HomeZene Logo
Home
>

Different Types of Light Switches

Updated by

Lights are the perfect devices to illuminate your space. Do you know what is more noticeable than the light fixtures? It is the lighting switches. 

While we strive to have the best lighting system, installing equally attractive switches is essential.

There are different types of switches available in the market. Choosing the right one that matches your interior decor can elevate the appeal of your room.

Here we are with this article that will provide you with all the information related to types of light switches. 

By the end of this write-up, you will be able to narrow down your choice. We will help you invest wisely in those switches that will add the perfect touch to your home.

Let us dive into the discussion.

Types of Light Switches

You will find a wide array of light switches in the market. However, most of us might be familiar with only some of these. To help you gain a better understanding, below is a list of all the different types and their features. We will learn how they will enhance the decorative scheme of your home.

1. Toggle Switch

Toggle switches are the oldest types of switches available even today. Most of us are familiar with these, and toggle switches are the ones that strike our minds when we think about switches. 

Construction

The toggle switches come with a small handle that sticks out of the switch box. All you need to do is flick it up to switch on the light and then flick it back down to turn off the light. 

The toggle switches are available in two styles – single-pole toggle switch and double pole toggle switch.

Features

The advanced toggle switches come with special features like the capability to interface with your smartphone, integration with Alexa, timer setup, etc.

Ease Of Use

A toggle switch is very simple to use.

Installation

These light switches are easy to install.

Cost

The toggle switches are inexpensive, simple, and efficient.

Ideal For

The standard toggle light switches are ideal for homes and residential areas.

2. Dimmer Light Switch

Dimmer switches are those that allow the users to dim the lights effectively. 

Construction

The dimmer light switches feature a rounded knob or a dial for controlling the light intensity. All it requires is raising or lowering the dial accordingly to adjust the degree of lighting.

Features

The dimmer light switches give users the flexibility to control the lighting intensity in the room. These switches come in different varieties like touch switches (sensor pad), handy remote control, sliders, rotatable dials, etc. They help you adjust the brightness in the room as per your desired level.

Ease Of Use

A dimmer light switch is very simple to use.

Installation

These switches are easy to install. However, it needs appropriate circuitry. Moreover, you need to pair them with those light fixtures or bulbs that are capable of dimmable options.

Cost

The dimmer light switches are expensive than the normal switches. Moreover, they also have high installation costs.

Ideal For

Because of the controlled lighting feature, the dimmer light switches are ideal for homes and other places like meetings rooms, spas, restaurants, etc.

3. Push Button Light Switch

The push button light switches are the most common switches that most of us have at our homes. They are very simple switches that work excellently in every home. 

Construction

These switches mostly feature push buttons to turn on the light. Some models come in such a way that when you press the switch, they will stay in the same position. It means the switch returns to its default position after you press it.

The other model in these switches is the one that remains pushed down after you press it. You need to press the switch again to let it get back to its normal position. 

It is up to the personal preference of the user to choose which type of push button switch he wants to have. 

Features

The push button light switches come in many variations like momentary, latching, electric, pneumatic, etc.

Ease Of Use

The push button switches are very simple and easy to use.

Installation

These switches are easy to install and replace. 

Cost

The push button light switches are cost-effective. 

Ideal For

Because of their ease of use and attractive appearance, the push light switches are ideal for homes and residential areas.

4. Proximity Light Switch

Proximity light switches are energy-efficient switches.

Construction

These switches feature motion detectors or sensors that detect the movement within its field of view. When they detect the presence of people, they automatically switch on the light in the room. They will further switch off the lights automatically after the people leave the room. 

Features

The most significant feature of proximity light switches is that it turns on and off the switches automatically by motion detection. If you are someone who forgets to switch off the lights, these can be of great convenience. They help in energy conservation and save money on your electricity bills. 

Ease Of Use

These switches are not manually operated. They sense your presence and switch on or off lights accordingly. 

Installation

These switches are easy to install just like any other switch. 

Cost

The proximity light switches are a little expensive. 

Ideal For

The proximity switch lights are ideal for homes, especially to illuminate dark halls, decks, garages, etc.

5. Selector Light Switch

Selector light switches allow you to select between multiple lighting modes easily. 

Construction

These switches typically come in the form of a rotary switch. They feature a rotary dial that helps you to switch between the different lights quickly.

Features

These switches even come in different variants like the multiple push buttons and ones that are similar to toggle switches.  

Ease Of Use

The selector light switches with rotary dial are simple to use. 

Installation

These switches are easy to install just like any other switch. 

Cost

The selector light switches are cost-effective.

Ideal For

The selector light switches are ideal for home and residential areas. You can also use them for industrial or commercial applications.

6. Photoelectric Light Switch

The photoelectric light switches are those that are similar to the proximity sensor switches.

Construction

These lights feature sensors to detect photo-optical workpieces. The sensors detect objects, items, and changes in surface conditions to measure the light falling on them. They do it through a variety of optical properties.

Features

The photoelectric light switches come with a wide range of features like long sensing distance, virtually no object sensing restrictions, non-contact sensing, quick response time, colour identification, etc.  

Ease Of Use

The photoelectric light switches are not manually operated. 

Installation

These switches are easy to install and replace. 

Cost

The photoelectric light switches are a little expensive.

Ideal For

The photoelectric switches are ideal for the outdoors, especially for street lights. You can also use them in your backyards, or other outdoor areas of your property.

7. Motion-Activated Light Switches

As the name says, these switches operate by motion sensors. They turn or off the lights automatically when the sensors detect any movement or motion.

Construction

The motion-activated light switches come with sensors that detect the movement or body heat in the room. Accordingly, they turn on the lights when a person enters and turn them off once he exits the room. 

Features

The motion-activated light switches include a wide range of features of functions like daylight sensing, dimming, motion sensitivity, and smart technology. 

Ease Of Use

These motion-activated switches are not manually operated. They sense your motion and switch on or off lights, accordingly. 

Installation

Wiring and installing motion-activated switches is easy. You can easily replace them with standard switches. 

Cost

These light switches are cost-effective.

Ideal For

The motion-activated switches are ideal for homes, yards, and porches, especially for security purposes. You can also install them in your garage or basement.

8. Sound-Activated Light Switch

As the name suggests, these switches activate upon detecting the sounds.

Construction

The sound-activated light switches feature sensors that detect the sound when you clap with your hand and turn on or off the lights, accordingly.

Features

Apart from clapping with your hands, you can also control these switches using snaps pr knocks.

Ease Of Use

These sound-activated light switches are easy and convenient to use.

Installation

Wiring and installing sound-activated switches is easy. You can easily replace them with standard switches. 

Cost

These light switches are expensive than the standard switches.

Ideal For

The sound-activated switches are ideal for bedrooms. You can control the light from your bed without having to get up or walking to the switchboard.

9. Multi-Location Switches

As the name suggests, the multi-location switches allow you to control fixtures from multiple locations.

Construction

The multi-location switches contain multiple switches installed in different locations to control the same light. 

Features

The multi-location switches come in several variants, like three-way switches and four-way switches. 

Ease Of Use

These multi-location light switches are easy and convenient to use.

Installation

The multi-location light switches are very complicated to install. 

Cost

These light switches are expensive than the standard switches.

Ideal For

The multi-location light switches are ideal for installing in large rooms, hallways, and stairways.

10. Smart Light Switches

The smart light switches allow you to control the light from the comfort of your couch using your smartphones or other smart devices.

Construction

These switches are Wi-Fi-compatible switches that are highly customizable. You can turn them on or off manually or control them via an app on your smart devices or a smart speaker.

Replacing the conventional bulbs with smart bulbs or lights and installing smart light switches can help you modernize your home. Using one smart light switch, you can control several lights in your home. Moreover, you can use them with any lighting and sockets. 

Features

These smart light switches are available in a ton of options. They include a wide range of features like integrating with your smartphones, tabs and pairing with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant. Some even come with remote-control features. They also offer pre-set lighting settings or help you create custom schedules to turn on and off the lights.

Ease Of Use

They are easy and convenient to use. You do not have to get up from your seat to activate these lights.

Installation

The smart light switches take more time and effort to install. 

Cost

The smart light switches are expensive than the standard switches and also the smart bulbs. However, they provide value for the money.

Ideal For

The smart light switches are ideal for home and residential areas. You can also use them as a security function on your property. 

11. Single-Pole Switch

As the name says, a single-pole switch operates one circuit. It is the most common switch available in many homes.

Construction

The single-pole switch features a toggle switch with on or off markings on it that denote whether the power is flowing or not. It helps you control a light fixture from a single location. 

The single-pole switch usually has a single input and single output. It consists of two wires connected or separated by a switch.

It usually comes with two brass-coloured screw terminals. Each terminal has a dedicated connection to the incoming hot wire (coming from the power source) and outgoing hot wire (fixture), respectively. 

Most models from the single-pole switches include a ground terminal to connect to the ground wire of the power circuit. This ground wire helps in protecting against faults. 

Features

The single-pole switches are available in various styles like toggle and rocker-style switches.

Ease Of Use

The single-pole switches are easy and convenient to use. 

Installation

The single-pole light switches are easier to install and replace. 

Cost

These light switches are cost-effective.

Ideal For

The single-pole light switches are ideal for home and residential areas. You can also use them for industrial or specific applications.

12. Double-Pole Switch

As the name suggests, a double-pole switch controls two circuits. It is almost like having two single-pole switches but controlled by the same switch.

Construction

The double-pole switch features two switches linked together. That said, you can control two fixtures without having a separate box. 

Also known as a four-way switch, it usually comes with four brass-coloured screw terminals and a ground terminal. 

Double pole switches are available in different types, namely double pole single throw and double pole double throw.

The wires feeding electricity to double-pole switches are larger than those of the single-pole switches.

Features

You can use the double-pole switches to control 240V. They are best for heavy loads like refrigerators, showers, etc.

Ease Of Use

The double-pole switches are easy and convenient to operate. 

Installation

The double-pole light switches are easier to install and replace. 

Cost

These light switches are a little expensive than the standard switches.

Ideal For

The double-pole light switches are ideal for industrial and commercial applications. However, you can also find them in home wiring systems.

13. Three-Way Switch

The three-way light switches are similar to the single-pole switches that allow you to control a light fixture from two locations. 

Construction

These switches have three terminals, wherein one is a common terminal, and the other two are interchangeable ones. The three-way switches control a single appliance from two locations.

They feature a toggle switch without on or off markings on it. However, it has the markings inside the switch that denote whether the power is flowing or not.

Features

The three-way switch setup works well with a dimmer switch.

Ease Of Use

These three-way light switches are easy and convenient to use.

Installation

The three-way light switches are very complicated to install. 

Cost

These light switches are expensive than the standard switches.

Ideal For

The three-way switches are ideal for use in staircases, large hallways, basements, and other large rooms.

14. Pole Receptacle Combo Switch

The pole receptacle combo switches are those that combine two functions.

Construction

These switches combine a power outlet and the switch without the need for any extra switch box. The significance of these models is that you do not require a rewire or need not install an additional switch box for the power outlet.

Features

Combination switches come with a wide range of features and functionalities like remote control, switch and dimmer, fan and light controls, etc. 

Ease Of Use

These combination switches are easy and convenient to operate.

Installation

The pole receptacle combo switches are very easy to install. 

Cost

These light switches are expensive than the standard switches.

Ideal For

The pole receptacle combo switches are ideal for installing in kitchens and bathrooms.

15. Decorative or Rocker Switch

Rocker switches also called decorative switches in the US, are special light switches.

Construction

These are flat switches occupying a larger surface area on the switch board. Unlike toggle switches, they do not stick out from the wall snagging on clothes. Although they function similarly to the toggle switches, they are more appealing than the latter. Moreover, the rocker switches are wider and flatter than their toggle counterparts.

Features

These decorative light switches come in various styles like rock, turn or slide. They are easy for kids, too.

Ease Of Use

A rocker switch is very simple and easy to use. They require less pressure to operate.

Installation

The decorative switches are easy to install.

Cost

The decorative switches are a little expensive than the standard switches.

Ideal For

The decorative light switches are ideal for homes and residential areas.

16. Touch-Plate Switch

As the name says, the touch-plate switches are those types of switches, which you can operate by touching the switch plate.

Construction

These are electronic switches and do not have any moving parts like a toggle or rocker switch. Since they do not contain any snapping parts to control the lights, they are also known as quiet switches.

You just have to touch the switch pad to turn on or off the light.

Features

These touch-plate light switches come in various styles, colours, and finishes.

Ease Of Use

A touch-plate switch is very simple and easy to use. All you need to do is touch the touch plate of the switch with one or two fingers.

Installation

These switches are easy to install.

Cost

The touch-plate switches are very expensive when compared to other switch types.

Ideal For

The touch-plate light switches are ideal for homes and residential areas.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

1. Can I Use a Single Pole Light Switch as a 3 Way?

We don’t recommend using a single pole light switch in a three-way option. But if you still want to use it, the functionality of it will be similar as a single pole switch. make sure the 3-way switch is facing in proper upward direction. This represents that 3-way will be in the down position when it is off.

2. How Many Watts will Light a Switch Handle?

15 amp light switch of a standard single pole is rated for 1800 Watts of power. Also, you can get a 20 amp light switch which allows for more wattage. You should not surpass 1500 watts of lightning on a single pole light switch.
This equalizes to 80% of the circuit load. If you need a huge load or multiple circuits then a lightning relay should be used. It is used to power multiple circuits straight from your power source with a signal from the light switch. Such type of light switch is used in large commercial premises or buildings where several lights are required to turn on at the same time.

3. Will these switches be operated through my phone?

Yes, these smart switches will work through your phone command. You just need to download the app on your smartphone and you are ready to control all of your smart home devices with just a click. You can also manage your doorbells, wall switches, cameras and many more electronic appliances with its use. So, in case you went to office and you forgot to lock your doors or switch off the lights, you can easily do it from your phone, no matter where you are.

4. Are all Light Switches the Same?

No, they are not. As per the new code, every wired switch comes in a neutral option which lets you add a smart switch option which is usually neutral. Most of the traditional wiring provides power when the light switch is down. You can check out the positioning after removing the light switch. You can observe black and white wiring behind the switch.

Conclusion

I hope this article provided you with all the information related to light switches and their different types. As earlier said, having the most appealing light switches can complement your interior décor. Since these are noticeable, too, choosing the right switch type will help you modernize your home. If you are looking to upgrade your lighting system, consider upgrading the switch set up, as well. In the end, it is the light fixtures and the light switches that make a perfect combo!

Let us know in the comments section below if you find this article helpful and insightful. Please feel free to write to us know if you have any questions or need more information on the same. We would try our best to answer all your queries at the earliest. If required, we would even come up with a new article containing all the necessary information to clear your doubts and confusion.

Your feedback is very important to us. Do not hesitate to let us know if we missed out on any points or if you have any inputs to add. We would love to hear and learn from you.

Stay healthy and stay safe!!!

Related Posts:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.