Low voltage pucks vs standard voltage pots - input please

ontariomomApril 13, 2013

Please help me decide when it is best to use low voltage lighting instead of standard voltage. For example we want to have two sconces on either side of our vanity mirror and read in a book to augment that lighting with a low voltage down light positioned on the back of the vanity so it shines on back of sink (not over our heads). However, I wondered how that was better than a small 3 inch pot in the same position. Does anyone know the pros and cons of a small spot pot vs a low voltage puck light?

Thanks for your help.

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If you are considering 2" or 3" pot lights, they most likely will be low voltage. The most common approach will have each light wired to 120V AC. Each light will have its own power supply to power a small bulb (at either 12 or 24V DC)

1. very small aperture which in some cases is the overriding consideration.
2. easy to install compared to 4" cans since the entire unit is supported by the ceiling board (drywall).

1. Replacement costs can be significantly higher (as much as a new install) since there is a power supply embedded in the can which does fail.

If you already have 2 sconces planned, you could utilize high output light sources (eg - 26W CFL) and save the hassle of having additional pot lights.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2013 at 5:35PM
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Hi davidtay,

Thank you very much for your informative response. I realize we could skip the light on the back of the vanity and beef up the side sconces. However, I really want the light from three sides (top, and left and right). After reading your comments, I think we will do the low voltage overhead light with a small aperture and accept it will need replacing sooner. The remaining question I have is should I do a low voltage pot light or a low voltage puck light? Any thoughts on this? TIA!


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 9:47AM
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Pot lights.

If you use pucks, the wiring has to be exposed since it was never intended for "in-wall" applications.

The 2" pot lights will be similar to

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:17AM
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Davidtay, thank you for your answer (I have been given misinformation from a lighting salesperson). Low voltage pot it will be. I will look into the brand you linked. So, pucks are only for cabinets then?


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 10:22AM
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Pucks are not usually used for general lighting as the output levels are not sufficient. The wiring also has to be obscured. If you want a well finished setup, you might want to consider alternatives.

2" or 3" cans are typically used for accent lighting. There are other brands.

    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 2:13PM
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Thanks David. Do you still see using puck lights to light glass shelves for a trophy shelf or inside a valance for window seats (valances will be made of wood)? We had talked to the electricians of using puck lights in these applications. Maybe with the window seats we should switch to pot lights and not pucks, but still keep them low voltage. What do you think about using puck lights here?

Thanks for sharing your expertise.


    Bookmark   April 14, 2013 at 2:28PM
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Glass shelves - yes.

Puck lights are sometimes installed as DIY un-planned lighting sources as they are affordable.

Personally, I would prefer using another form of lighting other than pucks if it were my home. It would also cost dramatically more than stringing up a bunch of puck lights.

What did your electricians recommend? After all, they will be installing the lights.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 12:24AM
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Thanks for your input. I will ask the electrician if we can sub in small, low voltage pots for the puck lights in the window seat valance. Good to know puck lights are not frequently used. I assumed with the larger, deeper housing of pots, pucks would still be used in wood shelves. In the case of the window seats, I believe the valance might have enough depth to it that we may be able to fit in small pots. If we can't fit in small pots due to depth issues in the valance, is there another source of light you would suggest?



    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 6:51AM
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Light bars - t5 or led such as either the eW profile or max lite ucl. Or something more powerful like the mx bars used for cove lighting. Led rope light could be used too.

It really depends on your setup, style and budget.

Puck lights are used quite a bit in various settings, though a number of DIY installs may not look well finished.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 12:16PM
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Davidtay, thank you very much for your information! I will do some more research with your leads. I appreciate your help!


    Bookmark   April 15, 2013 at 8:11PM
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