Electrical Switches and Sockets – A Buyer’s Information

Electrical Switches and Sockets – A Buyer’s Information

This is a layman’s information to the things you must consider earlier than embarking on a new build or renovation project.


The first problem many people encounter is the bewildering array of electrical terminology used. Here’s a transient clarification of the fundamental terms you’ll come across.

Gang: the number of switches or sockets on one plate. A light change with 3 switches is called a three gang switch. A normal double socket is called a 2 gang socket.

Manner: the number of switches capable of switching a light. For flexibility, most switches are 2-way. A light controlled from 1 swap only requires a 1-way switch (though a 2-approach swap can be utilized without any issues). A light controlled from 2 switches e.g. a touchdown light, will require 2-way switches.

Intermediate: if a light will be activated from 3 different switches, two of them will should be 2-approach switches, and the third an intermediate switch.

Single Pole: a single pole change has one contact. When switched it should break only the live current and depart the impartial present intact.

Double Pole: a double pole switch has two separate contacts and will break both live and neutral currents. Double pole switches are really helpful in most conditions, particularly if there are children in the house.


Bear in mind, you may put as many switches and sockets onto an electrical circuit as you require. Nevertheless, it’s still price planning where you’ll need them before you buy. It is best to think concerning the totally different needs of the room and your life-style: the place do you require most power sockets? With the proliferation of electrical gadgets you should install more sockets than you think you will have, and make them double sockets somewhat than single sockets, as the worth distinction is minimal.

Always purchase switched sockets for extra protection. This does not apply to sockets for kitchen home equipment resembling freezers, which shouldn’t be switched in case the switches are accidentally turned off.

Most people only put 1 TV point in a room; do not make that mistake! Install TV points on a minimum of 2 completely different walls in a room, you could well need to re-arrange the furniture and move the TV within the future.

Additionally consider the lighting needs of a room. Dimmer switches provide a relatively low cost and simple way to differ the light ranges in a room, significantly helpful for creating totally different moods in dining, living or bedrooms. Remember that if a light is to be operated from 2 places, and one of many switches for use is a dimmer, the opposite should be a typical 2-means light swap, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The differences here are more than simply aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look modern, trendy and sophisticated, but in addition they provide a practical, area-saving solution to fitting sockets behind furniture. Nevertheless, the drawback for renovations is that they usually require deeper back boxes than have been initially installed, 35mm quite than 25mm. Changing back boxes might be time consuming and messy.

Screwed or screwless?

Aesthetically, screwless flat plate switches give a fair more modern look than screwed flat plate, however screwless switches and sockets have an added advantage: they save you time and money too, as they can be fitted without the front plate before you decorate, then painted around shortly and simply with out using masking tape or worrying about marking the plate. When dry, merely clip the entrance plate on.


Polished chrome, brushed steel and black nickel are the preferred trendy finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome notably is that it shows up finger marks very easily. One way to help to avoid this is to choose a range where the plate is polished chrome or black nickel, however the switches themselves are made of black or white plastic. Of the three finishes talked about above, brushed stainless steel sockets with usb (also called brushed chrome) is the simplest to maintain clean.

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