What is a rocker switch?

What is a rocker switch?

Simply, a rocker switch is a switch that rocks when it is being pressed. This means that one side of the switch is raised and when it is pushed down, the opposing end of the switch rocks into the raised position, like a seesaw. A typical example would be a common household light switch or power outlet switch. These widely used rocker switches have simple on-off functions and have a circle “O” for on and a “I” for off.

Rocker Switch

Like household light switches, there are many different features that rocker switches can have. Some rocker switches have a LED light that is illuminated when the switch is in the on position. At the higher end of the market, rocker switches can have a led dash light which is used to locate the switch in the dark and then when the switch is in the on position, a secondary led is activated.

The simple on-off function of a rocker switch is what makes the switch so popular across many different industries. In some cases, the rocker functions are altered to suit a specific purpose or application. This can include having a rocker switch that has a momentary on function that must be held down to be on, and when released it automatically springs into the off position. This function is commonly used for engine start, horn, battery link, and winch in/out switches. The momentary function of a switch can be identified by using brackets () around the function that is momentary. For example, an (on)-off rocker switch would indicate that the on function is momentary and when the switch was released it would spring back to the off function.

Rocker Switch Horn

Rocker switches can also function in other ways including a 3 way rocker switch on-off-on. This is used for applications that require two options of power from the one switch. An example of this would be the use of a winch in/out switch on a 4x4. The rocker switch would have a (on)-off-(on) function so that the switch has a momentary in and a momentary out function.  

Generally, a rocker switch refers to the physical motion that the switch makes as it rocks when being activated. There are many different types and variations of rocker switches to suit a large amount of applications functions. You can find our collection of rocker switches here.