Difference Between one-way switch and two-way switch (With Table)

One of the simple devices mostly used in everyday life is switches. A switch can join or break a circuit to operate other electrical devices. If you look closely, a switch only has two functions – on and off any electrical device. Or in other words, it connects or breaks the circuit to work specific electrical devices. 

A current can flow in the circuit till the switch is in ON position to complete the circuit. It is used for electric lights, electrical appliances, and other electric outlets. 

One-way Switch vs Two-way Switch

The main difference between a one-way switch and a two-way switch is that a one-way switch has two terminals. While a two-way switch has three terminals. The number of terminals is the significant difference between them. A one-way switch has definite on and off terminals, although a two-way switch doesn’t have specific ON and OFF terminals. 

A one-way switch connects or breaks a circuit with two terminals. When the switch is on, it completes the circuit. But when the switch is off, it breaks the circuit, thereby the current doesn’t flow through the circuit. Thus, the electrical appliance doesn’t work. Most common switches are used in every household. 

A two-way switch is a combination of two one-way switches. However, the working differs as one of the terminals can be connected to either one of three terminals. But it can’t be connected to both terminals at a time. When one of the terminals is connected with another, hence the third terminal’s connection is broken.

Comparison Table Between One-Way Switch and Two-Way Switch

Parameters of Comparison One-way switch Two-way switch
Principle of workA one-way switch connects or breaks a circuit to operate electrical devices. A two-way connects two terminals, and one of the three terminals is left broken to operate the electrical device. 
Number of contacts A one-way switch has two contacts A two-way switch has three contacts. 
KnownA one-way switch is also known as a single-pole switch. A two-way switch is also known as a double-pole switch. 
On and off positionA one-way switch has a defined on and off position. A two-way switch does not have a specific ON and OFF position. Since it depends on the orientation of the switch.
AccessA one-way switch can be accessed from a single location only. A two-way switch is accessed from two separate locations. 
Installation and timeA one-way switch can be installed without any hassle in less time. A two-way switch is installed with complications and consumes a lot of time. 

What is One-Way Switch?

A one-way switch is commonly used in every household. It connects or breaks a circuit with the use of two terminals. When the switch is on, the circuit is complete, and the current flows through it. Thereby, the electrical appliance works. But, When the switch is off, it breaks the circuit, and the current cannot flow through it. Hence, no appliance can work. 

The number of contacts determines the type of switch. A one-way switch has two terminals and is commonly used in small rooms and domestic electrical appliances. In addition to terminals, a one-way switch has specific ON and OFF terminals. In short, a one-way switch has OFF and ON positions that determine the circuit to be closed or open. And there are some specific indications on the switch to identify the on and off switch.  

Besides, a one-way switch is restricted to one location only as one cannot access it from another single place to switch on or off any electrical appliance. Coming to the installation, a one-way switch takes less time to be installed. It gets installed easily because of its simpler functionality. Moreover, one-way switches are mostly used in smaller rooms, offices, homes, and domestic electrical appliances because the number of contacts and restrictions of one place make it easier to use. 

What is Two-Way Switch?

A two-Way Switch is not that common type of switch. It is composed of a combination of two one-way switches together. Besides, the circuit breaks and completes, as usual, allowing the flow of current through it. A two-way switch has more contacts than a one-way switch, as a result, there is a significant difference between them. It has three terminals. Moreover, when the switch is on, one terminal is connected to another. But the third one has a broken connection as a result. 

The three terminals cannot be connected at the same time. One of the terminals needs to be broken for working for specific electrical devices.Coming to the usage of a two-way switch, it is not commonly used. But, it is preferable for large rooms, long corridors, and long stairways. In addition to that, it can be accessed from two separate locations. Therefore, many people prefer a two-way switch to operate light and ceiling fans as it’s more convenient. 

Another specialization of a two-way switch, it on and off terminal is not specific because it depends on the position of a two-way switch. There’s no consistency in the on and off position. Lastly, the installation of a two-way switch is much more complicated than a one-way switch and consumes a lot of time. 

Main Differences Between One-Way Switch and Two-Way Switch

There are many types of switches available. One of the types of switches is the one-way switches and two-way switches. Compared to a two-way switch, the one-way switch is more used. 

To operate every electrical device, there’s a need for a switch that completes the circuit to allow current to flow through it and thereby letting the electrical device work. 

  1.  The one-way switch connects or breaks the circuit to operate a specific electrical device, while the two-way switch doesn’t work as that two-terminal connects, and one of three terminals is left broken.
  2. A one-way switch has two contacts, while a two-way switch has three contacts. 
  3. A one-way is also called a single-pole switch, while a two-way switch is also known as a two-pole switch. 
  4. A one-way switch has a defined on and off position, while a two-way switch has no defined on and off position as it depends on the position of a two-way switch. 
  5. A one-way switch is restricted to one location. In contrast, a two-way switch can be accessed by two separate locations. 
  6. A one-way switch can be installed without much hassle in less time. On the other hand, a two-way switch is much more complex, therefore it takes more time. 

Conclusion

Many types of electrical switches are available. One of them is a one-way switch and a two-way switch. One-way switches are mostly used rather than two-way switches. People tend to think that all switches are similar but they are not similar at all. Ranging from principle to installation, they differ a lot. 

A one-way switch works with connecting or breaking the circuit. Besides, it has two terminals, when the terminals are connected, it allows current to flow through it, and thereby electrical appliances work. And if the terminals are not connected, then the current doesn’t flow through it. Moreover, it has defined on and off position and can be accessed from a separate location only. In addition to that, its installation is done without any hassle in less time. 

A two-way switch doesn’t work as a one-way switch, although it is a combination of two-one way switches. When a two-way switch is on, the two terminals are connected, while one of the three terminals is left broken. And the position of ON and OFF is not specific because it depends on the position of the two-way switch.  In addition to that, it can be accessed from two separate locations. However, its installation is complicated and consumes a lot of time. 

References

  1. https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-662-53015-3_6
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0167931704002084
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