Can a Dimmer Switch Be Installed on Any Light?

Hue Dimmer Light Switch moduleHue Dimmer Light Switch module

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Installing a dimmer on your lights, whether they be at home or the office, can make a significant improvement to your space. Dimmers act as an in-between for the traditional on or off switch, allowing the user to adjust the room brightness to as dark or bright as the user may want.

A dimmer switch can be installed anywhere that an existing on or off switch is in place. Replacing the current toggle switch with a dimmer switch will allow you to change the lights’ brightness, so long as you are using a light bulb that is compatible with the dimmer you have chosen.

With so much new home-tech hitting the market, knowing what device integrates with your existing technology can be challenging to figure out. When selecting a dimmer switch, it is crucial to think about what functions you would like it to serve. With standard, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and other smart home compatible options available, selecting a dimmer can take some careful consideration.

Can a Normal Dimmer Be Installed with a Smart Light?

When installing a regular dimmer in your home, determining your dimmer usage will help eliminate potential compatibility issues down the road. Types of standard dimmers include:

  • Single-Pole Dimmers: A single pole dimmer controls a specific light or set of lights from one location. These are used to replace a traditional switch for a light with only one control switch.
  • Multi-Way Dimmers: Three-pole or four-pole dimmers are used to control lights that have multiple control switches; this is a common occurrence in a room with various entry points as it allows for light to be adjusted from different areas.
  • Plug-In Dimmers: Plug-in dimmers are used to control lamps or other light technology that would traditionally plug into an outlet. The dimmer is placed in the outlet, and then the light is plugged into the dimmer to allow the fixture’s brightness to be adjusted.
  • Smart Dimmers: New on the scene, smart dimmers provide the same features as other dimmers with the flexibility to control them from your phone or smart device. These can be installed in place of either single, multi-pole, or plugin dimmers for added convenience.

Depending on which dimmer you have selected, you can look at how it will interact with a smart light. Most smart bulbs, such as Phillips Hue, will not be reliably dimmed by a standard dimmer. Smart dimmers are your best option to use with smart lights as they work together and won’t cause any electrical problems.

Alternatively, if you add a smart light to an existing standard dimmer, you can control the bulb’s brightness from your smart device. As long as the dimmer or switch is left in the on position, your lights will continue to work through your smart home device, such as Google Assistant or Amazon’s Alexa.

Can a Smart Dimmer Be Installed on Any Light?

No matter what light fixture you are looking to change or install, a smart dimmer can control the brightness of the bulbs. This is a better option to choose if you are looking to control regular light fixtures without purchasing separate compatible bulbs. A smart dimmer will control any light, so long as the installed bulb is dimmable.

The next thought to consider is how to control your smart dimmer. Some options to consider when purchasing include:

  • Apps: Connecting your smart dimmer to Wi-Fi is the key to maintaining control of your device when you’re away from home or comfortably sitting on the couch. Different brands such as Phillips Hue or Leviton have apps that connect to the Wi-Fi-enabled dimmer.
  • Bluetooth: Bluetooth is another option for connection as it allows for connectivity without Wi-Fi. However, this option offers less flexibility as it only allows for brightness control when you are in the dimmer switch’s range.
  • Smart Home Device: Smart Hubs such as Amazon Echo or Google Home can control smart dimmers either with voice control or corresponding apps.
  • Remote: Some dimmers, such as the one offered by Phillips Hue, can be controlled both through their apps or with an included remote.

If you have a regular light fixture with a traditional bulb, you can still control the light’s on and off position from the smart dimmer. The only issue you would run into here is missing out on the brightness adjustment, which may be important to you.

Final Thoughts

No matter if you choose to use a standard dimmer or a smart dimmer, you will be impressed by the difference brightness can make to a room. Adding the smart features of both a dimmer and a bulb can give you ultimate control over all your lighting needs. Combined with a smart hub, you’ll be able to set the mood with just one simple voice command.

New to smart dimmers? Check out the benefits Z-wave dimmers have to offer here.

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