Today dimmable CFLs are offered by GE, Sun Lite, and Ushio among other manufacturers. Though dimmable CFLs are certainly an innovation, there are certain limitations to these bulbs. First, dimmable CFLs do not usually dim below 10%-20% brightness because the bulb cannot sustain light at that point. Another complaint surrounds the fact dimmable CFLs, and all CFLs for that matter, can take up to a minute to reach full brightness. This means that you cannot dim the bulb until it has reached full luminosity. Lastly and most importantly, there are limitations regarding the type of dimmer you can use with your CFL. As a rule of thumb never use photo cells or timers with any CFL unless you can do so as indicated on the bulb’s packaging. Dimmers are built to work within a certain power range. Dimmers that are designed for primarily incandescent bulbs, and especially older dimmers, will be engineered to work with wattages above 40w, this is too great for dimmable CFLs and could be problematic. More recent dimmers, particularly those released in the 1990s, have a wider wattage range and are therefore most likely compatible with your dimmable CFL. The point is that if possible, you try to find out what type of dimmer you have and what its range is before you dim your dimmable CFL. One final point is that as incandescent bulbs are dimmed their color temperature typically gets warmer and more ambient; this is not really the case with CFLs. The benefits to dimmable CFLs, however, are that they are more efficient and longer lasting and better for the environment. It is also likely that as the incandescent bulb phase-out approaches dimmable CFL technology will only improve, and rapidly. Dimmable CFLs will save you significant amounts of energy and you will not have to change your light bulb as often as if you use incandescent bulbs.
BulbAmerica has a wide selection of dimmable CFLs and regular CFLs in addition to other energy saving lighting products. We also have many, many dimmers. Check out what we have to offer!