What is an LED Driver?


It’s the future now and LED Lights have taken over.  A common question we get is about LEDs and involve the driver.   What are they?  Why do you need them?  How do they work?   Your LED might be the best but it won’t stay that way if you don’t have a good LED driver.  See our How LEDs work section for more about general LEDs.

What is a LED driver?

LED driver is a power regulator.  Technically it is a circuit which is responsible for regulating and supplying the ideal current to the LED. The LED driver provides power and regulates the variable needs of LEDs by providing constant amount of power as the properties of it change with temperature. LED drivers rectify higher voltage alternating current to low voltage.

If you have a good LED and a bad operating LED driver your high bay LED Lights won’t be functional for long.   Most LED failures are not from the LED, but from the driver.   Usually the circuits burn out and fail.  

Ballasts vs LED driver

Ballasts and drivers are both the power regulator for lights, but they work in different ways.  Both provide a small buffer between the light and the current source making it less vulnerable to electricity overload by regulating the voltage between them. Although both of the components serve the same purpose, there’s a difference. The ballasts are a traditional component used in Metal halide bulbs and Compact florescent(CFL) and typically have to regulate much more power.   They also used older technologies such as magnets to achieve results, although the newer ones were electronic ballasts.  

LED Drivers typically have to supply less power to LEDs, due to their efficient nature, but they also have to be more precise.   LED Lighting is designed with high precision and require the matching voltage to work effectively.  The modern technology used in the LED driver is circuit board based and more akin to a computer than an electrical regulator. 


Dimmable LED Drivers

The other major distinctive feature is that LED Drivers can include a LED dimming option.  Dimmable drivers can be done in a variety of ways.  For small household bulbs, the amount of current flowing through an LED device determines the light output.  Their level of brightness is adjusted simply by controlling the current passing through the stacked layers of semiconductor material mounted on a substrate. For higher wattage LED Lights such as LED High Bay, a 0-10Volt or PMW is used to control the light.  In either scenario, a good LED driver ensures that the LED is protected.



The wiring of any circuit is very important when it comes to performance, security and saving electricity consumption.   In large fixtures like LED street lights the 110v or 220v is sent straight to the LED driver using standard 3 wire connection.   The LED then adjusts that to the correct voltage of each OED The wiring of LED driver makes it possible to save up to 70% electricity in comparison to the traditional fluorescent bulb. The wiring of the driver makes it more secure and It gives best results even at extreme temperatures.

Driverless LEDs

Driverless AC LED light motors have now turned into important new weapons in the lighting business.   Read our article ion Driverless LEDs to learn how they are becoming more common, but also riskier and failure prone. 



LED drivers are critical to the performance of your light fixture.   LEDLightExpert.com uses only high quality LED drivers from such brand names as Meanwell or Invetronics.   This is how we can put a 5 year warranty on all high lumen LED lights, because we know you will not have issues.