A rocker switch is one of the most common forms of electrical switches in the world due to how easy it is to use and its reliability. It is an on-off switch that rocks back and forth like a see-saw.
Rocker switches are commonly referred to as single pole and double pole which relates to the number of circuits that are controlled by the switch. The throw defines how many positions the switches poles can be connected to. Some of the most common switch configurations are SPST, SPDT, DPST, and DPDT.
Non-illuminated rocker switches often have a circle and a horizontal dash to indicate whether the switch is on or off. Other switches have a coloured LED which lights up when the switch is on. You can learn more in our comprehensive rocker switches guide.
RS offer an extensive range of high-quality illuminated and non-illuminated rocker switches from industry-leading brands including APEM, Arcolectric, C&K Carling Technologies, and of course RS PRO
Rocker switches can be categorised into two main types, momentary or latching. This refers to how the switch operates.
This type of switch would require a force (normally your finger) to press the switch actuator into the on position, the force must remain for the switch to work. As soon as the force is removed the rocker would return or spring back to its original state.
When force is applied to the rocker switch actuator the switch will change state and 'latch' into place. The switch will remain latched until a force is applied to the actuator, the switch will then un-latch and return to its normal state.
There are many applications where you can use a rocker switch. This includes household appliances, medical systems, power supply units, control panels, and HVAC equipment. For more extreme environments a switch with an IP rating can be used. Ingress protection ratings range from IP40 to IP68.