Electrical Switches and Sockets – A Buyer’s Guide

This is a layman’s guide to the things it’s best to consider before 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 explanation of the basic terms 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 regular 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 managed from 1 swap only requires a 1-means switch (although a 2-method switch can be used without any issues). A light controlled from 2 switches e.g. a landing light, will require two 2-means switches.

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

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

Double Pole: a double pole change has two separate contacts and will break both live and neutral currents. Double pole switches are advisable in most conditions, particularly 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. However, it’s still worth planning the place you will have them earlier than you buy. You should think about 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’ll need, and evoline bespoke systems make them double sockets slightly than single sockets, as the price distinction is minimal.

Always purchase switched sockets for extra protection. This doesn’t apply to sockets for kitchen home equipment similar 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; do not make that mistake! Install TV factors on no less than 2 completely different partitions in a room, you might well need to re-arrange the furniture and move the TV in the future.

Additionally consider the lighting wants of a room. Dimmer switches present a comparatively cheap and straightforward strategy to range the light levels in a room, notably useful for creating totally 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 for use is a dimmer, the opposite must be a typical 2-way light switch, not a dimmer.

Flat or raised plate?

The differences here are more than simply aesthetic. Flat plate sockets look sleek, trendy and sophisticated, but in addition they provide a sensible, space-saving solution to fitting sockets behind furniture. Nevertheless, the drawback for renovations is that they typically require deeper back boxes than have been initially installed, 35mm slightly than 25mm. Changing back boxes might be time consuming and messy.

Screwed or screwless?

Aesthetically, screwless flat plate switches give an excellent more trendy 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 entrance plate before you decorate, then painted around shortly 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 metal and black nickel are the preferred trendy finishes. The disadvantage of polished chrome particularly is that it shows up finger marks very easily. A method to help to keep away from 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 3 finishes mentioned above, brushed steel (also referred to as brushed chrome) is the simplest to maintain clean.