The Malibu low voltage transformer has been one of the most well-known transformers in the market.
This brand has been around for several years, and they’ve made a name for themselves during this time.
Overall, any transformer made by this company has our seal of approval.
But, to make things easier, we’ve gathered three transformers from this brand.
We’ll go over the pros and cons, so you know what to expect from them.
By the time we’ve gone through the review section, you’ll find an informative section with all the things you should bear in mind before getting one.
- 1 What is a Low Voltage Transformer?
- 2 Benefits of a Low-Voltage Transformer
- 3 Malibu Low Voltage Transformer Troubleshooting
- 4 3 Best Low Voltage Transformers Reviews in 2021
- 5 What to Consider When Buying a Low Voltage Transformer
- 6 Conclusion
What is a Low Voltage Transformer?
All a low-voltage transformer does is convert your 120-volt power down to 12-volts or 15-volts.
But for this to work, the transformer must be plugged into your GFCI receptacle.
There’s also no rule about how deep you have to bury the wires since it’s a lot safer than a high-voltage transformer.
For example, handling high-voltage wires can be quite dangerous as there’s a lot of power going through them.
A simple mistake when dealing with them could put your life at risk.
Benefits of a Low-Voltage Transformer
Trying to switch to a low-voltage transformer, but don’t know if it’s worth the time and money you have to spend?
Well, here are several reasons why the low-voltage transformer is superior to other systems:
One attractive benefit to having a low-transformer at home is that it’s way more flexible.
For example, you can make changes on the fly if you have landscape lighting or plan to install one.
This is not possible with any other high-voltage transformer as you’d have to shut off the power before making changes.
Installing landscape lighting takes a lot of time. You have to figure out where you want to put the lights, bury the connections to hide them, and so on.
Installing landscape lighting through a low-voltage transformer is pretty straightforward.
Keep in mind that all the wires run through the transformer, and you can plug in many of them.
This feature is one reason why so many homeowners use a low-voltage transformer over any other method out there.
Another benefit to using a Malibu outdoor low voltage transformer is that it is not as harmful to the ecosystem as high-voltage transformers.
Since it does not need that much power to run, it has a less negative impact on the environment in the long run.
Better Value For Money
If you’ve ever run landscape lighting, you know how expensive it can get.
Despite all the benefits you get from having so many lights outside of your house, the amount of money you have to spend to keep it running might not be so attractive to many homeowners.
Low-voltage transformers are more efficient when it comes to saving money.
As explained earlier, this system does not need that much energy to run efficiently, saving you a lot of money at the end of the month.
One of the biggest reasons low-voltage transformers are growing in popularity is that they are much safer than traditional options.
High voltage transformers are incredibly dangerous if you’re too close to them.
Physical contact can result in severe injuries and even death if you’re not careful enough.
This is not a friendly transformer to have at home. Kids and pets can run over it anytime. So be careful.
On the other hand, low-voltage transformers are way safer than conventional methods.
For example, if your dog chewed on the wires, chances are it will barely feel anything.
Ease Of Use
Low-voltage transformers offer plenty of cool features, one of them being the automatic timer.
This is a game-changing feature as it automates everything. You don’t need to turn them on and off manually.
Furthermore, most low-voltage transformers turn on at night, and they’ll automatically turn off the moment they pick up any light.
Malibu Low Voltage Transformer Troubleshooting
Can’t seem to figure out why your Malibu low voltage transformer is not working anymore? Down below you’ll find some of the most common reasons why the transformer might have failed:
Malibu low voltage transformers can fail at any time, and when that happens, it can be difficult to track down the problem.
One of the biggest issues we’ve seen among consumers is that the transformer does not work as well after a while.
But why is it? Well, there are plenty of reasons why the transformer might have failed. One of them could be related to the battery.
When the battery fails, the transformer will perform poorly. To find out if the battery is still in great shape, follow these steps:
- Take the six screws out of the back, and then crack it open. Now you should see a couple of wires lying around.
- Some of these wires should be connected to the circuit board. On the circuit board, there’s a little battery. When this battery goes bad, the circuit board will not operate correctly, which translates to poor performance.
- So, to get around that, replace the battery.
Sensor Not Picking Up Light
If you recently got a Malibu low voltage transformer and noticed that lights are not turning on as soon as the sun goes down, then chances are the photocell sensor is being covered.
When this little motion sensor is being covered by the cap, it has no way of knowing that it’s dark outside. To fix this issue, remove the photocell cover on the front side.
If that’s not the case, consider replacing the photocell. This is a simple fix, and you can find a new one for roughly $8.
Output Is Not 12 Volts
Another complaint we’ve seen from time to time is that the output is not 12 volts.
If the input voltage you’re using is 120 volts, you’d be surprised to find out that you’re actually not getting 120 volts at home.
In fact, you could measure it right now, and chances are you won’t get 120 volts. And if you got 120 volts, it varies throughout the day.
The reason this happens is that as the load goes up during the day, the load on the electrical system significantly increases. As a result, the voltage goes down.
This occurs throughout the country, so there’s no reason to worry about it. Just know that’s how the electrical system works.
Lights Stopped Working
If the outlet is being exposed, chances are water came down, and it caused the transformer to stop working. To fix this problem, follow these steps:
- Remove the cover from the transformer. Next up, turn the lights on. If the lights don’t come on, that means that there’s no electricity to the unit.
- Now push the breaker all the way up. The lights should now be working.
To prevent that from happening ever again, we suggest covering the outlet. Otherwise, the lights will stop working when it is raining outside.
3 Best Low Voltage Transformers Reviews in 2021
After doing intensive research, we finally came across three low voltage transformers that exceeded our expectations.
That being said, here are our three favorite transformers:
01. Malibu Low Voltage Transformer
- Programmable timer
- Short circuit protection
- Compact design
This Malibu low voltage landscape transformer has every single feature you will ever need. Installing it barely takes any time and is corrosion-resistant.
Right out of the box, the model has several settings, all of which allow you to set up a timer in one way or another.
For example, you can set it to turn off after a certain period.
Furthermore, the transformer also comes with a photocell, meaning it’ll turn on when the sun goes down, and it’ll turn off as soon as the sun comes back.
The design speaks for itself. It looks pretty modern. It is pretty small and barely takes up any space.
If you want a low-profile transformer, give it a try. It won’t let you down.
In addition to that, we love just how durable it is. It is pretty snug, meaning the little box won’t open randomly.
Moreover, dust and moisture should not be a problem since they won’t get inside as quickly.
We also really like how little input it needs from the user.
For example, if you ever run a short, the built-in protection will automatically disconnect the power supply, meaning your lights won’t overload from the excessive amount of current.
What We Liked
- Easy to set up
- Stylish design
- Has a photocell sensor
- Super durable
What We Didn’t Like
- Does not work without a GFCI circuit
02. Malibu 45-Watt Low Voltage Transformer
- Turns on and off at predetermined times
- Heavy-duty plastic
- Built-in digital reading
For a high-performing low voltage transformer, give our second choice from Malibu a try.
It is easy to set up, shuts off automatically, and does not take up much space.
The unit needs little to no user input. It shuts off after a specific time, and it turns on when there’s no light around.
This feature is desired by many consumers as it makes everything easier.
On top of that, you can set a clock to turn the transformer on and off at times predetermined by the settings.
This brand has also been nice enough to add a digital reading, meaning you’ll be able to see the hour in real-time.
Furthermore, consumers have expressed how easy the installation process is.
The unit can be mounted on the wall by drilling a hole. And they also include an installation guide in case you get lost somewhere along the process.
For water sustainability, this model deserves some credit. It is made of plastic, which is pretty much the go-to material for waterproof transformers.
It keeps the unit safe during rainy days or any other extreme weather conditions.
Just like the previous model we covered, this one comes with a reset button, which comes in handy when running a short.
What We Liked
- User-friendly transformer
- Durable and compact design
- Stable voltage
- Easy to install
What We Didn’t Like
- Gets too hot from time to time
03. Malibu 120V To 12V Low Voltage Converter
- Built-in photocell sensor
- Snug door panel
- Circuit protection
Finally, this Malibu low voltage transformer with timer puts together all the features you need from a low voltage transformer.
By doing so, they’ve managed to build one of the most efficient transformers in the market.
One of the main features that has positioned this product among the best transformers is that it offers an excellent and reliable system that keeps moisture away.
This way, it has an easier time dealing with humidity over time.
Furthermore, the converter automatically disconnects the power supply when it notices power overload.
So, there’s no need to worry about power damage.
This model is also equipped with an automatic timer, which you can use to set when the lights should turn off or on.
You can adjust them to turn on or off after 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours, all the way up to 10 hours.
Also, as soon as the sun disappears, the transformer will turn on. When it picks up any light nearby, it’ll automatically turn off.
In addition to that, the unit can withstand exposure to weather, meaning it can handle water without damage, making it an ideal choice for those who need a weatherproof transformer.
Finally, this converter is user-friendly. Many consumers have reported how little time it takes to get used to the unit.
Taking a peek at it should be more than enough to get the basics down.
What We Liked
- Durable door panel
- Holds pretty well to moisture
- Clean and stylish design
- Overload protection
What We Didn’t Like
- The timer can be hard to set up
What to Consider When Buying a Low Voltage Transformer
Overheating and corrosion are common problems among low voltage transformers.
A well-made Malibu low voltage transformer should last for well over 15 years.
To choose a high-quality, low voltage converter, consider the following features:
An excessive amount of current can do some nasty stuff to your transformer.
Worst-case scenario, it could catch on fire. And if there’s nobody around, things could quickly get out of control.
A great and simple way to get around is by getting a low voltage transformer with circuit protection.
This system will prevent dangerous current following through the unit. So, watch out for that next time.
Dusk And Dawn
There are plenty of low voltage transformers out there. They come in different colors, sizes and have various features.
One feature you want your transformer to have is the ability to turn on and off when the sun goes down.
This is a fantastic feature to have as you don’t have to wake up early in the morning to turn off the lights’ power.
The built-in photocell will take care of the rest as you sleep. And during the night, it’ll turn on all your lights.
This feature goes in hand with the previous one. When getting a low voltage transformer, make sure it has an automatic timer.
The timer has a simple job: to program the transformer to shut off and turn on at certain times.
Most modern low voltage transformers have this feature.
But keep this in mind: modern transformers will only let you set a timer for a couple of hours.
Meaning there’s no much flexibility if you want it to turn off after a couple of minutes.
Another feature that should be taken into account before getting a transformer is a converter that is made of plastic.
Plastic is a solid material for transformers as it keeps the water out and holds up pretty well to unexpected weather.
In fact, the previous transformers we went through are all made of heavy-duty plastic.
Therefore, consider a converter made of durable plastic to get that extra layer of protection this material offers.
Corrosion can destroy your transformer. As time goes by, it’ll get worse and worse to the point it’s no longer functional.
To get around this, make sure your transformer is corrosion-resistant.
Don’t forget that most converters will be exposed to the weather in one way or another.
Most transformers from Malibu are corrosion-resistant, so you should be fine for the most part.
Did you find the Malibu low voltage transformer you were looking for? Hopefully, this review article pointed you in the right direction.
As we said before, we’re pretty picky about our choices. Before settling for one, we carefully inspect it.
And after going through several of them, those three stood out the most.
They prevent overload, are easy to set up, stable, and corrosion-resistant.
Taking all those features into account, we firmly believe you cannot go wrong with any of them.
Whichever one you choose will help you get the results you want.