Can LED Lights be on Dimmers
  • Save

Can LED Lights be on Dimmers? YES…But HOW? Let’s See!

Can LED Lights be on Dimmers? The idea of LED transformation is great but will these LED lights work on dimmer switches? To answer this question, we would say; “Yes, it is possible”. But you must be careful about the compatibility of LED with your dimmer. In fact, you need a proper guide on this topic.

In the present world, LEDs lights seem to be the most durable and economical lighting option so far. These lights consume much less wattage as compared to traditional incandescent bulbs but give the same brightness. You might be thinking of replacing all your lights with LEDs by keeping the same traditional fixture. 

That’s why we have discussed all the points in detail below. This article will help you in choosing the right LED and dimmer combination. You will learn the compatibility between the two, pros and cons of using dimmers and the difference between dimmable and non-dimmable LEDs.

Like other light sources, LED lights can be dimmed but of course, NOT ALL LEDs. Dimmer switches connected with right LEDs add a value to your place. By using a dimmer, you can adjust the ambiance of light in your room according to your choice. You can either study in full brightness or dine in faint luminosity.

How Dimmer Switches Work with LEDs?

Dimmer switches control the current passing through the LED lights. This switch is basically a potentiometer that controls the brightness of your LEDs, Halogen, Incandescent or CFL lights.

Dimmer switches come for all kinds of lights but they are usually not interchangeable. So, it’s important to check the compatibility of your light source with a dimmer before making a purchase. Let’s distinguish dimmable LEDs from non-dimmable first.

Dimmable LEDs; How Do they Work?

There are two types of LEDs available in the market today i.e. dimmable and non-dimmable. Dimmable LEDs are modern, more common and come with various options. Whereas, non-dimmable LEDs are the older versions lacking the option of luminous adjustment. 

  • Dimmable LEDs have the ability to coincide the mode of your space with yours
  • These LED lights have special circuits installed in them
  • Their brightness levels are controlled by dimmers. But the dimmer must need to be compatible with the LED

You can check the type of LED and compatibility by carefully reading the packaging or by visiting the manufacturing site of the purchased LED bulb. One must choose the right LEDs to avoid any future bulb losses or fixture costs.

One can also use dimmable LEDs safely in non-dimmable circuits, though he won’t be able to adjust them. They will work in exactly the same way as non-dimmable LEDs do. They will always give maximum brightness.

Can Non-Dimmable LEDs be on Dimmers?

Non-dimmable LEDs can’t be on dimmers. If you try this combination, it will either damage the circuit or your bulb. These LEDs can only be fully powered ON or OFF, there is no in-between. See the package, if the LED is not marked dimmable, then it must be non-dimmable.

However, nothing will happen to your non-dimmable LED if you always keep your dimmer on 100% and never try to dim the light. In this case, it will work in the very same way as it works in a non-dimmable circuit. 

Types of Dimmers

Not every type of bulb can work on a single dimmer. Dimmers of different types come in the market with different options. Old dimmers that may be installed in your home use two wires and a variable resistor to control the amount of current flowing through the circuit. They may sometimes overheat and cause safety issues.

Therefore, the modern manufacturers have made more economical and safer dimmers which use 3 wires instead of 2. The third wire is to ensure the safety of the circuit. Modern dimmers also constitute a variety called “universal dimmers”, which can work efficiently with all kinds of light sources.

Let’s discuss two common types of dimmers:

1-PWM Dimmers:

Pulse width modulation dimmers work by controlling the time for ON and OFF of signals. For instance, if you dim the light intensity to 50%, then the dimmer will keep LED On during half of the time and off for the next half. But do you notice this transition?

The answer is PWM dimmers work so fast that the human eye can’t even notice this blinking. Its good overall but not for videography. Because a high quality camera will not let go this flickering of a light bulb unnoticed. The good thing is PWM dimmers don’t affect the color temperature of LED lights.

2-CCR Dimmers:

Constant current reduction dimmers control the levels of brightness by controlling the amount of current flowing through the light source. For instance, if you dim the light to 40%, then the LED will receive only 40% of the rated current.

These dimmers are great for places where high motion activity is performed as they don’t flicker the light. Operating heavy machinery or precise workings usually require such dimming options. However, changing the current levels may sometimes cause non-linear change in output.

LED Bulb and Dimmer Compatibility

After buying dimmable LED lights, the next step is to check whether you have a compatible dimmer or not. But here’s a problem! You can’t judge dimmers by the way they look. For this purpose you need to hire a technician or contact the manufacturer.

If you are looking for the compatibility of household dimmers, then must learn about the two most common types:

Leading Edge Dimmers:

They are the traditional and common dimmers installed in most of the homes. They work with incandescent bulbs and are unfit for LED lights. The reason lies in the wattage differences i.e. LEDs work on much less wattage as compared to incandescent lights. 

Trailing Edge Dimmers:

They are newer and less common types. They are specifically designed to work with LED lights. They work on a much lower wattage range as compared to the former ones.

Why Choose LED Dimmers?

So far we have discussed all about the types of dimmers and LEDs. But the person who is making a significant change in his home has a right to know the benefits of the change. 

Following are some benefits of using LED lights with dimmers:


LED lights are already known for their energy-efficient and budget friendly nature. LED dimmers further reduce the costs by reducing the consumption of energy. You can install LED dimmers in all parts of your home to make maximum savings possible.


Dimmers increase the lifespan of your LEDs. When you reduce the lighting wattage, there is less chance of damage to the bulb. By lowering the time for maximum activity, you are increasing the lifespan of your LED by 3 to 4 years. Pretty good! Right? 

3-Light Flexibility:

The greatest benefit of LED dimmers is that they add ambiance to your place. Now, you don’t need to buy various lighting options to illuminate your room according to your mood. You can set your dimmer either to give a bright luminous workplace effect to your room or create a faint cooler lighting effect to have some peace.

Is it Possible to Dim LEDs without Dimmers?

You might be thinking about this question quite very long but the idea always seemed absurd to you, right? But the thing is modern technology has even made it possible to dim LEDs without using dimmer switches. Though these alternatives are not that much efficient, they are still an option.

The most common of these options is Philips SceneSwitch. It gives different light options by just flipping the very same switch used to turn it “ON” or “OFF”. No need for external dimmers! Another option could be using smart bulbs. You can dim these by just using a phone application, but they are very expensive.

Incandescent Dimmers with LED Lights

Take Home Message

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Ut elit tellus, luctus nec ullamcorper mattis, pulvinar dapibus leo.

Incandescent Dimmers with LED Lights

The traditional phase-control dimmers found everywhere were originally made for incandescent lights. They may work on LEDs as well by making some changes. But not all phase-control dimmers are compatible with LED lights. 

Just like wattages, incandescent bulbs have higher color temperatures as compared to LEDs. They also produce more heat and consume more energy. Incandescent dimmers are designed for these characteristics, hence they are not really compatible for your LEDs.

If you go for the combination, you may counter following problem:

  • Irritable buzzing noise
  • Sudden changes in brightness of light
  • Flickering of light
  • Not proper switch ONs and OFFs
  • No significant changes in luminosity 
  • Reduced durability of LEDs 
  • Shorter lifespan of dimers
  • Safety hazards

Take Home Message

It is high time to swap all the traditional lights in your home with modern and more efficient LEDs. But don’t forget to see if they are dimmable or not. LEDs work really well on dimmers. All you need to check is LED-dimmer compatibility. 

Finding the right LED light and installing the LED dimmers will save you a lot of money in the long run. You will also be saving many due to their longevity i.e. you won’t need to change your lights again and again. Moreover, the dimmers will make your place worth living by adding ambience to it.

Make a right change to your home now and let us know:

  • How much do you enjoy light flexibility?

Which dimmers work best for your LEDs?

Related Post

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *