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5 Tips for Choosing a Quality Dimmer

With the popularity of downlights, pendant lights and mood lighting continuing to be robust, and the growth of dimmable LED technology, finding good quality dimmers to work with all types of lighting – the good and the el-cheapo – is more important than ever. Everyone hates call backs to sort out a flickering or malfunctioning light (Is it the dimmer? Is it the lamp?), so here are 5 tips for choosing an excellent, modern dimmer:

1. Can you set the minimum and maximum brightness levels?

Being able to set the minimum light level in particular is a fantastic benefit because you can avoid the flickering sometimes associated with low light levels. This is often more prevalent when the dimmer is combined with a poor quality lamp.

2. Is it compatible with a slave switch for multi-way dimming?

We all love the convenience of multi-way dimming and it’s an excellent function to be able to offer homeowners. Traditional rotary dimmers won’t allow multi-way dimming, so find an electronic push-button dimmer with a compatible slave switch. With a good brand you’ll find the slave switch also works with electronic push-button switches for multi-way switching.

3. Does it have over-temperature protection?

To combat overloading or insufficient de-rating, a good dimmer will automatically reduce lamp brightness when the dimmer is getting too hot. Then once the dimmer has cooled down, it will automatically resume normal operation. This is an excellent safety feature and it’s good to explain this to homeowners.

4. Does it have short-circuit protection?

Like all quality electrical accessories, you want a dimmer with short circuit protection. If the dimmer receives a short circuit or surge due to faulty wiring or lamp failure, you want it to automatically turn off before damage can occur. Again, this is a feature that’s great to explain to homeowners so they feel secure and know what’s happening, as well as what to do if the lamp goes off. If you take the time to explain features like this, your customers will think you are a knowledgeable, trustworthy electrician. And they’ll be more likely to recommend you to others. So, it’s worth it.

5. Does it work well with a wide variety of loads, particularly LEDs?

To maximise flexibility and usefulness, look for a dimmer that works well with a wide variety of loads. With LED lighting becoming better, and more popular, it’s best to ensure the dimmer you choose will work well with dimmable LEDs. Even if the property isn’t using LED lighting now, they might change the lamps in the future.

As new lamps are popping up everyday, and situational factors also affect performance, it’s impossible to have an up-to-date dimmer v. lamp compatibility list. However, good manufacturers should be able to provide you a reasonable compatibility chart. See the Legrand & HPM Dimmer v. LED Downlight compatibility chart here.

Lastly, as with all electrical products, ask the three magic words “DOES IT COMPLY?”. To maintain the credibility of our industry, and to keep people safe, we all need to ensure products meet Australian and NZ standards.

For an overview of Legrand Excel Life electronic dimmers, watch this video: