Electrical Switches and Sockets – A Buyer’s Information

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


The first drawback many individuals encounter is the bewildering array of electrical terminology used. Here is a brief rationalization of the fundamental phrases you’ll come across.

Gang: the number of switches or sockets on one plate. A light swap with 3 switches is called a three gang switch. An ordinary 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 controlled from 1 swap only requires a 1-approach switch (although a 2-means switch can be used with none issues). A light managed from 2 switches e.g. a landing light, would require 2-means switches.

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

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

Double Pole: a double pole swap has two separate contacts and can break both live and neutral currents. Double pole switches are advisable in most situations, especially if there are children within the house.


Keep in mind, you’ll be able to put as many switches and sockets onto an electrical circuit as you require. Nevertheless, it is nonetheless value planning where you have to them earlier than you buy. You must think in regards to the different needs of the room and your way of life: the place do you require most power sockets? With the proliferation of electrical gadgets it’s best to set up more sockets than you think you’ll need, and make them double sockets moderately than single sockets, as the price distinction is minimal.

Always buy switched sockets for additional protection. This does not apply to sockets for kitchen home equipment such as 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 points on a minimum of 2 different partitions in a room, you could well wish to re-arrange the furnishings and move the TV within the future.

Additionally consider the lighting wants of a room. Dimmer switches provide a relatively low cost and easy strategy to vary the light ranges in a room, notably useful for creating completely different moods in dining, living or bedrooms. Do not forget that if a light is to be operated from 2 places, and one of many switches to be used is a dimmer, the opposite should be an ordinary 2-manner light switch, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The differences listed below are more than simply aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look smooth, fashionable and sophisticated, but additionally they provide a practical, house-saving answer to fitting sockets behind furniture. However, the drawback for renovations is that they usually require deeper back boxes than have been initially installed, 35mm moderately than 25mm. Altering back boxes may be time consuming and messy.

Screwed or screwless?

Aesthetically, screwless flat plate switches give an even more modern 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 without the front plate before you decorate, then painted round shortly and easily without the usage of masking tape or worrying about marking the plate. When dry, simply clip the entrance plate on.


Polished chrome, brushed metal and black nickel are the most well-liked modern finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome significantly is that it shows up finger marks very easily. One way to assist to keep away from this is to decide on a range where the plate is polished chrome or black nickel, however the switches themselves are made of black or white plastic. Of the 3 finishes talked about above, brushed stainless steel charger (often known as brushed chrome) is the simplest to maintain clean.