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Landscape Lighting Wire: What Gauge Wire For Low Voltage Lighting?

Need to choose the right landscape lighting wire gauge for the project. The calculator helps you to know the voltage drop and wire to use.

Before you get started with the plan to beautify your garden, you should learn about landscape lighting wire. You can only rejig your yard’s looks if you use the right kits.

A well-lit walkway does not only add beauty to your home but makes it safer for visitors at night. Besides, it discourages unwanted persons from entering your compound.

The first step to planning your landscape lighting is to choose the right wire gauge. Remember, wire for low voltage landscape lighting comes in different gauges.

Many set up landscape lighting for diverse reasons and your components determine the result. You should ensure that each lighting piece gets the right power.

Hence, this article helps you to choose the best low-voltage landscape lighting wires available for sale.

ImageBrandProduct Details
FIRMEST 12/2
Southwire
Lightkiwi
Iron Forge
Wirefy
Hypergiant 12/2
Zonegrace

What is Landscape Lighting Wire?

Landscape lighting cables connect the transformer to the fixtures. These low voltage cables are strands of copper wire in sizes of 8, 10, to 18. The size of the cable determines the wire number.

For instance, number 8 is the largest cable size available while 18 is the smallest. The larger the cable, the lower the voltage drop.

If you plan to connect a heavy load over a large yard, select a large wire type. Meanwhile, our low voltage wire options are UV resistant, which means you can lay them underground.

How to Measure Which Gauge is Perfect for Your Place?

Knowing the right gauge to use is the first step to buying a landscape lighting wire. Remember, the maximum allowable voltage drop is 1.5V.

Of course, anything above this value reduces the lamp’s brightness along the cable length.

So, how do you measure the wire gauge for your yard? Get the entire length of the wire and the expected wattage for the setup.

Make sure you keep the wire gauge constants handy.

Low Voltage Wire Size Calculator

Now that you’ve gotten the wire length, total wattage, and cable constant, it’s time to calculate the acceptable voltage drop. First, multiply the wattage by the distance of the cable.

Divide what you got by the cable gauge constant. What you get now is the voltage drop for the fixtures. Adjust the constant to ensure the voltage drop is between 1.3 volts to 1.5 volts.

While other gauges are important we recommend you always start with the 12-gauge wire. If the voltage drop is high, adjust to a thicker wire like the 10-gauge type.

Keep experimenting on different wire sizes until you get the expected results.

How To Choose Landscape Lighting Wire

Since there are many factors to consider, many find it hard to pick the right lighting wire for their homes. If you’re in this class, keep calm; this buying guide will help.

1. Wire Size

Landscape lighting wiring involves many gauge sizes with the commonest being 8, 10, 12, 14, 16, and 18.

The higher the gauge, the thinner the wire, and vice versa. Besides, the gauge size plays a huge role when calculating the maximum voltage drop.

Here is a chart of the cable types and their constants.

The total power in the circuit is measured in watts. You need at least 4 watts to power each fixture in the circuit. If you have 20 fixtures, you need 80 watts to turn them on.

Large cable sizes offer lower voltage drop, making them excellent for long-distance runs and high wattage.

Wire SizeWire Constant
8 18960
10 11920
12 7500
143500
162200
18 1380

2. Wattage

Below is a wattage per size comparison.

Power (Watt)Cable Size (Gauge)
8384
10288
12192
14154
16106
1877

The transformer steps down the power from the mains, distributing the low-voltage output through the wires to the components.
Transformer

After determining the total wattage, you need a transformer with the needed output. Remember, the transformer rating should not be lower than the wattage.

3. Cable Length

There is always a distance between your transformer and the fixtures; hence, the wire length concept. If the fixtures are far from the transformer, the voltage drop will increase.

Use a thicker 12 or 10-gauge wire to limit issues with voltage drop. Meanwhile, a 16-gauge wire is about 3153 feet long and a thicker 12-gauge reaches up to 10688 feet.

4. Cable Connection and Circuit Type

You can use a ring, radial, or parallel connection. However, it’s best to use a parallel circuit for any landscape low-voltage lighting.

That’s because, a parallel wiring style is closed, dividing the currents through various circuit paths. The current therefore merge at the end to close the loop.

Another advantage of a parallel connection is that the same voltage goes to each of the components.

5. Wire-nut

When splicing cables, you need wire-nuts to protect the exposed parts from connecting. These tools are available in different sizes and shapes per wire gauge.

6. Waterproof junction box

Even after using the wire-nut, you should still provide a covering for the joints. Hence, the waterproof junction box protects the connection from moisture.

7. Wire Stripper

You can’t join the wire to a transformer or fixture until you separate the insulation.

So, the wire stripper allows you to work on the exposed cable parts. The cutter has different edges to perform cutting and stripping functions.

8. UV Protection

Make sure you choose a direct burial lighting wire with UV protection. That’s because of the cable’s ability to withstand harsh weather elements. In other words, you can keep it under or above the ground for years.

Having known the things to consider before buying a landscape lighting wire, let’s see our top product choices.

Top 5 Landscape Wire For Low Voltage Lighting

01. FIRMEST 12/2 Landscape Lighting Wire 200 Feet

 

Features

  • 200ft low voltage wire
  • Can withstand harsh weather conditions
  • Suitable for direct burial
  • Excellent fire-proof quality
  • Lifetime satisfaction
  • Brand: FIRMEST
  • Length: 200ft
  • Dimensions: 0.362 x 0.181 feet
  • Max. Current: 20 Amps
  • Color: Black
  • Material: Copper
  • No. of Strands: 2
  • Size: 12

If you’re looking for an excellent landscape lighting wire for your garden and walkway, this model from FIRMEST is perfect.

When you purchase, you get a 200 feet low voltage cable for your yard.

The main material is copper; so, it offers topnotch conductivity with minimal voltage drop. The wire is pretty flexible, easy to strip and run across tight corners.

This FIRMEST wire works at voltages of 30V to 300V. That means you can use it with powerful transformers.

Luckily, this cable has a direct burial rating, meaning it can withstand daily exposure to dust, sun, dirt, and water. It does not crack or lose form when exposed to cold or heat; even to a temperature of 140°F.

The cable is versatile. Besides powering garden accessories, you can use them for other low-voltage components like spotlights, solar panels, outdoor speakers, etc.

Pros

  • Sunlight and water-resistant
  • Highly durable
  • Easy to split
  • Low-voltage outdoor use
  • Versatile

Cons

  • A bit heavy

02. Southwire 55213443 12-Gauge Lighting Cable Landscape

 

Features

  • Suitable for low-voltage outdoor applications
  • Rated for temperatures between -40°F and 140°F
  • Provides long-lasting durability
  • Doesn’t tangle or crack under heat
  • Direct burial rated and 100 feet long
  • UL listed and CSA Certified
  • Brand: Southwire
  • Material: Copper, Aluminum
  • Voltage: 150V
  • Color: Black
  • Weight: 6.19 pounds
  • Dimensions: 11 x 10 x 17 inches

The first thing that will attract you to this Southwire product is the superior construction.

Since you’ll be leaving it outside, worry less because the wire is waterproof and UV protected. Again, you can bury it underground, taking comfort in its longevity.

At the same time, the cable is 100 feet long, making it suitable for a smaller yard. Luckily, the Southwire cable complies with UL and CSA requirements.

Another thing that you’ll like about this wire is that it’s made of aluminum and copper material.

That means you can use it in various lighting applications. In other words, the cable is excellent for all low-voltage projects.

Despite being a 14-gauge wire, it’s quite easy to separate or strip off the insulation.

What’s more, the wire is flexible, such that you can easily pull it through conduits and contours. Overall, the cable quality is topnotch and worth the price.

Pros

  • Easy to separate the wires
  • Tangle-free and simple to use
  • CSA, UL, and RoHS compliant
  • Resistant to water, dust, and dirt
  • The vinyl jacket is immune to cracks

Cons

  • Hard to maintain polarity

03. Lightkiwi C3587 Direct Burial Conductor

 

Features

  • For low voltage applications
  • Can withstand exposure to sunlight, water, and dust
  • Passed various reliability tests
  • 100% copper wire for excellent performance
  • ETL listed and lifetime satisfaction guaranteed
  • Brand: Lightkiwi
  • Material: Copper
  • Length: 250 Feet
  • No. of Conductors: 2
  • Gauge: 12
  • No. of Cable strands: 65
  • Dimensions: ½ x ¼ feet

The Lightkiwi C3587 should be your ideal choice when you’re buying a landscape lighting wire for a larger garden.

That’s because it has a total length of 250 feet; so, it’ll take a long run. Besides, the wire isn’t only useful for landscape lighting but useful for step lights, underwater lights, deck lights, etc.

Now is the era where you can use the best low voltage lighting kits, thanks to Lightkiwi products.

After buying this, you have a 100% copper cable with excellent conductivity and reliability.

Still, the insulation is sturdy, as such, you can use it outdoors, whether buried or above the ground.

We like the heavy-duty jacket that protects the cable against cuts, scrap, and tear. Besides offering high-quality protection, the jacket is flexible and durable.

Above all, the Lightkiwi C3587 cable undergoes series of tests to prove its performance and reliability.

Pros

  • 100% pure copper wire
  • 250 feet long
  • Suitable for outdoor use
  • Heavy-duty jacket
  • Withstand sunlight and moisture
  • Guarantees lifetime satisfaction
  • Compliant with safety regulations
  • Flexible wire

Cons

  • A bit hard to split

04. Iron Forge 100ft 12/2 Landscape Lighting Low-Voltage Cable

 

Features

  • Ideal for spotlights, pathways, accent lights, and gardens
  • Perfect for rugged outdoor use
  • Stays flexible in temperatures of -40°F and 140°F
  • Tangle-free 12/2 low-voltage cable
  • Manufacturer: Iron Forge Cable
  • Weight: 6.1 pounds
  • Size: 12/2 Gauge
  • Length: 100 feet
  • Dimensions: 12.2 x 5.98 x 2.68 inches
  • Color: Black

The Iron Forge 100ft cable is designed to enhance your garden’s beauty and safety in the dark. Like our previous landscape wire lighting choices, this one is perfect for all low-voltage applications.

What’s more, the Forge wire is flexible and tangle-free even at a wide temperature range, making it easy to install. Remember to use this wire with splice connectors to get the best results.

Designed for the harshest environment, the vinyl jacket makes the cable resistant to sunlight, water, abrasion, and dirt.

Landscape Lighting Wire

The wire is of copper and offers excellent brightness, giving you the desired lighting effect. Luckily, the cable is long-lasting, insulation is topnotch, making it perfect for underground laying.

The Iron Forge cable is also waterproof so you don’t have to worry about water rain or water splashes. However, the wires are not marked; but that shouldn’t be a big issue since they’re for low voltage applications.

Pros

  • Superior quality and thickness
  • Soft and easy to bend
  • Sturdy shielding
  • Suitable for rugged outdoor use
  • Rated for direct burial

Cons

  • Wires not marked

05. Wirefy Landscape Lighting Cable 100 feet 12 Gauge Conductor

 

Features & Specifications

  • Stranded copper conductors
  • Flexible and simple to split
  • Straightforward installation
  • Intend for use in temperatures from -40°F and 140°F
  • Suitable for all low-voltage lighting applications
  • Brand: Wirefy
  • Weight: 5.94 pounds
  • Dimensions: 12 x 6 x 3 inches
  • Size: 12 gauge
  • Material: Copper
  • Voltage: 30 Volts
  • Color: Black
  • Usage: Commercial/Residential

Since your installation will be outdoors, you need a cable with reliable construction. Of course, that’s where Wirefy products lead.

The Wirefy 100 feet landscape lighting wire is made of a solid copper conductor that allows for lighting applications not exceeding 30 volts.

This Wirefy cable has a premium grade insulation that enables it to be laid underground or on the surface.

Besides, it’s made to withstand abrasion, direct sunlight, and moisture. The wire is UV resistant and you can use it underwater.

Luckily, this product is backed with a lifetime warranty; so, you’ll get the best value for your money.

Again, the wires have a flat shape for easy splitting during installation.

What’s more, you should allow the wire to sag between fixtures to prevent it from cutting under extreme cold.

Like other landscape wire choices in this article, this one doesn’t have a polarity marking. But that shouldn’t be a problem since you’re using it for a DC voltage.

Pros

  • Approved for underground laying
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Pretty versatile
  • 12-gauge wire
  • Easy installation
  • Stranded copper conductors
  • High-grade PVC insulation

Cons

  • A bit hard to separate

WH Questions of Wire For Landscape Lighting

What exactly is a low-voltage landscape lighting cable?

These are multi-strands of aluminum or copper wires; designed to transmit power from the transformer to the components while minimizing voltage drops.

What are the factors that determine the wire gauge to use?

Many factors determine the right landscape lighting wire gauge to buy. These are yard size, wattage, transformer, type of installation, and budget.

For instance, wires laid underground or exposed to sunlight should have weatherproof jackets.

What wire should I use for outdoor lighting?

If it’s outdoors, your lights should get power from a 1.5mm-square core steel armored cable.

These wires come in different sizes and insulation levels. Make sure you only pick those with weatherproof protection.

What gauge wire do I need for lighting?

For long distant runs, use a 12-gauge or 16-gauge cable to prevent voltage drop. Remember, the resistance in the circuit increases per the components’ distance from the source.

What should be the depth if I’m burying my landscape lighting wire?

The acceptable minimum depth for underground low-voltage lighting cable installation is 6 feet. However, to enhance the cable’s lifespan, run it through conduit pipes when installing.

What is the best wattage for landscape lighting?

The appropriate wattage for any outdoor lighting project is 80W or lower. Circuits that are 40W and lower are perfect for lighting garden beds and walkways. Power ratings of 40W to 80W are ideal for lighting small yards and driveways.

Why is landscape lighting important?

Low-voltage landscape lighting will make your surroundings beautiful and safe for visitors. It increases your outdoor space and creates bright architectural features like decks, stairs, etc.

Can I use 16-gauge wire for lighting?

An 18-gauge lamp cord draws a maximum current of 5 amps. If a 12V source powers the same bulb, then upgrade to 16 or 14 gauge to avoid dim lights.

Can you splice landscape lighting wire?

Of course, you can splice a landscape lighting wire. Sometimes, the manufacturer’s length may not be enough to cover your fixtures and you may have to splice.

Can you use regular wire for low voltage lighting?

Yes, you can. The usefulness of any electrical wire is dependent on its ability to convey the current and handle the voltage.

Insulation is not always a major issue with low voltage lighting applications.

Final Note

We hope you have enough idea on how to choose a landscape lighting wire. Remember, low voltage wiring cables come in different sizes and types.

The lower the number, the thicker the wire and the greater the current-carrying capacity. We’ve also shown you how to calculate the right cable gauge to buy.

Meanwhile, we understand that shopping for landscape lighting cables might be a huge task for many.

Since we want your yard to be the haven of your dream we’ve presented the best-rated products for sale. Above all, we believe our wire options are worthy of consideration.

Feel free to read our buying guide again to make the best decision.

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