Types of Electrical Switches And Uses

In an electrical system, a switch is used to interrupt or direct the flow of current. All electrical appliances operate through switches, which are used to turn devices on and off. With so many switches available for so many different purposes, it is important to understand their distinctions and unique aspects. In this blog, we will break down the various types of electrical switches commonly used in household and office applications, as well as accessories that frequently accompany them.

Single pole switches, or basic on/off switches, are used to break connections between two terminals. Also known as toggle switches, single-pole switches are the most common type and are used to control one fixture from a single location. They are easy to operate, install, and replace.

Double pole switches are capable of controlling two fixtures without installing a separate box. They are similar to single-pole switches in that they are operated by the same button, and are also easy to install, operate, and replace.

Three-way switches are used to control lights with two switches. They do not have an on/off position like single-pole and are used in staircases and large rooms to access fixtures without hassle. They are easy to use, but difficult to install.


Four-way switches are used to control lights with three or more switches. They are used primarily in large rooms where easy access is required to switch light fixtures on and off. They do not have an on/off position like single-pole and are very complicated to install.

Multi-location switches are an interconnection of two or more electrical switches to control an electrical load from more than one location. These switches are used in large spaces and hallways, where having multiple controls adds safety and convenience. They are also very hard to install.

Bell switches are used in the doorbells of homes and offices. When the switch is pushed, electrical current is applied to the doorbell’s ringing mechanism. They are easy and convenient to install and use.

Support modules frequently accompanying electrical switches are dimmers, fan regulators, manual motor starters, and power units. Dimmers are devices connected to a light fixture and are used to lower the brightness of a light, and are available in single-pole, three-way, and multi-location versions. Fan regulators are used to increase or decrease the speed of an electric fan according to the user’s needs and are available in 4-step or 5-step speed options. Manual motor starters, also known as motor protection circuit breakers (MPCBs) or manual motor protectors (MMPs), are electromechanical protection devices for the main circuit. They are used to switch motors on and off manually and provide fuse-less protection against overloads, short-circuits, and phase failures. As per the load requirements, they are available in 20A, 25A, and 32A. Lastly, power units are a combination of sockets and switches and are often used in electrical components with heavy loads. Like motor starters, they are available in 20A, 25A, and 32A.

At Cogent Sourcing, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the electrical switches for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries. We’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7-365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@cogentsourcing.com or call us at 1-857-323-5480.



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