Matching Dimmers and Bulbs Is Critical to Successful LED Conversions

Dimming switches and LED light bulbs seem like they should be a perfect 
match, right? Both products offer end-users advanced capabilities for 
controlling a room’s light and lowering energy bills in a home or 
building. Unfortunately, as many have discovered, ensuring compatibility
 between dimmer switches and the LED bulbs they’re controlling is a bit 
more complicated than previously was the case with old-school 
incandescent bulbs. However, this situation is improving quickly as… Lutron Electronics

Chuck Ross

Dimming switches and LED light bulbs seem like they should be a perfect match, right? Both products offer end-users advanced capabilities for controlling a room’s light and lowering energy bills in a home or building. Unfortunately, as many have discovered, ensuring compatibility between dimmer switches and the LED bulbs they’re controlling is a bit more complicated than previously was the case with old-school incandescent bulbs. However, this situation is improving quickly as…

There are several reasons why problems can occur when the latest solid-state bulbs and fixtures are matched with previous-generation dimming controls. For one thing, incandescent and LED technologies are just very different from each other, with LEDs incorporating electronic drivers that can complicate a dimmer switch’s job. Among the issues installers can face are bulbs that flicker, don’t dim as low as comparable incandescent bulbs or shut off before they’re fully dim.

As a result, consumers and electrical contractors now face an extra step when converting from incandescent or halogen bulbs to more efficient LED products when existing dimmer switches are in place. Bulb packaging now indicates whether or not a product is “dimmable,” although this information isn’t 100 percent reliable as individual combinations of bulbs and dimmers can feature varying levels of compatibility.

Some dimmer manufacturers are beginning to offer online information to make matching LED lighting to appropriate controls an easier process. Lutron’s interactive bulb selector tool for example, can help consumers and contractors identify both compatible LED bulbs for specific Lutron dimmers, as well as Lutron dimmers that work with specific LED bulbs.

The company’s family of C.L dimmers for wall and ceiling lights offer several options for controlling LED bulbs that also work with existing incandescent and halogen products.
For additional information, visit www.lutron.com/leds.


Photo courtesy of Lutron Electronics