Low voltage vs high voltage landscape lighting. What’s the difference and which is better?

Low voltage vs high voltage landscape lighting. What’s the difference and which is better?

Broadly speaking, there are two types of residential landscape lighting: low voltage and high voltage (also known as line or home voltage).

There are pros and cons to both. The one you opt for will come down to a variety of factors - from how many lights you want in your setup to your DIY skills. Let’s take you through them now so you can see which option’s best for you.

Introduction to low voltage

Low voltage: cheaper hardware, more choice, easier to install

For most, low voltage is the go-to choice. Usually, the hardware is cheaper and easier to install yourself (ie. without the help of an electrician). There are plenty of options, from the off-the-shelf packs in the hardware store to a bespoke setup you may have to get from a specialist. However, there can be a lot to learn to get the right setup and if you’re not 100% comfortable working with electricity, don’t take chances - get a pro in.

No digging required

One big advantage of low voltage lighting is that there’s no need to bury the wires, which gives you the flexibility to move the lights around to get them just how you want them. The lower voltage makes them a safer option if you have kids or pets and there’s a much wider range of designs to choose from than with high voltage.

So if you’re a parent with moderate DIY skills and you want a broad range of options, low voltage certainly seems to be the way to go.

So why wouldn’t you choose low voltage?

High voltage has its advantages too - which is why it’s the preferred option for commercial use. Any public or commercial outdoor space is likely to be lit by high voltage lighting.

High voltage: more powerful, more expensive, longer-lasting, less choice

As the name suggests, it carries more power than low voltage - ten times more, in fact. Carrying a 120-volt current, it can give off a lot of light and you can connect more lights in the circuit. There are savings to be made: with brighter lights, you may need fewer of them to light up the same area. And you won’t need a transformer, as the lighting can run straight off your home electricity supply without any conversion required.

Installation - an additional cost

However, you will need a qualified electrician to install high voltage lights. The cables will need to be fed through a protective conduit and buried at least 18 inches down with sealed junction boxes. With 120 volts running through the system, you do not want to add water to the mix! So once they’re in, moving them would be a major job.

With high voltage, you’ll have fewer designs to choose from - certainly for residential purposes - and because the lights are more often designed for commercial use, they are more expensive. That said, they will be high quality and will last longer than their low voltage counterparts.

Can you get high-powered lighting from low voltage?

In terms of light output, LED lighting has levelled the playing field between low and high voltage. LEDs make much lower demands on your electricity supply, so it’s possible to have a system that creates plenty of light, whether you want to illuminate your front path or fancy some dramatic uplighting for your backyard borders.

Is it possible to get the best of both?

Until recently, it wasn’t. But US landscape lighting pioneers VillaNERI now offer a third option: stylish, long-lasting, high voltage outdoor lighting you can install yourself. No transformers, no trench-digging and no need to pin down an electrician to actually come round and install them for you.

VillaNERI lights: Italian design, easy to install, 20 years+ expected lifespan

Designed in Florida and built in Italy, they’re guaranteed for 2 years. VillaNERI expects at least a 20-year working life from its lights. You can buy a starter kit of one or three pathlights and add more to tailor the setup to your specific needs. Nothing else is needed - no bridges or transformers. It’s all self-contained and refreshingly simple.

3x more powerful than low voltage lights

Each light can comfortably illuminate an 8-foot radius - three times more than the average low voltage light. And there’s no drop-off in performance as time goes on. These lights are built to last.

Controlled from your smartphone

What’s more, the VillaNERI smartphone app lets you control your outdoor lighting wherever you are - you don’t even have to be at home. You can set up timers, dawn-til-dusk settings and dim your lights exactly how you want them - all from the intuitive app using your Bluetooth or Wifi connection.

Voice-controlled landscape lighting

And it’s compatible with Google Home, Alexa and Apple HomeKit, so the dream of adjusting your outdoor lights purely by saying how you want them is now a reality.

Quality, durability, simplicity and flexibility

VillaNERI lights combine the best of both worlds - the quality and durability of high voltage with the DIY simplicity and flexibility of a low voltage setup - all controlled from your phone.

You can find out more about VillaNERI lights here.