Guide to low-voltage lighting

March 5, 2021

One of the perks of smart lighting is how easy it is to use — whether you control your lights using the Hue app, your voice, motion sensors, or smart switches. But it’s also incredibly easy to set up (yes, even the outdoor lights!) thanks to the Low-volt collection of outdoor smart lights.

What is low-voltage lighting?

Low-volt is a collection of low-voltage outdoor lighting offered by Philips Hue. Instead of being wired directly into your home’s electricity (also called line-voltage lighting) Low-volt lights simply plug into any standard wall socket. Line voltage in North America is 120 V and 230 V in most other parts of the world. Low-voltage lighting uses a transformer to reduce that voltage.

The transformer in the Philips Hue Low-volt collection is in the Philips Hue power supply unit (PSU), which comes in two variants: 100 W and 40 W.

Outdoor space with plants, trees, and a brick wall lit up in white-colored smart light.

How to install low-voltage lighting

When setting up Low-volt outdoor lighting, you’ll only need three things to get started:

  • Power supply unit (PSU)
  • Low-volt light fixture
  • Cables

Note: All Low-volt light fixtures come with the necessary cables. All base units  include both a PSU and the necessary cables. Check the packaging to make sure you have everything you need to get started.

  1. Place the light fixture where you'd like, ensuring it’s within 50 feet of the closest Philips Hue light in your house or the Hue Bridge.
    (Wondering why? Philips Hue smart lights form a mesh network where each light extends the Zigbee signal. If your light is too far from the nearest light or your Hue Bridge, it won’t be able to communicate with your system. )
  2. Connect the extension cable between the light fixture and the PSU. If your light is located close enough to the PSU, this may not be necessary.
  3. Plug the PSU into an outdoor socket.
  4. Add the light to your system in the Hue app.
This is a very simple outdoor smart light setup to start with — but the Low-volt system means that extending and expanding is as easy as plugging it in.
Hands plugging in Philips Hue outdoor lights to a t-connector to extend their lighting setup.

Choosing the right PSU for your Low-volt setup

When adding new low-voltage lights to your existing setup, keep in mind that one PSU can only power so many lights. To figure out how many lights you can use on a single PSU, simply add up the wattage of the light fixtures:

Low-volt setup with 40 W PSU

Here is an example of a Low-volt setup using a 40 W PSU and two types of lights: Lily spotlights and Calla pedestal lights. Both Lily spotlights and Calla pedestals are 8 W each, resulting in this setup: 

Lily (8 x 3) + Calla (8 x 2) = 40 W

Diagram of a Philips Hue outdoor lighting setup connected to a 40-watt power supply unit.

Low-volt setup with 95 W PSU

Here is an example of a Low-volt setup using a 100 W PSU and three types of lights: Lily spotlights, Calla pedestal lights, and an 80-inch outdoor lightstrip. Both Lily spotlights and Calla pedestals are 8 W each, while the 80-inch outdoor lightstrip is 19 W.  

Calla pedestals (8 x 6) + 1 outdoor lightstrip (19 x 1) + Lily spotlight (8 x 3) = 91 W

Diagram of a Philips Hue outdoor lighting setup connected to a 100-watt power supply unit.