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Can you dim the light of fluorescent tubes?

A dimmer switch can empower your lighting giving you plenty of room to modify and adapt it in the way that suits your situation the best. That being said, tubes are not systems in which we often see dimmers being applied, therefore we might even be wondering at this moment: is it actually possible to dim fluorescent tubes? If so… then how? And… if not, are there better options if we would like to have dimmable lighting systems?

Dimming fluorescent tubes

A quite tricky point and therefore a tough question to answer. We can say it is actually possible to dim fluorescent tubes but not without also saying that we highly discourage you to do so. It is not recommended for your pocket, time, nor your expectations.

FYI, fluorescent lights do not dim well at all. Most results of actually dimmed light will incur in a sort of creepy intermittent flickering light which will be great for a horror zombie movie set up but not for a useful lightning system. It is possible to achieve some kind of useful dimmable fluorescent tube light installation but you will not be able to rely on it.

The process to make dimming of a fluorescent tube possible is definitely not easy to arrange. It will require mid-high knowledge in electric installations, starters, a special dimmer ballast, and a three-wire-plus ground cable instead of the regular one that your installation most likely has. Furthermore, it takes the correct type of dimmer switch, like those made for incandescent or led lights won’t work with fluorescent lights and a fluorescent light fixture that’s rated for dimming. After achieving to collect all the mentioned things, we still cannot ensure the dimming will have decent quality. We do not recommend you to attempt to achieve this by yourself if you do not have a piece of good technical knowledge.

LED tubes to the rescue

The only way to have dimmable tubes in a decent and reliable way, is by using LED tubes. With LED tubes, you can still make use of your own fixtures, LED tubes are plug-and-play replacers for the fluorescent tubes inside. Besides, many of these tubes are prepared to work with electromagnetic ballasts (EM) and come along with their own LED starter. Your only work will be to install the new LED tubes and starters in the place of your old fluorescent ones and you are ready to go. At least ready-to-use LED light in your actual fixture which saves tons of energy and money. If you want to dim these lights, you still need to do one more little thing. You will need to use a LED dimmer if you want to be able to dim you LED tubes.

Summing up
Trying to dim fluorescent tubes will be an expensive and hard thing to do, which will most likely not be profitable in any way but for light research and study purposes. So if you are thinking of trying this in order to dim the lights of your house, office or building, PLEASE DON’T. Instead, we recommend you go for some of the following LED tubes.