Are LED Ceiling Lights Dimmable? (Yes, but not all)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

are led ceiling lights dimmable

Since LED lighting was introduced, these low-wattage, super-efficient lamps have taken over the lighting world. Initially, LED lights were not dimmable, and then manufacturers started to produce lamps and dimmers to power them.

Most LED ceiling lights are dimmable, but not all. You need to check on the box whether dimmable is specified for that specific lamp. You will also need a special dimmer installed to dim your LED ceiling lights, as a standard dimmer will not work because of the lower voltage of LED lights.

As with any lighting, there are a few factors that you need to consider to ensure the LED ceiling lights work properly using a dimmer. Let’s look at those in more detail to understand the ‘ins’ and ‘out’s of dimmable LED ceiling lights.

Are All LED Ceiling Lights Dimmable

Not all LED ceiling lights are dimmable, and when LED was first produced, very few were dimmable. These days most LED lamps and ceiling lights are dimmable, but you still need to ensure that the box states they are dimmable before you purchase them.

Standard LED lights only have two modes – on and off, while dimmable LEDs can regulate their brightness and handle the dimming signals from the controller.

What Type Of Dimmer Do You Need With LED Ceiling Lights


There are two types of dimmer available: the Pulse Width Modulation dimmer (PWD) and the analog dimmer. For a PWD dimmer, the LED lights don’t rely on the voltage supplied to dim; they use an ‘on-off’ cycle to produce a dimming effect.

If you have your dimmer set to 80%, then the LED lights will be on 20% and off 80% of the time. This process happens in milliseconds, so you won’t even be aware of it.

The analog dimmer uses voltage control to increase and decrease the LED brightness as and when you need it. Remember that dimming your lighting is about effect rather than lighting efficiency

You also need to be aware of the type of LED lights you are using, as if you have 12V lights, you will need transformers for the dimmer. Many homeowners transition their lighting from incandescent or halogen to LED lights, but you need to remember that the existing dimmer will not work for LED lighting.

Leading Edge Vs. Trailing-Edge Dimmers

leading edge dimmer

The most common dimmer is the Leading Edge Dimmers, and these can work with LED ceiling lights and virtually eliminate any buzzing sounds or flickering that can sometimes occur with LED dimmers.

These dimmers can handle high-wattage lamps and are used for incandescents and lamps that run higher wattage outputs.

Trailing-Edge dimmers are better suited to LED lamps as they are designed to operate with lower wattage lamps and fittings and are less likely to have flickering or buzzing issues than leading-edge dimmers.

Most reputable installers will recommend trailing-edge dimmers for dimmable LED ceiling lights, and they have also become more affordable as the demand and technology improves.

What Are The Types Of LED Dimmer Controls

The beauty about the advancement of smart technology is that it has filtered through various home facilities like appliances, security, and of course, lighting. With much dimmer controlled by Bluetooth or wireless apps, you can find a dimmer that you can control through your smart device.

The standard control boxes are usually mounted on the wall, and you operate the dimmer using a manual controller. In contrast, the smart controllers offer more versatility and lighting ambiance options than the standard ones.

Of course, the smart dimmers are more expensive, but this is a result of the superior convenience you will have available at your fingertips and how you can set your lighting preferences throughout your home.

Why Are Dimmable LED Ceiling Lights More Expensive

Compared to non-dimmable ceiling lights, dimmable products are more expensive as the tech they require to be dimmable has more components to facilitate that function and, hence, cost more.

However, it would be best to weigh that up against the energy costs you would incur using halogen or normal incandescent fittings because LED ceiling lights will use around 90% less energy than other forms of lighting.

While the upfront costs of an LED ceiling light may be higher, halogen and incandescent fittings’ long-term savings and replacement costs far outweigh the initial expense. During the lifetime of a halogen or incandescent lamp, you would have to replace it a few times during its lifetime.

LED ceiling fittings will outlast other lights as they are more efficient as more of their energy is emitted as light, while other lamps have a large percentage of their energy lost as heat.

Can You Dim LED Ceiling Lights Without A Dimmer

apartment led ceiling light

Thanks to technology from Phillips introduced around 2016; you can get dimmable LED lights without requiring a dimmer. So you can now install a standard fitting taking an E27 socket, GU10 Spot, or E14 candle lamp and use the Phillips SceneSwitch lamps to create three different dimming effects.

These lamps come with three settings for the light intensity, and they are :

  • 100% with a temperature of 2700K, which is a bright light at 8W
  • 40% with a temperature of 2500K, which is a very warm white light at 5W
  • 10% with a temperature of 2200K, which is a cozy warm, almost candlelight effect at just 2W.

Because this lamp dims from the normal light switch, you don’t need to install dimmers of any kind, and you can switch the LED lamp to whichever setting you want for that particular room.

These lamps also have an operating life of around 15000 hours, and they can recall the latest setting as they have a built-in memory chip, and dimming them uses less energy.

There are quite a few different dimmable LED lamps available from various manufacturers. Still, it would be better to opt for the more reputable brands as the quality and longevity of the lights would be better.


Dimmable LED ceiling lights offer you the very best of both worlds, control over the feel and ambiance in all home areas, and super-efficient consumption for lower lighting energy costs.

Dimmable LED ceiling lights are certainly here to stay, and with a wide variety of designs and styles to choose from, you can certainly find the right ones for your home, whether online or by chatting with your electrician.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.