Do LEDs require a special dimmer?


Old 03-25-16, 01:48 PM
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Question Do LEDs require a special dimmer?

I have all recessed LED's in my kitchen and I want to put them on a dimmer. At Home Depot they sell a regular Lutron dimmer switch for around $20, and then one that is marked "Special" for LED's and CFL's for $30.

I know that in the past CFL's were very picky about dimmer switches, but LED technology has come a long way and most times can use a regular dimmer. Should I spend the extra $10 and get the dimmer that's specific for CFL's and LED's?
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Old 03-25-16, 01:55 PM
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Yes, you have to use a dimmer that is marked for the type of bulb you're using. Even then, they aren't always compatible. Also note that not all LED lamps are dimmable.

The LED bulb manufacturer should publish a list of compatible dimmers, sometimes the dimmer manufacturer will also provide a list of approved bulbs. If your LED lighting is a low voltage system, you'll need to select a dimmer from the ballast manufacturer's approved list.

Check all of the manufacturer's websites for compatibility lists. If you have an incompatible match the lamps will usually pulse or flicker in a very obnoxious way or make a humming/singing noise.
Old 03-25-16, 01:56 PM
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Yes... you should get one identified as LED ready. Even at that... there is no guarantee that the dimmer will operate normally. It can be a trial and error thing.

I've removed the trial and error phase by using the Lutron Maestro (LED/CFL) dimmers. Since I'm an electrician I don't have time to try different dimmers. This model is all I use.
Old 03-25-16, 04:33 PM
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Also note that not all LED lamps are dimmable.
This is a big issue. The bargain LED lamps generally are not dimmable.
Old 03-26-16, 12:35 AM
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Thanks everyone, guess i'll just bite the bullet and spend the extra $10 per dimmer.

I bought nice CREE LED, and I have many others in the house on those Lutron Dimmers and all work excellent so these should work as well.

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