How To Dim Your Lights Without A Dimmer

You want to adjust the brightness of your LED lamps without installing a dimmer? Sometimes the installation of a dimmer is not possible, too expensive or even not allowed. Fortunately, this is no longer a problem. Dimming without a dimmer is nowadays easily possible thanks to solutions like SceneSwitch or 3-way Dim. Here you can find an overview of the available technologies.

Dimming without a dimmer

We still know it from the days of the old incandescent lamps: Especially in living rooms, old slider dimmers were often installed here instead of a simple light switch. So you could dim the brightness in the evening hours and provide a cozy atmosphere. Dimming without a dimmer was not yet possible at that time.

There are also modern rotary or touch dimmers for current LED technology. However, there are some situations where you want to dim down your LED lighting without using a dimmer.

Why without dimmer?

There are various reasons why a classic dimmer cannot or should not be used:

  • Too complex installation
  • Installation not allowed
  • Dimmer is too expensive

The installation of a dimmer instead of a light switch may only be carried out by a specialist. This is associated with higher costs. The dimmer itself also has its price. In addition in many apartments it is not allowed to modify the electrical installation.

These are just a few reasons that are against the installation of a classic dimmer. Luckily there are alternatives to dim your lamps anyway and get a cozy lighting.

Dimming without dimmer possible?

Sometimes your here dimming without a dimmer is possible. But to adjust the brightness of an LED lamp, a dimmer circuit is strictly required. But the term without dimmer only means that no classic dimmer switch is used instead of the light switch. In alternative solutions, the dimmer electronics are usually located directly in the LED lamp or in the luminaire.

What are the solutions?

On the one hand there are special LED lamps and lights with several brightness levels that can be activated via the normal light switch. On the other hand, there are LED lamps that can be dimmed either via a remote control or via smartphone app.

Dimming via standard switch

The brightness of the following LED lamps can be selected in several steps via a standard light switch. For the most part, these are bulbs that can simply be inserted into the existing socket as a replacement. However two of the manufacturers also offer a variety of lamps with the same functional principle.

3-way dim

Some manufacturers offer LED lamps with a 3-way dim technology. By briefly switching on/off one after the other, the brightness can be selected between three levels like 25%, 50% and 100%. The lamp remembers the last selected setting until the next operation. In addition to the standard lamps, there is also a large selection of lamps in different variants and designs.

Dimming by remote control

Another option for dimming without a dimmer are lights with a remote control. These are simply mounted in place of the old ceiling light. The existing light switch can then remain permanently switched on. The luminaire is then conveniently operated via the remote control, whether from the sofa or the dining table.

In addition to on/off as well as the dimming function, many lights also allow you to adjust the light color via remote control or activate additional lighting effects. A wide range of lamps, ceiling lights, floor lamps and table lamps with remote control are available on the market.

Dimming via smartphone app

As an alternative to the remote control, a smartphone with a corresponding app can also be used for dimming without a classic dimmer switch. For this purpose, there are a variety of WiFi LED lamps, which can simply be exchanged for the old bulbs. The brightness and color can then be adjusted via the corresponding app.

Technical details

Here you can find additional details on how dimming works without a classic wall dimmer and what advantages and disadvantages there are.

Functioning without a dimmer

In order to control the brightness without a wall dimmer, the dimming unit has to be integrated directly into the lamp. For the presented lamps, which can be dimmed via a normal light switch, the integrated electronics react to the switching impulses of the light switch. If the switch is pressed very quickly in succession, the electronics ensure a switchover to the next brightness level.

When dimming via remote control or app, the light switch in the wall always remains switched on and provides continuous current to the lamp. This allows the electronics to wait for commands from the remote control or app and switch and dim the lamp independently of the light switch.

Advantages and disadvantages

All dimmer alternatives presented here have the advantage that LED lamp and their integrated dimmer are always perfectly matched. When using a wall dimmer, on the other hand, you must always pay attention to the compatibility between the dimmer and the lamp. When dimming by light switch, on the other hand, there is the disadvantage that only the predefined brightness levels are available.

Dimming by remote control or smartphone has no real disadvantage. Depending on the manufacturer and system, however, you should check whether several lights and lamps can be controlled with a remote control or app. This way, when using several lamps, you can switch and dim them all with the same control unit.


Dimming LED lamps is nowadays possible even without a classic wall dimmer. Thanks to the presented alternatives such as SceneSwitch or 3-way dim, there are no costs and no effort for the purchase and installation of the dimmer. Regardless of whether you canโ€™t or donโ€™t want to install a dimmer, with the alternatives presented here you donโ€™t have to do without cozy lighting.