Up to now, if you wanted to dim CFL or LED bulbs, you would have to buy the right dimmer for that type of bulb—or live with flickering and other issues. Leviton’s Universal Dimmer, on display at the International Builders’ Show, is the first that’s claimed to work with practically any dimmable compact fluorescent, LED, or incandescent bulb and even with halogen-fluorescent hybrid bulbs.
Consumer Reports' lightbulb tests have shown that using a dimmer made for incandescent bulbs often means not being able to activate dimmable CFLs or LEDs on their lowest-light setting. According to Leviton, the Universal Dimmer solves that problem. An adjustment on the dimmer lets you set it for the type of bulb you’re powering—CFL, LED, or incandescent—regardless of who made it. While Leviton suggests using bulbs from the same manufacturer for consistent performance, the dimmer will work with multiple brands at once provided the bulbs are the same type and wattage.
Leviton’s Universal Dimmer should be available in March and will cost under $25 at lighting stores and other retailers. We’ll see how well this dimmer delivers a full range of light, from bright to mood lighting.