Lighting Basics
Littman Bros |  March 22, 2013

Line-Voltage Pendants vs. Low-Voltage Pendants

There is a common debate among customers remodeling their kitchens.  Should I choose pendants? What kind of pendants? Low-voltage or line-voltage?

Tech Lighting Line-Voltage Pendant

Tech Lighting Line-Voltage Pendant

How many pendants? What size should my pendants be?  All this can seem over whelming but if you start with the size of your space and island you want to light, you can easily come to a solid decision to light your space.

Low Voltage Pendant

LBL Lighting Low Voltage Pendant

Line-voltage pendants are bigger in nature because they use a standard incandescent or fluorescent bulb and will not fit into a tiny piece of glass. They are also easily recognizable by the thicker lamp cord or pole that the pendants hang from; this thicker wire is needed to run the line-voltage current from your home.  Line-voltage pendants range from single bulbs at 5 inches wide up to a larger multi-bulb fixture around 15 inches wide.  Line-voltage pendants are great for when you would rather have fewer pendants over a large island.

Low-voltage pendants are typically smaller than line-voltage; they take either a xenon (halogen) bulb or an LED diode, allowing the fixtures to be as small as 2 inches wide.  Another nice feature to the low-voltage pendant is the cord that they hang on is only 1/8 inch thick.  This is because there is a transformer in the base of the fixture that cuts the power running from your house down to 12volts.  Low-voltage fixtures are great for smaller spaces and lower ceilings or on larger islands when you want multiple pendants.

Line-voltage versus low-voltage… So what should I use in my space?  Many larger kitchens with higher ceilings balance well with larger line-voltage fixtures – it will depend on whether you want 2 or 3 pendants and the size of your island.  Smaller pendants should be spaced 18 inches to 24 inches apart once centered.  Larger line-voltage pendants from 10 inches up should have at least the 10 to 20 inches of space between them, if you have a 20 inch fixture, measure about 20 to 40 inches apart.  These general guidelines will help you to determine how many low-voltage or line-voltage fixtures will work best in your space.