Can I use a single dimmer for multiple lights each having a one way switch?

Dimmer wattage is taken care

  • Are you trying to have a dimmer controlling all the lights with independent switches for each light, or...? Dec 28, 2019 at 21:14

2 Answers 2


Trivial, but it won't work as you'd like with common gear

You can have a dimmer controlling some number of lights. You can also have a switch interrupting each individual light (at its simplest: a "pull cord" on each fixture). The switch needs to be downstream of the dimmer (between the dimmer and light). It should switch the hot wire only (unless you are in the Philippines, then follow local code).

However, how well this works will depend on the type of dimmer used.

If you use cheap, common, bog-standard leading-edge or trailing-edge "Triac" dimmers (98% of what you'll find in the home improvement stores), then brightness will be irregular. Switching lights on and off will change other lights' brightness, possibly significantly, and you may need to readjust dim levels as you switch lamps in and out.

If you want to avoid that, you can pursue other technologies:

  • Commercial grade 0-10V dimming. A dimmer sends a 0-10 volt signal on 2 additional wires to each fixture. However the price will give you sticker-shock.
  • Low voltage LED "PWM" dimming. The signal is a "duty cycle", or what fraction of the time the signal is "on" versus "off". This can be sent directly as power to the light, or a signal to an amplifier circuit at the light. This runs on 12 volt or 24 volt DC, and all this tech is available dirt cheap. IKEA has systems based on it (their lamps are a great source). Leviton or Lutron actually makes standard form-factor wall dimmers that do 12/24 volt PWM. Meanwell and GE make respectable power supplies. And while we normally warn you away from the sea of cheap Cheese junk out there on Amazon Marketplace, eBay and Alibaba, it's a lot less dangerous when it's 12/24 volts (and I admit using that myself).
  • Smart light bulbs. In this case you have the smart bulbs talk to the hub or whatever... and command the bulbs to any brightness you want via the smart system, which you control via a variety of methods.

The 0-10V system can easily control lights on multiple circuits; that is to say, the dimmer does not need to be upstream of the light switches. The same is true of the PWM system if you use amplifiers


If the three single switches are in the same 3-gang box, you can combine them into one dimmer switch. Turn off the power. Remove the three switch feeds from the hot leg and connect the hot leg to the dimmer with the appropriate connectors.. Remove the three load wires from the switches and connect them to the load wire of the dimmer. Connect ground wire, if there, to dimmer.

If the lights are fed from different circuits, use the least loaded circuit for connection to the dimmer making sure not to over load the circuit. Keep in mind you can't exceed the wattage rating of the dimmer. You stated it's taken care of, but just make sure.

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