Dimmable vs. Non-Dimmable Lights — Is One Better Than The Other?
If you’re updating the lighting in your home, you may want to set up dimmable lights in one or more rooms — and understandably so.
Dimmer lights have long been popular among homeowners because they offer several advantages, such as:
- They create ambiance and mood
- They can allow for both low and bright lighting
- The save energy
Let’s start with basics first. .
Dimmable vs. non-dimmable lights
Basically, a dimmer is a device that can be used for lowering and adjusting the brightness of a bulb. This is achieved by adjusting the wattage in the lamp through an electronic device called dimmer switch.
Dimmer switches are not something that’s new. They have been around since decades. As a matter of fact, the first dimmer switch was introduced way back in 1959.
As you may know, there are a number of different types of light bulbs available. But do all of them work well on dimmer switches?
Incandescent light bulbs, which have been around since ages, can be dimmed. They are usually compatible with older dimmer switches and may not work with most of the new switches that are now used in today’s homes. Since these bulbs don’t have any electrical components, the dimming effect can be easily achieved by using the dimmable switch to alter the voltage.
A halogen bulb dims in pretty much the same manner as an incandescent bulb — but not LED light bulbs. The latter is a different ball game altogether.
If you have shopped for LED light bulbs, you would know they are available in both dimmable and non-dimmable variety. This information can be found on the packaging. Unlike halogen or incandescent bulbs, LED light bulbs contain internal electronics and hence are more advanced and dim differently.
If you want to buy LED bulbs, keep in mind that non-dimmable ones aren’t going to work on a dimmer switch. Dimmable LED light bulbs, however, can safely be used with lamps that use dimmer switches.
But do you need a special dimmer switch for LED light bulbs?
There’s no-one-size-fits-all answer. LED light bulbs — because they consume much lower wattage than incandescent ones — might not work well with old dimmers sometimes. When that happens, you’re likely to encounter one of the following issues:
- Getting less than 100% dimming range that you get with an incandescent bulb
- The LED light bulb may not shut off at the lowest dim setting
- The LED light bulb may flicker
We recommend you first test your LED light bulbs with your existing dimmers. If they work fine, there’s no need to invest in new dimmers. But if they don’t work perfectly or at all, you may want to consider getting new dimmers — ones specifically designed for these new bulbs.
Are Dimmable bulbs better than the non-dimmable ones?
Ask homeowners why they opt for dimmable lights and most, if not all, will reply because of their aesthetic potential. When it comes to creating a mood, dimmable light bulbs win hands down. As you may guess, the aesthetic potential is far greater when you install light bulbs that can instantly go from bright white to a mood-setting shadowy hue.
But that’s not all. There are two other benefits as well.
If saving energy is a priority, dimmable bulbs are just what you need. Energy consumption gets reduced considerably when light bulbs burn at lower wattage. And if you install LED bulbs, you will save on energy costs even more.
Also, dimmable light bulbs typically last longer than non-dimmable ones. That’s because the less energy a bulb uses, the longer it lasts — simple!