Dimmer - all you need to know to choose

What is a dimmer

The dimmer is a device that modulates the electrical intensity of the lighting. It is to be installed in place of a conventional switch in a room. Normally dimmers offer a light variation of between 60 and 500 W for halogen bulbs.

Wall switch

for example it's a double wall switch

The dimmer allows to modulate the intensity of the lights

for example it is a recessed light dimmer

There are a large number of very innovative dimmers. Unlike conventional dimmers, some are programmable and give the possibility to prepare a given lighting at times amplitudes defined in advance.

The dimmer switch easily replaces a switch

for example it is a universal dimmer

Domotised light dimmer

domotized light dimmer

The dimmer improves the comfort of inside lighting creating an intimate or otherwise brighter atmosphere. Combined with compatible low energy bulbs, it also reduces energy bills. Some dual function models are both equipped with a cut-off control and an intensity modulator. If pressed once, they behave like conventional switches and if turned, they become inverters.

Types of drives

Dimmers can control ohmic loads (for incandescent lamps) or inductive loads (for halogen lamps).

Incandescent bulb

for example it is an incandescent lamp

Halogen bulb

for example it is a halogen bulb

With the advent of new technologies some light bulbs were found to be incompatible with dimmers. The problem exists especially for LED bulbs. Indeed it is very difficult to use with an electronic dimmer.

LED bulbs

for example, they are led bulbs

Having an electronic dimmer that is not compatible with a Led bulb model can, for example, cause three types of problems: irregular reactions of the bulb, low capacity for variation or flickering. In addition, manufacturers of electric bulbs tend to communicate the list of electronic drives with which their products are compatible.

characteristics of light bulbs supplied by the manufacturers

Compatibility of bulbs with dimmers

information about led lamps

bulbs with different wattages


The installation of a dimmer is not very complicated and can easily be done even by amateurs.

LED lighting

LED lighting

Depending on the type of luminaire that the dimmer controls (ceiling, table lamp, floor lamp, wall lamp), the mounting principle remains similar.

A dimmer consists of a fuse, a switch and a switch, a pulse generator and a triac.

installation of a dimmer

How to change a switch by a dimmer

First of all, disconnect the power supply at the main circuit breaker and check for residual current using a voltage tester (multimeter).

General circuit breaker

general circuit breaker

Remember to use sheathed or double insulated tools. Check the compatibility of the bulbs and the drive.

Remove the cover and remove the wall box from the switch. Connect and after screw the wires at the wall outlet to the corresponding slots of the drive. Insert it into the wall recess and tighten the fixing screws. Attach the cover and adjust the knob on the drive center nut.

install a dimmer

Turn on the power and test the installation.

Install a Led bulb on an electronic dimmer

The electronic dimmer must be able to vary the light intensity from 1 to 100% of the lighting capacity of the LED bulb so that they can be combined. Also be careful that the drive has a life corresponding to that of your LED bulb. An electronic dimmer with a short life can alter the life of an LED bulb.

comparative bulbs

All information regarding the variability capabilities of a Led bulb and dimmer can be provided by the manufacturers.

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