Types of British Standard Electrical Switches and Sockets: Everything You Need to Know

USB Socket

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You will come across a few different types of electrical switches and sockets in your home. It can be not very clearly trying to understand the difference, so we have put together this guide to help you! This post will discuss the different switches and sockets and explain what each one is used for. We will also provide tips on choosing the right type of switch or socket for your needs.

Because there are many standard switch socket types in the world, they will be a little different; today, I’m talking about the British standard, 86MMx86MM size household electrical switch socket.

Electrical Switches Types

X GANG X WAY SWITCH: This type of lighting switch is widely used in the home; its Gang means the number of buttons, commonly used are 1 Gang, 2Gang, 3Gang, 4Gang. 1 Gang means just one button, 4 Gang means there are four buttons.

Then let’s talk about Way. Way means the number of electrical appliances that can be controlled. Simply put, two 1 Gang 2 Way electrical switches can control the same electrical appliance. For example, if you want to control the on/off of the same light downstairs and downstairs, you need to use the 2 Way electrical switch.

There are only two types of 1 Way and 2 Way commonly used, but what if you want to install a switch to control many lights or use electrical appliances?

2 way

At this time, we need to use 2 Gang 2 Way, 3 Gang 2 Way, and 4 Gang 2 Way, these types, such as 2 Gang 2 way=2 X1 Gang 2 Way switches, so that two groups can be controlled at the same time or 2 lights on/off, and so on, 3 gang is 3 groups or 3pcs, 4 gang is 4 groups or 4 pcs.

Doorbell Switch

Doorbell Switch: The doorbell switch is an electrical switch connected to the bell at home. Its appearance is similar to the 1 Gang 1 Way switch, except that it has a built-in reset device. It will only be powered on if you keep pressing it, and it will automatically reset and power off when you leave it.


DP Switch: Double-Pole Switches is a switch that installs two single-pole switches together. It is generally used on lines that need to be cut off and completely isolated from current, such as cookers, ovens, and other electrical appliances in the kitchen. It is generally divided into 20A DP Switch and 45A DP Switch, two kinds.

According to the usage in different countries, the size can be divided into 3X3 and 3X6.

African countries prefer to use an integrated DP switch, a kitchen control unit, which will incorporate a 20A DP switch, a 45A DP switch, and a 13A British standard socket.

fan/dimmer switch

Speed/Dimmer Switch: From the name, we know this kind of electrical switch is mainly used in lights or fans.

It is a rotary switch structure that can change the voltage by rotating and controlling the lamp’s brightness or the fan’s speed.

They are usually divided into two types with gear and without gear.

Electrical Sockets Types

The socket is the output port of the power supply. There are usually 2-pin sockets, 3-pin sockets, and 5-pin sockets. These three are similar, but because many countries have standards, we typically call them standard sockets.

These standards emerged mainly due to the original war, such as the British standard sockets, which widely appeared in Africa, the Middle East, and some countries in Southeast Asia that Britain colonized.

American standard sockets appear in some Southeast Asian countries, South American countries, and other countries that the United States has colonized.

They left behind many standards in the colonized countries through colonial wars.

Of course, many countries have invented their standards with the development of society, such as China, South Africa, Italy, and other countries.

British(UK) Standard Socket

British(UK) Standard Socket: The British standard socket is a 3-PIN socket consisting of three square outlets. The current they carry is usually 13A.

South African Standard Socket

South African Standard Socket: The South African standard socket is a 3-Pin socket, Consists of three circular outlets. The current they carry is usually 15A.

European Standard Socket: European countries mainly use three types of sockets, namely German sockets, French sockets, and Russian sockets. They are almost the same in appearance, and only the ground poles have some differences in details.

The German plug has two grounding electrodes, the French plug has one grounding electrode, and the Russian plug has no grounding electrode.

Multifunctional Electrical Socket

Multifunctional Electrical Socket: This socket has another name called the global plug. It can be adapted to almost all countries’ plugs and is very easy to use, usually with a current of 13A or 15A.

However, many countries do not advocate the use of this product for the sake of electricity safety. Because the voltages in many countries are different, when you purchase electrical equipment with a US standard 110V voltage and use it on a multifunctional outlet, there will be a risk of damage to the electrical equipment.

Safety Doors

A Little Advice: It is essential to buy sockets with Safety Doors. As you can imagine, any plug is symmetrical, so it doesn’t block the insertion of the pin. Because of its structure, it prevents the insertion of asymmetrical objects.

But your baby’s fingers, screwdrivers, etc., are all asymmetrical, so they can’t plug into sockets with safety gates. It exists mainly to protect the safety of the world-curious baby at home.

Support Sockets Types

These modules, usually some sockets matched with electronic products, are collectively referred to as support modules.

TV Socket

TV Socket: The TV outlet bridges the cable provider and your TV. Connect your TV and cable input through it, and you can watch TV at home.

Satellite Socket

Satellite Socket: The satellite socket is usually used as a wireless TV connector and is widely used in many countries that need to watch satellite TV as a bridge between the household satellite stove line and the TV.

USB Socket

USB Socket: The main job of the USB socket is to charge devices that use USB, and it is most often used to charge mobile phones.

Usually, a USB socket with a transmission speed of 2100MA (2.1A) is enough. You can also use a USB socket with a faster transmission speed of 2400MA (2.4A). Of course, with the development of society, the battery capacity of mobile phones is getting larger and larger.

RJ11 Telephone Socket

RJ11 Telephone Socket: RJ11 refers to the interface type of the telephone socket. It is a 6-pin cable, which looks very similar to the network cable, so you must pay attention when purchasing.

RJ45/CAT DATE Socket

RJ45/CAT DATE Socket: RJ45 refers to the type of data transmission socket. It is generally used on the output of the network cable. It is an 8-pin cable that looks very similar to a telephone cable, so you must pay attention when purchasing.

CAT refers to the transmission speed; usually, CAT5-CAT6 products are used, and the upload speed is 100MB-1000MB. The larger the number behind, the faster the transmission speed of the socket.

Blank Board

Blank Board: In fact, this product is not a socket, but an outlet hole decoration, because many times, there will be a reserved outlet on the wall, and this product can be used as a temporary decoration to cover the hole to prevent electric shock accidents and beautify at the same time. Decoration design.

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