be problematic. In most cases the wires have to be buried at least 18 inches deep and therefore must be placed in protective conduit, or go the expensive route and use wiring that can go directly underground without any protective encasing. In the case of the 12v system, wires can simply be “hidden” out of site behind ground cover or borders or just be left exposed. The 12 volt system offers the homeowner more flexibility for future changes than the 120 volt counterpart.
Many homeowners opt for the 12 volt system for its over-all increased aesthetic value. 12 volt bulbs are smaller and can be less obtrusive in any landscape setting. The bulbs are also available in different low watt styles and can be obtained in many beam angels directing light exactly where you want it. This option allows the homeowner a wider variety of precise, as well as artistic lighting effects at a lower operating cost. The higher watt bulbs of the 120 volt systems are problematic in the fact that they create unwanted glare and reduces your ability to create subtle landscape lighting effects and much more expensive to operate moreover flexibility low voltage fixtures can be moved to different location easily VS high voltage needs j-boxes & wiring to work.
These are all good arguments for the move to low voltage lighting, but there’s one more that is always a first concern. Safety. 120 volt systems must maintain absolute moisture free which is difficult with the wires running underground. There is always a potential for shock hazards in the event the wires are compromised and moisture gets in. Not a concern when using the 12 volt system. These lower voltage systems are specifically designed for wet or dry locations and operate safely when exposed to moisture. Proving yet again that low voltage landscape lighting is the best choice for any business owner, or homeowner.
Learn more about landscape lighting and design by visiting Best Pro Lighting, a popular landscape website that offers information, tips and free landscaping resources as well as factory direct pricing.