Most dimmer switches I see in stores have an on / off toggle and also a slider to dim the lights. They look something like this:

light switch with toggle on left and slider on right

I think their goal is that you can set the brightness at your preferred level, then switch the light off and on without changing that.

However, I want a dimmer switch that works more like this speaker knob: to turn it off, you twist it counterclockwise, reducing the volume all the way to the minimum, at which point there's a click as you pass from on to off. Turning it on is the reverse: click on, turn up to desired level.

speaker knob

The advantage here is that you never switch on the sound or the light and get surprised with a very bright or loud level; you always start at nothing and turn it up to the desired level. As a nice side effect for a dimmer switch, because you must consciously choose the light level every time, it's likely you'll stop before reaching maximum brightness instead of always defaulting to that, and thereby save power.

Is there a name for this kind of "toggle knob" dimmer switch so that I can search for one?

  • Dimmers and volume controls are wildly different - dimmers exploit features of the supply power to make the dimmer cheaper. They would simply not work on audio. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 14 '19 at 15:37
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica I don't understand the point you're making. I'm not asking how to use a dimmer switch as a volume control. I'm asking for a dimmer switch whose interface is like this volume control, and it turns out they do exist - "slide-to-off" or "rotary" dimmers. In retrospect, a faucet would have been a better analogy. – Nathan Long Nov 14 '19 at 19:57

"Slide to off" for one that works in a straight line. "Rotary dimmer" for one that is round. If you're using with led's you need to make sure the one you choose is compatible with led's.

  • Yay, awesome, those search terms are finding what I want! – Nathan Long Nov 14 '19 at 14:37

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