LED Lighting and dimming

I wanted to do an informative post on LED dimming as this seems to be the most common problem I get asked about. I’ll try to keep it simple and ungeeky as possible.

Are LEDs bulbs dimmable?


Most of them.

With the right dimmer/LED lamp configuration.

Confusing already.

Are your new LED lamps flickering, low light levels, partial dimming, and strobing?

Many people think their brand new LEDs are bad at this point. This isn’t usually the case. The first thing you can do is test your LED lamp in a non-dimmed fixture. If its fine, chances are its a dimming compatibility or load problem.

So lets break that down a bit. As an example, most of Sylvania’s LED lamps are dimmable. Some will work on the existing dimmer you already have installed. It has more to do with the dimmer and the load it sees. Most dimmers have a minimum load in watts. LEDs use far less power than regular lamps. If the dimmer requires a minimum load of 40 watts, and you only have three 10 watt LED lamps on it, chances are it won’t work right.

Sylvania has a list of common compatible dimmers and the minimum loads they need. Usually the best of them are ELV (Electronic Low Voltage) dimmers and in many cases just one LED is enough of a load for them to work. If you have a lot of LEDs on a circuit you will need a different dimmer.

Most quality manufacturers have a list like this and you would do well to follow it. Improper compatibility can shorten the lifespan of your expensive new LED lamps and may void the warranty in some cases. Do your due diligence before purchasing. A good retailer or contractor with the right knowledge can be a great asset. If done properly, your LED lamps could last decades.

Be aware than different LED products have different methods of operation and dimming. Some use 0-10V. Some use PWM (Pulse Width Modulation). Be aware of the type you have, and make sure you use the right protocol for dimming. The wrong combination can cause flickering, failure or EM interference.

Again, find a good seller who is knowledgeable about these things and can steer you in the right direction. Big box stores and many electrical supply places just don’t have that knowledge. They are there to sell things, not sell you the RIGHT thing. Sometimes you get lucky and will find a dealer than does have someone working there that does have the knowledge, but often that isn’t the case. LED technology is constantly changing and they just can’t keep up. Use a dealer who can give you the support you need before and after the sale.

Hope this helps you. If not, you can always call or email me. I am always here to help.



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