How to Choose the Right Transformer?

Choosing the Right Transformer for Outdoor Landscape Lighting

        Outdoor landscape lighting can serve many purposes for a property, such as providing safety or increasing curb appeal. When setting up a low-voltage outdoor landscape lighting system, it is important to choose a transformer that can handle the electrical load to prevent fire, injury, or other damages to people or property. This blog will discuss the important factors to consider when choosing the right transformer for outdoor landscape lighting systems.


What is a Transformer?

        For low-voltage outdoor lighting systems, the amount of power that is used is lower than what is outputted by a typical residence. Many residences in the US output 120 or 277 volts, which is way more than what a low-voltage outdoor lighting system needs. The most common low-voltage lighting systems use 12 volts, though there are some that use 24 volts. Always check the lighting products that are being used to confirm how much volts they will require. 


        In this case, a transformer is needed. A transformer takes the higher voltage and converts it into a lower voltage that can be used by the low-voltage lighting system. Low-voltage lighting systems are typically easier to install, even for someone who has not dealt with low-voltage systems before.


Determining What Size Transformer You Need

        The first thing that is needed to do to determine the size of the transformer is the number of fixtures that are going to be part of the outdoor landscape lighting system. Count the number of fixtures. Multiply that number by the wattage. Then add 10% to that number to account for low-voltage cable and connectors that will be used. The below formula can help:  

Size of transformer = (Number of fixtures x Wattage of each fixture) x 1.1 

Example: There are 12 bulbs, each at 5W. Plug the numbers into the formula to determine the minimum size of transformer that is needed:

Size of transformer = (12 x 5) x 1.1 = 66W 

For the system described above, at least a 75W transformer will be needed.


        If the total load is too great for one transformer, divide the outdoor landscape lighting system between two transformers or get a more powerful transformer that can handle the load. 


        Doing calculations using the formula above will give an idea for the minimum size of transformer that is needed for an outdoor landscape lighting system, but it is always best to keep the future in mind. Choose a transformer that has a 20% higher capacity than is required. Doing so will allow for room in the system if more lights are added to the outdoor landscape lighting system and the transformer can handle the heavier load. 


        Always use a transformer that can handle an outdoor landscape lighting system's electrical load to avoid fire hazards, injury, or death. 


        Choosing the right transformer for an outdoor landscape lighting system will ensure a well-lit, safe, and aesthetically pleasing outdoor environment.


        If you’re in need of a transformer for an outdoor landscape lighting system, check out the selection at LightCh8in. We carry a variety of transformers including 12-15V and 12-22V transformers. These transformers are perfect for any sized outdoor landscape lighting system.