Light switches are one of those purchases that homeowners don’t pay much attention to. Some may even outsource the buying to electricians or contractors. But did you know that there’s a lot more to light switches than the on/off switch? In fact, you may want to pay careful attention to what type of light switches are in your home just as much as you care about the bulbs. Here is a very brief guide to buying light switches for those who are not familiar with the electrical specifics:

Understand the Different Types of Switches

Did you know that there are over nine different types of light switches? This product category offers many options for highly selective shoppers. Light switches can vary in design and function. Light switches can correspond to the type of lighting fixture, such as a mood light or a chandelier. But the main types are categorised based on circuitry and function.

Take a look at this list to understand the most common types of light switches you can buy at any electrical supplies store:

Essential Switches – This is the most common type of light switch you find in homes. It’s typically square shaped, has single pole and two terminals. Its functionality is all about turning the lights on or off.

Three-Way or Four-Way Switches—Essential switches control light from a single location. A three-way or a four-way switch can control lights from two or three locations. For example, a three-way switch can control lights in a stairway and an entrance. Four-way lights can control lights in big room with three entrances.

A three-way switch has three terminals; a four-way has four. These control a light from two or three locations, such as in a stairwell, at either end of a hallway, or in a large room with more than one entrance.

Don’t confuse multi-way light switches with double power point switches. This is a single interface with two switches and typically two wall outlets. The two switches can control two different light bulbs, but not necessarily in a multi-way manner.

How to Buy a Switch for Additional Convenience and Looks

Consider a dimmer switch to can effectively control the brightness of a light bulb using a dimmer switch. These switches are very useful to have installed by the bedside.

If you want unconventional light switches that offer extra functionality as well as looks, there’s a host of special switches you can consider. Special switches include various gimmicks like toggles and rotaries that allow users to control ceiling fans. Some special switches can be programmed for time or set to let you know whether a light you can’t see is turned on or off. This category also includes decorative switches that have stylish shapes and can do things like rotate.

Save Energy with an Occupancy Switch

Occupancy light switches, also called motion control switches, turn on or off based on motion. If you want to turn a light on when you enter a room, this would be a great option. Using an occupancy switch eliminated the need to keep a light turned on all the time, thus saving you hundreds of dollars in electricity bills.

As you can see, the options to buy a light switch are numerous. So carefully consider what you need based on the information given above.