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Lighting in your living space or recording studio, especially for everyone working remotely and conferencing over video chat. Good, natural lighting, set at the right level, can give that gentle glow that perfectly illuminates your face and background, without being too bright to wash out colors.
But that perfect balance isn’t always easy to strike. Lamps set to one (or at best, three) different options give you limited choices to select from, and even a designated circular light designed for tele-conferencing can only light up a small area with a few pre-programmed hues.
That’s where the best dimmer switches can back you up and complete the balance of ideal lighting in your living or work space, not to mention save energy too.
How to Pick the Best Dimmer Plugs and Switches
Here are a few things to keep in mind before buying one of these convenient and affordable additions to almost any lamp.
Switch: The sliding switches on all of these might seem similar and standard, but there are a few key differences worth keeping in mind. Will this be for a bedside lamp that you’re using by hand, or a central living room light you’d rather adjust with your foot as you walk by? Plan accordingly and note the size of the switch.
Settings: If you want to easily stop at different brightness settings along the slider without turning the entire light off or all the way up, go for a switch with air-gaps in the control. That way you can physically feel the low and medium settings without having to pinpoint it or guess every time.
LEDs: While most of these work effortlessly with regular incandescent and even Halogen bulbs, LED lights can be a little trickier. They might still work when you plug them in, but some aren’t designed to handle them, and you may notice a buzzing sound or flickering. Be sure it’s made for the type of string or decorative lights you have in mind before buying.
Extras: Another great thing about these dimmers is saving energy, as well as money, on your electric bill each month. Instead of having a lamp on its brightest or only mode, setting it at half or even a third will add up in savings every year, and the dimmer switch quickly pays for itself.
What Are the Best Dimmer Switches?
Here are the top-rated dimmer switches to use in every room.
1. Lutron Credenza Plug-in Dimmer
This metal dimmer is small enough that it won’t take up much space on a nightstand, but still provides plenty of options on the sliding switch to set it at the level you want. The cord is six feet in length, installation requires just plugging it in, and though it’s not designed for all LEDs, it works well with most regular incandescents and Halogen bulbs.
2. TOPGREENER Plug-in Lamp Dimmer
A rubber grip holds it firmly in place so you can set it at the exact sliding level you want, and the unit is heat-resistant while preventing smudges thanks to its grippy matte finish. There’s also an air-gap you can feel when dimming it down, so you’ll always know when it’s really off and not just dimmed low.
3. Leviton Tabletop Slide Control Dimmer
Leviton’s dimmer switch glides smoothly up and down, letting you stop it at the exact amount of light you want. This is UL-certified, and also allows you to turn the light all the way off. It’s ideal for patio and porch lights, or reducing the heat given off by energy-heavy lamps.
4. DEWENWILS Plug-in Dimmer Switch
This dimmer works with LED and CFL bulbs, with a 6.5-inch extension cable — among the longest we saw in our searches. The sliding switch glides smoothly along the track, with the option to switch it off completely, or crank it up high.