So, you're considering low voltage garden lights or lighting up your outdoor space. You're faced with an important decision.
'Do I choose low voltage or do I choose mains voltage?'
Let's look at that important decision by highlighting some pro's and con's for both types of garden and outdoor lighting.
We'll use our own products from Techmar's high quality range (see www.12vgardenlights.com); so all views are limited to the Techmar products we sell.
230v Mains voltage garden lights?
There are two critical factors with mains voltage lighting.
Firstly, the costs involved.
Initially it's the installation costs for the armored cable, connection boxes, waterproof housings and a qualified electrician. If it's a complicated design then you'll have design cost issues too!
Then the high running costs kick in due to the high power-consuming nature of the incandescent/halogen bulbs that normally go along with mains voltage lighting.
Secondly, safety and flexibility.
Mains voltage lighting has to comply, quite rightly, with all modern day electrical fitting and installation standards. Those standards are vital to protect against life threatening electrocution. Then certification and building regulations need to be observed.
The installation will always involve stiff armoured cabling. In addition, apart from the connecting tail, if it passes through the garden underground it has to be buried to a certain depth and covered with warning tape! This makes it near impossible to modify your garden lighting layout or add further lighting later. It's in the ground and there it remains!
Why do we say that? Well, it's fairly simple.
You'll certainly experience a loss in cabling design and run flexibility initially and then certainly in the future. You'll also have to see those ugly looking junction boxes loitering in your garden!
Regulations state that with mains electricity only the last two metres of cabling can be flexible cable. So from the armoured cable to your light fitting that's fine but even that cable can be broken, pulled or punctured and create a safety hazard.
So is it worth hindering the flexibility and success of your garden lighting solution by choosing to install mains voltage garden lights?
After all there is always that little something that creeps up, a small detail never considered in the first instance. Then in a couple of years time you need to move a few things around as the shrubs have grown or you have a new planting regime. Mains cabling is just so restrictive and inflexible (literally)!
Doesn't low voltage mean weaker electricity and therefore poor illumination?
No! Low voltage garden lighting with modern LED light bulbs produces illumination that is totally comparable to former mains voltage light fittings. It's also cheaper to run by a factor of about ten!
The electrical power (12v) is weaker but that's now covered by LED technology that can run on low power. So it has no negative impact at all! Don't worry that the lights will be dim and dull in the same way that solar lights are or worse cheap mass imported lighting. They won't.
What about voltage drop!
Of course mains powered lighting has traditionally been the only way to illuminate your garden and there is one benefit to mains voltage garden lights. When designing a solution you don't need to pay a lot of attention to electricity voltage drop. However, for most gardens that's something that doesn't matter! So it has no real impact.
From a design perspective we would only ever recommend mains cabling and waterproof housings to create 'supply' points at strategic places around the largest of gardens or outdoor areas.
From those supply points we'd then recommend in every instance low voltage cabling, light fittings and LED low energy consuming bulbs.
Low Voltage Garden Lighting is totally safe.
With only a 12 volt electricity current operating Techmar's Garden Lights, you can rest assured knowing the whole family can enjoy the garden. The 12v lights, fittings, bulbs and cabling are entirely safe. Kick a ball into the light by mistake and rip out a cable. No problem! No one will get hurt even if you don't see the problem until later! Catch the cable with the rake! No problem!
Cables can be left on the top of borders or discreetly buried in lawns just under the surface. They can be tacked to fencing or walls or ran alongside sheds and buildings.
They can be left in full view and if you need to tidy your border then simply move them to one side and then move them back again! What could be easier?
You just can't do that with mains cables!
What if I put my spade through a cable by mistake or touch a spotlight or run the mower over a cable?
You won't be electrocuted and if you break, tear or rip through a cable you can simply strip back the outer sheaths at the broken point and then twist the wires together. This recreates the original electrical circuit. Then as a temporary measure just wrap the reconnected cables in electrical insulating tape and all will be fine!
We always recommend fixing with a proper watertight connector but that can be achieved once the emergency fix has been carried out.
So what are the benefits of low voltage garden lighting?
There are just so many it's simpler to refer you back to our website. We've listed the benefits at https://12vgardenlights.com/pages/low-voltage-garden-lights-the-benefits and seem to be adding to them daily!
The market is flooded with 'cheap', unreliable garden lighting. Take the time to look at reviews of the products and the warranty offered. We give a three year guarantee on your garden lighting.
Techmar is an award winning manufacturer based in Hengelo, Netherlands. All products are designed themselves and rigorously tested in-house.
Bottom line...Buy cheap...expect a short lifestyle!
Thank you for reading our blog....hope this helps in making your decision...from the team at