An electric switch seems like a magical appliance when we are children. Flip it, and the room is as bright as day, reverse it, and darkness settles just as quickly. As we grow older, we learn it’s science rather than magic, but that doesn’t diminish the wonder, does it?

In fact, learning more about electricity increases our fascination with it. Today, we’ll look at how to control electricity, or, more specifically, the types of switches you’ll find in your home.

What Is an Electrical Switch?

An electric switch is a simple device that can close or interrupt a circuit. Electricity consists of the flow of electrons along a complete course. Any breaks in that system immediately interrupt this flow, interrupting the electricity supply.

Flipping a switch to the “On” position closes the circuit, allowing electrons to flow. Flipping a switch “Off” causes a break in the course, stopping the flow of electrons.

Types of Power Switches

An electric switch will typically fall into one of two categories:

  • Human-operated
  • Machine-operated

In either case, there are several variations on the normal. To narrow things down a little, we’ll focus on the types you’ll find in your home.

Power Switches in Your Home


This single location switch consisting of two terminals is one of the most common types. Its simplistic design makes it popular for controlling lights or other devices. It is a simple “On/Off” switch and may display markings accordingly.


The three-way switch is similar to the single-pole switch, except that you can control your lights from two different spots. You may, for example, have one switch at the bottom of the staircase and another at the top. This is a type of “On/Off” switch; however, it seldom has marks as these switches work opposite to another fixture.


The double-pole is another single location switch used in high traffic areas. It is typically found in industrial settings but can be a helpful addition to the home as well. The controls are generally 30 amp rated, which is about double that of standard switches.

This makes them useful when connected to high-demand appliances and machinery. Therefore, you might find them useful in your home workshop or garage if you use several power tools.


Four-way switches control your device or light from at least three areas. These are useful in large rooms with multiple entrances or long hallways. If you require more control from a set of three-way switches, you could place a four-way switch in between them.

We should note here that installing such a switch is complex. You should consult the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the layout to ensure that you connect the terminals safely.

Smart Switch

The smart switch is a newer invention that ties into a remote control. You can change the dial manually, but where’s the fun in that? The primary benefit of this type is that you can control them through an app on your phone or via remote control.

Most of these switches are multi-way designs that will allow you to control all the lights in your home. Depending on how you program them, they may also connect to other devices.

The programmable nature of these devices has made them increasingly popular in homes across America. If you pair them with smart bulbs, you can change the color of the globe, increase or decrease brightness, and even set it to strobe to music.

These switches are unique because some of them need power all the time. As a result, it’s necessary to connect them up to the neutral connections in the wall. As this is not the case with the standard switches, it’s prudent to ask an electrician for assistance here.

Alternately, look for a type that connects through your home’s hub or Wi-Fi to avoid this extra step.

Is It Time to Light Up Your Life?

Now that you understand more about every electric switch in your home, it’s time to choose your electricity supplier. Now Power brightens your day by giving you the best possible rates. Call 844-227-2648 today for your personalized rate and to get connected.