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Toggle Switch and Rocker Switch: What's the Difference?

by Huyu 15 Feb 2023 0 Comments

The light switches in a home may seem inconsequential, but they may significantly impact the overall aesthetic when it comes time to remodel or update. In addition, as door knobs, light switches are perhaps one of the most often used tools in your home. Have faith in your decision.

Rockers, called Decora light switches and toggles, are the two most common types of light switches in use today. 


Toggle Switches

Light switches that "flip" up and down are called toggles. Morris Goldberg and William J. Newton developed them in 1916 as an alternative to the problematic push-button light switches of the time. The use of toggle switches for lighting rapidly gained widespread adoption.


Rocker switches

They are sometimes known as Decora switches. Decorator, an abbreviation of Rocker lights, may be more familiar to you. Although Leviton patented the invention in 1973, it's now universally utilized for rocker light switches. They're the most modern, hassle-free, and fashionable option.

Here are their differences:

6 Pins 3 Position 3PCS Rocker Toggle Switch Maintained DPDT

Functionality and Electrical Configuration

Although it's easier to pick between rocker and dimmer switches, the primary difference between toggle and rocker switches is purely aesthetic. Regarding wiring, both types of switches have the exact specifications. Toggle and rocker switches are interchangeable because they work similarly to regulate electrical current and fit into the same mounting boxes.



You can switch power on and off via rockers and toggles in the same way. Toggles have more of a "snap," while rockers appear to require a bit more power to switch, but that's far from functionality.

However, if you've got your hands full, a rocker may be easier to turn on and off with the elbows or shoulders. Experts say that Rocker switches can be preferable for the elderly or people with less-than-ideal fine motor control.

  • Toggle: Immediately more brisk sensation
  • Rocker: Using a rocker is less hassle, especially if your hands are full.


Integrity in both Design and Construction

Although the designs vary, the materials are consistent, and the switches' hue should fade similarly over time. Experts recommend "light almond" instead of white if you are concerned about stains. In the long run, it could give you more wiggle room.

Rocker light switches are slightly larger in footprint but install flush with the wall. And if you're trying to sell your house, they're a far more fashionable and high-end option. Even the interior's mounting brackets, or "yokes," are virtually identical. Conversely, Toggles use a spring that works in conjunction with the lever arms to produce a quick response.

Experts can attest that the most common reason a rocker fails is for it to break off, in which case you must purchase a new switch.

  • Toggle: Safe and "snappy" feeling toggle with a spring you can count on.
  • Rocker: It's the more modern and trendy option, but it also has a higher chance of breaking and needing to be replaced.


Comparing Rocker Switches and Toggle Switches for the Intermediate Level

Toggle switches are usually sufficient for standard lighting applications, while a wider variety of rocker switches (such as 20 amp and 45 amp) are available. Toggle switches for intermediate levels are not as standard as rocker switches of the same type, although they are accessible and perform the same functions.



Toggle switches are more difficult to install than rocker switches. Push-in connections can connect switches, often called speed wiring, or with traditional screw terminals.  It may take a little longer, but it's well worth building a  J hook or Shepherd's hook clockwise all-around screw for use with normal side wiring or screw terminals.

However, back wiring connects rocker light switches like the Eaton rocker. That's great news for people who like to do things independently. The rocker is equipped with both conventional screw connections and a speed wiring option (both of which are discouraged). However, the back wiring plates will be time-savers, especially if you plan on switching out more than a few bulbs.

To install a toggle switch, you'll need a J hook or Shepherd's hook; with a rocker switch, you can use back wiring plates instead, reducing your wiring time and costs.


Take away

Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of toggles and rockers might help you decide which switch type is ideal for your needs. The peculiarities of the design, the operator interface's exposure to the surroundings, and you should consider all the working conditions before settling on a course of action.

It's not too expensive or time-consuming to switch to Decora light switches if you're planning a home remodel or improvement project to resell the property. If you're replacing your light switches with rocker models for a more streamlined appearance, you might also want to investigate Decora wall outlets.
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