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The Ultimate Guide to Choosing Monorail Lighting in 2021

Looking for the best Monorail Lighting System for your project? We’ve put together our monorail component buying guide and simplified the process to help you choose and build your own solution.

Let’s get started. 

Best-Monorail-Lighting

Table of Contents

How to Choose Monorail Lighting

Monorail Systems are a modern adaptable more sophisticated contemporary version of track or cable lighting systems. A single hand bendable ‘rail’ comprised of 2 strips of conductive malleable metal available in various finishes are fused together in a plastic cover. The Monorail is suspended from the ceiling in straight or curved runs, with a variety of connectable 12V light head and pendant options available.

Wall Mount Monorail Systems are also an option to consider.

Monorail lighting can be purchased and installed right out of the box with a pre-selected kit or as a modular bespoke solution to tailor your choices. For a predetermined quick solution check out: The Best Monorail Lighting Kits

To build your own tailor made solution, use this step by step guide to build your own system from our selection of best selling Monorail components from quality manufacturers.

Calculate the Rail Length

Step 1: The length of rail you will need is the distance you want it to cover plus some extra to allow for curves and bends if you choose to include them. Measure the length of the space you want to provide lighting in, this can be between two chosen positions in a straight line or a combination of directions. The rail length you need will determine how many supports and rail connectors are required.

Monorail Satin Nickel

4ft Monorail Satin Nickel Clear Plastic Cover to be cut and shaped at installation by the installer. No special tools are required.

Monorail-Satin-Nickel
4ft Field Cuttable Hand Shaped Lengths

Monorail Antique Bronze

4ft Monorail Antique Bronze in Clear Plastic Cover to be cut and shaped at installation by the installer. No special tools are required.

$$ – Check Current Price

Monorail Chrome

4ft Monorail Chrome in Clear Plastic Cover to be cut and shaped at installation by the installer. No special tools are required.

$$ – Check Current Price

Monorail – 2ft & 8 ft Lengths

Other options of monorail lengths in various finishes are also available

$$ – Check Out Alternative Length Option Prices

Monorail Suspension Supports

Step 2: Choose the rail height you want to suspend the lighting from. The rail is suspended by flexible or rigid standoffs, cleverly named as they stand off of the ceiling or wall!

How many monorail standoff supports are required will depend on how many curves the rail has. Estimated a support at the end of each bend and at each end. Straight runs can be supported at the ends of a 4ft rail with medium to light heads/pendants. One of the supports may be the power feed – see below.

We recommend that the rail needs to remain quite high in the room so the light can spread and not become too intense and a long drop height for pendants will look great and become a real feature.

MonoRail Rigid Standoff

Length 48″ in a Satin Nickel finish and can be cut by the installer to your required length during installation.

The rigid standoff is recommended for curvy runs or runs requiring greater support for heavier Heads and Pendants, particularly heavy glass ones.

Monorail-Rigid-Standoff
Monorail Rigid Standoff can be cut to length during installation

MonoRail Short Rigid Standoff

Length 5.1″ available in a variety of finishes for a minimal hanging height from the ceiling. Shown in the bronze finish.

The rigid standoff is recommended for curvy runs or runs requiring greater support for heavier Heads and Pendants, particularly heavy glass ones.

Monorail-Short-Standoff-Bronze

MonoRail Rigid Standoff Options

Also available in combinations of other drop heights in bronze, chrome and satin nickel finishes.

$$ – Check Out Current Prices

MonoRail Adjustable Standoff

Length 12′ in a Satin Nickel finish. The drop height can be cut by the installer to your required length during installation.

The adjustable standoff’s cable virtually disappears for a clean and elegant look.

Monorail-Adjustable-Flexible-Standoff
Adjustable Monorail Standoff

The adjustable standoff in a Bronze Finish. $$ – Check Out Current Price

MonoRail Vault Standoff

Monorail for sloping ceilings can still suspend a rail with a vault standoff that will adjust the drop angle to 90 degrees whatever the roof pitch.

Monorail-Vault-Standoff
Monorail Standoff for sloping ceilings

Power Feed

Step 4: The monorail now requires a will have a 12V low voltage safe to touch power supply to run through it and a power feed gives it that supply and can be fed into the monorail in a variety of ingenious ways according to your requirements.

Low Profile Power Feed Canopy

The Monorail Low-Profile Power Feed Canopy allows for the closest-to-ceiling possible mounting of a Monorail run. Bronze, Satin nickel, black and chrome finishes available.

Monorail-single-power-feed
Round 4″ Monorail Power Feed

Centre Power Feed Canopy

Monorail Centre Power Feeds are used to bring power to a Monorail system when the transformer or canopy cannot be located directly above the run. Bronze, Satin nickel, black and chrome finishes available.

Monorail-centre-power-feed
Monorail Centre Power Feed Canopy

Vaulted Power Feed Adaptor

To install a Monorail system to a vaulted ceiling, add a power vault adapter to each power feed. Bronze, Satin nickel, black and chrome finishes available. Installs to the power feed (sold separately) and adjusts to any angle to position rail parallel to the floor. When using a dual-feed canopy or surface transformer order two.

Monorail-Vault-Power-Feed
Monorail Vaulted Power Feed

Power

Step 5: A transformer reduces the normal mains power voltage down to a safe to touch 12V extra low voltage that is fed into the monorail to power the lighting.

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The capacity of the transformer will determine the load from your chosen quantity of light fittings, ie how many you can put onto one system. These remote transformers will need to hidden from view near to the power feed that connects to the monorail.

150W Remote transformer: Check Current Price

300W Remote Transformer: Check Current Price

12V Cable Lighting Transformer

Monorail Light Heads

Step 6: Now it’s time to select the light sources beginning with the directional lighting. The heads are connected to the monorail as a visually appealing method to introduce task, ambient and accent lighting.

There is a wide range of Compatible Heads

Monorail Sprocket Head

Monorail-sprocket-head

Tellium Light Head

6″ drop aged brass head with a dedicated 8W LED source. Ideal for task and accent lighting.

Monorail-Tellium-Head

Monorail One Light Head

6″ drop satin nickel head with an MR16 lamp base for your own selection of LED lamp.

Monorail-one-light-head

Monorail Pendants

Step 7: Decorative pendants can be suspended over tables and kitchen islands from a monorail system to add a wonderful layer of accent lighting.

There is a very wide range of Compatible Pendants

Monorail Captra Long Slender Pendant

8W Dedicated LED glass pendant of excellent quality.

Monorail-Long-Slender-pendant

Mini Signal Black Pendant

8W Dark Grey and inside gold finish, a pendant of excellent quality.

Monorail-Mini-Signal-Pendant

Akova Aged Brass & Glass Pendant

7″ pendant of excellent quality.

Monorail-Akova-Pendant

LED Cable Light Systems

Step 8: With the system complete it’s now time to select the light sources:

MR16 LED Lamp

MR16 LED Lamps: for the heads and pendants that take your choice of lamp. An advantage of choosing lamps is the flexibility to swap over color temperatures, 2700K and 3000K are popular choices.

Dedicated LED Cable Light Head

Dedicated LED: Many heads and pendants will have an LED source of light built inside of them. It is not usually a changeable LED source but it will last a VERY long time! You do not need to purchase LED lamps for this type.

Dimming LED Monorial Lighting

Be aware that 12V Cable lighting was originally designed for higher wattage low voltage halogen lamps. LED will work but dimming can be problematic for MR16 LED lamps without some tweaks.

If you are choosing to dim your LED Cable Light System then be aware that an arrangement of low wattage LED lamps may not have a large enough load for the dimmer switch you are using to provide a smooth flicker free dim. Be prepared to replace some of the lamps to halogen to increase the load or find a compatible dimmer switch. This is a characteristic of all 12V transformers, not just this system.

For lots more on suspended lighting choices check out: The Best Track, Monorail, Freejack & Cable-Lighting

Andrew Orange , the owner of Orange Lighting qualified and worked as an interior designer in 1993 before specialising in lighting working on high profile projects based in London. Since starting Orange Lighting Ltd in 2003 he has been sharing his knowledge and unique teaching style mostly to his designer clients, offering practical real life advice born from running a busy consultancy and lighting supply business. Launching in 2020, his blog has evolved into Quick & Easy Lighting, curating some 25 years design experience into making the lighting choice and design process achievable and easy to understand for all.