Many retrofit LED lamps are sold in two varieties - dimmable and non-dimmable. You will need to choose the right type for your fixture when you buy. There are more dimmable LED lamps in the market right now and you have the variety of options to choose when it comes to dimmer controls. Each bulb and brands may vary in this area, therefore, careful consideration from the manual is recommended to know further about the selected lamp.

Most dimmers, which were likely designed to work with incandescent, work by cutting off the amount of electricity sent to the bulb. The less electricity was drawn, the dimmer the light. But with your newly acquired knowledge of LED lingo, you know that there is no direct correlation between LED brightness and energy drawn.

If you'd like your LED to be dimmable, you need to do one of two things: find LED bulbs compatible with traditional dimmers, or replace your current dimming switch with an LED compatible dimmer. When shopping for LEDs, it helps to know what kind of dimming switch you have, but if you don't know, simply search for LED bulbs compatible with standard incandescent dimmers. To make things easier for you.

LED currently have a lower dimming range than a filament lamp – LEDs currently dim down to about 10% of the total light output whereas filaments may go down to 1-2%. Low-voltage transformers as used with MR16 12V spotlights also add to the complexity

Some of the issues that may occur when a dimmer is incompatible with an LED lamp are:

  • Flickering - Lamps will flicker (can also occur if a non-dimmable lamp is used)
  • Drop-out - No light output at the end of the scale
  • Dead travel - When the dimmer is adjusted there is no matching change in light output (light may not dim to acceptable level)
  • Not smooth - Light output may not go from dim to bright linearly
  • Multiple lamps - issues may become apparent when multiple lamps are added
  • Damage or failure - LED driver, circuit or LED is damaged or fails
  • Load below minimum - The power load of the LED lamp is below the minimum required by the dimmer
  • Mixed models- Different models of LED will likely have different drivers - since drivers behave differently this could result in dimming issues

What can I do about dimming LED bulbs?

Ideally, upgrade your dimming circuit with good quality dimmers designed for LED - easy to do for new LED installations. This is a good investment for the lifespan of your LED lamp. Make sure you purchase the correct dimmable or non-dimmable LED for your type of circuit

You should consider buying the same model and brand of LED lamp for all the fittings in an area of a room. It would also be a good idea to buy spares - LED technology is always improving and changing. Please consult a qualified electrician to make any changes to your circuit.