What is the Difference: Dimmable vs Non-Dimmable Bulbs

Before LED lamps, older incandescent lights were very easy to dim. As long as the appropriate switch and circuit were available for the fixture, a compatible bulb could create different lighting levels.​


With LED technology development, things have changed. Although you can still find dimmable and non-dimmable bulbs, the installation process has become a bit more complex. It's not always possible to control the brightness levels, especially if you don't have dimmer compatibility included with your setup. Let’s take a look at the main differences between dimmable and non-dimmable led light bulbs in the following reading.​


Difference Between Dimmable Bulbs and Non-dimmable Bulbs

You can often identify dimmable and non-dimmable led light bulbs by reading the product description.

Dimmable led lights mean you can adjust the brightness or lumen levels according to your needs. For example, you can use a brighter light (higher lumens) when you're working, and dim to lower lumens when watching a movie or reading.

Non-dimmable led lights can give you a more consistent lighting experience. The lumen level will always be the same when you turn them on and there is no ability to control this.​

Each type of LED light has its pros and cons, you can purchase it according to your needs. For instance, dimmable light is more suitable for use in schools and homes while non-dimmable light can fit well in warehouses.​​​

FAQs: You May Be Concerned about Dimmable and Non-dimmable LED Bulbs


What changes the brightness or lumen level in dimmable LED lights?

Dimmer switches change the bulb's brightness levels, creating more or less based on the energy levels sent to the fixture. These switches also provide the traditional option of turning the illumination on or off.

​With a dimmer switch, there's an electric circuit that reduces the brightness of each connected light. LEDs aren't always compatible with this technology. If you want to have a dimmable bulb, you'd need to purchase a product that comes with a consistent feature that works with a dimmer switch.

Can I use a non-dimmable LED light on a dimmable switch?

We do not recommend you do this. If you install a non-dimmable LED light on a dimmable switch, you might have it set at 100% the entire time to ensure it operates correctly. The bulb can start buzzing or flickering once you lower the power threshold to the fixture. Those activities can damage the product or significantly reduce its lifespan.

What are the Advantages of Dimmable LED Light?

Since lighting is an immediate and practical way to enhance your home, dimmable lighting options allow you to easily adjust the light intensity in your home for the most comfortable lighting experience. LEDVANCE and SYLVANIA LED light bulbs can provide steady light even in low light conditions. Whether you're looking for the perfect dimmable light or want to replace your existing bulbs, we've got everything you need to make your home comfortable and bright.

dimmable light bulb  

What should I do if my dimmable LED light bulbs flash?

Reasons that LED lights flicker are complicated. It might be loose or incorrect w​iring, incompatible dimmer switches, or faulty light bulb components. Click to get to know more about LED light flicker. If your LED bulbs keep flickering now and then, replacing them with a good quality LED bulb can keep you from problems like flickering as much as possible.

Bonus Tips: Different Types of Dimmers for Dimmable Bulbs and How do They Work

Home circuits come with two types of dimmers: leading-edge and trailing-edge designs. The first option is meant for incandescent bulbs. Although they'll work with LED bulbs to a point, it's not the best choice. You likely have this option if you already have a dimmer switch and incandescent lights.​

The trailing-edge dimmer switch is meant to work with LED lights. They're newer, making them less common, but they also work with the appropriate wattage range.

LEDs are dimmable through CCR (constant current reduction) or pulse-width modulation (PWM), creating more potential energy savings once correctly installed.​

CCR dimming is the analog version of this technology. The forward current fed to the bulb is controlled, reducing its levels to create a dimmable light.

With PWM dimming technology, the LED gets turned off and on at high speeds. The on-time cycles get split into millisecond intervals to create a dimming effect. It blinks so quickly that human eyes don't notice the change. As long as the rate stays high enough, the pulsing isn't seen.​​​​​

dimmable bulbs flicker

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