Why are all light bulbs dimmable

Are LED lamps dimmable? All information about dimming LED lamps and lights

Are all LED lamps dimmable? Is it even possible to dim LED lamps? What do you have to pay attention to with dimmable LED lights and illuminants? These and many similar questions often come up when adjusting the brightness of LED lamps. In this article you will find out which stumbling blocks there are with LED technology and how you can successfully get them out of the way.

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Are LED lamps dimmable?

The old incandescent lamps and halogen bulbs, along with all of their disadvantages, also had an advantage. These lamps could problem-free operated on a dimmer. Adjusting the brightness was no problem. In the meantime, LED lighting technology has established itself and offers many advantages over the old light sources. However, the LED technology is quite a bit more complex and brings with it some challenges.

Dimming LED lamps is one of the most common difficulties when switching to LED lamps. However, this is primarily due to the fact that many people simply assume that LEDs can be dimmed just as easily as the old light sources. If this does not work without problems, the entire LED technology is sometimes called not mature demonized.

LEDs can also be dimmed

The good news first: In principle, there are also dimmable LED lamps. With the new technology, however, the devil is in the details. If you follow the tips below, nothing stands in the way of your dimmable LED lighting.

Dim LED lamps

LED lamps and lights can also be dimmed and their brightness adjusted. In contrast to conventional light sources, however, it has to be with the LED lamp explicit be specified that this dimmable is. You can find this information in the product description or on the lamp packaging. If there is no indication that it can be dimmed, the lamp can be switched on do not dim.

Use a suitable dimmer

Use a compatible LED dimmer that is suitable for operation with dimmable LEDs.

Technical challenges in dimming

The main difference between conventional light sources and LED lamps lies in the supply of the LEDs. The old filament lamps were connected directly to the mains voltage. To put it simply, the leading edge dimmers were common at the time medium tension reduced which arrived at the filament. This made the lamp glow darker.

The brightness of light-emitting diodes is not regulated by the voltage, but by the current or a so-called Pulse width modulation. This regulation as well as the conversion of the mains voltage into the internal low voltage is taken over by control electronics integrated in the LED lamp. If the LED lamp can be dimmed, this internal circuit must be designed for it.

Higher complexity of LED technology

The dimming process of an LED lamp is more complex than with the old light sources. Fortunately, consumers do not have to deal with the technical details. Just make sure that the lamp is marked as dimmable.

Dimmable LED lamps

There are now a large number of dimmable LED lamps and lights on the market. Here you will find some common variants and interesting models.

Dimmable LED lamps

Dimmable lamps are available for all common bases. Light sources with techniques such as Dim To Warm or GlowDim are particularly interesting. Here, the dimming behavior of the old lamps with filament is perfectly reproduced, whereby the light is dimmed warmer and cozier becomes.

Osramcommon bases available
GlowDim effectView lamp
Philipscommon bases availableWarmGlow effectView lamp
Megamanfew bases availableDim To Warm EffectView lamp

In addition to the listed lamps with optimized dimming behavior, there are countless other models of dimmable lamps from these and other manufacturers. However, most of them do not lower their color temperature when they are dimmed, which means that the familiar effect of the old lamps does not materialize.

Dimmable LED lights

If the old ceiling light is getting on in years anyway, in many cases it is advisable to buy a new dimmable LED light. So you not only benefit from the general advantages of LED technology, but can also fall back on many modern shapes and designs.

Manufacturerseriesto shapevariantsSpecialty
PhilipsmyLivingRound, square, bars1 to 4 lamps
Dimming effect
View lamp
PaulmannAtriaRound SquarePanel lightWall and
Ceiling mounting
View lamp
Paul NeuhausInigoSquare tableModernFuturistic
View lamp

Frequently asked questions about dimming

Here you will find a list of the most frequently asked questions about the dimmability of LED lights and bulbs.

Why are not all LED lamps dimmable?

This question arises after it has been found out that there are a large number of dimmable LED lamps on the market. The dimming of LEDs is therefore technically possible. Why is the dimmable technology not built into all lamps and lights? The reason for this is the higher circuit complexity and thus higher costs. Dimmable LED lamps are usually a little more expensive than the non-dimmable versions.

If all LED lamps were suitable for dimming, LED lighting would be more expensive overall. In most rooms (such as hallways, kitchens, bathrooms, basements) the brightness does not necessarily have to be adjustable. Therefore, it is generally cheaper to only pay the surcharge for dimmability for rooms with adjustable brightness (such as in the living room).

Price difference between dimmable / not dimmable

Dimmable LED lamps usually cost a little more due to the higher switching effort.

What problems can arise when dimming?

If problems arise when dimming LED lights and lamps, the following effects can usually be observed:

  • The lamp stays dark
  • Brightness cannot / can hardly be regulated
  • LED flickers
  • The light source is buzzing
  • LED breaks

Either the lamp does not light up at all or cannot be regulated. In other cases, the lamp flickers or makes strange noises. All of these effects can lead to the lamp breaking down sooner or later. These problems occur most often when non-dimmable lamps are dimmed anyway. Other reasons could be an incompatible dimmer or insufficient minimum load.

Dimming non-dimmable LED lamps anyway?

One might be tempted not dimmable To connect LED lamps to a dimmer anyway. In rare cases, this can even work. However, many undesirable side effects can also occur. This can lead to the non-dimmable LED breaking down sooner or later. These effects can occur even if the brightness is always set to 100%.

Only operate dimmable LED lamps on the dimmer

Due to the complex internal structure, only the operation of LED lamps marked as dimmable on a dimmer is recommended.

Operating dimmable LED lamps without a dimmer?

Unlike the question above, dimmable LED lamps can also be operated without a dimmer without any problems. No difficulties are to be expected here if the dimmable lamps are simply connected to a normal light switch. In practice, it is as if the brightness were always set to 100%. It goes without saying that the brightness cannot be reduced in this case.

Dimmable lamps also possible with normal light switches

If you have only bought dimmable LED lamps, you can also operate them on a normal light switch (with full brightness) if necessary.

How can you make a lamp dimmable?

LED lights and bulbs must always be marked as dimmable so that they can also be dimmed without any problems. It is only possible in a few cases to make an existing lamp dimmable at a later date. This works, for example, with a ceiling light with retrofit lamps. If necessary, the lamps can be exchanged for a dimmable variant.

Which LED lamps are dimmable?

No general statement can be made here. You can tell from the labeling whether an LED lamp or an LED lamp is suitable for operation on a dimmer. There is a huge selection of dimmable models, especially for LED lamps. With the LED lights, the proportion of dimmable variants is slightly smaller. Many online shops offer a sorting function where you can filter for dimmable lamps.

Dim the LED transformer

An LED transformer is required when using low-voltage LED lamps. Please note that both the LED lamps and the LED transformer must be dimmable. Dimmable LED transformers are also labeled accordingly. If only one component in the entire chain (dimmer - transformer - lamp) is not marked as dimmable, difficulties or defects are inevitable.


There are both on the market dimmable as well as not dimmable LED bulbs and lights. When choosing dimmable lamps, pay attention to the labeling for dimmability. This is the first important step towards error-free functioning. The second step is to choose a suitable LED dimmer. Only if both components have been correctly selected can LED lamps be dimmed like their predecessors without any problems.