Electrical Switches and Sockets – A Buyer’s Information

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


The first drawback many people encounter is the bewildering array of electrical terminology used. Here’s a temporary explanation of the essential phrases you will come across.

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

Approach: 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-method switch (although a 2-means change can be utilized with none issues). A light controlled from 2 switches e.g. a touchdown light, will require two 2-means switches.

Intermediate: if a light will be activated from three totally different switches, of them will have to be 2-method switches, and the third an intermediate switch.

Single Pole: a single pole swap has one contact. When switched it’ll break only the live present and go away the impartial current intact.

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


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

Always buy switched sockets for extra protection. This doesn’t apply to sockets for kitchen home equipment such as freezers, which should not be switched in case the switches are by chance turned off.

Most people only put 1 TV level in a room; do not make that mistake! Set up TV factors on a minimum of 2 totally different walls in a room, you could well need to re-arrange the furniture and move the TV in the future.

Also consider the lighting wants of a room. Dimmer switches provide a relatively low cost and straightforward technique to vary the light levels in a room, significantly helpful for creating different moods in dining, residing or bedrooms. Keep in mind that if a light is to be operated from 2 places, and one of the switches to be used is a dimmer, the other should be an ordinary 2-approach light change, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The differences listed below are more than merely aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look smooth, trendy and sophisticated, but additionally they provide a sensible, house-saving resolution to fitting sockets behind furniture. However, the drawback for renovations is that they usually require deeper back boxes than were initially put in, 35mm moderately than 25mm. Altering back boxes will be time consuming and messy.

Screwed or screwless?

Aesthetically, custom popsocket screwless flat plate switches give a good more fashionable look than screwed flat plate, however screwless switches and sockets have an added advantage: they save you money and time too, as they are often fitted with out the front plate earlier than you decorate, then painted round shortly and simply without 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 fashionable finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome particularly is that it shows up finger marks very easily. One way to help to keep away from this is to decide on a range the place the plate is polished chrome or black nickel, but the switches themselves are made of black or white plastic. Of the three finishes talked about above, brushed steel (also known as brushed chrome) is the simplest to maintain clean.