Selecting the Best Low-Voltage Transformer for Your Landscape Lighting Project  

Out of the entire roster of a low-voltage landscape lighting system—transformer, fixtures, lamps, wiring, connectors—the transformer is arguably the MVP. A transformer not only converts line-voltage electricity to a safer low-voltage electricity but also serves as a main control device of the lighting system. It’s imperative that you as an industry pro draft a transformer that communicates with the team effectively as well as helps minimize issues that stem from faulty wire connections or improper voltage. With our playbook on how to choose the best low-voltage transformer, you can ensure a winning season every time.    

Choose Transformer Style  

Each project and client has unique needs and tastes that should be considered in order to yield positive results, not to mention good word-of-mouth advertising. Lighting Warehouse offers two types of transformers with which to apply to your clients’ systems, each bestowing distinctive advantages to satisfy a variety of landscape lighting applications. 

Clamp-Connect Transformers 

Offering fast and easy-to-manage functionality, clamp-connect transformers are spectacular time-savers. Whether you’re installing, maintaining, troubleshooting, or expanding, the dependability and speed of the clamp-style wire connectors make these transformers respectable players on the landscape lighting gridiron. During installation, wires can near-effortlessly be inserted into taps, quickly removed for maintenance and troubleshooting, and easily adjusted to satisfy a client’s request for system expansion—all without the use of extra tools.  

Clamp-connect transformer models feature control options that meet both ends of the spectrum, from traditional mechanical timers or photocell timers for dusk-to-dawn settings to digital timers and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth-enabled timers that can be utilized in the internal timer socket.  

Multi-Tap Transformers  

The one downside of clamp-style wire connectors is that only one wire can (and should) confidently be inserted per clamp with a maximum wire gauge of 10AWG. If you prefer to have more agency over the amount of wiring you can use, a multi-tap transformer might be your answer.  

Classic and capable, traditional screw-style wire terminals are still used in a variety of landscape projects. With a screw-style wire terminal, you can insert and fasten more than one single wire, with the exact number contingent upon the number of wire gauge(s) used. Their increased number of wire runs gives contractors more creative freedom, resulting in limitless, versatile landscape lighting design options. However, because they inspire free range wiring opportunities, screw-style transformers may demand more tools and labor when inserting wires into the terminals.  

Determine Transformer Capacity 

One you’ve zeroed in on your preferred transformer style, next you’ll need to determine the capacity needed for your lighting project. This section might be redundant as most of you are probably aware of the 80% transformer capacity rule, so feel free to skip ahead or stay for a brief refresher.  

When calculating a low-voltage transformer’s capacity, first add up the total combined wattage of fixtures being used, including the total wattages of all bulbs used and the wattages listed for any integrated LED fixtures. The total wattage should not surpass 80% of the transformer’s capacity.  

Let’s say you want six 18 W path lights for a walkway. 

18 W (# watts per fixtures) X 6 (# lights needed) + 20 (percentage difference per 80% guideline)  

Minimum Watts Transformer Must Support = 128 W  

For extra guidance on choosing a transformer for your next client’s outdoor lighting project, contact our in-house, highly-trained Customer Service team to impart their expertise.  

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