Honest opinions about how to buy Appliances and Lighting.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

LED Vs Low Voltage Recessed Lighting

Low voltage recessed is the standard for mid to upscale residential task lighting. Low voltage is aptly named, because there is a transformer in the fixture. This transformer converts the 120 volt household current to 12 volt. The 12 volt 50 watt bulb casts a whiter light than a regular incandescent light, and thus illuminates the counters, tile and cabinets in a better shade of light.

Low Voltage

Led Recessed

How does a new LED compare? This is a direct comparason between a LED can and a low voltage(not as LED with a Low voltage can)

Energy Efficiency: No-brainer here...After all, low voltage is still incandescent. At 11 watts, the LED will emit more light than a 50 watt low voltage bulb. Also, LED is a cool bulb and the low voltage bulb will heat to 300 degrees.

Color: Interestingly enough, LED is better color at 2700 degrees versus 3500 for low voltage.

Style: LED is new and limited whereas low voltage has every design option imaginable. Of course most people still prefer white, which is featured for both.

Lamp Life: 20 years for LED, 7 months for low voltage.

Price: The reason for this post...LED is actually cheaper by about $30 per fixture


  1. what is the estimated cost of LED vs. low wattage? 30 bucks cheaper off of 300 each? please feel free to release suggested prices - no one is going to hold you to these - it just helps people know basics and if these home improvements are for me.

  2. With bulbs(not included on the low voltage)...Its about $145 versus $115.

    You can buy cheaper low voltage recessed, but the transformers and/or wiring will have issues

    Nice pic, BTW

  3. I own a outdoor lighting company and if you wire you indoor low voltage lighting in a hub and make sure you get between 10.8 - 12 volts at each fixture your lights will last you years.


  4. Low voltage is 12 volts, Gary....

    When I say 7 months, this is the average lamp life. Also, incandescent(low voltage is an incandescent) are very fickle bulbs and easy to break

    This is not an incandescent bashing blog. This type of bulb still has the best color rendering, but there is much better technology for energy efficiency and lamp life.

  5. How about the quality of light in terms of rendering index or any other aspects? I've been looking at line voltage vs low-voltage vs LED for a while now. I want to add in the kitchen some cans, under cabinet task lighting and some island pendants and am unsure...

    I also plan to have everything on dimmers to be able to manage different tasks/moods. Before LEDs were not dimmable but now I see they are.

    SO remaining concern is light "quality". Would the LED be as good as low voltage in terms of "sparkle" and true to life colors?

  6. Depends on the manufacturer. A "good" LED will have similar rendering to low voltage(which is whiter than incandescent, btw).

    You just need to find the good LED. Look for LED at 2700-3200 CRI and with a Cree chip

    Also, look at these lights on display. There are few standards, so seeing is believing