What is an Intermediate Switch?
An intermediate switch is used when you have three or more light switches controlling one light.
The middle switch, or switches, need to be an intermediate switch for the lighting circuit to work correctly.
The typical example of this is on a landing in a house, when perhaps there is a switch at the bottom of the stairs, one at the top of the stairs and one at the end of the landing. On this circuit you would need the middle switch; the one at the top of the stairs, to be an intermediate switch. The other two light switches would need to be two way switches.
This can be continued for multiple switches, so it applies to three or more switches. Think of a shared landing in a block of flats for example.
When do I need an intermediate light switch?
An intermediate switch is only used on certain occasions. That is when there are three or more switches on one lighting circuit. For all other circumstances, there are more appropriate switches to use.
It is worth noting that all of these switches look the same from the front, although they do look different from the back.
Can I buy an Intermediate Toggle Switch?
Yes, you can get an intermediate toggle switch that works exactly the same as a normal intermediate rocker switch. Alternatively you can also get a grid toggle switch plate, with a combination on two way and intermediate switches on one plate.
One way Switches
A one way switch is used when you only have one switch for a light or lighting circuit. The one turns the light on and off, therefore the circuit only has two states.
Two Way Switches
Two way switches are used when there are two switches controlling one light, or more accurately one lighting circuit; there can be more than one light fitting, controlled by the two switches.
The classic two examples of this are either when a room has two different entrances (like a through room) or a light for a landing, where there is a switch at the top of the stairs and one at the bottom. People often mistakenly order an intermediate switch for this. While an intermediate switch will work for this, it is certainly not needed and a two way switch will do the job perfectly.
Two way switches can also be used when there is only one switch for a light, as a substitute for a one way switch. Click here to read more about what is a two way light switch.
Intermediate switches are very versatile, and can be used for most lighting situations, but in reality it is more expensive, so you would normally only use it when needed. That is when you have three switches controlling one light, then the middle one needs to be an intermediate switch (the others need to be two way).
Do I need an intermediate light switch?
Working out if you need an intermediate switch is simple. If you have three or more light switches controlling one light, you will need an intermediate light switch.
The end two light switches need to be two way light switches. All the other switches (in between) need to be intermediate light switches.
The Hierarchy of Switches
An intermediate switch can be used as a one way or two way switch (but is more expensive, so would not normally be used for this).
A two way switch can be used as a one way switch or a two way switch. They are often used as both. In fact many electrical retailers (including Socket Store) don't sell one way switches as the price difference is insignificant and the two way will do the job for both.
Why So Much More?
A final question we often get asked. Why does it cost so much more? Well the answer's simple. It is a more complicated circuit (see the illustrations above) and therefore costs more to manufacture.
We have a huge range of intermediate switches available. Each of our ranges have an intermediate switch within the range. Please check them out below.
Full Range of Sockets and Switches
As well as a huge range of intermediate light switches, we also have a full range of matching sockets, switches, dimmers, toggles and other electrical accessories that perfectly match the intermediate light switches.