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How to Select the Ideal Transformer for Your Company

How to Select the Ideal Transformer for Your Company

Many businesses only function efficiently because of transformers. This critical equipment performs a fundamental function in many industries, transferring power and controlling voltages to ensure safe and productive workflows. If your business relies on electricity, you know how damaging a blown transformer can be to your operations.

Choosing a transformer can be tricky, but with the right guidance, you can achieve your goals and more. Knowing what to look for in a transformer — and the manufacturer — is the first step to upgrading your operations and meeting your energy distribution goals.

Why Is Transformer Selection Important for Businesses?

Transformers are a fundamental component in electrical distribution for many commercial buildings, transferring electricity across multiple circuits and powering equipment for many commercial applications. In manufacturing alone, a single hour of downtime can cost up to $5 million, and a reliable energy source is the most basic requirement.

Manufacturing, industrial and other commercial operations rely on a balance of efficiency and cost savings to remain profitable. The correct transformer is instrumental in achieving these objectives. With many transformers on the market, saving money on the initial purchase may seem logical. In reality, a high-quality, reliable transformer suited to the job saves you money in the long term.

How to Choose the Right Transformer for Your Business

The right transformer is crucial for energy efficiency, performance and safety. The following questions and considerations will help you narrow your options:

Transformer Capacity

Capacity, or the maximum power the transformer must provide, is the first consideration when selecting a transformer. The wrong capacity can result in overloading or getting a transformer too big for your requirements and the associated wasted energy. You can calculate the capacity your operation requires based on your load profile and energy demands. Consider your business growth and select a transformer that can handle any additional loads that you may anticipate adding in the future.

Transformer Size

Choosing the right transformer size is one of the most critical elements of transformer selection. Sizing is straightforward, requiring a simple formula to calculate the kilovolt-amperes (kVA) rating. kVA ratings are whole numbers, and standard transformer sizes range from 3 kVA to 1,000 kVA. Your calculations may not always give you the exact transformer size you need. Consulting a transformer sizing chart or a transformer provider can provide some clarity and save you time on calculations.

Voltage Levels

As transformers transfer energy from high-voltage primary sources to lower-voltage secondary sources, determining the appropriate voltage level is essential. Your chosen voltage levels should be compatible with your existing energy distribution system. Calculate your voltage conversion ratio carefully if converting from high- to low-voltage lines or vice versa.


Your transformer’s rated frequency must match the system frequency. In the United States, line frequency is typically 60 hertz (Hz), though it’s 50 Hz in other parts of the world.


Where will you put your transformer? Whether you plan to install it on-site, at a remote location, indoors or outdoors makes a difference to the model you choose. Some models are purpose-built to handle moisture and humidity, while others boast extra protection against the corrosion levels near the ocean.

Indoor transformers must fit in your space. No matter how small, you can order custom models that fit precisely in your available space. You’ll also want to ensure adequate space for installation to avoid issues like receiving equipment that doesn’t fit through the door.

The type of transformer you need depends on its use.

Operational Requirements

The type of transformer you need depends on its use. Some only perform small tasks, like providing basic power distribution in remote locations. Others must perform complex power transformations for large facilities.

Compliance and Regulatory Standards

Any transformer you select must maintain industry and national compliance to ensure reliability, safety and durability. If you work with a trusted manufacturer, they will ensure their models meet industry standards, such as those set by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).


Energy efficiency should remain a consideration when choosing a transformer. The more efficient your use of energy resources, the better you can manage your operating costs. Look for low energy losses and high-efficiency classes to save money and reduce environmental impact.

Transformer Type: Dry Type vs. Padmount Transformers

Manufacturers have designed various transformer types to suit different industries and applications. Two common examples are dry type and padmount transformers, each with pros and cons, depending on your unique needs. Some of the main differences between the two include:

  • Dry type transformers: These innovative transformers offer advanced performance and efficiency. They use circulating air instead of liquid to protect the components from overheating. Dry type transformers are recommended for indoor use, with quiet operation and clean ambient air. They are customizable, and when manufactured with quality components, they have a long useful life and improved reliability for commercial use.
  • Padmount transformers: These tamper-proof transformers are installed on a concrete pad. They have lockable front doors, and businesses often choose this option to connect to underground power lines. They don’t require a fenced-in enclosure for safety and security and work best for public spaces and outdoor conditions. Your manufacturer can also customize this transformer type to suit your needs.

How to Select a Transformer Manufacturer

Finding the transformer best suited to your needs is only one part of the process.

Finding the transformer best suited to your needs is only one part of the process. The people who create the equipment determine its quality. When investing in a transformer, you must be confident you’re working with a manufacturer you trust to provide reliable, high-quality options. The following tips and tricks can help you assess transformer manufacturers:

  • Knowledge and experience: Your team must be able to help you select a transformer, support you through its operation and guide you through any issues that arise.
  • Product range and production capacity: Manufacturers must be able to manufacture the quantities they need to meet your current and future demands. They should also have a range of standard and customizable products to suit your industry and application.
  • Skills and reputation: Reading reviews from other customers is one of the best ways to get to know your potential manufacturer. Check online and reach out to past and current clients to ensure the company has a stable reputation.
  • Service and after-sale support: Top manufacturers can have units leave the facility within 24-48 hours, depending on the necessary modifications. If you encounter a problem with your transformer, they should put you in touch with an experienced engineer to keep your business operational. Ask if your manufacturer has alternatives for you during power outages and if they can customize your product to meet your requirements.

Find the Best Transformer for Your Business With ELSCO Transformers

Transformer selection is critical to boosting uptime, efficiency and safety for businesses. You need a trustworthy manufacturer to engineer, repair and build transformers to suit your needs.

Since 1988, ELSCO Transformers has manufactured and stocked high-quality transformers for industries like manufacturing, health care, government and more. To date, we’ve experienced zero product failures on our dry type transformers.

Our models have an expected useful life of more than 30 years, making us the reliable choice for all your transformer requirements. Whether you’re making a purchase or already own one of our products, our experienced transformer engineers are there to guide you through any questions or concerns. Request a quote today to find the right transformer for your organization.