Switches & Dimmers

Light up a room and more with the flip of a switch

Switches & Dimmers - Switches & Dimmers

A light switch opens or closes an electrical current to turn on a light fixture, ceiling fan or similar electrical device. Besides lighting up a room, some light switches incorporate special features, like motion detectors, to make moving around in your home safer and more convenient. This buying guide will help you understand the types of light switches available, so you can feel confident you’re selecting the right light switch for any room in your home.

Tip: Before you replace or install a light switch, it’s important to make sure the new switch matches the amperage rating and voltage of where it’s being installed. 15 amp switches should be connected to a 14-gauge wire, which is found in most homes. For commercial or industrial switches, 20 amp switches should be connected to a 12-gauge wire.

Light Switch Styles

Select a light switch that is compatible with the circuit where it will be installed. For example, if a light is controlled by one switch, you’ll need to replace it with a single-pole switch.

Single-Pole Switch

  • Controls one fixture from a single location
  • Most common type of switch
  • Easiest to install or replace
  • Choose from classic toggle or rocker styles

3-Way Switch

  • Controls one fixture from two locations
  • Often used in stairways, hallways and large rooms
  • Slightly more complicated installation

4-Way Switch

  • Controls one fixture from three locations
  • Most commonly used in large rooms
  • One 4-way switch must be used with two 3-way switches in a 4-way circuit
  • Slightly more complicated installation

Multi-Location Switch

  • Controls one fixture from three or more locations
  • Used in larger spaces where having multiple controls adds convenience and safety
  • Slightly more complicated installation
Double Switch  - Switches & Dimmers

Double Switch

  • Controls two fixtures without installing a separate box
  • Installing two parallel switches with a double box also works
  • Make sure there is plenty of room for all the wires so that it meets building code requirements

Dimmer

  • Allows you to adjust light levels in any room
  • Available in single-pole, 3-way and multi-location versions
  • Saves energy and extends bulb life

Features

Personalize the switches in your home to meet your specific needs by using features such as timers, motion sensors, time delays and more.

Timer

  • Allows you to program activation time
  • Provides security while out of town or returning home after dark


Motion Sensor

  • Activates lights when motion is detected in a room and turns off lights automatically
  • Offers convenience of a no-touch lighting system and may help save on energy costs


Switch/Receptacle Combo

  • Combines a switch and an outlet in one
  • Ideal for locations where additional outlets are needed


Time-Delay

  • Allows power to flow to a fixture for a set amount of time
  • Shuts off automatically when set time has elapsed


Dimmer

  • Allows you to adjust the level of light in any given room
  • Comes in single-pole as well as three-way, which lets you control the light levels from multiple locations
  • Scene selectors feature multiple buttons that let you jump to your favorite pre-set lighting levels
  • Some dimmers are now rated for dimmable energy-saving bulbs, such as LED and CFL bulbs