One of the many benefits of using smart bulbs is that you can dim them remotely. You can set the mood for a cozy, romantic dinner with subdued lighting or enjoy family movie nights at home with low lights without leaving your seat.
All you have to do is open the corresponding app on your smartphone to control your smart light’s brightness level.
- Do Smart Bulbs Work with Dimmer Switches?
- Using smart lights with traditional dimmer switches
- How about using a smart dimmer switch with a smart light?
Smart bulbs do not work well with dimmer switches, especially traditional ones. Most have a built-in dimming mechanism, which could clash with old-fashioned dimmer control wired to the fixture. Dual dimming features could result in your lights flickering.
This article will talk about smart bulbs and their dimming capability. You will learn how to dim your smart bulbs without the dimmer switch.
You’ll also read about your problems with smart bulbs and dimmer switches.
Do Smart Bulbs Work with Dimmer Switches?
Old incandescent bulbs require a switch to turn the lights on or off. If you want to dim these lights, you can do it manually with a dimmer switch wired and installed on your wall. But with smart bulbs, it is different.
Do you need a switch for your smart bulb to work?
With smart bulbs, switches are generally unnecessary if your light fixture is wired directly to the electrical socket, where it gets power and electricity.
Your smart light will turn on and off through an electrical chip inside. This chip receives the signal from your smartphone app or virtual home assistant.
If your smart bulb is connected to an old light switch, you must always leave that switch on at all times, even if your bulb is on standby.
This way, you can make sure your bulb sticks to the lighting schedule you have set or would respond to your lighting instructions at any given time.
Turning on your smart bulb through the dedicated app on your phone will not work if this bulb’s hard switch has been turned off.
In other words, your smart bulb and non-smart switch cannot communicate.
Smart lighting and its dimming mechanism
Smart bulbs have dimming mechanisms that work excellently. You can control their brightness level smoothly and precisely without the buzzing or flickering you typically experience with your old incandescent lights and their dimmer switches.
To dim or control your smart light’s brightness, you only need to open the corresponding app on your smartphone.
You can also hook up your smart bulbs remotely to virtual home assistants like Google Home and Alexa over your Wi-Fi network so your lights can receive voice commands.
You can give voice commands like turning your bulbs on and off, changing light colors, or brightening and dimming your smart lights.
They have different brightness and dimming levels
Different brands of smart bulbs dim a little differently from each other. And this is because the human eye perceives the changes in brightness levels logarithmically.
You will need a significant drop in lumens to notice that your light has dimmed. Different brands have different approaches to the dimming curve.
So, to put it simply, if you ask Alexa to turn a particular smart bulb brand on with low light, the result might be different if you do the same thing with another brand of smart bulb.
Using smart lights with traditional dimmer switches
Using your old-fashioned wall dimmer switch with your smart bulb is not a good idea because it could interfere with your light’s built-in dimmer mechanism in its microchip.
Using a dimmer switch with your smart bulb would only have bothersome or unpleasant results.
The wiring of your wall dimmer switch could clash with the signals in your smart bulb’s microchip. This could result in your light flickering and producing a buzzing noise.
So, if you have decided to change your old bulbs into smart bulbs, you will have to uninstall your old dimmer switches or condemn them altogether.
How about using a smart dimmer switch with a smart light?
There’s such a thing as a smart dimmer switch, a good bridge between an old bulb and an old dimmer switch. They have a microchip inside that lets them control your non-smart bulbs’ brightness.
A smart dimmer switch also lets you set your light on a timer. You can turn your bulbs on or off remotely and set a schedule for your lights.
Smart switches work just like traditional dimmer switches but with many added features. And you don’t have to stand up and touch your smart switch to operate it.
To control your smart dimmer or switch, connect it to a dedicated app on your smartphone. You can also connect it to your virtual assistant to give it voice commands.
A smart dimmer switch works with non-smart bulbs. Connecting a smart bulb to a smart dimmer switch would be an unnecessary waste of money.
Using both smart devices would give you two apps, which would only be more confusing to your devices than convenient.
Moreover, the primary function of a smart dimmer switch is to control multiple ordinary lights in a room simultaneously.
On the other hand, smart bulbs always need to be on and should not be constantly turned on and off with a switch.
It is the smart lights, and not the switch, that dictate the amount of energy they draw—as such, using a smart switch to control your smart bulbs will only reduce their lifespan.
Smart switch vs. smart lights
So if you are in the process of automating your home, you may have to choose between smart bulbs and smart switches.
There are pros and cons to each of them. For instance, many experts recommend picking smart switches over smart lights because switches are easier to use. But with smart bulbs, you get to enjoy the color-changing feature.
Smart bulbs are also easier to fit and replace, whereas smart switches may require professional installation.
Ultimately, however, you must pick the easier and more convenient one to integrate into your current home setup, which is more practical and cost-effective.
Some smart switches work with smart bulbs, though, and you can enjoy the best of both worlds. Both devices must be compatible with smart switches and bulbs to work together.
The smart switch, for one, should be able to let power through to the lighting fixture constantly. A smart switch should also be able to select different light colors.
One example is the Philips Hue dimmer switch, which works well with the Philips Hue bulbs.
Traditional dimmer switches work only with non-smart light bulbs. Pairing them with smart bulbs is not a good idea because their technologies are incompatible.
Moreover, smart bulbs have microchips that give them their dimming mechanism. As such, traditional dimmer switches would only be redundant.
Connecting both devices would only result in flickering lights and buzzing noises.
Smart dimmer switches are also available, but they were generally designed to work with non-smart bulbs. Connecting a smart dimmer switch to a smart bulb would also just be redundant and an unnecessary waste of money.