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Dimmer switches let you adjust the brightness level of the lighting in any room and create the ambiance you desire at any given moment. "Dimmers are a critical part of any well-thought-out lighting plan," says Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light. "They elevate your lighting fixtures from not only serving as show-stopping focal points to then also turning your lights into highly functional workhorses as well."
With that in mind, we researched dozens of dimmer switches, considering functionality, design, brightness range, ease of installation, and smart home features. Our best overall pick is the Lutron Maestro LED+ Dimmer Switch, thanks to its versatile design and convenient tap controls, including a handy fade-to-off feature.
Here are the best dimmer switches.
Best Overall: Lutron Maestro LED+ Dimmer Switch, Single-Pole or Multi-Location
Single-pole or multi-location installation
Works with virtually all dimmable bulbs
Advanced tap controls
Several fixture colors
Wallpate not included
Who else recommends it? Bob Vila also picked the Lutron Maestro LED+ Dimmer Switch.
What do buyers say? 91% of 4,000+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The Lutron Maestro LED+ Dimmer caters to different needs and preferences, is compatible with single-pole or multi-location dimming applications, and offers 250 different brightness levels. Its flexible, user-friendly, and adaptable design earns it the top spot on our list.
This dimmer switch is a standout largely thanks to its intuitive controls. A rocker along the side allows you to change the brightness level of the light, but the dimmer also relies on tap controls to let you do more beyond adjusting the brightness range. One tap will set your lighting to your last-used brightness or turn your lights off, while a double tap will bring your lighting to maximum brightness. If you don’t want to turn the light off instantaneously, press and hold the switch to activate the fade-to-off feature. With this feature, you can program how long it takes the light to shut down, ranging from 10 to 60 seconds.
This dimmer switch is compatible with LED and CFL light bulbs of up to 150 watts or incandescent and halogen light bulbs up to 600 watts. Unfortunately, you’ll have to buy the wallplate separately. On the plus side, you can trust this dimmer will look great on your walls, thanks to its low-profile design and availability in an array of colors.
Best Budget: GE Single Pole Rotating Dimmer Switch
Works with LED, CFL, and incandescent bulbs
Includes two knob colors
No push on/off
Some flickering at low light levels
Rotary dimmer switches are some of the easiest to operate, and the GE Rotating Dimmer Switch is also budget-friendly. This single-pole switch is compatible with dimmable LED and CFL bulbs up to 150 watts and incandescent bulbs up to 600 watts, and all you have to do is turn the knob to dim or brighten the light.
The GE dimmer switch actually comes with two different knobs—white and light almond—to match common fixture colors and removable tabs for multi-gang installation. The knob rotates to turn your light on and off (there’s no push option). However, some users report experiencing flickering when dimming certain bulbs to low levels.
Best Rocker: Lutron Diva LED+ Dimmer Switch, Single-Pole or 3-Way
Classic rocker design
Single-pole or 3-way installation
Works with virtually all dimmable bulbs
If you want your dimmer switch to match other fixtures in your home, the Lutron Diva LED+ Dimmer has a discreet slide control next to the classic rocker switch. You can install it on single-pole or 3-way lights, and it works with pretty much any type of dimmable bulb, including LED and CFL bulbs up to 150 watts or incandescent and halogen bulbs up to 600 watts.
This dimmer switch is incredibly easy to use. The rocker turns lights on/off to your favorite light level, and the small slider on the side dims and brightens the light. As for installation, it takes as little as 15 minutes (no neutral wire required), and it even comes in several colors to match your home’s other switches.
Best Slider: Lutron Skylark Contour LED+ Dimmer Switch, Single-Pole or 3-Way
Large, smooth slider
Single-pole or 3-way installation
Works with a variety of dimmable bulbs
Numerous colors available
On/off switch is small
The Lutron Skylark Contour LED+ Dimmer Switch features a large slider for adjusting the brightness level of your lights and a small on/off rocker on the bottom. The switch is compatible with both single-pole or 3-way applications, giving you more versatility in its installation. It also works with dimmable LED and CFL bulbs up to 150 watts or incandescent and halogen bulbs up to 600 watts.
The Contour dimmer has a smooth-sliding knob, and it comes in a wide range of colors to match your decor. It doesn’t require a neutral wire, making it easier to install in homes of all ages, and the brand’s patented technology allows you to optimize the dim range of your bulb to prevent flickering.
Best Smart: Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch HS220
Able to control via smartphone or voice commands
No smart hub needed
Illuminated switch locator
“Gentle off” feature slowly fades lights
May not work in older homes
If you enjoy technology, the Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch might be the perfect option to add more smart functionality to your home. You can operate this Wi-Fi-connected unit remotely from your smartphone or via voice commands given to Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. It also has an on/off rocker switch, up/down dimmer buttons, and a brightness indicator on the switch itself for in-person operation, and it works with LED and CFL bulbs up to 150 watts and incandescent bulbs up to 300 watts.
You can only install the Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch in single-pole applications, and it does require a neutral wire, so it may not work in older homes. Thanks to its smart functionality, the switch can be put on an automatic schedule, and there’s even a “gentle off” feature that gradually fades the lights, giving you time to get into bed or leave the room.
Best Design: WeMo WiFi Smart Dimmer
Sleek modern design
Compatible with most voice assistants
Night mode uses lower light level
May not work in older homes
For a sleek, modern fixture that’s packed with functionality, you can’t go wrong with the WeMo Smart Dimmer. You can control this Wi-Fi-connected switch from anywhere using your smartphone, and you can also control it using voice commands, as it’s compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit's Siri.
The WeMo Dimmer offers a variety of useful features, including Night Mode, which automatically uses a lower brightness setting during certain times—like when you go to the bathroom at night. It also has an Away Mode, which turns lights on and off randomly to make it appear like you're home. It's fairly easy to install, but keep in mind that this switch requires a neutral wire, which older homes may lack.
Best Wireless: Philips Hue v2 Smart Dimmer Switch and Remote
Easy to mount
Controls up to 10 lights
Remote can be removed from switch
Only compatible with Philips Hue bulbs
If you live in a rental or just don’t feel comfortable installing a wired light switch, the Philips Hue Smart Dimmer Switch is a totally wireless option for your home. This dimmer switch can be mounted to any wall in your home using double-sided tape or its magnetic backing, and the control pad even pops off the mount, allowing you to use it as a remote.
Because it’s wireless, this product is solely compatible with Philips Hue smart light bulbs. You can use this switch to dim, brighten, and turn on and off up to 10 Hue lights at a time. The battery-powered unit will last a minimum of two years and offers even more smart functionality when connected to a Hue Bridge.
Best Plug-In: Treatlife Plug-in Lamp Dimmer Switch
Alexa- and Google Assistant-compatible
Hub-free, app control from anywhere
Sunrise and sunset simulation
App and smart home setup can take time
Does not work with smart light bulbs
The Treatlife Plug-in Lamp Dimmer Switch has a lot to offer: a simple plug-in design requiring no wiring, clever features, and an impressive zero percent to 100 percent brightness range. It's compact and rectangular with one outlet on each side so you can control two lights at once. While this dimmer switch isn't compatible with smart light bulbs, it works with LED and CFL light bulbs of up to 150 watts and halogens and incandescent light bulbs of up to 300 watts.
With this dimmer switch, you can turn your lights on and off via the app from anywhere via the compatible app—and it doesn’t even require you to set up a separate hub. It’s also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and SmartThings to control your lights with voice commands. You can turn the light on or off by clicking the button on the switch, too. You can set timers for when the lights go on and off, and it even has a handy sunrise and sunset simulation feature, which allows you to set your light to turn on and gradually increase in brightness in the morning or gradually decrease in brightness until it turns off at night.
The Lutron Maestro LED+ Dimmer Switch ticks all the boxes for a great dimmer switch. You can use it in both single-pole and multi-direction applications, and it works with all types of dimmable light bulbs. The Lutron Maestro LED+ also offers a variety of useful features, including a fade-to-off function. For a less expensive model, consider the GE Rotating Dimmer Switch, which has a traditional rotary design and comes with two colored knobs to match your decor.
What to Look For in a Dimmer Switch
Single vs. Multi-Room
Many LED dimmer switches are only wired to control the lighting in a single room, but others are equipped to change the lighting in multiple rooms with the press of a button. If you opt for a multi-room option, you’ll need compatible dimmer switches in several rooms—and the electrical setup can be a little trickier—but you can set the mood in an instant or easily bring the lights to full brightness.
While manual dimmer adjustment (in the form of a sliding lever) gives way to remote-control and app-controlled options, some people prefer the reliability of using a wall-mounted switch. However, today’s LED dimmer switches make it possible to turn the lights up or down from the comfort of your couch, and that's a convenience you may ultimately want.
Whether you choose a wall-mounted slider or a remote-controlled system, dimmer switches allow you to create the ideal atmosphere for work, play, and rest. "During the day, dimmers can be increased to 50 percent or more to add a layer of ambient lighting to any natural light that you may have coming into the room," says Johnson. "In the evenings, particularly in any areas where you may be working (i.e. cooking dinner for the kiddos), we recommend keeping the dimmers at 100 percent to maximize the amount of light coming from your fixtures to brighten the room and help avoid any unnecessary eye strain. Overnight, we recommend keeping dimmers on their lowest setting to act as a night light in the common areas of your home."
Smart Home Features
Some dimmers are equipped with the technology to integrate with major smart home systems, including Google Home, Amazon Alexa, Samsung SmartThings, and Apple HomeKit—to name just a few. If you want to control your lighting via your smart home platform, look for a model compatible with your smart home ecosystem or the voice assistant of your choice.
How does a dimmer switch work?
Modern dimmer switches work by quickly switching the light circuit on and then off. When this happens, electricity diverts away from the light bulb, which reduces the amount of electrical current flowing through the light bulb. The result is that less light emits from the bulb.
How do you install a dimmer switch?
“Dimmer switch installation is difficult, and it is recommended every homeowner—unless an experienced professional themselves—seek professional assistance to ensure safety and that the task is done properly,” says Joel Worthington, President of Mr. Electric.
The basics steps to installing a dimmer switch are as follows:
– Turn off the circuit breaker to the switch and light fixture that you’ll be working on, and use a voltage detector to ensure power has been cut before touching any wires.
– Remove the switch plate cover and the old switch, detaching the circuit wires.
– To install a single-pole switch, connect the green ground wire to a green or exposed copper wire in the wall box, twisting ends together with a wire connector nut. Connect each dimmer wire (black) to the house wires separately. These wires could be black, white with black markings, or red. Tighten the ends together with wire nut(s).
– Put the new switch back into the electrical box, and then turn the circuit breaker back on to test the switch.
Can you use a dimmer switch on any light?
You can use dimmer switches on most light fixtures, but you need to ensure the bulb is dimmable and compatible with the switch you’re installing.
“Installing a dimmer switch is easy but requires a little bit of forethought,” explains Worthington. “Before ejecting your current light switches, do your homework. Not all bulbs can be dimmed, including many CFLs and LEDs—so be sure to check bulb boxes for specifications before purchasing. In addition, ceiling fans require special dimmer switches to prevent current fluctuations from damaging the motor.”
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, who is a freelance writer and product tester for The Spruce. While researching products for the article, she spoke to Joel Worthington, President of Mr. Electric, for insights on buying and installing dimmer switches in your home. Based on his guidance, she selected switches that were compatible with a wide range of bulb types. Whenever possible, she also prioritized products that could be used in both single-pole and 3-way applications and didn’t require a neutral wire—both of which offer more versatility in installation.
Emma Phelps offered additional assistance with this article by connecting with Bryan Johnson, CEO of Shades of Light, to learn more about the benefits of installing dimmer switches and the aesthetics they offer to elevate a home.