Welcome to Retro Life

A lifestyle hub for the interiors enthusiast.
Featuring tips, techniques, & advice from passionate designers. #RetroLife


The A to Z of switches and sockets

Friday, 14 August 2020  |  Amit

Upgrading your switches and sockets needn’t entail learning a new language. But when purchasing such electrical items, you’ll often be confronted with a bewildering spew of terminology.


Jargon exists to be busted, and Retrotouch are here to do just that. So we’ve taken the opportunity of compiling a helpful A-Z guide to some of the most common examples.  


The standard unit of measuring an electrical current, according to the International System of Units (SI). Named after French physicist and mathematician André-Marie Ampère, it enables the performance of the circuit to be defined and for the circuit to operate as required. 


Double Pole 
Sometimes referred to simply as a DP switch, these are single switches that control two separate circuits. While most switches in a typical home tend to be single pole, double pole switches are more common in industrial settings or factories. Domestically, they can be used as a safety shut-off for a residential appliance, due to their unique wiring. 

Quite simply, the number of switches on the faceplate. These can refer to rotary switches, rocker switches or touch switches. Gangs often come in 1’s, 2’s and 4’s, depending on how many light sources are 


What most people see when they think of a lightswitch. Switch down for on, and up to turn off. This simplicity and practicality make it one of the most popular designs for a switch. They can range from some of the more industrial looking metallic ones to comfortable plastic or glass designs for home interiors. 


Retractive switch
A switch that only turns devices on while it’s being pressed, and retracts when you let go. These are often seen in devices such as door chimes, but can also be used in conjunction with dimmer modules to allow easy and energy efficient adjustments to your lighting level. 


A component that utilises existing wiring and infrastructure to make easy and time-saving improvements. Ideal for renovators looking to inject a touch of quality to their decor without needing to tear a chunk out of the wall. Retrotouch’s range of switches and sockets are built for easy installation, meaning everyday consumers can overhaul their home decor without creating a prolonged DIY project (mess) out of it. 

Rotary switch
One of the most popular ways to control a dimmer module. The easily adjustable knob rotates in a clockwise direction, allowing you to set the perfect level of illumination for your home. They are particularly useful when you’re needing a switch to deliver more than your two basic functions (on/off). 


Single Pole
Single pole switches, sometimes referred to simply as SP,  are common, simple light switches. They control one circuit and offer a regular off and on function. Most switches in a typical home tend to be single pole.


Ways essentially refer to how many switches control the same light. If you have two switches in a room controlling the same lighting unit, then you have two ways. Two way switches are often used on a staircase, as well as large rooms with switches beside each door. 


Now that you're equipped with some socket and switch terminology, visit our products and easily search for the switches you want: https://www.retrotouch.co.uk/crystal-all-products.html



Don't miss out, sign up and keep up to date with new product launches, offers, competitions and articles

or join the conversation... View

BUSINESS AS USUAL: 01293 279 426 Chat Live

Select your location