Dimmer Switch vs Relay Switch

We thought it would be prudent to have a page that discusses the difference between a dimmer switch and a relay switch. Some loads (devices) are inherently dimmable: incandescent lights and most ceiling fans come to mind. Dimmable in the sense that you can vary the amount of power to the device and it will do something interesting: lights will dim, ceiling fans will slow, etc. On these devices, you would install a dimmable switch if you wanted to vary the power to the device.

On the other hand, there are many devices that are NOT dimmable: most flourscent lights, coffee makers and other appliances, etc. They require either full power or no power. These can be controlled by relay switches, which have no ability to vary the amount of power to the device.

Now, it's possible that using a dimmer on those non-dimmable devices would work, particularly if you never try to dim the power - but it's really not recommended. You may damage the device that the switch is connected to, and that would probably make you very sad… :-(

So, we highly recommend that you get the appropriate type of switch for the device you're trying to control.

switch_vs_relay.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/25 22:53 (external edit)

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