ELV dimmers are a great way to control your smart lighting. These dimmers are some of the few that are actually compatible with LED lights and even compatible with certain brands of smart lighting.
There are several different types of dimmer technology when it comes to switches that can control your home’s lighting. Each different version of dimmer corresponds to a different version of light whether they are LED, incandescent bulbs, or fluorescent lighting. Lutron Caseta is one of the most popular lines of smart lighting controls out there, but do they offer ELV dimmers? Well the short answer is…
Yes, Lutron Caseta offers some ELV dimmers (such as the Caseta PD-5NE-WH) that can control your home’s LEV lighting. They offer a wide range of dimmers including some that are compatible with Hue bulbs. There are also several other brands to consider if you need a different type of dimmer switch. Here’s everything you need to know about dimmer switches.
What is an ELV Dimmer?
ELV dimmers are one of many different kinds of light dimming technology.
ELV dimmers work with lighting fixtures that require less electricity than traditional lights. These can be track lighting fixtures for recessed lighting, but they are now traditional fixtures with smart LED bulbs. This has caused the demand for smart ELV dimmers to surge.
These dimmers have the same traditional function as regular light dimmers. They work by lowering the voltage that goes from the wall to your lighting fixtures. However, ELV dimmers work by lowering the current in a much more sustainable and energy-efficient way. This makes them an ideal choice for our energy consumption conscious smartphone technologies. They are also expressly made to work with LED lighting which is the gold standard for smart home lights.
This is one of the biggest advantages of these new types of light dimmers and why we see ELV dimmers taking the lead in smart home lighting controls.
Let’s take a close look at a few more of these advantages.
Benefits of an ELV Dimmer
We’ve already hinted at a few of the benefits of an ELV light dimmer, but now let’s take a closer look.
The first benefit of an ELV light dimmer is the lower power usage of these lighting controls. This has the natural benefit of dramatically improving your home’s energy costs as well as being compatible with more modern devices that require a lower voltage. This leads us to one of the most useful benefits for ELV dimmers.
It’s hard to find a light dimmer that works with LED technology. LEDs use very little electricity. This is great in terms of their energy efficiency, but it means that there’s a mismatch between the amount of energy LEDs use and the amount of energy old-fashioned light fixtures put out.
This isn’t a problem when you’re screwing your LED light bulb into the socket, but it can be an issue when you are using an old-fashioned dimmer with LED lights. ELV dimmers to solve this problem by having an energy usage that more closely matches what is used by LED lighting.
Part of putting together your smart home ecosystem is about orchestrating and displaying your style. If you grew up around old-fashioned light dimmers, you know that they have one major flaw when it comes to aesthetics.
Old-fashioned light dimmers hum. The amount of electrical current that goes to an old-Fashioned light dimmer causes it to make a faint humming noise. While this usually isn’t an issue, you can hear it at night and during quiet parts of the day. ELV light dimmers practically make no noise. This allows them to seamlessly slot into any home with no intrusive side effects.
Now that we know the ins-and-outs of the ELV dimmer technology, let’s see what smart home brands are using these types of light dimmers.
Is Caseta an ELV Dimmer?
Lutron Caseta is one of the most respected brands when it comes to smart lighting controls. They are right there next to Philips Hue in terms of their position at the top of the smart lighting market. So, do they have any dimmers that work with ELV technology?
Yes! The Caseta line of products does include dimmer switches that meet ELV standards, such as the PD-5NE-WH which is over $100 but it’s fully ELV compatible. These can be used with traditional LED lighting as well as more modern smart LED lights. If you are using Lutron with other smart lighting brands, make sure you are combining compatible technologies. Some smart lights are not compatible with dimmers.
It’s also worth keeping in mind that not every Caseta product is also compatible with ELV. Lutron makes a wide range of products even within their Caseta lineup. It’s always worth double-checking to make sure that the dimmer you have purchased is compatible with ELV technology if that’s what you’re looking for.
Lutron Caseta’s dimmer switches work with the full range of smart home tech including some of the most common smart home apps including: Google Assistant, Amazon’s Alexa, and Apple’s HomeKit.
What if ELV dimmers aren’t right for you? Let’s take a look at a few options for people who need to use other technologies and still want the smart home advantage.
Alternative Smart Switches That Are ELV Dimmers
Here’s an interesting fact about dimmer switches. They aren’t actually named from what the switch does, but rather the type of light that they are applied to. ELV switches aren’t necessarily ELV themselves, but they work with ELV lighting.
There are a wide range of alternative technologies when it comes to dimmer switches. There are dimmer switches that apply to virtually every type of lighting that your home could have. There are fluorescent dimmer switches as well as dimmer switches that apply to halogen lighting.
We’re going to go over a few of the more common alternatives to ELV dimmer switches, since ELV dimmers aren’t the only game in town. There are a few other technologies we need to look at to complete our smart home dimmer lineup. Depending on the type of lighting you want to have in your home, you might need one of these alternatives to ELV dimmer switches.
Let’s start with one of the most common.
MLV stands for “magnetic low-voltage.”
These dimmers are designed to work with an older range of lights that require magnetic low voltage. MLV dimers are a common sight in homes around the country. Many high-end lighting systems used to use MLV dimmers in their setups. It’s still common to find an MLV dimmer in your home. If you’ve got track or recessed lighting that isn’t LED, there’s a good chance that it runs with an MLV dimmer switch.
There are a variety of brands out there that create MLV dimmers designed to work with smart technology. One of the ones most relevant to this article is the Lutron Diva. Well this is outside of the Lutron Caseta line of products, it is a smart dimmer that works with MLV lighting. Just like the rest of Lutron’s products, it also works with Google, Apple, and Amazon systems.
There are a wide range of other brands that incorporate MLV lighting into their smart ecosystems. You’ll be able to quickly find Smart alternatives for you or current MLV switches if you’re looking to just upgrade the switch and leave the lighting as is.
This might be great for an MLV lighting, but what about our homes that are still using incandescent or halogen bulbs?
Incandescent and Halogen Dimmers
When we think of smart home lighting technology we don’t often think of incandescent light bulbs. The truth is, that many homes still run incandescent lighting even though these bulbs are becoming less and less common. There are options for you if you’re looking to hang onto your incandescent or halogen lights, but still want all the advantages of a smart switch.
Smart tech options designed for incandescent lighting are still slightly rare. Since these type of light bulbs are on the way out, it’s less common to find manufacturers trying to cater to this audience. The smart home technology we see today is also heavily focused on LED technology. New designs and new innovations are all pointing towards the LED future. This means that incandescent bulbs are being left in the past as an outdated technology.
There are, however, options that offer smart dimmer switches that work with incandescent light bulbs.
Meross is one of the brands that makes smart dimmers that work with incandescent and halogen bulbs. The smart dimmers work just as you would expect them to. They also work great with all the major smart home tech players and are an ideal choice for people still hanging on to their incandescent lighting.
Triac dimmer switches are some of the most common types of light dimmers you can find in American homes today. This is largely because they were designed to work with incandescent lighting which used to be the standard. In order to talk about why triac dimmer switches have fallen out of favor, we need to briefly talk about electricity.
Triac dimmers work by regulating the resistive load going from the power source to the light. Incandescent lights operate with a resistive load. LED lights, on the other hand, do not have a resistive load. This means that triac dimmer is unable to dim LED lights as they do not work with the same electrical standards as those lights do.
There are new types of triac dimmers available that can dim traditional incandescent lighting alongside LED lights. These dimers have been angled towards the smart technology market and people who have systems that use both LED lighting and traditional incandescent bulbs. The options for finding a smart triac dimmer used to be fairly limited to a selection of basic models.
While there have always been solid options for controlling traditional lighting with smart technology, there have only recently been triac dimmers that are showing off the full capabilities of smart tech.
Let’s take a look at one of the most capable smart triac dimmers on the market.
Gledopto AC Triac Dimmer
The Gledopto AC triac dimmer is one of the best options for people looking for a smart triac dimmer today.
These dimmers offer almost all the smart features you’ll be looking for. You can control them with an app on your smartphone, voice commands, as well as via Google Home, HomeKit and Amazon’s Alexa. Best of all, they also work alongside LED lighting.
If you’re worried about adding another device to your home’s Wi-Fi system, you’re in luck. The Gledopto AC triac dimmer uses ZigBee 3.0 network connectivity. This will let you use this with any universal ZigBee bridge to connect it into your home’s smart tech ecosystem. This way you can bring your incandescent lights to the twenty-first century without bogging down your home’s Wi-Fi connection.