How Lighting Switches Are Rated

How Lighting Switches Are Rated

As a consumer, finding the right lighting solutions can seem overwhelming at times. For example, choosing the right light switch for your needs can be tricky. While it may seem that taking a one size fits all approach is sufficient, the different ratings of the light switches are important. Here are a few things to keep in mind about how lighting switches are rated to help you find the option that is right for your location.

AC and DC Switches

The first thing you need to know is that light switches are rated based on the electrical current type. For example, the two most common types of lighting switches are DC (direct current) and AC (alternating current). A DC switch uses a pulsating current that is never reversed meaning it is constant in the direction it flows whereas as an AC switch uses a current which reverses itself in direction during operation to allow for a more even pulsation current. It matters to make sure you get the right switch type for the electrical currents being pulled to make sure you don’t run into problems such as short circuits or overloads which can cause failure.

How do you know which one to use for your lighting needs?

While there are many claims that you can use the two types of switches interchangeably, there are a few things to remember. The general rule of thumb is that you can use a DC switch with any type of application without much trouble. The DC switch can handle the current with ease since it is one directional and constant. Knowing when to use an AC switch can be a little trickier. Basically, you want to use an AC switch when you will need a lower current operation than the amps of suggested use for a DC switch. This isn’t to say that a DC switch is inherently better, they just operate differently and handle fast loads of current more consistently.

What about other ratings?

Aside from the operation of the current, there are a few other ratings related to lighting switches you need to know. For instance, you want to make sure any switch you choose is UL certified. The UL (Underwriters Laboratories) certification signifies that the switch meets certain safety standards regarding usage.