What Voltage is Suitable for Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor lighting is a great option. Lighting can be used to illuminate driveways, paths, doors, trees, fences and other areas. They can look as natural and beautiful as the landscape if placed well.

But, voltage is an important consideration before installing outdoor lighting. The question is:

What is the best voltage to use for outdoor lighting?

The answer is simple: 12 and 120 Volts. The best voltage for lighting residential areas is a 12-volt light. For commercial and industrial areas that require lighting mostly for security, 120 volts’ lights are the best.

To see the full list, click here best outdoor lights Between 12 and 120 volts

We’ll sure discuss more on this. But, before we get to that, let’s consider light voltage.  Let’s find out:

Energy Consumption

High voltage can lead to higher energy consumption. Your energy budget will dictate how much you can lighten your outdoor space. If you’re going to use the lights in a commercial setting, you may want to choose 120 volts due to its security status. Consider the energy consumption of the bulbs before you buy them. This is why light voltage is important.


120 volt high voltage lights can heat up bulbs to levels not recommended for residential areas. However, these types of bulbs are required for commercial and industrial areas, and they are installed where people won’t come in contact with them. You should consider your needs and determine the best voltage for you.

If you’re looking to illuminate your garden, patio, trees, and other relaxation places in your outdoor space, you should use low voltage lights like 12 volts. They don’t get heated to a level that can hurt, and one can even touch them. This voltage is the best for such areas. 120v can be used on your fence and other areas to protect your home from burglars.

To make sure you use your light voltage correctly, you need to be aware of the basics. Of course, that’s a means of ensuring safety.


This factor is already reflected by other factors. Security reasons also require lights with voltage. You will need super bright lights to illuminate dark areas, such as driveways, paths, and fences. This requires high voltage.

Also Read:  Garrison Electronic Deadbolt Programming Instructions

Note that you really don’t have to go beyond the recommended voltage for outdoor lighting. 120 volts’ outdoor lights are ideal for security areas—both in commercial and residential places.

Best Lighting Experience

Another reason to be aware of light voltage is that it can emit heat. You should be aware that high voltage lights can produce heat and may not be appropriate for outdoor use. It’s also risky as someone might touch the lights and get hurt.

Low voltage outdoor lights are best for your gardens, patios and outdoor ceilings. On You can also use high voltage lighting for driveways and similar purposes. This type of lighting creates a great lighting experience.

How much voltage should outdoor lights have?

This is how to keep the promise. I said I would come back to this. So let’s dig in!

There are two voltage options for outdoor lights: 120v and 12v. Here’s an in-depth look at each of them:

Low Voltage (12v) Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting with low voltage (12 volts) is the best option for residential and domestic lighting. These outdoor lights have several benefits: they are more affordable and easier to install. Additionally, you don’t need to hire an electrician to help install them.

Low voltage outdoor lights also minimize electric shock risk since you don’t need to bury cables during installation. There are many outdoor light bulbs, fixtures and wattages to choose from, as well as many designs.

12v outdoor lighting is preferred over 120v in most residential and domestic applications. This means that the bulbs used in this category are smaller and will burn out at the 120v line voltage. They are used to light corners, alleyways, and other tight spaces.

Low voltage outdoor lighting also has other benefits:

  • Because less electricity is passing through the wires, it’s easier to install and less disruptive. It is less likely to set fire to the casing if it sustains unexpected damage.
  • Less expensive
  • More variety in light bulbs and fixtures
  • More elegant options
  • Most cables don’t need to be in conduits in most cases.
  • It is extremely safe to use in areas where pets or children play, chew, or dig
  • It is possible to easily move light fixtures, especially during home improvements and landscape rearranging.
  • Potential energy savings The voltage is lower, which allows you to save money on energy and utility bills.
  • Finally, it is easier to add a light fixture to low-voltage lighting than with line voltage lighting.

Line voltage (120v) Outdoor Lighting

Outdoor lighting that uses line voltage (120v) is used for security, public use, and commercial purposes. For proper installation, you will need to hire an electrician.

Also Read:  Recommended Antique Glass Lamp Shades

The line voltage 120v lighting cables must be placed into conduit and buried at minimum 18 inches underground. They must also be fitted with sealed junction boxes at all connection points.

Line voltage outdoor lighting is used to light up large areas with fewer fixtures and brighter lights. They can also be used in residential applications that require extensive lighting of large trees. However, modern low-voltage LED fixtures are powerful enough to fulfill this role.

Line voltage outdoor lighting fixtures are larger and provide more light output than low voltage lights. This results in higher energy consumption and higher electricity bills.

Outdoor lights that use line voltage (120v), are well-known for the following:

  • More expensive
  • Line voltage fixtures can be large and offer less lighting options.
  • For installation, it is usually necessary to hire a licensed electrician.
  • Line voltage outdoor lights cables must be trenched and buried at least 18 inches below the ground.
  • To avoid electric shock, outdoor lighting connections must be waterproof.
  • Line voltage outdoor lighting is brighter and more suitable for commercial, security, and public-use applications.

Verdict: Which Outdoor Light is Better? 12 Volt Outdoor Lighting vs. 120 Volt Outdoor Lighting

You may have read it and understood the concept. But let me reemphasize that 12 voltS are ideal for residential outdoor spaces—where even children play around. You need low voltage lights that won’t heat up and cause excessive heat in such areas. Low voltage lights are safer in the event of an electric shock or hotness of bulbs.

On On the one hand, 120Vs are suitable to be used in commercial and industrial areas that require security. They can be used in residential areas for security. They should be installed in elevated areas where people won’t get their hands on by mistake.

Outdoor lighting is possible with both 120v and 12v voltages. It all depends on what you need.

RELATED: Best Outdoor Lights with Remote Control

Some Outdoor Lighting Safety Tips

Lighting has its downsides. This is why you should have safety tips to avoid electric shock and fire outbreaks. These are some safety tips you should be aware of:

  • Some installations of outdoor lights, especially hardwired lights—are not DIY, except string lights and hurricane lamps. For each other, it is best that you hire a certified electrician.
  • Always use the correct type and wattage bulbs. Get in touch with the manufacturer of the fixture or lamp if you don’t know the correct wattage. Bulbs that have too much wattage could quickly overheat and ignite. You should also consider UL listed bulbs/light fixtures.
  • Every bulb and fixture should be properly rated for outdoor usage only. Even though it is not possible to keep warm or dry under a roof or an overhang, the light should be able withstand extreme cold and damp conditions. Some fixtures can be weatherproofed (rated for wet environments), meaning that they are able to withstand the elements if it rains.
  • Use bulbs with extended life expectancies in difficult to reach places. This is to reduce the amount of time you might have to reach and move furniture, climb ladders, or perform other potentially dangerous activities.
  • If an outlet is exposed, use a special ‘in use’ cover to keep it and the plug dry, especially if it is wet. Every outdoor outlet should be GFCI-protected To prevent electric shock and other similar.
  • Also Read:  Schlage Encode Battery Dies Fast? (Explained & Solved)

    Outdoor Lighting Related Questions

    Why are outdoor lights always burning out?

    If the wiring or fixtures are not properly installed, outdoor lights can burn out. A loose wire can cause varying voltage to the bulb. This can quickly wear out bulbs. Also, make sure your light fixtures are properly mounted and wired. If you don’t know anything about electrical installation, get an electrician to help.

    How can I reduce energy use in outdoor lighting?

    Turn off your lights when they are not in use to save energy. A photocell dusk-to-dawn feature is a great way to save energy. This turns the lights off automatically when it detects sunlight, and turns them on and off again.

    Are all outdoor lights required to be hardwired?

    Hardwiring is not required for all outdoor lights. A good number of them do require hardwiring. Installing hardwired lights requires some electrical knowledge. If your light requires hardwiring, you may need to hire an electrician.

    RELATED: The 8 Best Remote Control Floodlights


    You already know the ideal voltage for outdoor lighting. You have seen that outdoor lights can be either 12v (low voltage) or 120v (line voltage). It all depends on where they are being used. Outdoor light fixtures will also recommend the bulb wattage and type to be used. For the best lighting experience, make sure you only use the recommended bulbs.

    Properly installing your lights can also help to avoid them from burning out. For safety, ensure that your installation is done correctly at all times.

    If you’re looking to purchase outdoOr lights and are unsure which ones to go for, you may want to consider any of these outdoor hanging lights or wall lights.

    We will be happy to hear your thoughts

    Leave a reply

    NRX Empire