Home > Knowledge Base > Dimmable LEDs

Jim Lawrence Knowledge Base

Are LED Lights Dimmable?

First off, all light bulbs that say they are dimmable on the manufacturer's packaging will dim if used with a corresponding dimmer switch. However, not all existing dimmer switches will cope with LED lights.

Since LEDs consume such a low wattage, many types of dimmers do not function with LED in the same way that they do with high wattage  incandescent bulbs. Many existing dimmer switches require a minimum power load of 50W.  Because old style incandescent bulbs have high wattages, this is fine. However, LED lights have much lower wattages, so when an LED bulb is connected to an old dimmer, it may not reach the minimum load required and might misbehave.
When dimming an LED you may notice the following:
  • A smaller dimming range (Typically 70-90% compared to 100% with incandescent).
  • LED Bulbs may not shut off at the lowest dim setting: this is caused by the dimmer thinking the bulb is completely off due to the low amount of wattage an LED consumes.
  • LEDs may flicker or make a buzzing sound when the modules are communicating due to the small fluctuations in power on the line.
We suggest that you test your current dimmers to see if they work with LEDs. If they do not, you will need to purchase a new dimmer switch that is LED compatible.
Dimmed lighting scheme lifestyle

Rotary dimmer switch

About our switches:

  • All of our standard dimmer switches are compatible with good quality LED bulbs.
  • We use 120w max trailing edge dimmers. This means the maximum wattage required for the circuit on each switch is 120W.
  • Trailing-edge dimmers have lower minimum load than leading-edge dimmers, making them a better choice for dimming modestly sized low-powered lighting circuits such as LEDs.
  • Our dimmer switches are 2 way, ie can be used for switching lights from either one or two places, but the other switch needs to be standard rocker, dolly or on/off dummy switch.

For more information, please see our Guide to Dimmer Switches in the Jim Lawrence Knowledge Base.

If you need any further help or advice, then please do give our friendly sales team a call on 01473 826978. Alternatively, your electrician will be able to advise which option is best for you.