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Best Overall: Lutron Toggler Single-Pole/3-Way Light Dimmer
This toggle-style dimmer switch is an easy way to upgrade any light switch in your house and control the brightness of LED, CFL, incandescent, or halogen bulbs. The Lutron Toggler Dimmer offers 250 lighting levels, taking your lighting beyond a simple ‘on’ or ‘off’ setting. It’s compatible with single-pole or 3-way wiring and fits into most standard wall plates. Take note that no neutral wire is required when installing this dimmer switch.
Flip the switch to turn the light on or off and use the small sliding lever to adjust the brightness. Upon installation, you can also adjust the ideal dimming range. This dimmer switch is compatible with incandescent or halogen bulbs up to 600W or LED and CFL bulbs up to 150W. You can check the compatibility chart for this dimmer switch to double-check that it will work with your specific type of bulb.
Best Budget: GE Slide Dimmer Rocker Wall Switch, Single Pole
For a cheap, effective light dimmer switch, consider this basic version from GE. Designed to work with incandescent, CFL, and LED lights, this dimmer switch utilizes a basic rocker plate and a small slider underneath that controls the brightness of your lighting fixture. It’s compatible with dimmable incandescent bulbs up to 600W or CFL and LED bulbs up to 150W. Keep in mind that this single pole version is designed for lights controlled by one switch.
Best Smart: Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch HS220
If you’re in search of a smart dimmer switch for a single-pole set-up (a light controlled by just one switch), check out the affordable Kasa Smart Dimmer Switch. This easy upgrade for your smart home comes from TP-Link and is a hub-free way to control your home’s lighting using Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Microsoft Cortana devices. You will need a neutral wire to successfully install this dimmer switch.
Once installed, a rocker switch turns the light on or off, while side-by-side buttons make it easy to adjust the brightness up or down. You can also double-click to turn off the light with a slow fade, making the transition easier on the eyes.
Best for Bedrooms: Lutron Maestro LED+ Dimmer Switch, Single-Pole or Multi-Location
If you’ve ever turned off the light in your bedroom, only to stumble your way to the bed—hoping to avoid stumbling into furniture along the way—consider a dimmer switch with a fade-to-off function, like this version from Lutron.
The Maestro LED+ is an ideal dimmer for the bedroom and gives you the option for a slow fade to off, ranging from 10 to 60 seconds. Installation is simple since this dimmer switch doesn’t require a neutral wire and can be utilized for both single-pole or multi-location applications. Plus, with 27 different colors of switches, it’s easy to make this light switch blend in with your bedroom’s décor.
Best for LED: Lutron Diva LED+ Dimmer Switch, Single-Pole or 3-Way
If you want reliable, flicker-free dimming operation from your LED bulbs, check out the Lutron Diva LED+ dimmer switch. This model is a safe bet with most LED bulbs; the manufacturer’s compatibility chart lists 991 LED bulbs that work with this switch, including some of the most popular lightbulbs from makers like Cree, Ecosmart, and Philips. A single switch can control up to 17 bulbs, and it’s UL-approved to handle mixed loads with different types of bulbs.
This dimmer switch for LED bulbs does not require a neutral wire and can be used with both single-pole or 3-way switch locations. It’s compatible with up to 150W LED or CFL bulbs. Despite being extensively tested for use with LED bulbs, you can also use this dimmer switch for incandescent or halogen bulbs up to 600W.
Best for CFL: Legrand Radiant Single-Pole/3-Way Illuminated Light Dimmer
The Legrand Radiant makes a good option if you’re shopping for a CFL-compatible dimmer switch. Compared to other dimmer switches for CFL bulbs, this version supports some of the highest-wattage bulbs—up to 450W for CFL or LED bulbs, and 700W for incandescent or halogen bulbs.
The switch is compatible with both single-pole or 3-way installation options and features a rocker panel to turn the light on or off. A wider-than-expected slider makes it easy to adjust the brightness of your bulbs quickly. This dimmer switch blends into the room, and is available in a variety of neutral switch and plate colors—including options like graphite, bronze, and brushed nickel.
Best Plug-in: Leviton 300-Watt Tabletop Dimmer
A plug-in dimmer is an easy way to adjust the brightness of bedside lamps or a floor lamp in your living room, without worrying about hardwiring your fixtures and installing permanent dimmer switches. Instead, simply plug the lamp or lighting fixture into a tabletop dimmer, like this version from Leviton.
It’s compatible with incandescent, halogen, dimmable LED, and dimmable CFL bulbs and has a 6-foot cord to reach the closest outlet. A small box on the cord includes an easy-to-use slider that allows you to set the brightness of the lamp at your specified level for either ambiance or energy savings.
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 bring the lights to full brightness easily.
Control While manual dimmer adjustment (in the form of a sliding lever) is giving 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.
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 that's compatible with your current technology platform.