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How To Dim A LED Light

July 25th, 2014 | 1 min. read

By Marsha Cook

LED is the most efficient type of light bulb on the market. A 6 watt LED is now similar to a 60 watt incandescent with 13 times the life, but without the heat output of the incandescent.

That’s actually a small problem. Older dimmers “read” wattage rather than lumen output. As such, most dimmers cannot dim a low wattage bulb.

Traditional Kitchen by Tempe Lighting Inspired LED

LED’s contain electronic components that regulate voltage and output so that the LEDS illuminate correctly. Sometimes these components do not “communicate” well with the electronic components in the dimmers.

Confused? Don’t be. We will show you a few LED compatible dimmers.

Electronic vs. Magnetic Dimmers

The ability to dim an LED is easy as long as you have the correct components. Many of the LED fixtures require an “electronic low voltage dimmer”. This is because the electronic devices used in the LED's will not work correctly if you use a “regular” incandescent dimmer. Several manufactures offer specially designed electronic dimmers. Luton, Leviton and Legrand all offer dimmers that will do this. These dimmers do cost a bit more than conventional dimmers, usually between $70 to $200.

Electronic Dimmers

The Lutron Diva Series DVELV300P below is a style of dimmer that has been around for a while and works nicely with existing decora style dimmers and switches. Also is shown a Leviton VIzia Dimmer, $204.


Magnetic Dimmers

Some also use “Magnetic” low voltage dimmers. Magnetic dimmers are usually found in recessed and LED tape (see diagrams below for images). The prices are usually a bit less than the electronic counterparts but unfortunately they are not interchangeable.


Universal Dimmers

Legrand offers the best solution. They have a true Universal dimmer, which can dim both. This eliminates any guesswork. This is useful when you want all of your devices to match around the house and have a multitude of lighting types. Legrand offers several of their series of dimmers with this ability.

Traditional Powder Room

Below is the Softap true universal dimmer ADTP703TUW4. This will dim practically everything and is about $50.


This is the Touch series true universal dimmer ADTH700MMTUM2. This will still dim practically everything and is about $80- $90.


Key Takeaway

Your older dimmers probably will not work on newer, LED lights. You have to buy a dimmer corresponding to your transformer or a universal product.

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Marsha Cook

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