Different Types of Light Switches

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Lighting is capable enough to change the mood of any living space. When you think of lights, the first thing that likely comes to mind is a switch. While all of us have heard about the different types of switches, many of us are not quite familiar with their differences. So, let’s have a closer look to different types of light switches and their functions-  

Toggle Switch 

The toggle switches are standard light switches which come in both single and double poles. The toggle is flipped up or down to turn the light off or on. you will find the toggle switches in most of the homes. This is because they are very easy and convenient to use.

They are available in two standard styles- the rectangular shaped switch and the other is elevated platform. First one needs to be pushed up or down to turn on or off the light and the other one requires a mild press. They get the job done with its simple and efficient style and are easy to install with a quick two-way circuit. 

Smart Switch

Designed with modern style, smart switches are equipped with the latest technology and advanced functions. They are categorically created for smart homes and lighting setups. These Wi-Fi compatible switches are linked to your smart phones and voice assistants like Google, Alexa and Siri. With the access to smart switches, you can remotely turn lights on or off and can fully automate the lighting and atmosphere of each room in your house. Once installed, smart switches also let you adjust your lightning, according to a schedule via your phone’s app. 

Single or Double Pole Decorative Switch

Quite similar to toggle switches, the pole decorative switches come in a variety of colors and designs. They are specially designed for a more aesthetically pleasing look. Unlike toggle switches, these switches are pushed from left to right with elevated edges, in order to switch the lightning in reciprocation. They are convenient, easy, and straightforward to use which are mostly seen in residential areas. 

Pole Receptacle Combo Switch

The pole receptacle combo switch is designed as a basic switch coupled with an electrical outlet for additional roles. They are really simple switches which will work excellently in your house. These switches come with utmost ease and versatility to ensure your interiors unfold compliance around you. They are ideal for locations where additional outlets are required and thus, are mostly seen in residential kitchens and bathrooms.

Selector Light Switch (Push button)

If you wish to set up lightning with two different modes, then a selector switch is for you. It allows you to switch between two different modes effectively and is likely to be used for fans. As in fans, you can set its speed and modes as required. Same is in the case of lightning, where it allows you to choose different types of lighting modes. 

Selector light switches are being used in many places as it is pretty easy to set up and install these lights. People can use this type of switch when they wish to have different colored lights with varied lighting setup. It lets them select which one they would like to use at a particular time. The most commonly used types of selector light switch are the rotary switches. 

It comes with a rotator dial and as you rotate the switch clockwise and counterclockwise, the modes of the light changes. Also, there are several other types of selector switch as well, such as ones that work similarly to toggle switches or the ones that have different buttons to be pressed. You can decide to use anyone of them as per your requirement. 

Rocker Switch

A rocker light switch functions in the same way as a toggle switch, but the style and look differ. It is quite broad and flattened as compared to the toggle switch. Also, it has a good style for accessibility as it requires less pressure to operate. They are mostly found in industrial lighting spaces like warehouses or large multi-purpose rooms. Made in a more heavy-duty style and often coated with durable rubber or hard plastics, these switches offer full protection against damages.

This quality makes them ideal for rugged industrial working conditions. Moreover, most of the rocker switches are made in black designs with red lights which make it easier to switch it on even in the dark room. 

Motion Activated Switch

Motion activated switches are designed to activate lights when motion is detected in a room and turns off lights automatically. These types of switches are mostly used for security purposes.  You can deter criminals or burglars from targeting your home and family by installing motion sensor door lights, porch lights and other exterior lights.

Such types of lights automatically switch on when anybody comes in proximity or tries to invade your property. It can prove to be a very effective tool to keep potential vandals at bay and will help you to rest a little bit easier at night.

Motion activated lights can also be used to prevent people from sneaking in your area, especially during the night. The sudden blink of light can scare any would-be trespasser away. Also, they can help you to save you on your electricity bill as many people have the habit of leaving lights on when they exit a room. In such a case, motion sensors can detect if a person has left the room and will automatically turn the lights off. 

You can choose to go for motion-sensitive lights that come with a switch. This switch does not come with any lights. It’s easy and quick to set up the switch, just ensure to position it properly and fix the lights with it as instructed. You can also buy motion-activated lights. It comes with their own switch set up. Decide it as per your choice!

Dimmable Light Switches 

No lighting solution is as elegant as having dimmable light switches embedded in your walls. They are the contemporary home styling switches which can be used in homes, office and business settings. They not only control and dim different lights, but it also can be customized to turn on a combination of lights at a given brightness from a designated fixture in a room.

Dimmable light switches can adjust the ambience in the room to attain a desired mood or environment. This is the reason that this type of lighting is often preferred in shops or certain business settings like spas, hotels and meeting rooms. 

These flexible lightning switches are growing in popularity and are available in a number of styles, with buttons, toggles, sliders, rotating dials, remote controls and much more. However, this type of light switch calls for the appropriate circuitry and lights which allow different settings and variations. 

A Tip to Remember

When you are replacing a light switch or installing a new one, ensure the new switches have the similar amperage rating and voltage as the previous one, to where it’s being installed. For example- switches with 15 amp needs to be connected to a 14 gauge wire. For industrial or commercial use, 20 amp switches is best when it’s connected to a 12 gauge wire.


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.


We hope this guide was helpful to you. So, select the right light switches that will add the perfect touch to your home decor theme.

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