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We all love properly illuminated spaces, but are you confused about the kind of light fixture needed for your area? We are here to help!
A crucial part of lighting is the switch, and you will have to know about the different types of switches to be able to make a decision. There are various models, and you can choose from among pressing a button, toggling, touching a panel, or merely clapping in the room.
Yes, that is how varied the range is, and with the advent of technology, there are motion sensors and proximity detectors which work on their own. So, if you are planning to renovate the house, you will probably need to understand the various light switches and fixtures before moving forward.
To make the job easier, we have decided to curate a list of the popular switches and fixtures. All you need to do is sit back and glance through to get a complete understanding of it.
So, without further ado, let’s dive in.
Types Of Light Switches
- Types Of Light Switches
- Light Switch Buyer’s Guide
We have dedicated this section to the detailed description of switches and where they can be placed. Previously these involved a simple toggling between two options, and that would open and close the electrical circuits. But today, you have multiple controls and preset settings. There is specific lighting for each room, and then some houses have central lighting controls.
You will also find different ranges of switches that work with halogen and fluorescent lights. It is essential to know the location where these can be used for enhanced convenience. Read on to know all about it.
Toggle switches are the most common variant of light switches available in the market. Chances are you must have already seen these and played with them since childhood. They are very easy to operate, and you just have to flip it up and down to use it.
If you need a new light in the bedroom, your local electrician is going to get these switches by default and what’s more! This model is cheap and easily available, two things that most consumers look for.
Now with the advancement of technology, there are switches available that can be controlled with your smartphones. These are synced, and timers can be set up. The lights can be scheduled to switch on at a particular time, and the toggle switch would operate automatically. This is very convenient, and people are choosing this more and more every day.
But if you like the classic version more, opt for the traditional switch, and you can keep toggling it when needed. They are reliable and will last for a very long time.
With single-pole switches, you simply have a switch that can be flipped to turn it on or off. With a simple two-way operation, anybody can figure out how to work with these.
The best part about these is that on and off is written on two sides of the switch. Even a child will understand how to operate it, and hence this is so commonly used.
Coming to its working process, there are two screw terminals that are connected to the black and white wires present in the circuit. One terminal holds the incoming wire while the other holds an outgoing one. You will find most of these switches to be connected to the ground wire for proper and safe use.
Up next are selector light switches, which are usually used to toggle between two or more lighting modes. These will allow you to shift between different modes by pressing different buttons or rotating a dial. They are generally used for fans to change the speed but have become popular today with lights that can be dimmed.
Some people have lights where you can shift between multiple colors. Now while there are smart light options available where you can choose specific colors from a smartphone itself, these switches will allow you to do so physically.
The most common type is a rotary switch, which is like a dial that needs to be moved to shift between the modes. You will also find position selector switches which have a rotary dial. But this one is limited to four light options.
Push buttons are another commonly used version which you will find in most houses. They are generally present in washrooms and are connected to the lights and exhaust fans. These are simple to use and are known to be very durable. People use these for years without any signs of wear and tear.
Moving on, there are 2 common types of this button. One version consists of buttons that will stay recessed after being pressed. When you need to switch it off, press it again, and that should bring the button to its normal position.
The other type involves a button which returns to its normal position after being pressed. Since this kind of switch always remains in one position, you might forget to switch it off at times. So, be careful while handling it.
There is another variant of switch which has a LED light attached towards the inside of it. Whenever you have switched it on, the light will be visible, and hence you will remember that it is turned on.
Are you very energy conscious? If environment concerns bother you a lot, this could be the perfect switch for you. It is made to be energy efficient and will reduce your energy bills to some extent.
Proximity light switches turn on if someone enters the room and will turn off by itself if there is no one in the space. They work automatically with proximity detectors installed in them. If you have people and especially kids in the house who leave lights switched on, this could be very helpful.
However, it is best not to use this light for bedrooms since you might not want a very bright light every time you enter this space. Also, it might not work out for people who prefer dim lighting. It is because this one will be lighting up even in the middle of the night if you get out of bed.
According to us, these switches would work very well in community spaces or in living rooms where you will need bright lighting whenever people are present.
If you are a fan of mood lighting, dimmers are exactly what you need. These will help you create the right mood for a relaxing evening or a romantic date indoors. You can control the level of brightness to ensure that you have just the right amount of light that is needed.
Also, bright lights can cause a lot of strain on your eyes. So, this option is very convenient and can be chosen by all those who have an eye problem.
Coming to the varieties, there are different options that you can choose from when it comes to dimming the lights. One is the dial, which can be turned to adjust the intensity and the brightness level.
Another is a touch panel, which will let you play with the brightness by just swiping. You have to swipe across the screen and stop when you have achieved the required brightness. Then there are other options that come with remote control. This will allow you to change the light from wherever you are sitting and offers the most amount of convenience.
These are usually used for backyards and front lawns, and as the name suggests, the lights will turn on if it senses any kind of motion. This is great for security purposes and can keep intruders and burglars away. These kinds of lights are pretty bright and will immediately alert people around if there is an intruder in the middle of the night.
Most motion-sensitive models will come with a specific switch suited for them. These are easier to operate and saves a lot of time in searching for a switch that fits well.
One of the key advantages of this type is that it does not require you to touch any button. Hence it works very well with elderly and disabled people who might not be able to reach out for the light switch.
Also, it will shut off seconds after there is no movement. This saves energy, and you do not have to keep a porch light on throughout the night. If there is an emergency, it will light up itself. At other times, it stays off and you will be saving money.
If you have been looking for a good porch light, this is a brilliant option to select. Photoelectric lights do not need to be turned on and off physically. They operate automatically and will detect if the light is low in the room or outdoors.
The sensor works superbly well in detecting levels of light, and will switch on immediately. They will light up themselves when the sun goes down, and hence you can attach these to your front porch or patio. These lights could also be used at gates or in the backyard.
Moving on, you might have wondered who switches on all the street lights every day after dusk! Well, here is the answer to it. These can operate on their own and will light up by themselves.
We would suggest not to use it indoors as you might end up wasting electricity after the sun goes down. These lights stay on throughout the night, even when there is no one in the house.
We all love the convenience, and what better way to switch on lights without having to get up and walk to the switchboard. While motion sensor lights help here, they are more suited for outdoor or community spaces and not the bedrooms.
This, on the other hand, can become a part of your personal space. Sound activated lights are programmed to switch on automatically when they detect some form of sound. Remember those movies where the person could switch on lights by snapping his finger or clapping? Yes, this has been around for quite a while now, and customers really enjoy them.
You can keep it in the bedroom as it will only light up when you make a certain sound. This is unlike motion detectors that will switch on whenever someone enters the space.
If you want to light up a room using multiple sources of light, this is the kind that you need. Track lighting is popular inside houses with corridors as well for commercial spaces and offices. These involve long tracks of light on the ceiling with multiple lights on the track.
The best part about this is that you can use it to highlight portraits and artwork on the wall. The light can be tilted wherever necessary to highlight certain items and make sure that they stand out for your guests. So, you will see these lights at boutiques and stores.
Coming to the installation process, it is pretty easy to work with. Just make sure that the tracks are aligned properly, and you should be done. We would suggest taking professional help if you are not very confident about it.
The best part about this is that you can cover any kind of area with track lights. It could be a long corridor or a small room, and you will just have to purchase the tracks and lights accordingly.
Up next is one of the most popular types of light fixtures that is available today. Ceiling lights are almost present in every home and will be there in the future too. If you want a normal reading light or you want to light up a large space with 1 or 2 light bulbs, this is the one to go for.
They have been around since the 1900s and have been a part of households since then. You will find antique ceiling lights which are made of brass and which may add a very traditional touch to your house. Check out the umpteen number of options before deciding on one kind.
Besides, these are perfect for your hall or living room, which needs to be lighted up brightly. That being said, you can pair it up with recessed lighting to provide complete coverage as well as highlight artwork or specific pieces on the wall.
As the name suggests, these lights look great in recessed areas, and you will need to create holes in the wall to attach them. These are used by interior designers or people with good knowledge of light angles. If placed in the right places, they have an ability to change the complete look of your house.
Most people opt for placing these lights on the ceiling at intervals for a proper spread. They could also be attached below cabinets and near corners of rooms. Also, if you were looking for an accent lighting option, this one would serve the purpose well. It has a narrower spread and will properly highlight whatever you wish to focus on.
Recessed lighting is a good option if you are planning on having dynamic lighting in the house. These can be spread across throughout, creating the perfect mood. They are also called mood lighting, as they can determine the ambiance of the space.
Do you want to operate two lights at the same time or run a very heavy powered machine? This is when you need to shift to a double pole switch. They are generally larger than single-pole ones and can usually power devices that need 240V of power.
Because they can handle a large amount of power, these are popularly used in industrial settings and for commercial purposes. They are rated at 30 amps and can be used even with heavy machinery or giant ovens that demand a lot of power.
Besides, these may look similar to single toggle versions, or they might look bigger and broader. These have the same on/off markings on their body, letting anyone who is using these switches for the first time know about it.
With us being very concerned with interior design and decoration, decorative switches have found a place in many homes. While toggle visions have been available for a long time, they do not do much to add to the aesthetics of the room.
Decorative ones, on the other hand, make sure that the switches look modern and appealing. These work in the same way as the toggle ones but have a flat surface with curved corners. They blend in well with the room and are easier to use. You lightly tap on one end, and the switch flips and turns on.
While the previous one was perfect for residential spaces, the rocker switch is made to handle rugged conditions and industrial setups. You cannot use delicate switches here as you will be dealing with a lot of dust and rough particles along with water.
In order to ensure that they are well protected and kept safe from the environment in which they are placed, rocker switches come with a cover. The mechanism is put inside a durable coating and is then encased in rubber. They are fully covered to prevent any form of damage and will not be affected by water, dust, or flying shards.
These always exist in pairs and are usually found on staircases, hallways, and entryways. If you want to control the light from 2 places, this is the one that you want. However, these do not have on/off mentioned on the body because it can vary depending on which switch is used.
Besides, when compared to single or double pole switches, these are thicker and have 3 screw terminals along with a grounding screw. One screw, which is slightly darker than the rest, is a common connection and delivers electric current to one of the switches which are being operated.
One thing we should tell you about before you make a purchase is that these are difficult to replace, fix, or install. It is best to get an electrician to do it for you because you can easily connect the wrong wires to the wrong screw terminals.
Do you want to control a light from more than 3 locations? The 4-way switches will help you do just that as it will allow you to combine 3-way switch systems to create one network. You will not find these very easily and are generally used in industries where such controls are needed. It could also be used for large spaces with 2 or 3 different entry points.
Further, this model looks a lot like double-pole variants, but they do not have on/off markings on the body. It boasts of 4 terminals along with a ground one. Because it is complicated, make sure that you ask a professional to help you out while installing it.
Light Switch Buyer’s Guide
Switches can vary a lot, as you have already found out. There are combination ones that work with multiple electrical outlets, and then there are special ones created to be placed outdoors. Some operate with your touch; others can sense your presence themselves.
To help you decide upon one, we have listed a few considerations that you should keep in mind before purchasing. Go through them carefully and make an informed decision.
Single Pole v/s Double Pole Switches
While single pole switches will allow you to work with one pair of hot wires, double pole switches will allow you to work with 2 pairs of it. This doubles the electricity supply and also has a grounding terminal to keep it safe. Yes, double pole versions are more expensive, but if you have to power heavy motor gadgets or appliances, it is safer to choose these over single pole switches.
There are switches made for different locations, and it is essential that you keep that in mind. There are some which work very well outdoors and are covered up with rubber. They are made to be water and dust resistant and can withstand all temperatures.
On the other hand, there are motion detectors that are again made for backyards or front porch and will light up if it detects any kind of movement. These will not work indoors and may become a big hindrance.
Then there are dimmers and lights which are activated by sound. These will work very well for your bedrooms. Keep the considerations in mind before you make a purchase.
Process Of Installation
It is important that you install the product properly; otherwise, there could be short circuits, and you might end up destroying the switch. If you are going to do it by yourself, cut the power before proceeding. It is best to turn off the entire power by switching off the main control switch in your house.
Use the grounding wire to ground the switch to prevent any cases of electrocution. Also, double-check if you have connected the right wires with the correct terminals. After you are done,close the switch circuit before you turn back the power.
Make sure you do not work with wet hands and use an electrical tester to make sure that the power is disconnected before the process. These should keep you safe and protected.
There are people with disabilities or older individuals who cannot walk up to a switchboard. For them, it is best to put up a proximity sensor or a remote control switch, which will allow them to control the lights and fans from wherever they are sitting.
If you have kids who are unable to reach the switchboard, again, automatic lighting is the way forward.
Finally, we have come to the end of this guide, and we are sure that you know enough about switches. Remember to place them correctly and contact an electrician if you have any doubts. Once you are able to identify every switch, you will be able to replace old switches easily.
Also, ensure that you use the right kind of lights which suit the space. You would not want the bedroom light to turn on brightly every time you move about in the room. With this, we will take our leave. Let us know about your experience in the comment section below.
Until next time!