Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between One-way Electrical Switches and Two-way Electrical Switches

One-way Electrical Switches vs Two-way Electrical Switches

Electrical switches are very simple devices that are used to turn things on and off. The most common type of switches is the one that we use to turn our lights on and off. Very little has changed in how switches work since when they were invented. Although there are many types of switches, we are more accustomed to one-way and two-way electrical switches. The main difference between them is the number of contacts that they have. A one-way switch only has two contacts while a two-way switch has three.

A one-way switch basically operates as a make or break switch. When it is turned on, the two terminals are connected, and when it is turned off, the contact between the two is broken. In contrast, a two-way switch is basically two, one-way switches combined into one. One of the terminals can be connected to either of the remaining two but not both at the same time. When you want to make a connection with one terminal, the connection with the other is broken.

One advantage of two-way switches is allowing the control of a single device like a light from two locations; typically used in long hallways so you do not have to walk all the way to the other end in total darkness. This is achieved by wiring the two terminals of the two switches together so that a path is established when the switches are in the same orientation and none when they are not.

When used in this manner there is no defined position for the off or on states. Basically, just flipping either switch would turn the light on or off. A one-way switch has definite on and off positions and cannot be used to obtain the same effect.

Different types of switches can be used to achieve different effects. Still, the one-way switch is the most commonly used switch in homes and in many applications where you want to control the flow of electricity.


1.One-way switches only have two terminals while two-way switches have three.
2.A two-way switch can be used to control a light from two locations while a one-way switch cannot.
3.One-way switches have definite on and off states while two-way switches don’t.

Sharing is caring!

Search DifferenceBetween.net :

Email This Post Email This Post : If you like this article or our site. Please spread the word. Share it with your friends/family.


  1. What is electrical waring and which type of work plz explain.

  2. I’ve Recently fitted a new kitchen light. There are two cables two with two lives two earths and two Neutrals.

    The one-way switch is blown and replaced it with a two way switch because that’s all I’ve got. Should it still work?

    Because the two cables from the light that lead to the switch. One has been cut at that box.

    I turn the fuse board back on and the lights will only stay on When i try turning the switch off.

  3. Sir
    In a 1 way switch , one terminal is connected to phase and another is to neutral….
    Explain about 2 way switches like above i did

  4. I want to have some notes about electrical installation

  5. I have a shower room ceiling pull down switch witch operates a light and an extraction fan. I wish to replace the pull down switch as the string has been detached at the top. I sit alright to use a one way pull down switch?

Leave a Response

Please note: comment moderation is enabled and may delay your comment. There is no need to resubmit your comment.

Articles on DifferenceBetween.net are general information, and are not intended to substitute for professional advice. The information is "AS IS", "WITH ALL FAULTS". User assumes all risk of use, damage, or injury. You agree that we have no liability for any damages.

See more about :
Protected by Copyscape Plagiarism Finder