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Electrical Switches and Sockets – A Buyer’s Information

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


The first problem many individuals encounter is the bewildering array of electrical terminology used. Here is a temporary clarification of the basic phrases you will come across.

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

Way: the number of switches capable of switching a light. For flexibility, most switches are 2-way. A light managed from 1 swap only requires a 1-method switch (although a 2-method switch can be utilized without any issues). A light managed from 2 switches e.g. a landing light, would require 2-method switches.

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

Single Pole: a single pole swap has one contact. When switched it can break only the live present and leave the impartial current intact.

Double Pole: a double pole swap has two separate contacts and can break each live and neutral currents. Double pole switches are really helpful in most situations, 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. However, it is still worth planning where you’ll need them before you buy. You should think concerning the different needs of the room and your lifestyle: where do you require most energy sockets? With the proliferation of electrical gadgets it’s best to set up more sockets than you think you will have, and make them double sockets moderately than single sockets, as the value distinction is minimal.

All the time purchase switched sockets for further protection. This doesn’t apply to sockets for kitchen appliances akin to freezers, which should not be switched in case the switches are accidentally turned off.

Most individuals only put 1 TV point in a room; do not make that mistake! Install TV factors on at least 2 completely different partitions in a room, you may well need to re-arrange the furnishings and move the TV within the future.

Also consider the lighting needs of a room. Dimmer switches present a comparatively low-cost and straightforward strategy to differ the light levels in a room, significantly helpful for creating completely different moods in dining, residing or bedrooms. Do not forget that if a light is to be operated from 2 places, and one of many switches for use is a dimmer, the other have to be a regular 2-manner light swap, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The differences here are more than merely aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look glossy, trendy and sophisticated, but they also provide a sensible, space-saving answer to fitting sockets behind furniture. Nonetheless, the drawback for renovations is that they often require deeper back boxes than have been originally put in, 35mm somewhat than 25mm. Altering back boxes may 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 save you money and custom popsocket time too, as they can be fitted without the entrance plate before you decorate, then painted round quickly and simply with out the usage of 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 most well-liked fashionable finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome significantly is that it shows up finger marks very easily. A technique to help to avoid this is to decide on a range the place the plate is polished chrome or black nickel, however the switches themselves are made of black or white plastic. Of the 3 finishes mentioned above, brushed steel (also called brushed chrome) is the easiest to maintain clean.