Wiring Devices: Electrical Outlets and Electrical Switches

Explore and compare all types of light switches, dimmer switches, outlets, and wall plate covers. With our wide selection of wiring devices and decorative style options, you can go simple and classic with toggle switch, or add some high-tech flair to your home or office with affordable smart light switch kits.

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Electrical Outlet (Receptacle)

Electrical outlets are the connection points that deliver power to electronics. Electrical outlets and plugs differ in voltage and current rating, shape, size, and connector type. Always ensure you are using an approved socket-plug combination. Incorrectly rated or installed, or unapproved and improvised combinations can be dangerous.

What is a Duplex Outlet?

The most common outlet type is a duplex receptacle outlet, which provides space for two electrical receptacles (meaning you can plug in two devices at a time).

What is a GFCI Outlet?

A ground fault circuit interrupter outlet (GFCI outlet) helps reduce electrocutions in wet and/or humid environments. GFCI outlets are most commonly used in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors, and other spaces that see moisture and humidity.

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Outlet Cover

Outlet covers help insulate you from electrical wiring and reduce risk of accidental shock, keep outlets clean.

What is an Outlet Cover?

An outlet cover, also called an outlet plate, wall plate or receptacle plate, shields small or large electrical plugs and the outlet itself. Outlet covers vary in color and style, from basic to decorative.

Where to Use Weatherproof Outlet Covers?

Weatherproof outlet covers are a must-have for outdoor electrical outlets. Designed to withstand exposure to the elements, like rain, wind, and intense sunlight, weatherproof outlet covers have corrosion-resistant screws and mounting straps.

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Electrical Switches (Light Switch)

Light switches and other electrical switches are designed to be practical, long-lasting, and stylish. They can manage light usage and reduce energy cost (especially switches with occupancy sensors, or smart switches with programmable scheduling). The main job of electrical switches and dimmers is closing and opening electrical circuits for lights and other devices. Learn all about electrical switches below, from the classic toggle switch, to impressive centrally-controlled lighting management systems that can automate lighting and customize the ambience in your residence or workspace.

A List of Different Types of Electrical Switches

Light Switches, or electrical switches, come in a variety of types and styles to suit different circuit configurations, total number of lights, and aesthetic preferences. Some switches are designed for use with equipment, appliances, and devices other than lighting. Below is a list of common light switch types.

Toggle Switch

A toggle switch is the classic, lever-acuated design (typically with "ON" and "OFF" positions) and is common in residential, commercial, and even industrial applications. Toggle light switches are still the most common electrical switch and typically the lowest cost, making them the most affordable type of switch for lighting controls. As you can see in the list below, many types of electrical switches use the toggle switch design.
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Decorator Switch (Rocker Light Switch)

A decorator switch, also called a rocker light switch, is different than a toggle switch. The decorator switch is a modern design that "rocks" to one side like a seesaw when pressed – one side of the switch is raised while the other side is down. Decorator switches have become popular because many people find them easier to turn on or off on the move (when walking through a doorway, for example) compared to the conventional lever-style toggle switch. Decorator switches get their name from their sleek, contemporary look and come in a full range of styles, colors, and configurations.
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Smart Switch

A smart switch can be controlled remotely using your voice as well as wireless devices like phones, tablets, smart home systems. Lutron's smart systems can continue normal operation if your Wi-Fi goes down. Smart switch systems can work with voice-enabled digital assistants like Alexa, Apple/Siri, Google Home, etc. And even though they're known as wireless switches, smart switches offer physical buttons, dimmers, and switches for conventional use, and they often offer a dedicated remote control. Smart switches can pair with in-wall sensor systems (see below) and wireless smart bridges/hubs for whole-house, touch-free automated lighting controlled by your presence, voice, smart remote, or mobile app – without requiring use of your home Wi-Fi network!

Occupancy Sensor / Motion Detector Switch

Occupancy and motion sensor switches work in similar ways, with one key difference. Occupancy sensors do not rely on motion and will detect if a person is in the area, whether the person is moving or not. In other words, occupancy sensor switches turn on the lights when the room is occupied. A motion detector switch, on the other hand, turns on the lights when it detects motion. Both types of sensor switches are great hands-free solutions with sanitary, security, and energy-saving advantages.
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Single Pole Switch

A single pole switch controls a single circuit in one location.
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Double Pole or 2 Pole Switch

A double pole, or two pole, switch is capable of controlling two separate circuits using a single switch. Two pole switches are available in single-throw or double-throw configurations (see below).
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Double Pole, Single Throw Switch (DPST)

A double-pole single-throw switch, or DPST switch, has four terminals and is used to close (or open) two electrical circuits at once. A single throw switch can complete a circuit in only one position, whereas a double throw switch (see below) can close a circuit in two positions.
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Double Pole, Double Throw Switch (DPDT)

A double-pole double-throw switch, or DPDT switch, has four terminals and is used to close (or open) two separate electrical circuits. A double throw switch offers two positions for opening/closing a circuit, often with an On-Off-On configuration. With a DPDT switch, the two circuits can be closed simultaneously or staggered.
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3 Way Switch

Three-way switches (3 way switches) are often used in sets to control a single circuit (like room lighting) from two locations, such as the top and bottom of a staircase or opposite ends of a hallway.
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4 Way Switch

Four-way switches (4 way switches) are often used in sets to control a single circuit (like lighting) from more than two locations. 4 Way switches are convenient for large spaces, outdoor fixtures, multi-level buildings, or anywhere that can benefit from three or more switch locations.
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Bat Handle Switch

A bat handle switch is a type of electrical switch named for its extra-long handle shaped like a baseball bat. This electrical switch is designed for easy activation and commonly used with outdoor, farm/garden, and recreational equipment as well as custom automotive electronics and commercial or industrial control panels.
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Push Button Switch

A push button switch (or, pushbutton) is an electrical control device that can be used in a variety of situations, though use with household lighting is rare. Like the name suggests, the user manually presses a button to activate the internal switch. However, if you're looking to find a push button light switch, be sure to check out the rocker light switch, also known as a decorative light switch.
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Pilot Light Switch

A pilot light switch illuminates when the light is on. Illuminated pilot light switches are often used when the switch controls a light fixture not visible from the location of the switch, like an outdoor light or a basement light.
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Locator Switch

A locator switch lights up when the switch is in the "Off" position to help you find the light switch in the dark. Many smart switches, sensor switches, and other specialty light switches now include a locator light because of their practical convenience. Locator switches are great for guest rooms, rental properties, or anywhere you'd like to easily find the light switch in the dark.
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Types of Dimmer Switches

From the popular toggle dimmer switch, to Wifi-enabled smart switch dimmers, the ability to dim the lights gives your space a whole new level of ambience and versatility. Light dimmers control brightness (lumens) for dimmable LED, incandescent, halogen, and compact fluorescent lighting. By adjusting the brightness level, you can quickly and easily dial-in the perfect "mood" for your lighting, extend the life of lightbulbs, and increase energy efficiency.

A List of Different Types of Dimmer Light Switches

With LED and CFL lighting, it's important to make sure your bulbs or fixtures are dimmable. Some of the latest LED technologies offer color control, from warm amber to full "daylight" and beyond. Paired with the right dimmer switch, your lighting can support your daily schedule, waking you in the morning with full brightness or easing you into a restful state at bedtime with a warm, gentle glow.

Toggle Dimmer Switch (Small Side Slider)

A toggle dimmer switch typically uses a small slider positioned to the right of the toggle light switch for dimming control. As with most dimmer switches, the toggle switch provides the overall On/Off function, and the dimmer slides up to increase brightness and down to dim, where the bottom is typically zero or very little light and the top is 100% brightness. These dimmers can be conventional solid-state or digital design, available for all dimmable light bulbs including LED.
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Decorative Rocker Dimmer Switch (Small Side Slider)

A decorative dimmer switch (also called a rocker or paddle light switch dimmer) gives you a combination of a big paddle light switch and a small slider on the right for adjusting the brightness of your dimmable lights.
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Double Rocker Dimmer Switch (with LED Indicator)

A double rocker dimmer switch includes a large decorator rocker switch for overall On/Off function, paired with a small mini rocker dimmer switch on the right for light dimming control. LED indicator lights on the left of the light switch show you the current brightness setting controlled by the small rocker dimmer.
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Slide Dimmer Switch (with On/Off Rocker Toggle)

The classic slide dimmer switch gives prominence to the dimmer control over the side-to-side On/Off switch. The switch is positioned at the bottom and is akin to both a rocker switch and a toggle switch. Up top, the easy to use dimmer paddle slides smoothly up and down to dial in the desired brightness. This is a great, no-frills design that's easy to use for everyone from kids to seniors.
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Touch Dimmer Switch (Decorative Rocker)

The sleek, next generation touch dimmer switch is touch sensitive, allowing you to dim the lights with a swipe of the finger. We sell pro LED+ dimmers from Lutron, which come with several impessive features: light fading effects, an onboard locator light to help you find the switch in the dark, a touch-sensitive light bar that indicates the brightness setting as you swipe, easy installation, and flexibility for 3-way, 4-way, and multi-location dimming compatible with dimmable LED, halogen, and incandescent bulbs.
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Rotary Dimmer (Knob with Push On/Off)

Since 1961, the classic, solid-state rotary dimmer switch has been a staple when it comes to dimmer switches. With a push button style On/Off switch and a big finger-friendly round dial for dimming, rotary dimmers are still a popular choice today. Some rotary dimmers include modern touches like built-in locator lights for finding the switch in the dark.
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Plug In Lamp Dimmer

With plug-in lamp dimmers , installation is as easy as it gets – simply plug the dimmer into an outlet, plug your dimmable lamp(s) into the dimmer, and you're done! Some plug-in lamp dimmers include advanced dimming features like wireless remote control and smart system integration. As with all dimmers, you'll want to make sure any LED lamps and bulbs you'll be using are labeled "dimmable."
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Light Switch Plates & Combination Wall Plate Covers

Light switch plates (also called electrical wall plate covers) are decorative in a variety of colors and keep wires safely hidden from sight. Switch plates serve an important safety function by helping prevent accidental contact with the wiring attached to an electrical switch. Multiple colors and styles of decorative wall plates keep your switches covered in an aesthetic of your choice.

What is a switch plate or wall plate cover?

Switch plates or covers are the finishing touch for your light switches and dimmer switches. While some light switch kits come with their own matching covers (or plates), you do have the option to buy switch plates separately.

What's a switch plate "gang"? Single gang, two gang, three gang, four gang...what? "Gang" is simply the term used to specify the number of light switches, dimmers, or outlets covered by a switch plate or wall cover. For example, pictured here is a dark brown 3-gang switch plate for toggle light switches.

Tip: When installing non-metallic switch plates, do not over-tighten the screws, which could cause a wall plate to crack.

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Combination Wall Plates & Covers

Do you have different types of light switches and/or electrical outlets in the same box? If so, combination wall plates and covers come in a variety of styles and colors to provide just what you need. Combine a toggle switch and a decorator switch in multiple gangs, partial blank covers, outlet combos, and more.
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Stainless Steel Wall Plates & Covers

While plastic wall plates and covers are durable and easy to clean, stainless steel wall plates and covers take durability to the next level, with their impressive metallic finish. Do you have stainless steel appliances? If so, you can accentuate them with matching stainless switch and/or outlet covers! Metallic plates are available in a variety of configurations, finishes, and enamels. At Elliott Electric Supply you can find a wide variety of stainless steel plates, including outlet and receptacle covers, telephone and cable outlets, toggle switch, decorative rocker, blank covers, combination plates, multiple gangs, and more.
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Photocells, Motion / Occupancy Sensors, and Other Controls

We also offer an arrangement of special lighting controls, including photocell sensors, occupancy, proximity, and motion detector controls, and other sensors that can be wired for lighting control and automation. Many come in outdoor-ready fixtures or ceiling-mount configurations for a vairety of applications.

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Tips to help add or change electrical outlets, light switches, and dimmers

  • Always remember to disconnect power to the area you are working on before beginning any electrical work.
  • Plan where larger pieces of furniture will be placed so electrical outlets will not be covered.
  • Identify where large electrical power requirements (appliances, electronics, etc.) will be placed so electrical outlets can be planned accordingly.
  • Allow for at least one if not more electrical boxes per wall.
  • Plan for electrical boxes near cable outlets.
  • Identify your needs for light switches, cable, telephone, and other auxilary jacks in combination with electrical outlets (i.e., satellite television systems).

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Warning: When using this information to perform electrical work, call a licensed electrician or consult the NEC® for safety. All licensed electricians have passed examinations covering the National Electric Code®, know state and local building codes, and may carry insurance to cover damages.