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The Best Dimmer for LED & CFL Bulbs

Posted by Doug Root on November 13, 2015

News Flash!

The good ole incandescent light bulb is being phased out so people are now seeking new, more energy-efficient light sources. LED light bulbs and CFL light bulbs are great, energy saving alternatives to the traditional incandescent light bulbs, with LED bulbs really becoming the go-to source for light in our homes and businesses. However, with any new technology there are always some hurdles that have to be overcome when gaining full control over your lighting.

Atlanta Light Bulbs is a strong believer in the LUTRON C•L® dimmers. The "C" in C•L stands for CFL and the "L" stands for LED. These state of the art dimmer switches use technology that limits low end trim and works well with the LED or CFL bulb to give you "the ultimate dim"!

Below, you can check out a few frequently asked questions about dimmers for LED lights and dimmers for CFL bulbs.

Are all LEDs dimmable?

No. Standard CFL or LED screw-in replacement bulbs are not all dimmable. Whether or not these bulbs are dimmable should be stated on the box or on the bulb itself. If you want to dim a standard CFL or LED screw-in bulb, you must use a bulb that was designed for dimming. Bulbs that can’t be used on a dimmer will have the warning statement "not for use with dimmers" marked directly on the LED or CFL bulb.

Can I use the dimmer I have had operating my incandescent bulbs?

This depends. It may work but is not recommended. If you are using a CFL or LED you are going to be introducing an unknown technology to your dimmer. Old school dimmers for incandescents simply limit the voltage to the bulb which in turn dims it down. When you limit the voltage to an LED bulb or a CFL bulb, the lamp doesn't know what to do. These bulbs need to be at full voltage to operate, and CFL bulbs really would rather be simply ON or OFF.

Standard incandescent dimmers are not UL Listed to work with LEDs, and LUTRON does not test them or recommend you use them. To ensure compatibility, LUTRON strongly suggests using their C•L® dimmers, which include features such as low end trim to help maximize the dimming performance.

To learn more about low end trim, watch these videos: C•L® Dimmers: Setting the dimming range.

How many LED bulbs can I dim on a LUTRON C•L® dimmer?

Many people look at the box their LED bulb came in and read that it is equivalent to a 60W light bulb. However, the bulb may only be consuming 6-9 watts of power, but has equivalent lumens output to a traditional incandescent 60W bulb. So, when you are figuring out how many bulbs you can dim on a dimmer you will need to find the watts consumed per bulb and divide it into the maximum wattage rating for the dimmer.

For example:

Bob has 16 LED bulbs that are dimmable. The bulbs are equal to 60W incandescents lumens output. Each bulb uses 8.5 Watts of power. His new AYCL-153P-IV LUTRON Dimmer is rated at 150W. Will this dimmer for LED lights support all of his bulbs?

16 bulbs x 8.5 Watts = 136 Watts of power. This is under the 150W maximum….

Bob is good to go!

Why use a LUTRON C•L® dimmer ? What makes them so great?

LUTRON is the dimming company; this is all they do. When you are moving to one of the new LED technologies in your home or business, you can achieve a much higher quality result by switching out your dimmer. It is not uncommon for customers to report dissatisfaction with the dimming of their new LED or CFL bulbs when they choose to stick with the old incandescent dimmer. Conversely, C•L dimmers for LED and CFL bulbs can provide the ideal dimming capability you need to achieve the desired effect when it comes to CFL and LED lighting.

C•L dimmers are designed and UL Listed for controlling a broad range of dimmable CFLs and LEDs, as well as incandescent and halogen bulbs. These dimmers feature low end trim adjustment (and on select models, high end trim adjustment) to ensure the best dimming performance and range on your CFL or LED bulb.

See the following chart for a comparison of features between standard and C•L dimmers.

Incandescent/Halogen dimmer C•L dimmer
UL Listed and approved loads Incandescent and Halogen Incandescent, Halogen, LED, and CFL (MLV on select models)
Minimum load 40W of Incandescent or Halogen 40W of Incandescent or Halogen, or 1* bulb CFL or LED
Ability to adjust trim** No Yes
Compatible Bulb List No Yes
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