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Landscape Lighting Wire

Low voltage landscape lighting wire or landscape lighting cable as it is often referred as, is made of multi-strands of copper wire that are bound together. Were as a 120 volt line voltage wire is a single strand wire.

The wire comes in different sizes such as #8, #10 #12, #14, #16 and #18. The wire number or wire gauge refers to the diameter of the bundle of strands, with the smaller number being a larger wire.

You will often see landscape lighting wire called 12/2 or 10/2, the "2" stands for conductors which is the number of wires inside the outer insulation.

The larger sizes of wire such as the #8 or #10 are used to reduce voltage drop in longer runs of wire or to handle more wattage.

When buying landscape wiring make sure that it is direct burial landscape lighting wire. This wire is made of special UV and weather resistant material that will withstand years of above ground and below ground exposure.

The most common landscape lighting wire that you will use in your landscape lighting is #12/2 For longer runs of wiring you can use a #10 or even a # 8 landscape wire.

Also remember when figuring wattage consumed on a run, make sure to always calculate the highest wattage lamp that each fixtures can handle.

Listed below are six of the most common wires used in landscape lighting and their limitations. The first number you see is the gauge and the "2" you see is the conductor wires.

  • 18/2: 8 amps max/96 watts max
  • 16/2: 11 amps max/132 watts max
  • 14/2: 16 amps max/192 watts max
  • 12/2: 20 amps max/ 240 watts max
  • 10/2: 30 amps max/360 watts max
  • 8/2: 40 amps max/480 watts max

Although the 8 and 10 gauge wires are rated at 360 and 480, you need to remember that the landscape lighting transformer allows only 300 watts per circuit. The 8 and 10 gauge wire is mainly used to extend the distance from the transformer to your first fixture on that run.

Remember you never want to exceed over 80% of your landscape wire capacity.

Here are some examples based on the 80% maximum on wiring.
  • 77 watts max per run on 18 gauge wire
  • 106 watts max per run on 16 gauge wire
  • 154 watts max per run on 14 gauge wire
  • 192 watts max per run on 12 gauge wire
  • 288 watts max per run on 10 gauge wire
  • 384 watts max per run on 8 gauge wire

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