The simplest type of switch is one where two electrical conductors are brought in contact with each other by the motion of an actuating mechanism.

Other switches are more complex, containing electronic circuits able to turn on or off depending on some physical stimulus (such as light or magnetic field) sensed.

In any case, the final output of any switch will be (at least) a pair of wire-connection terminals that will either be connected together by the switch’s internal contact mechanism (“closed”), or not connected together (“open”).

  • hand switch Any switch designed to be operated by a person is generally called a hand switch
    • Toggle Switches
    • Pushbutton Switches
    • Selector Switches
    • Joystick Switches
  • Limit Switches Limit switches are actuated by machine motion
    • Limit switches
    • Proximity Switches
  • Process switches Process switches are actuated by changes in some physical process (temperature, level, flow, etc.).
    • Speed Switches
    • Pressure Switches
    • Temperature Switches
    • Liquid Level Switch
    • Liquid Flow Switch
    • Nuclear Level Switch