Dimmer for incandescent lamps: types, how to choose, the best models and manufacturers

Amir Gumarov
Checked by a specialist: Amir Gumarov
Author: Lyudmila Gudkova
Last update: January 2020

Modern electrical appliances provide a number of additional features. Many users have already appreciated dimmers that allow you to smoothly dim the lighting, creating an atmosphere of coziness and comfort to the room.

When choosing such devices, it is important to pay attention to their compatibility with the category of the light source. For example, a dimmer for incandescent lamps is designed specifically for this type of lighting fixtures.

In order not to get confused in the store and not to get confused in the variety of offers, you should first learn more information about dimmers, agree? All the necessary information is collected in our article.

We described the principle of operation, the pros and cons of using dimmers, gave a detailed classification of devices and outlined the rules for their connection. A review of the best manufacturers and models will help you choose a practical and high-quality model of the dimmer.

The principle of operation of dimmers

Dimmers are convenient devices that allow you to change the degree of illumination of rooms, reducing the power of the lamps. These devices can be based on various solutions.

The simplest device is a conventional rheostat, the disadvantage of which is significant heating during use.

To avoid this, ballast household transformers, compensating for temporary voltage surges, are included in the power circuit.

Button Dimmer Circuit
Even the simplest dimmer can perform important functions (+)

Light regulators are considered more modern and convenient devices, the design of which is based on semiconductors - triacs, thyristors, dinistors.

Such devices guarantee easy control of the unlocking / locking moments associated with a change in the direction of the current in the circuit.

Thyristor dimmer circuit
Thyristor dimmer circuit. The simplest kind of light control device that can be easily made with your own hands, having elementary technical skills (+)

Self-oscillating devices are also manufactured on the basis of transistors: in this case, the main nodes are field elements of high power.

Read more about the device and the principle of the dimmer in this article.

Dimmers: advantages and disadvantages

The advantages of dimmers include:

  1. Comfortable brightness control. In some cases, this can be done remotely or with an acoustic signal.
  2. Possibility of using regulators as switches for ignition and extinguishing of lamps.
  3. Reducing the load helps to extend the period of operation of lighting devices.
  4. Modern models often have a programming function, which allows you to simulate the presence of the owner in case of departure.

A wide range of devices is presented in the assortment of specialized stores, which differ in their design, design, cost, and a set of various options.

Remote control dimmer
An extremely convenient device is a remote dimmer that allows you to ignite and turn off the light, as well as change its brightness at a distance using the remote control

At the same time, these devices have a number of certain disadvantages. First of all, they are sensitive to overheating, therefore it is recommended to install them in rooms with a temperature not exceeding + 25 ° C.

When using dimmers, a minimum load level of 40 watts must be observed. If this indicator is often violated, the regulatory mechanism will fail prematurely.

The impulses supplied can become sources of radio interference. To compensate for this not too pleasant effect, coils with capacitors (LG filters) are sometimes introduced into the circuit.

If powerful lamps with long filaments are included in the circuit, you should be careful not to apply minimal voltage to them, since the devices can begin to “sing”.

It is strictly forbidden to connect televisions, computers, tablets, radios to the power circuit. It is not allowed to connect electronic ballasts (electronic ballasts), fluorescent lamps.

Energy saving
According to experts, a 50% reduction in incandescent lamp power with modern dimmers saves 15% of electrical energy

The debatable issue is energy savings in the regulation of work incandescent lamps.

Studies by scientists have shown that the use of modern types of dimmers contributes to some reduction in power consumption, but this figure can hardly be called impressive.

Types of regulators for incandescent lamps

There are several options for classifying devices for controlling the brightness of light bulbs.

According to the principle of operation of regulators

All models can be divided into two large categories:

  • mechanical;
  • electronic.

Mechanical. These include simple budget devices that operate on the principle of a rheostat. They have a handle, turning which you can increase or decrease the voltage, which causes a change in the intensity of the light flux.

Mechanical devices produced by different manufacturers have the same design. However, they may vary in quality due to the technical characteristics of the parts used and the thoroughness of the assembly.

Special units can also be added to the mechanisms of individual models, which facilitate smooth process control and / or ensure stable operation of the dimmer with a minimum supply of electric current.

Electronic. Regulators are quite complex devices, which are controlled on the basis of conventional or touch buttons.

An integral part of such devices is a microcontroller, which significantly expands their capabilities compared to mechanical counterparts.

Dimmer protective elements
In models of dimmers, as a rule, protection against overheating is provided, which turns off the device when a certain temperature is reached, as well as from a short circuit

Here are just a few additional features that can be equipped with such devices:

  • installation of several control panels located in different areas of the room;
  • the ability to regulate the operation of regulators at a distance;
  • use of standard and custom modes of light sources;
  • connecting a dimmer to the light sensor, due to which automatic adjustment of the intensity of artificial lighting is achieved depending on the degree of natural light.

Electronic devices are extremely convenient in operation, their disadvantage can be considered only a high cost.

By type of instrument design

Depending on the design features, three main types of dimmers can be distinguished:

  1. Modular, the appearance of which resembles circuit breakers. Similar appliances compatible with incandescent lamps are usually installed in switch cabinets. Their adjustment is made by button or key.
  2. Mounted, with installation in special boxes, the device of which is provided at the stage of electrical work. They are compatible with various types of lighting products.
  3. Monoblockoperating similarly to conventional switches. Devices require a two-wire connection, which makes it possible to break the phase wire circuit, causing a load.

The last option is most often used to control lighting in residential premises.

According to the installation method of electrical appliances

Depending on the installation option, two types of dimmers are distinguished: internal and external.

Indoor installation. This option is used when laying hidden wiring. In this case, the devices are mounted in special boxes, which are specially arranged in wall niches.

Different models of dimmers
Manufacturers pay special attention to the development of models of overhead dimmers. Devices often have an original design and sophisticated colors.

Outdoor accommodation. In electrical circuits, surface dimmers are installed on the surface of the walls.

Due to their attractive appearance, they are not only of practical importance, but also perform a decorative function, placing emphasis in the interior.

According to the method of dimming

When choosing a model, you need to consider how the on / off / adjustment is performed.

Based on this criterion, the following options can be distinguished:

  1. Rotary push - controllers with a button, pressing which allows you to turn on / off the light, and rotation - to control its intensity.
  2. Swivel - when turned on, the lamp lights up with a minimum degree of brightness, which is increased by rotating the button.
  3. Keyboards - the lighting is adjusted by holding down the key.
  4. Sensory - A modern version that allows you to control lighting by touching the sensitive plate of the screen.
  5. Remote - the regulation of work is carried out at a distance using remote controls, but is often duplicated in the traditional way.

There are also models where the acoustic principle is used. In this case, you can light up or turn off the lighting device with a voice command or with a pop.

Standard connection option

Connecting the dimmer to the lighting system is quite easy, you should only consider that, depending on the modification, the device can have two or four terminals.

Installation Safety
When connecting the device to the circuit, safety regulations must be observed. All manipulations should be carried out when the power is off, using tools with intact insulation.

The design of monoblock models provides two terminals, through which it is necessary to connect the broken phase of the lighting circuit. As a rule, such devices are installed instead of switches in an existing socket.

Instructions for connecting the dimmer

The process consists of the following steps:

  1. First of all, it is necessary to unscrew the bolts and remove the switch by disconnecting it from the wiring.
  2. Then carefully consider the marking of the terminals, where the arrows indicate the incoming and outgoing phase. For clarification, it is possible to check with a tester.
  3. In compliance with the polarity, the wires remaining in the socket are connected to the terminals of the dimmer.
  4. After that, the dimmer is inserted into the box and fixed using self-tapping screws or in another way.
  5. At the end of the process, an electric current is again supplied to the circuit to check the correct operation of the connected equipment.

At connecting dimmer with four terminals, two of them are attached to the broken phase of the lighting circuit, and the control button is removed to the other two.

Tips for choosing dimmers

When choosing a regulator for incandescent lamps, it is important to consider all of the above features. In addition, experts recommend paying attention to a number of additional nuances.

If you plan to place the device in a room whose temperature exceeds +25 ° C, it is better to use a model equipped with built-in ventilation or a fuse.

Reducing the glow of devices
Light control with a dimmer is performed using the "phase cut-off" method. In this case, part of the sine wave is cut off, which leads to a decrease in the voltage that is supplied to the lighting

Dimmers are designed for a certain power of lighting devices, which cannot be exceeded. If the regulating device is planned to be connected to a chandelier or a group of fixtures, the total indicator must be taken into account.

The cost of products varies widely. The most budget options are keyboard and rotary models, but electronic ones provide more options. If desired, you can assemble a simple model DIY dimmer.

Since the operation of electrical equipment is directly related to housing safety, it is better to give preference to products of reputable brands, whose products are highly rated in user reviews.

Top Dimmer Manufacturers

We will name several well-known brands of electrical products, in the catalogs of which a significant place is given to small products, including various types of dimmers.

Legrand. A large French company, considered a leader in the global core market.

Numerous enterprises located in 80 countries produce more than 215 thousand products, including various modifications of dimmers.

Legrand dimmers have reliable safe operation and a long service life. The model range is quite wide: in the catalogs you can find both traditional and original options.

Dimmer Legrand Celiane Series
Dimmers from the Celiane series are characterized by high performance and sleek design. To design devices, the manufacturer also offers interchangeable frames of various colors

Among the advantages include a flexible pricing policy. The company offers both exclusive expensive appliances and devices at a budget price.

Simon. A Spanish holding headquartered in Barcelona. The company specializes in producing electrical installation equipment of different price categories. The assortment includes luxury product lines and budget class models.

Simon products are practical, functional, have an original appearance. In the catalogs you can find various modifications of dimmers, including touch and rotary, as well as spectacular solutions with backlight.

Dernek GROUP. A major manufacturer that produces all kinds of electrical products under the Lezard brand, its goal is to produce affordable high-quality products.

Dernek focuses primarily on mass demand, offering products with a simple design at affordable prices.

Dimmer Mira brand Lezard
Products included in the Mira (Lezard) line are offered in a variety of colors. Among the proposed options - a spectacular shade of "golden metallic"

At the same time, Lezard appliances exhibit good performance. In their manufacture, high-grade plastic and stainless steel are used, and the thought-out mechanism of the device is equipped with a fuse.

Berker. German family company founded in 1919. All products manufactured under this brand are manufactured at a large enterprise located in Germany in Schalksmühl.

Mostly the brand produces products in a traditional design at affordable prices. Berker dimmers are characterized by impeccable quality of mechanisms, ease of use, accurate appearance.

Schneider electric. Founded in the XIX century, the French company offers a wide range of electrical accessories, which is highly appreciated by professionals.

Among the branded products are push-button and rotary controls, as well as universal models suitable for different types of lamps.

Schneider Rotary Dimmer
Schneider products are characterized by an original design and exclusive quality that guarantees reliable operation and long product life

Upscale products are reliable and durable, using modules and interchangeable frames. The disadvantages include only a relatively high cost.

ABB. Swedish-Swiss company with a leading position in the production of high-tech electrical equipment.

In the production of products, impact-resistant and UV-resistant materials are used, which gives the products increased strength and extends the life of the product.

The design of dimmers is distinguished by elegance and expressive colors; even in the basic collections, spectacular fluorescent brands are used.

The advantages include ease of installation, comfort in use, the possibility of modular solutions.

Makel. A Turkish manufacturer engaged in the production of electrical goods for almost four decades.

Product lines are manufactured on German equipment with careful monitoring of all processes. The catalog contains various types of products exported to 40 countries.

Dimmer Mimosa brand Makel
Democratic Makel products are available in a large assortment, making it easy to choose an attractive model of a dimmer or other electrical accessories

Available Makel products offer good performance, practicality and functionality.

To facilitate installation, colored conductors are used, as well as robust mounting clamps that guarantee stable contacts.

The best models for incandescent lamps

Here are a few examples of popular devices in different price categories, making them a kind of four leaders.

Universal DELTA dimmer from Siemens

The series includes both push-button and keyboard dimmers. Easy to install and operate, the device can be used even with significant loads applied to the lamp.

Siemens dimmer elements
The DELTA dimmer from the largest German manufacturer is distinguished by its classic design and excellent quality. The device is made of high quality plastic, resistant to mechanical damage.

Devices are suitable for various types of light sourcesincluding incandescent lamps. Separate modifications included in the line have additional functions.

These, for example, include the ability to memorize the light level set at the previous power-on, or the ability to control the flow of light from different places in the room.

Celiane dimmer by Legrand

The Celiane series from a renowned French manufacturer combines dimmer models compatible with various lamps, including incandescent devices. The range includes products designed for a total power of 300 to 600 watts.

The models are made in four exquisite shades: white, ivory, titanium and graphite. In addition to the usual, waterproof versions with high degree of protection.

Of interest is the intelligent version of the device, due to which a smooth drop in lamp power for an hour or stepwise adjustment of light intensity is available.

Swivel-push dimmer from ABB

Dimmers 651500842 with a rotary-push mechanism are suitable for use with 60-400 W incandescent lamps.

The devices of this series, made in the original color scheme, are made of especially durable plastic and metal alloys that are resistant to corrosion and deformation.

Model ABB 651500842
The kit for the ABB 651500842 dimmer also includes a pad and a caliper, used when mounting the product on vertical surfaces

The circuit for connecting the device allows you to connect a switch to it. This makes it possible to turn on and off the light from two different places, however access to control is provided only from the main device.

To turn on the lamp, you need to press the handle, turning which you can increase or decrease the brightness of the lighting.

When you turn off the device will remember the last position of the button, so the next time you turn on the light brightness will be set automatically.

Lezard Mira dimmer

The mechanical device is designed for a load not exceeding 800 watts. Regulation is carried out by rotating the round knob: this allows you to change the resistance, which leads to an increase or decrease in the brightness of the lamp.

The device is enclosed in a housing standard for this type of electrical fittings. Its design makes it easy to connect a dimmer to already laid lighting circuits.

The advantages of the model include ease of use, a long period of operation, a budget price.


Conclusions and useful video on the topic

The video presented in detail describes three modifications of dimmers, the famous French company Schneider Electric, as well as how to connect them:

Dimmers designed to work with incandescent lamps are convenient devices that increase comfort and quality of life. On sale is a wide range of products that may differ in technical solution, the presence of various functions, a diverse design.

Different types of dimmers are extremely easy to install, which allows you to install yourself. It is only important to strictly observe the safety rules and carefully carry out all the manipulations.

Have experience choosing or using a dimmer for incandescent lamps? Or want to ask questions on the topic? Please comment on the publication and participate in the discussions. The feedback block is located below.

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Visitors Comments
  1. In my house, in every room there is a chandelier. It seems to be nothing unusual, but everyone has at least three shades. Accordingly, the same number of bulbs. Five 60-watt incandescent lamps are already Hell on earth. An hour later, the eyes begin to hurt from the bright light. Well, do not sit in the dark? So I took off the old switches and installed dimmers with a rheostat from Makel instead. What is especially good is that they come with a built-in fuse. When locked in a chandelier, he immediately de-energizes it.But then the dimmer will have to be changed. Although they connect easily. I think anyone can handle it.

  2. Well, with a dimmer on an incandescent lamp, problems should not arise. At least for a person who is at least a little able to work with his hands and did not skip labor lessons at school. And a useful thing, which will allow you to choose the power of lighting for yourself, and even save energy. The only thing - I do not recommend taking too complicated dimmers with extra functions if you are not confident in your electrician skills. Timer, acoustic controls, etc. - this is all good and convenient, but remember that complex things often fail.