Switches and sockets explained  
If you’re a first-time renovator (or even an experienced one), chances are you’ll come across an unfamiliar term or two on your search for the right fixtures for your home.

To make things a little easier, we’ve created a bite-sized guide to the vocabulary commonly used when talking about switches and sockets.

Jargon busting the basics   
Get to know these key terms before starting your search.    

Gang (or ‘G’) describes the number of switches on a front plate. A 2G switch will have two switches on one plate, and so on.  

The component that contains the switch or socket. It sits behind the front plate and connects to the mains wiring.  

You’ll find this on the rear of the front plate. It holds the switch or socket modules in place and screws onto the back box.  

Back box   
This is the part that’s inserted into the wall to hold all the electrics and the switch or socket plate in place. In the UK, it’s made of metal if it’s for solid brick walls, or plastic (ours is fully recycled) for plasterboard. In the EU, they’re all plastic.  
Two way 
Control the same light circuit from two locations (like the top and bottom of a staircase or in rooms with multiple entrances) using two of this type of switch.    

Double pole  
A pole is the number of contacts that a single switch can control. A double pole switch contacts two circuits.  

It isolates both the live and neutral circuits (instead of just the live circuit), meaning there’s no current passing through for an extra level of safety.  

A switch type that’s used when three or more switches are required to control the same light from different locations.  

Two way switches are used at the start and end of the circuit, and one or more intermediate switches are added to the middle of the circuit.  

This type of toggle switch springs back to the original off position after being pressed.  

Centre retractive 
The toggle sits in the middle of the plate and springs back to centre when pressed up and down.  

Essentially, this is the colour of your socket (but not the front plate). Ours are either black or white.  
Our switches   
A traditional style on and off lever light switch (also known as a dolly switch).  

A contemporary on-off switch with a sloped button that rocks back and forth. 

Typically, this is a button that pushes in and out to turn your lights on or off and rotates to dim. It’s known as a rotary dimmer.

Alternatively, our in-line dimmer module can be used with both our retractive and centre retractive toggle switches. A short press will turn the light off and on. A press and hold will dim or brighten.

It also has a memory function, so the lights turn on at the same brightness as they were last used.

A narrower switch designed to fit where standard styles can’t (you’ll often find these used between two door frames).  

Standard toggle switches and dimmer knobs sit on one plate in different combinations.  

We’ve designed our slimline switches to give a discreet look and feel. Narrower than a standard square switch, but not quite as narrow as an architrave style.  

Isolator switches cut off the supply of electricity to a section of the circuit so that repairs, servicing and maintenance can be carried out safely.  

Our three isolator switches are for kitchen and bathroom fans, high current appliances such as double ovens and induction hobs (45A cooker switch) and washing machines, fridges, dishwashers or other permanent appliances (switched fused spur (FCU)).  
Our sockets   
Standard 13A UK 
Square-pin single or double 13-amp sockets. Ours come with the option of USB-C charging ports on the integrated sockets. If you’re using our USB modules, you can choose from USB-A+C too.  

Blank plate  
For covering unused back boxes and wiring.  

BT Master & Slave  
Connect your landline via the Master socket. Use the Slave sockets to connect other phones around your home. 

Connect your Ethernet cable through this socket for fast internet speeds. 

Use for two-pin European plugs or connections. 

Brush plate  
Single and double gang brush plates allow multiple (and non-standard) cables to enter or exit the wall tidily through the brush opening. These are commonly used behind wall-mounted TVs.  

Regular electrical plugs won’t fit this type of socket (it’s for round not square pins), and it usually comes unswitched.  

Use to control appliances that take less than a 5-amp current, like floor and table lamps, through the room’s lighting circuit.  

This is ideal if you have a large room with multiple lamps that you want to operate in unison from a main light switch rather than at the individual sockets.  

You’ll find the installation instructions for our switches and sockets here. All Corston electrical products should be installed by a qualified electrician.