All The Types Of Dimmers & Dimmable Lights Explained!

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Let’s be honest, who doesn’t like dimmable lights? Those little lights, packed with a multitude of colors and tones, are something we all love to keep in our home spaces. We mostly use dim lights to keep our spaces illuminated and create a great mood for the home. They help create a wonderful atmosphere in your room, that you know, but do you know their luminosity can be regulated by dimmers? This means that you can control the light’s brightness, thanks to the dimmers.

Dimmers are switches or regulators that alter the supply voltage waveform to the lamp to control the brightness. Dimmers are also very efficient at cutting costs and saving your money. By controlling the light intensity, dimmers also help decrease power consumption. Another great thing about dimmers is that there are fewer lamp replacements and maintenance costs compared to the regular lights.

Do you know that dimmers have different types? In fact, there are a handful of dimmers that may confuse you while you are shopping for your dimmable lights. Keeping that in mind, we are here to salvage you from the confusion and help you understand dimmers better so that you can pick the best one for your home.

Types Of Dimmers

Dimmers & Dimmable Lights

Here is a list of dimmers you particularly need for your dimmable lights. Before you buy the dimmers, make sure you know the type of light bulbs you are using.

Universal Dimmers

Universal dimmers are made to regulate halogen lights, dimmable CFL bulbs, incandescent bulbs, dimmable LED bulbs, etc. The universal lights more or less can control all the dimmable light forms except the smart LED ones. They provide a smooth start-up, anti-flickering effect in the bulbs and deliver a solid brightness control.

Fluorescent Dimmers

Fluorescent dimmers can only control the fluorescent lights and fixtures, which includes dimming ballasts and lamps with a prompt start.

Halogen Dimmers

Halogen dimmers are constructed to regulate halogen bulbs and incandescent bulbs. They, however, can’t be used for CFL or LED lights, whether dimmable or not.

MLV (Magnetic Low Voltage) Dimmer 

Magnetic Low Voltage dimmers or MLV are usually large and heavy, and they are used for dim lights that run on low magnetic voltage. Mostly used for recessed lights.

ELV (Electronic Low Voltage) Dimmer 

ELV or Electronic Low Voltage dimmer controls ELV transformer, and dimmable LED power suppliers same as the ones used in LED strips. 

Types Of Dimmable Light Bulbs

It’s wise to keep in mind that not all light bulbs are compatible with dimmer switches. And this can cause problems for you if you have lights that are incompatible with your lights. Therefore always make sure that both the dimmer and the bulbs go along with each other. Here’s a rundown of bulbs that work and that don’t.

Fluorescent Light (CFL)

Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) isn’t compatible with a dimmer switch, as adjusting it to a lower voltage will cause the bulb to shut off completely. But some CFLs with dimmable ballast are compatible with dimmers. To find out if your CFL is compatible, locate the indicator type on the packaging. If you still find it difficult to understand, ask the retailer for instructions and necessary details that may help you identify if the CFL works with dimmers or not. Dimmable CFLs can cut down 15% of the light output and lasts much longer than regular incandescent light bulbs.


Incandescent bulbs or filament bulbs illuminate when an electric current is passed through a wire filament. The current warms up the filament and makes it glow, which results in yellowish light. Incandescent light bulbs work best with the dimmer switch, although they can break if you crank up the intensity. They aren’t long-lasting too, so they aren’t worth it. The good news is you can’t see these types of bulbs around these days as they are discontinued to save energy and stunt global warming. 


Halogen bulbs are just the same as incandescent bulbs because both need tungsten filament to produce light. So what’s the difference anyway? The composition of the glass case and the gas inside it are the only differences. Speaking of dimmable compatibility, it is perfectly dimmable and causes no turmoil's at all. However, the lights only last for about 1000-2000 hours. 

Light Emitting Diodes (LED)

Ah, LEDs, also known as Light Emitting Diodes, are our favorites out of all the light bulb sources. This one is the latest revolution made by lighting technology. They are much more efficient, energy-saving, and last longer than any other light type. Some LEDs are dimmable, if not all. However, there are already many improvements that let us find a suitable and energy-efficient LED replacement to work with the switches. To find out if your lights are dimmable, make sure you read the packaging before buying. There should be “Dimmable” written on the package.

The Takeaway

Incandescent, halogen, and to some extent, fluorescent bulbs work best with dimmer switches. But CFLs and LEDs are picking up the pace very rapidly. Although we don’t use incandescent anymore, a few dimmable lights along with the right dimmer switch won’t harm. It even gives a pleasant look to your house, so that’s a bonus! So, the last piece of advice for you is whether it’s CFL, incandescent, halogen, or LEDs. Always read the package of the lights to know if it’s dimmable or not. As for finding the best light dimmers, you can get them from Electric Supply Depot. That’s all for today! Come back to learn something new from us. Ciao!

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