Have you ever thought about how many different types of wall plates there are in your home? Probably not. But when one of them cracks, and you need to find a replacement, you might realize that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to switch plates and outlet covers. There are numerous different types of switch sizes and shapes and many different ways in which those switches can be combined. There are even different outlet combinations in various homes, and each needs a wall plate that fits. Keep reading to learn more about the different types of switches and outlets and the type of switch cover you need.
Toggle Light Plate
The light switch you’re probably most familiar with is the standard toggle light switch—that’s the one with the little nub that you flick up and down to turn the lights on and off. These switches need a toggle light plate, which has a single rectangular opening to fit the switch. These plates also work with rotary dimmer switches—the circular knobs that you can press to turn the lights on and off, then rotate to dim or brighten them.
Duplex Outlet Plate
This is the most common type of outlet plate you’ll see. It contains two openings for outlets, stacked on top of one another. This works for the conventional duplex outlet you’ll usually see, as well as combination switches that include an outlet and toggle light switch.
Rocker plates are becoming more common in many households. They fit with the following types of switches and outlets:
- Rocker switches – Rectangular switches allow you to press the top or bottom to turn the lights on and off; this is the shape of most smart light switches.
- Slide dimmers – Slide bar in a rectangular frame that you move up and down to brighten or dim lights.
- GFCI outlets – Double outlet with “Reset” and “Test” buttons between plug openings; frequently seen in bathrooms.
- Phone or data jacks – Rectangular frame that contains one or more jacks for devices.
This plate has the most possible uses in a home.
There are a couple of different types of jack plates—phone jack plates and cable jack plates. These have openings shaped to accommodate a specific type of cable, such as a phone cable or coax cable.
Single Outlet Plate
You’re probably aware that your appliances have a different kind of outlet than the standard outlets in your home—and that means they need a separate outlet plate. A single outlet plate has one large, circular opening to fit appliance outlets.
Gangs and Combinations
The above are just a few of the most common types of switches and their appropriate plates. But these types can be combined in many different ways. “Gang” wall plates feature anywhere between 1 and 4 toggle switches; there can even be five or more gangs in commercial buildings.
In some homes, a toggle switch and rocker switch might be installed side by side; this requires a combination plate that includes an opening for both of them. Similarly, you might need a combination plate for a toggle switch and duplex outlet or a phone jack and coax cable jack.
With so many different types of switches, outlets, and combinations of the 2, it’s essential to find the right wall plate covers to fit them. Check out our catalog of switch plates here at Wallplate Warehouse to find what you need.