Send Your Inquiry Today

Guide to Rocker SwitchesWhether you want to turn on your fan or shut down the thermostat to save some bucks, switches are inevitable to electronics. Different electronic operations utilize specific types, including rockers, toggle, push button, rotary, temperature switches, etc.

Due to numerous choices, finding the right kind of switches from a plethora of options can be quite difficult. But the wide application and advantages of rocker switches make it incredibly easy to pick one. The progress and growth of electric switches in the 1880s led to the innovation of rocker switches which have now become one of the easy-to-use choices among consumers. They are all-rounders with unmatched durability.

This brief guide offers everything you need to know about their working principle, types, and applications in electronic devices.

What is a Rocker Switch?

A rocker switch resembles the look of a see-saw, one side of which elevates while the other pushes down. Similarly, when you turn it “on” by pressing one side, the other side of the switch rises; they are thus also known as see-saw switches.

They usually have an “on” and an “off” function on either end. A zero (0) indicates off, while a Roman one (I) shows on. So, when you press the “I,” the electronic will turn on, and it will stay in that position until you shut off the electronic device by pressing “0.” It is no surprise that “on-off switches” is a common name for them.

While these switches usually have two functions: “on” on one side and “off” on the other, some design switches offer three choices. They have the “off” function in the middle, giving them the name “on off on rocker switch.”

How Dose a Rocker Light Switch Work?

You can change the state of the electronic from on to off and vice versa by pressing on any of the sides on the outside, but how does the internal assembly make it happen?

rocker switch

Components of a Rocker Switch Panel

The following components are essential elements of their assembly for adequate functioning:

  • Operation button
  • Internal case
  • Actuator
  • Sealing rubber
  • Terminals
  • Contacts
  • Semi-elliptical spring
  • Lid
  • Cover

Working Principle

You can turn them off and on by pushing the button resulting in spring movement within the structure. The actuator pushes the contacts to turn on or off according to the command. The resulting on or off function is obtained by allowing or breaking the current flow per need.

When you turn it on, the contacts join together, allowing the current flow, resulting in electronic operation. Conversely, turning it off cuts the current flow.

Types of Rocker Switch Panel

Most buyers pick switches according to the look on the outside, but understanding rocker switch wiring will help you make a better choice. You can choose from these four types:

  • Single pole, single throw
  • Single pole, double throw
  • Double pole, single throw
  • Double pole, double throw

Pole refers to the number of circuits one switch closes when you press “on.” Some supply current to one circuit, performing only one function, while others can complete two circuits (double poles).

Throw shows the number of functions it can perform regardless of the number of circuits closed. For example, if a fan offers 0, I, and II speeds, it provides double throws producing two different speeds using one circuit only.

Now that you know what poles and throws are, it will be easier to understand the types of rocker light switches.

What is Single Pole, Single Throw (SPST)?

Single pole and single throw have only one input terminal and give only one output. It means that they produce only one function in an appliance at one time without variation.

For example, you have a fan that you cannot change the speed of or turn on the light attached to the fan. This setting is called SPST, as it offers only ON and OFF functions relating to one circuit.

Single Pole Single Throw (SPST) switch

What is Single Pole, Double Throw (SPDT)?

Single pole, double throw (SPDT) rockers complete only one function but allow two “on” states in the electronic. “On off on” rocker switches are SPDT.

For example, you can turn the fan on or off and choose between I (slow) or II (fast speed). In this situation, it offers two “on” conditions by supplying current to one circuit.

Single Pole Double Throw Switch

What is Double Pole, Single Throw (DPST)?

Double pole, single throw (DPST) supply electricity to two circuits, producing only one output without variation.

Let’s say you have a 2-in-1 fan with an attached light that uses a DPST switch. When you turn it on, the fan and light turn on. But it does not allow you to adjust the speed or illumination.

Double Pole Single Throw (DPST)

What is Double Pole, Double Throw (DPDT)?

Double pole and double throw switches complete two circuits at once and offer two “on” states simultaneously.

For example, your rocker switch turns on the fan and light simultaneously and also allows you to manage their speed or illumination.

Double Pole Double Throw (DPDT)

Design Options

When you decide to purchase a switch, some of the most common designs choices will include:

On Off On Rocker Switch

These have two “on” states and one “off” state, with the off being in the middle typically. Sometimes you might also see the off-stage on one of the ends of the switch.


Changeover switches change the direction of the voltage from one circuit to another, such as in main powers. They are normally used in homes and industries to fight power outages.


Momentary or non-latching ones come back to their position after you press them due to the presence of a spring.


Switches with an off function in the center instead of either side are known as center-off. They usually have “on” functions on either side.


Most of these have built-in LED indicators, thus the name “illuminated” switches. They often indicate the “on” state.

How to Choose a Rocker Light Switch for Your Needs?

Choosing a suitable type of switch for your needs requires taking care of the following:

  • Size and power capacity depending on the current flow
  • Material choice
  • Dimensions according to area
  • Number of poles and throws according to functions
  • Termination style including straight, support bracket, quick connect, etc.
  • Others like illumination, color, and additional protection.


These are all-rounders, as you can find them almost everywhere, from home appliances to industrial uses. Some of the common applications include:

  • You can find them widely in power supply systems, fuse circuits, and control panels.
  • They are common in wall sockets, power outlets, and extensions.
  • These switches also have their application in the hotel industry, including doors and security entry.
  • They are a part of many electrical devices such as lamps, hairdryers, computers, etc.
  • You might have seen these in computer devices such as SMPS, UPS, and printers.
  • Boats and military aircraft also use these switches as a part of their systems.
  • Other industrial uses of rocker switches include medical devices, HVAC systems, electric windows, pneumatic systems, etc.


Rocker switches are the most convenient, durable, and suitable for household and industrial applications. They provide various functionalities such as SPST, SPDT, DPST, and DPDT according to the requirement. You can also choose from the changeover, momentary, center-off, or illuminated Lighted Rocker Switch. These are suitable for small spaces as you can easily use them in constricted areas. Consider the dimensions, size, material, current flow, and termination style when choosing an ideal switch for your needs.


How to wire a rocker switch?

To wire a switch, cut two ground wires to connect to the better and the power source. Next, take two more wires for the battery to the ACC connection and from the light to the power connection. Attach the first wire to the lights and switch’s power terminal, then connect the second to the battery. Lastly, join the wire from the switch to the light terminal and the button to the battery ground terminal.

How does an on-off-on rocker switch work?

On-off-on switches are single-pole, double-throw switches that offer two “on” states at one time. They usually have an “on” state on two ends and one “off” state in the middle. They are also called see-saw switches.

What is a one way switch?

One-way switches complete one circuit when you turn them on or off. There is only one input and output in one-way switches. Thus, they allow only one function at one time, such as those in a single poll single throw.

What is the advantage of the rocker switch?

These offer an advantage over others as they need less force to turn appliances on or off, and this offer quick operation. They also do not make a noise like a few other alternatives that make a “snap” sound. The best part is that most of these switches are illuminated, making them a suitable choice for the elderly to understand the state of the electronics better.

Should you buy a 12v rocker switch?

Buying a rocker switch depends on the current flow you want to manage. You should buy a 12v switch for that voltage where needed. Make sure to wire the switch properly to avoid issues.

I hope this article can help you to understand more about Rocker Switch. Contact Weup if you need more consultation.


Hello, my name is Eva Xia, and I am currently the Marketing Manager at Yueqing Weup Technology Co., Ltd, located in Wenzhou, Zhejiang, China. With over a decade of experience in the accounting field, I have developed extensive knowledge and skills that enable me to excel in my role. Additionally, I have spent two years working as an English teacher, which enhanced my communication abilities and instilled discipline within me.

Having gained more than three years of valuable experience in overseas sales, I have had the opportunity to expand my horizons and develop a deeper understanding of the commercial landscape. This exposure has nurtured my business understanding and allowed me to navigate diverse markets confidently.

However, despite my accomplishments thus far, I remain dedicated to continuous growth and learning. My current area of focus revolves around electronic switches. It is a fascinating and dynamic field that constantly evolves with technological advancements. By delving deeper into this realm, I aim to enhance my professional knowledge and stay ahead of industry trends.

In summary, as a Marketing Manager at Yueqing Weup Technology Co., Ltd., I bring forth a wealth of experience in accounting coupled with the valuable skills honed during my time as an English teacher. Furthermore, my extensive overseas sales expertise has sharpened my business acumen. With a relentless thirst for knowledge and a specific interest in electronic switches, I strive to enhance my professional capabilities further while contributing positively to our organization’s success.

Get in Touch for More Insights!

If you’ve found the information helpful and want to learn more, I encourage you to reach out. Whether your questions concern our latest industry trends, electronic switches, or other market insights, I’m here to help!

Don’t hesitate to drop me an email at the below table.

I am looking forward to hearing from you soon!

Eva Xia,
Marketing Manager at Yueqing Weup Technology Co., Ltd

Update cookies preferences
Scroll to Top