Transformer, power supply, and driver. What is the distinction?

Most individuals are unaware of the differences between power supply, driver, and transformer. Additionally, different information sources on this problem do not all present the same point of view. Someone thinks that all power sources can be referred to as transformers, and that this is one single gadget.

Where is the truth, then? Let’s examine the differences between power supplies, transformers, and drivers, as well as the rationale behind their use in lighting designs.

All of these devices are employed as power sources in the lighting sector. They are a part of the electrical circuit that connects a light (or LED strip) to a home’s power source (220 V AC). Because not all lamps, light bulbs, or LED strips can be connected directly to a 220 V network, these devices are used. For various light sources to function properly, different input current characteristics are needed. Power supplies are used to change a domestic electrical network’s current into a current with the specifications we require.

The properties of the input current are the same for all power suppliers. But each of the aforementioned power supply types can always be clearly identified based on the characteristics of the current at the output.

Parameters used to differentiate between power sources

The type of electric current at the output is the primary factor used to differentiate between different power sources. The current can be changed from alternating current (abbreviated AC) to direct current (abbreviated DC).

Which of the two current parameters the power supply stabilizes at the output—current (current stabilization) or voltage—is the second crucial property of the power supply (voltage stabilization). 


A power source known as a transformer produces alternating current at a voltage lower than 220 volts. Transformers operating at 12 V are the most frequent in lighting engineering. However, additional voltages like 5 V, 24 V, 36 V, and others are also employed for some particular purposes.

Voltage input is AC plus 220V. AC output is combined with voltage stability and voltage below 220V. Transformers are often marked with two values: the maximum output power and the output voltage of alternating current (for instance, 12 V AC) (for example, 60 W).

Power Source

A power source that changes current from AC to DC is known as a power supply. At the output, it creates a stable voltage (the voltage value is less than 220 V). Depending on the consumers connected to it, alters the current strength within a specified range. 

Voltage input is AC plus 220V.

Constant current with voltage stabilization, voltage below 220 volts, and current that fluctuates depending on the power of connected consumers are the outputs. Normally, power supplies are marked with two values: maximum output power and DC output voltage (for instance, 12 V DC) (for example, 60 W).

Driven LEDs

A power source that changes current from AC to DC is known as an LED driver. An output of stabilized current strength is provided. Depending on the power of the consumers connected to it, it can alter the voltage within a specific range. Voltage input is AC plus 220V.

Voltage output fluctuates according to the power of the connected consumers and consists of continuous current plus current stabilization.

The output current (for example, 700 mA), the maximum output power (for example, 60 W), and the output voltage range are the three numbers that are typically listed on drivers (for example, 0-12 V).