Ten Questions About Dimmable LEDs Answered

27 April 2015

Ten Questions About Dimmable LEDs Answered
Ten Questions About Dimmable LEDs Answered

Q 1: Are LED bulbs dimmable?

A: Not always. Unlike halogen bulbs (that can all be dimmed) LED bulbs come in dimmable and non-dimmable varieties, so you will need to purchase dimmable LED bulbs. When purchasing dimmable LED bulbs, you must also understand leading-edge dimmer switches vs trailing-edge dimmer switches. A leading-edge switch is designed for traditional light bulbs; the high minimum load will work to an extent with LED bulbs, but they will not perform perfectly. Trailing-edge switches are designed for LED bulbs. The low minimum load gives a range of 0.5% - 100%, so you get a much more consistent performance. On each product page on the LED Hut site, you can choose between dimmable and non-dimmable options: website-dimmable-options Or call and our sales advisors will help you make the right choice for your needs.

Q 2: Do I need to change my fittings, drivers or anything else to install dimmable LEDs?

A: Fittings should not have to be changed. Our bulbs have the same or very similar dimensions to the incandescent or halogen bulbs you may be replacing and have the same base, such as GU10.
GU10 MR16 MR11 E27
B22 E14 G9 G4

In the case of low voltage lamps such as MR16 spotlights, it is unfortunately necessary to change the transformer for an LED-compatible driver. This is due to the lower power consumption of the LEDs, and their requirement to run on DC.

Another consideration is the dimmer switch. LED dimmable bulbs require a trailing-edge dimmer switch. This brings us to the next question:

Q 3: If I need to change my driver, which do I need?

A: The driver will depend on the total wattage of all your bulbs. This shouldn't exceed 80% of the transformers capacity.For more information on drivers and transformers see our guide here.

Q 4: Do I need a special dimmer switch?

A: Usually yes. The dimmer switch you may have used for your halogen or incandescent bulbs works in a different way to the type needed for LEDs. Some of our lamps will work on a standard leading edge switches, such as the GU10-350, but in most cases we recommend a trailing edge dimmer switch, such as the Varilight V Pro. This switch has 3 modes of operation, so is very flexible and its performance can be optimised to work with your dimmable LED lamps.You can use your existing stitch cover and only replace the workings.
2 Gang 2 Way LED Dimmer Switch 2 Gang 2 Way LED Dimmer Switch
As the two types of dimmer switches work differently, this determines whether they’re compatible with various types of lighting;
  • Leading edge work with incandescent and halogen bulbs
  • Trailing edge work with incandescent and LED bulbs
Essentially a trailing edge dimmer is more sophisticated for more sophisticated lighting. This means they give a smoother, quieter control and work with LED lighting.

Q 5: I've nothing dimmable at present and want to switch to LED and at the same time make them dimmable. What do you suggest I do go for? This is for both my kitchen spotlights and living room wall and ceiling lights with bulbs.

A: There are many options to choose from. A popular choice is GU10 downlighter fittings and bulbsfor the kitchen. These are available in white, brushed metal or chrome finishes. For spotlights, a good all rounder that would replace a 50 watt halogen would be the 4.5 watt GU10-350. These are available in warm white, cool white or daylight. Also with GU10 you’ll have no issue with having to change transformers. For the living room, warm white tends to be the most popular choice. We have many options of standard shapes, candle and golf ball types to suit your requirements. But bear in mind the minimum and maximum load requirements of the dimmer switch.

Q 6: Do LEDs work in touch lamps?

A: No. Unless the lamp has trailing edge dimming. It would be best to consult the manufacturer.

Q 7: What colour (warm, day or cool white) lamp should I buy to dim?

A: That would be a matter of preference. The colour isn’t what changes when dimming it is the brightness. Choosing your colour should be the same decision as usual regardless if dimmable. Generally, warm white is softer on the eye, whereas the cool white is a brighter, starker light. Somewhere between these two options would be the daylight option.See our guide on LED colours here.

Q 8 Is there a minimum and maximum number of bulbs I can dim on one switch?

A: Yes. The Varilight V Pro has a minimum of 2 lamps or 10 watts, and a maximum of 10 lamps or 100 watts, whichever is lower.

Q 9: My lamps are flickering on the dimmer. What is wrong?

A: If the switch has not already been changed, you will need a trailing edge dimmer switch such as the varilight V Pro. If it has been changed, the switch may need to be optimised to work with your particular circuit. Refer to the enclosed instructions on "optimising performance"

Q 10: Are your lamps compatible with MK or Lightwave dimmer switches?

A: We only recommend the Varilight V Pro. Lumilife lamps are not compatible with MK or Lightwave RF dimmers.