Top 5 Types of Light Switches and How to Choose One

There are many types of electrical switches on the market today, each one with different specifications and features. Learn more about them in this article.

Electrical wall switches are devices that open or close an electrical circuit. There are many different types of electrical switches in the home. The most common electrical switch is the one-way light switch, but it doesn’t mean it’s the best one. In this article, you will find a list of the most popular electrical switches among homeowners. We will also help you decide which ones you should install in your home. Also, it is best to seek professional electrical services when you plan to change any switch in your house.

Types of Electrical Switches in the Home by Specification

Here are five of the most common light switches and what each one does. Electrical switches are grouped according to their specification and usage.

What is a Single Pole Switch Used For?

What is a single pole switch? A single-pole switch or one-way electrical switch is the standard household switch. The primary usage is to control the lights and fans in homes. The single pole switch controls lighting from one location, unlike the two-way light switching, which controls lights from different locations.

The single pole electric switches have two brass-colored screw terminals attached to the switch's body. The one-way electrical switch is used to control the flow of electrical current. The switch is connected to a generally black-colored wire that carries the current. One of the hot wires takes current from the power source, and the other hot wire carries outgoing current to devices in your home.

What’s a Double Pole Switch and When to Use It?

What is a double pole switch? Dual pole switches are connected to two separate electric circuits. They contain two linked switches and can complete the circuit simultaneously or staggered. The wires of double pole switches are more prominent than single-pole switches. They have four hot terminals, while the single-pole switch has two hot wires. This switch is used for 30 amps, unlike the single pole ones that employ 15 or 20 amps.

What is a double switch used for? They are used to power appliances with heavy loads like dryers, cookers, and showers. The two-way electric switches are used to control 240V circuits.

You might wonder when to use a double pole switch when wiring your home. This type of electrical switch is recommended when you want to place a light at the top and bottom of a staircase. 

Different types of light switches with varying buttons push attached to a concrete wall of a house

Triple Pole Switch

Three-way wall switches control one or more lights from multiple locations. The triple pole switch is generally the standard light switch for places like a hallway. The triple pole switch toggle does not have an ON/OFF marking.

The three-way switch has three screw terminals and a green grounding screw attached to the body. The darkest screw on the three-way screw is usually marked "COM," which stands for common, and it is either connected to the hot wire that carries current from the power source or the hot wire that brings light to the light fixtures. The triple pole switch has a green grounding screw.

Four-Way Pole Switch

What is a 4 way light switch? It is an electric switch with four terminals, each with two pairs of travelers, one usually black and another pair brass colored. It also comes with a ground terminal. This switch is commonly combined with a three-way switch to form a circuit.

The four-way electric switch is used in large rooms with multiple exit points or long hallways.

Five-Way Pole Switch

A 5-way light switch combines double three-way light switches and triple four-way light switches. Like the four-way switches, the five-way switch is used in rooms where you want to operate the light from many entry locations.

Different Types of Electrical Switches for Light by Usage

DND Switch

The do not disturb (DND) electrical switch is unlike the standard light switch in the market. It is a different kind of switch with a soft-touch operating switch. It is generally used in places where privacy and silence are needed, like hotels and hospitals.

Light Dimmer

A dimmer switch is used to lower the brightness of the light. These types of wall switches are often used to personalize the ambient lighting in a room. Contrary to what some people say, the dimmer switch does not decrease the amount of voltage to the light.

Bell Push Switch

As the name suggests, a bell push switch is connected to a doorbell. When the switch is pushed, it rings the bell attached to it. You can find these electric switches in homes and offices.

Bell push switch is one of the types of wall switches. When the switch is pushed, the bell rings.

Hire a Licensed Professional Electrician in Colorado

Operating an electrical switch can be dangerous, and you should not handle live wires. It is always recommended to contact an experienced electrician to run the wiring of all the types of wall switches in your home.

McCarrick Electric was established in the 60s and has been providing excellent electrical wiring services to the residents of Colorado ever since. You can always trust our certified electricians because they have combined 25 years of industry experience. We also have the expertise to handle all the different types of light switches in your home.

Our office is at 10843 E. 96TH PL. Commerce City, CO 80022. We also offer our premier services in and around:

  • Aurora
  • Denver
  • Henderson
  • Brighton
  • Thornton
  • Westminster
  • Highlands Ranch
  • Littleton
  • Parker

No matter your electrical needs, we have professional electricians who are certified to handle them. We don’t offer quick fixes, only long-lasting solutions! Call McCarrick Electric today for all the types of electrical switches you need.