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 primary downside many individuals encounter is the bewildering array of electrical terminology used. Here’s a transient clarification of the essential phrases you will come across.

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

Method: the number of switches capable of switching a light. For flexibility, most switches are 2-way. A light managed from 1 change only requires a 1-way change (though a 2-manner swap can be used with none issues). A light controlled from 2 switches e.g. a landing light, will require two 2-means switches.

Intermediate: if a light may be activated from three completely different switches, two of them will need to be 2-approach switches, and the third an intermediate switch.

Single Pole: a single pole switch has one contact. When switched it will break only the live current and leave the neutral current intact.

Double Pole: a double pole change has separate contacts and will break each live and neutral currents. Double pole switches are really helpful in most conditions, especially if there are children within the house.


Bear in mind, you’ll be able to put as many switches and sockets onto an electrical circuit as you require. Nonetheless, it’s nonetheless value planning where you will have them before you buy. It is best to think concerning the totally different needs of the room and your life-style: where 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 stainless steel sockets with usb relatively than single sockets, as the worth distinction is minimal.

All the time buy switched sockets for further protection. This doesn’t apply to sockets for kitchen home equipment corresponding to freezers, which shouldn’t be switched in case the switches are accidentally turned off.

Most individuals only put 1 TV point in a room; don’t make that mistake! Install TV points on a minimum of 2 completely different walls in a room, chances are you’ll well wish to re-arrange the furnishings and move the TV in the future.

Also consider the lighting wants of a room. Dimmer switches present a relatively low cost and simple strategy to fluctuate the light levels in a room, significantly useful for creating completely different moods in eating, living or bedrooms. Do not forget that if a light is to be operated from 2 places, and one of the switches for use is a dimmer, the other should be a standard 2-approach light switch, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The variations listed here are more than merely aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look modern, trendy and sophisticated, however additionally they provide a sensible, area-saving answer to fitting sockets behind furniture. Nonetheless, the drawback for renovations is that they usually require deeper back boxes than were originally installed, 35mm relatively than 25mm. Changing back boxes could be time consuming and messy.

Screwed or screwless?

Aesthetically, screwless flat plate switches give a good more trendy look than screwed flat plate, but screwless switches and sockets have an added advantage: they prevent money and time too, as they are often fitted with out the front plate before you decorate, then painted round rapidly and easily with out using masking tape or worrying about marking the plate. When dry, merely clip the entrance plate on.


Polished chrome, brushed metal and black nickel are the preferred trendy finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome notably is that it shows up finger marks very easily. A technique to assist 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 mentioned above, brushed metal (also referred to as brushed chrome) is the simplest to keep clean.