I purchased a light and don't know if it is compatible with dimmer switch. I have so far read it is more so the light bulb that that affects compatability and most light fixtures work with dimmer switch. (Just a plain old pendant light nothing fancy) just want to know if my understanding is correct as I would rather install myself. Thanks.

  • 1
    yes, the light bulb is the part that is, or isn't, dimmer compatible ... the light fixture is just an extension cord
    – jsotola
    Feb 12, 2022 at 1:06
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    If it has LED bulbs and they're dimmable (not all LED bulbs are), then it will need an LED compatible dimmer. A picture of the fixture/box and the make & model number will help people help you figure it out.
    – FreeMan
    Feb 12, 2022 at 1:38

2 Answers 2


If it plugs into an outlet, outlets are not supposed to be connected to dimmers since bad things happen when you plug loads other than lights into an outlet controlled by a dimmer (as in - electrical code does not allow that.) A switched outlet is fine, a dimmer-controlled outlet is not (there might be a special case for a weird type of outlet you'd only find on a lamp intended to be used with a dimmed outlet, and incompatible with normal plugs?)

If it wires into place and has a socket for a bulb, the fixture has nothing to do with the dimmer-compatibility or what type of dimmer is compatible. That's all on the bulb you put into the socket.

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    You can buy in-line plug-in dimmers, though - lamp goes in dimmer, dimmer goes in wall. Bulb compatibility is all that matters.
    – J...
    Feb 12, 2022 at 15:01

Most "old school" fixtures are, functionally, just wires. They don't have any smarts in them that would care about dimmers, and they just pass electricity straight through to the bulb sockets.

A few (mainly: in fans) have current-limiter modules that do not play well with some dimmers.

Of course the new generation of fixtures dispenses with the concept of "bulbs" altogether. LED light-making emitters will outlast the fixture. Unfortunately their DC constant-current power supplies will not -- they should socket those! (some actually sort-of do).

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