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OLP of Clearwater & Tampa Bay (727) 513-3420

Knowing the Difference Between Line Voltage, Low Voltage and LED Outdoor Lighting

Here at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Clearwater & Tampa Bay, we often receive inquiries about residents interested in line voltage outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting types include line voltage, low voltage, LED, and solar. Each is very different, and these differing characteristics will impact look, energy consumption, component durability, and even the type of transformer that needs to be installed. Our staff is trained to know the differences and can explain them clearly. With this in mind, during our inquiries and calls, we take the opportunity to educate homeowners on the differences in line voltage, low voltage and LED.

What is Line Voltage Outdoor Lighting?

Line voltage (aka high voltage, or what is commonly referred to as household current) utilizes higher wattage bulbs, ranging from 60-75 watts up to 175 or even 250 watts. Line voltage also allows the use of various types of bulbs including incandescent, fluorescent, sodium (the orange street lights), mercury vapor or metal halide/ceramic metal halide. The main disadvantages of line voltage are the higher fixture and bulb costs, higher energy bills, and higher costs for installation. Most installations require an electrician because it must be run in conduit buried to meet electrical code. Trenching to each fixture's location is required, which can be expensive. Also, certain bulbs require a ballast component to light the fixture. In summary, line voltage fixtures are best used for security lighting, spotlighting, or moonlighting very large areas where cost and energy use are not a concern, most often in commercial outdoor lighting applications.

Old mercury vapor flood light

Old mercury vapor floodlights we removed from a Clearwater home.

What is Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting?

Just as the name implies, this type of outdoor lighting system uses lower voltage over line voltage. This equates to energy efficiency, lower bulb and fixture cost, ease of installation since trenching is not required, ease of adding to and/or moving fixtures, and no danger of electric transformer shock. Because the bulbs are lower wattage, you can use more fixtures (7-10) to light a greater amount of area using the same wattage and energy as two or three 100 watt line voltage bulbs. Low voltage fixtures using quartz halogen bulbs produce just as many lumens per watt (brightness) as a line voltage incandescent bulb. Low voltage lighting systems are connected to a transformer, or power pack, that plugs into a household outlet and reduces the household 120-volt current to 12-18 volts. Most low voltage systems can easily be upgraded or retrofitted to our newest LED lighting technology, taking the efficiency and longevity of your outdoor lighting system to a whole new level.

Yard with landscape lighting

By updating and replacing specific elements of your existing low voltage system, or the fixtures themselves, we can save you a substantial amount of time and money. This is what we refer to as retrofitting. We can provide many solutions for retrofitting your existing low voltage quartz halogen lighting system to LED.

What is LED Outdoor Lighting?

OLP light fixture

LED has become the gold standard of outdoor lighting, in both residential and commercial applications. The advantages of LEDs (light emitting diodes) are their super energy efficiency, safety, environmental benefits and very long bulb life. Since they don’t use a filament in the classic sense, the piece of metal inside a bulb that burns out causing a normal bulb to fail, an LED bulb can last for tens of thousands of hours.

LED outdoor lighting provides significant savings on electrical operating costs (up to 80% in most cases). For example, a four watt LED can produce a directional light equivalent to a 20W halogen. Additionally, due to the lower wattage, the lighting system will have less voltage drop. This, in turn, provides a more even and consistent illumination for all of your lighting fixtures. And the benefits of LED go on and on…

We are the Clearwater, Tampa Bay and St. Petersburg area experts in LED and low voltage outdoor lighting. With a vast portfolio of residential lighting designs and installations, we’ve done it all: front facades, decks, porches, patios and more. We strive to offer the right balance of savings and convenience for customers looking to add outdoor lighting to their home and landscape or those looking to upgrade their current outdoor lighting systems.

More questions? Contact us today at (727) 513-3420 or email us at for the answers.