There is a rapidly growing demand for dimmable LED lightings for new installations and with the vast retrofit market to address; the user experience can be optimized. With the provision of many energy-saving benefits of compact fluorescent in a more familiar package, the LED lighting has already captured the imagination of consumers in ways that SFLs could never.
Users now have the opportunity to buy lamps that look exactly the same as the incandescent lamps they are getting rid off, thus making it a very comfortable upgrade. That said, the users also expect that the dimming performance has to be replicated and if the right information isn’t passed, it could lead to disappointing results.
Below are some of our best tips to get the best out of dimmable LED lighting.
It is a common misconception that any LED lights can be dimmed with an LED dimmer.
DO choose dimmable LEDs
This might sound a little obvious but people often make this mistake of thinking that any LED light can be dimmed with an LED dimmer. The fact is, the driver circuitry has to be designed with dimming in mind. It is therefore crucial to go for lamps that are described as “dimmable” by the manufacturers. There are quite a number of different approaches by lamp manufacturers and this could be as a result of the lack of an industry standard for dimmable LED drivers. Some of these approaches have ben successful while some others haven’t been as successful.
Go for the lamps that are termed “dimmable” but note that it isn’t a guarantee of a good dimming performance but just a start.
DO stick to recognised brands
Dimming performance comes in variations and the level of brightness and stability of output are more likely to disappoint in the lamps that are unbranded. For some manufacturers, if they can produce a lamp that offers even the slightest variation in brightness, they will quickly attach the “dimmable” label, which is why it is often better to go for the established brands. Also, the more established brands are likely to offer better warranties, longer lamp life and better customer support. For a list of some of the top brands in lighting, visit our BRANDS page.
Top tip: do not be tempted by the little price margins. Stick to the brands you know you can trust.
The escalating brightness of retrofit LED lamps has made dimming much more relevant"
Always read the label
It is very vital to put into the consideration the range of the brightness when you want to use brightly glowing light to make modifications or adjustments. In recent times, lots of improvement have been made in LED lighting technology including the halogen-mimicking warm white lamps which have more brightly glowing colors at the expense of their output. In addition, there would be little or no effect when you use a dimmer for a LED light that is already dim enough, therefore the relevance of dimmer has increased as result of the intensifying modified LED lamps brightness. Additionally, customers can get a larger range of dimming with brighter lamps.
Always ask manufacturers about compatibility!
If you check the websites of most reputable lighting brands, you will see compatibility data. Manufacturers always use different loads to test the dimmer switches and then grade the performance of the lamp. Furthermore, when you want to get a dimmer always check these grades as they are a good reference point. However, browsing through international brands websites and seeing unfamiliar dimmers not available in the UK can be confusing at times. Reach out to the company for suggestion if you have any issue.
Top tip: manufacturers always find it easy to recommend the best dimmer switch for their customers because they want them to have a feel of their lamps’ full potential.
Avoid using a standard dimmer!
Most times you will see manufacturers telling you that you can use a standard dimmer to control their light but it is only possible by meeting some extremely thin criteria. However, in most LED usages, there is overloading of the dimmer worsening the strobing and flickering effects which immensely reduces the life span of the lamp. In addition, the nature of standard dimmers does not give them the ability to use the complete range of brightness so the experience is not worth it.
Top tip: Don’t accept the standard dimmer compatibility hook, line and sinker.
Always go for a dimmer design with LED lighting!
LED lighting that are dimmable can be optimized used highly advanced dimmers. Also, with the different driver technologies that are available in the market, some drivers have been equipped with various dimming modes to ensure the dimming across these driver technologies is smooth. Different lamp brands have different brightness output when connected to same power input. As a result of this, you will see manufacturers making improvement in their product by adding flexible minimum brightness setting to enable the customer experience the lamp’s full brightness range. In addition, it is possible to evade any unsteadiness that may occurs due to the lamp’s lowest illumination level with the flexible minimum brightness.
Top tip: the full dimming potential of LED lamps can be used by dedicated LED dimmers as a result copying a brightly glowing lamp’s dimming behavior.
Your installation should be designed in a way that the maximum load of the available dimmers is not exceeded!
Always select a dimmer before buying your luminaries!
There is a always a maximum and minimum load requirement for LED lighting dimmer switches just like other dimmer switches. Your installation should be designed in a way that the maximum load of the available dimmers is not exceeded. Furthermore, it would be possible to zone light levels in a multi-functional area resulting in greater control when the load is shared across many dimmers. The recent dimmers are capable of controlling up to 600W of LED lighting unlike the previous versions that could only control 100W.
Top tip: Always ensure the dimmer you are choosing has the ability to control the total number of lamps and wattage to be dimmed.
Always read the instruction leaflet!
In as much there is always a feature performance enhancement that comes with LED dimmers, you can only access them by programming the dimmer. More so, take your time to go through the leaflet before using it to ensure that have every feature in place. For instance, you may have to use the dedicated handset to unluck the enhance scene-setting feature with several remote-controlled dimmers. Additionally, you can get how-to videos in the website of many manufacturers.
Top tip: Ensure you gain all features and benefits by reading the instruction leaflet.