What Are Low-Voltage Transformers?

Low-voltage transformers are electronic components that convert standard line voltage to a significantly lower output. For instance, these devices transform 120 or 277 volts, which are typical in residential and commercial power applications, to a reduced 12 or 24 volts.

Low-voltage transformers enable safe delivery of electrical power to commonly used low-voltage lighting systems including pendant lights, recessed light fixtures, outdoor light installations and puck lights. Without utilizing these transformers and initially decreasing the voltage supplied by a typical power source, lighting fixtures that only require minimal voltage burn out and cease to operate.

Two major types of low-voltage transformers are electronic and magnetic low-voltage transformers. Low-voltage transformers that are electronic are more compact and weigh less than their magnetic counterparts.

Electronic low-voltage transformers work using the principle of capacitance. These devices reduce the operating voltage level with electronic circuitry. Electronic low-voltage transformers deliver 300 watts of maximum power output and are suitable for voltage adjustments where lighting systems are installed in confined spaces such as bathrooms, entertainments areas and kitchens.

Magnetic low-voltage transformers are sizable devices that supply a maximum of 1,200 watts of power, notes PegasusLighting.com. These transformers function by induction, which brings down the operating voltage using copper wire coiled around a steel core. Magnetic low-voltage transformers are appropriate for outdoor lighting applications.