Posted by Doug Root on 2nd Mar 2021

How Dimmable LED Bulbs Work

The probability that you have been exposed or have experienced a dimmable light before is very high. The chance you’ll find a dimmable light in public like restaurants move theaters, and some retail clothing stores is also very high. I’m sure that you have dimmable lights in your home or a friend or family member installed dimmable lights in their home, as well. There is one main reason why many people and businesses tend to install and use dimmable lights. That main reason is creating an ambiance in a room or space.

Light is a very useful way to create a different ambiance in a room or environment. Even sunlight creates a certain vibe to a room or even outside depending on where the sun is. The early morning sun has a different effect than the late afternoon sun as it’s about to set. The same logic goes for artificial light in your home or business.

Different shades of light and levels of light create a different feeling. That is why when you step into a fancy restaurant or movie theater, the lights are dimmed to create a warm and inviting sense about the room. This is different from many department stores, where the lighting is often very bright and harsh, which allows them to showcase everything available for purchase in the store in full light.

Sometimes, the way light is used can be a marketing scheme. Another is to create a certain sense of feeling that makes you feel a certain way that may urge you to experience that feeling again. Nonetheless, the need for dimmable lights is very much needed. More and more people are starting to install them into their residential homes for the same reasons that some places of business use them.

If you have ever been to a birthday party or have had one yourself, you know the routine that happens when it’s time to sing “Happy Birthday.” Someone usually turns out the lights or dims the lights and all sing “Happy Birthday,” with the candles burning bright on your face. Additionally, if you’re fortunate enough to have an at-home movie theater, it’s common to use dimmable lighting to evoke that movie theater ambiance that is so common.

Although it might not seem like the utmost necessity when thinking about lighting in your home, it’s a nice touch and just adds an overall feeling of comfort and warmth to your home that cannot be achieved anywhere else.

After now understanding the ultimate selling point of dimmable lights, let’s break down how they work. It’s quite interesting to learn how the wiring and electrical components of your home work. It can also be quite useful to know information like this, in case you run into a wiring problem that needs fixing.

What are Dimmable Lights

Well, first it’s good to know that each different type of lightbulb has a corresponding different dimmer style. Not all lightbulbs are ultimately compatible with some dimmer switches, so you need to make sure the right electrical equipment is being used.

Dimmer switches work by controlling the voltage of a lightbulb. The most simple and common forms of dimmer switches simply reduce the amount of electricity that flows through a circuit, thus reducing the amount of bright light.

That all seems pretty simple, but there has recently been an introduction of more modern dimmer switches that work quite differently. More modern applications of dimmer switches take electricity that is flowing through a light’s circuit and then switch it on and off. After this occurs, it then diverts electricity from the actual light bulb. The amount of electrical current running through the bulb is reduced.

Essentially, a dimmer switch changes the initial direction of electricity flow each time is it used to brighten or dim the lights. The electrical flow is always changing from negative to positive. There are also many different modern applications of dimmer switches such as,

●Integrated dimmer switches

●Touch screen dimmer switches

●Slide dimmers ( most common)

●Rotary dimmers

Some many advantages and benefits that come with making the switch to dimmer switches. Not only does it give you the freedom to create different environments and ambiances only using light, but it can also save you money too!

By consistent dimming your lights, you will start to notice a slight change in your energy and power bills. Since when you dim the lights, you use less electricity, which in turn will save you on the power bill.

By dimming your lights, your light bulbs will last longer, as well! Dimmed lights aren’t using most of their energy anyways, making them last longer. Especially if you are using long-lasting bulbs like LED light bulbs, you’ll rarely have to worry about one of your lights burning out.

Speaking of LED bulbs, they are one of the most commonly used light bulbs when using dimmer switches. The combination between dimmer switches and LED lights means less energy is being used and your bulbs will last as long as they possibly can.

What are LED lightbulbs, exactly? Let’s break it down.

What Are LEDs

LED light bulbs, or also known as light-emitting diodes, are coming out of the woodwork as the most efficient and long-lasting light bulbs on the market. An LED bulb produces its light by passing the electrical current through a semiconducting material which is the diode. Then once it’s passed through the diode, emits light through electroluminescence.

In layman’s terms, this whole process means that the diode casts light when power is applied to it. Electrons then jump from one side to the other. The main component of an LED bulb is that it does not rely on heat to produce light. These bulbs run cooler and remain more energy efficient compared to more traditional types of light bulbs.

Compared to other more traditional forms of light bulbs like incandescent, LED bulbs are much more energy-efficient and last longer. It’s a win-win in lighting technology. Incandescent bulbs contain filaments that glow, which produces both heat and light when energy is flowing through them. LEDs have electrons that flow to create photons which is the light we can see.

It is reported that LED light bulbs use around 75% less energy than other traditional light fixtures like incandescent. Sometimes, it’s said that LEDs cost way more than other types of lightbulbs, but recently that has not been the case. Go take a look around your local hardware store like Home Depot. It won’t be hard to find an affordable LED light bulb.

More and more people are making the switch to LED lightbulbs in their homes. The average household uses around 30-40 lightbulbs. That includes ceiling fans, lamps, light fixtures, and outdoor lights. By replacing every one of those bulbs with LEDs, it’s reported you can save hundreds of dollars on energy bills. Who wouldn’t want that?

Now from what was mentioned earlier in the article about how dimmer switches reduce your home’s energy bills and make your light bulb last longer, this stays true with LED lightbulbs. Currently, it’s the most common and customary thing to switch to dimmable LED bulbs. Not all dimmer switches and LED bulbs are made the same, so it’s best to know what to look for when you’re making the switch in your home.

How Does Dimmable LEDs Function With a Dimmer Switch

Before rushing out to buy some of these light bulbs, you need to know a few things about this lighting source. There are two main forms of LED dimming; analog and pulse width modulation. Pulse width modulation works by creating a dimming effect on the light bulb. LED bulbs don’t rely on voltage to measure their brightness level. The on and off cycle is what they rely on. To make it simpler, if you dim your LED bulbs to 20%, they will be on for 20% of the time and off for 80% of the time.

Another way to describe this method is how the dimmer turns the LED on and off very quickly. PWM uses the exact electrical current that the actual LED needs. So either the LED is using its allotted amount of power or it’s turned off. This process further saves energy and money.

Analog, or constant current reduction, is a simpler and straight forward method. Like traditional dimming switches, the current is controlled to both dim and brighten the lights. The current lowers the dim of the light bulb.

The most important thing to remember when working with LED bulbs and dimmer switches, is that not every LED bulb is designed to work with dimmer switches. Some LED light bulbs cannot be dimmed, so you need to research the best dimmable LED bulbs so you won’t run into the issue of them not being compatible.

At Atlanta Light Bulbs, we supply our online store with the best quality and top-rated appliances on the market. We have a great supply of dimmable LED bulbs to choose from. It’s best to note some of the common issues that come along with having a dimmer switch with LED bulbs.


○The actual dimmer switch is usually at fault if you notice your LED bulb flicker when it’s being used. Although it may seem straight out of a scary movie, a flickering light bulb can be easily fixed and there’s no harm done.

○Most dimmer switches come with a minimum amount of watts they can handle and process. Since LEDs consume a low amount of energy, some dimmer switches require more energy to power the bulb since they were designed for bulbs like incandescents.

○To avoid this issue, use an LED compatible dimmer with your dimmable LED lights.


○This can happen when you’ve dimmed your lights as low as they can go and there is still a slight glow coming from the light bulbs.

●Drop out/Pop on

○A drop out is when you are trying to dim the lights down and the light suddenly cuts out before you get to the bottom of the switch. Reversely, pop on means when you’re slowly trying to increase the level of brightness and suddenly the light turns on brighter than you wanted it.

All of these common issues with dimmable LEDs can be fixed by using a proper LED compatible dimmer switch to get the job done.


All in all, it seems that using a dimmer switch for LED bulbs is the best way to go to save money and maintain an energy-efficient home. The benefits outweigh some of the potential issues when it comes to having dimmer switches in your home.

Having the ability to dim the lights in your home allows you to create a certain inviting, warm, and cozy environment that is easily achieved through dimmer switches. No matter if you’re snuggling up to watch your favorite movie, want to save energy and not use up all the power of your lightbulbs, or you just like to set the mood while lounging and relaxing in your home, installing dimmer switches and compatible LED bulbs is the best way to go. Stop relying on traditional light bulbs like incandescent bulbs to get the job done. If you’re unhappy with the way your home is lit due to things like that, there is an easy way to fix it and feel comfortable and cozy in your home.

At Atlanta Light Bulbs, we understand the need and importance of workable and high-quality light bulbs and light fixtures inside and outside of your home. We are the lighting experts. Our goal is to give our customers the ability to light their homes how they see fit. We also enjoy selling commercial-style lighting to business owners because affordable commercial lighting is hard to come by these days.

Check out our great selection of lighting products and other lighting options at Atlanta Light Bulbs. Our commitment to providing great customer service and quality products is unmatched. Browse through our selection today at