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1337Delta764
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Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:01 pm

In the United States, there are two common types of light switches - the traditional toggle style and the rocker style (commonly known by the Leviton trademark "Decora", regardless of actual manufacturer). I decided to do a little poll on which do you have.

Our house has rocker switches (made by Cooper Wiring). Rocker switches seem to be the norm on most newer homes here in the Phoenix area (our house was built in 2011 by Fulton Homes).
 
Type-Rated
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 4:52 pm

We have normal toggle style switches except for in the laundry room and the closets which are the "Decora" design. They are easier to use when you have a handful of clothing or laundry. The house came that way and was built in 1996.
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mham001
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 5:16 pm

I inherited an electricians garage a few years ago with boxes and boxes of stuff. You cannot hardly give away toggle switches, I've tried. All new construction seems to be flat switches.
 
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Revelation
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:20 pm

Quoting type-rated (Reply 1):
They are easier to use when you have a handful of clothing or laundry.

Yes, and I find they are easier to keep clean. No reason to favor the toggle switches, but some day the hipsters will decide they're cool and insist on installing them wherever they habitate...
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:31 pm

I've got an old house, so when remodeling I kept the pecker (decora?) switches. I think the rockers would have jsut looked a bit silly.
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1337Delta764
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 7:45 pm

Quoting doug_Or (Reply 4):
I've got an old house, so when remodeling I kept the pecker (decora?) switches. I think the rockers would have jsut looked a bit silly.

What is a "pecker" switch? Decora is a popular name for a rocker switch, which is a trademark of Leviton. If you don't know the difference, here they are:

Toggle:


Rocker (Decora):


Note that if you have aluminum wiring, you must use CO/ALR approved switches, which are only available in toggle style.

[Edited 2013-11-05 11:54:41]
 
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zippyjet
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:39 pm

The rocker switches look cool. No matter what my vote goes for the ones that are illuminated at night. (The switch itself) has an orangish light.

Quoting Revelation (Reply 3):

Besides not bathing and liking bad music and being obnoxious the Hipsters will embrace:

I'm Zippyjet & I approve this message!
 
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1337Delta764
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 8:42 pm

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 6):
The rocker switches look cool. No matter what my vote goes for the ones that are illuminated at night. (The switch itself) has an orangish light

I don't see that much in ordinary switches anymore, however, they are still very common with dimmer switches (we actually installed some Lutron slide dimmers that have a button with a little orange light).

[Edited 2013-11-05 13:30:58]
 
nws2002
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:18 pm

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 6):
The rocker switches look cool. No matter what my vote goes for the ones that are illuminated at night. (The switch itself) has an orangish light.

Unfortunately, those types of switches do not work well with CFL or LED light bulbs. Causes them to flicker or even stay on very dim.
 
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 9:45 pm

Quoting doug_Or (Reply 4):
I've got an old house, so when remodeling I kept the pecker (decora?) switches.

Just so we're clear, what do you define as "old" in a house? The rocker-style switches had their heyday in the 1970s around here.

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 6):
Besides not bathing and liking bad music and being obnoxious the Hipsters will embrace:

Those were popular in nicer homes the very early 1900s, with a pearlite (looks like mother-of-pearl but is an early form of plastic) insert on the upper, "on" button. Many had brass cover plates as shown above, but the really fancy versions had beveled mirrored glass cover plates.

Really, really old houses might have a few of these rotary (twist on/twist off, like a table lamp) switches still in service-


Back to the original question- I say let the switch fit the overall decor of the house: Rocker-style switches for a sizzlin' 70s house, push-button for a Victorian to upscale 1920s home, rotary-style for a pre-electricity farmhouse, and normal toggle switches for pretty much everything else.
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1337Delta764
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:07 pm

Quoting TSS (Reply 9):

Just so we're clear, what do you define as "old" in a house? The rocker-style switches had their heyday in the 1970s around here.

Here in the Phoenix area, rocker style switches are found in almost all new homes; it seems that only the low-end builders install toggles. However, most builders install standard receptacles rather than the Decora style (which use the same plates as the switches and basically resemble a GFCI without buttons). We only have one Decora style receptacle (not including GFCIs) in our entire house in one of our bathrooms, however, it shares a wall plate with a rocker switch.
 
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zckls04
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:33 pm

The rocker switches look horrible in old houses, so I certainly wouldn't have them. Maybe that makes me a hipster!
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 10:38 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 5):
What is a "pecker" switch? Decora is a popular name for a rocker switch, which is a trademark of Leviton. If you don't know the difference, here they are:

Whops, reading comprehension fail on my part. I meant the toggle switches. My good friend's mother had a light switch cover decorated with Michelangelo's David, so I always thought of those types as "pecker" switches.

Quoting TSS (Reply 9):
Just so we're clear, what do you define as "old" in a house? The rocker-style switches had their heyday in the 1970s around here.

100+ years old. I guess you all would call me a dirty hipster since I'd be all over those old timey fixtures if I could source them at reasonable prices. Its not that the toggles look historically accurate, its that they don't look "new".
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KaiGywer
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Tue Nov 05, 2013 11:41 pm

Quoting zippyjet (Reply 6):
Besides not bathing and liking bad music and being obnoxious the Hipsters will embrace:

Score one for knob and tube wiring  
Quoting TSS (Reply 9):
Really, really old houses might have a few of these rotary (twist on/twist off, like a table lamp) switches still in service-

Score another for knob and tube.

My inlaws' house still have both styles on the second level of their house  
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cptkrell
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:26 am

When I designed our home (approx. 7 yrs ago) I specified all switches be rocker (Decora) style for ease of hand, back of hand or simply using your elbow when your hands are too full to activate. In certain areas/rooms, these are supplemented with rotary off/on/brighten/dim feature on a design-matching rheostat knob.

I have found this to be VERY convenient plus they look o.k., too. My only situation comes from after being over-served and entering the abode where there is a plate with four such rockers and forgetting which is which. This is usually solved by pressing them all on with one forearm movement, then deciding which ones to turn off after getting my bearings  

I haven't seen a rocker (flip-style) switch since we bailed out of our 1940's home up north. I believe the last time I used a "push button" off/on switch was in my Grandmother's old farmhouse (although I have seen them in some historical home places since then).

But, I agree with TSS; Define your style and go with it.

Someone mentioned aluminum wiring in a previous post. Just please don't do it. best regards...jack
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:36 am

Quoting Revelation (Reply 3):

The Hipsters!!!!!!! lol!!!!!!!!!!!!
  

Answer to thread starter: Rocker!!!!
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1337Delta764
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:46 am

Quoting cptkrell (Reply 14):
Someone mentioned aluminum wiring in a previous post. Just please don't do it. best regards...jack

There are many homes out there that still have aluminum wiring, and there aren't any rocker/Decora switches that are CO/ALR approved, which means they cannot safely be used with aluminum wiring; CO/ALR approved switches are only available in the toggle style. Of course, the installation of CO/ALR approved switches and receptacles should only be considered a temporary fix for the aluminum wiring fire hazard; the wiring should be replaced in the long run.
 
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:52 am

I have Decora switches in my house (built in 1968, though the electrical may have been overhauled since original building). I don't mind either style, however, in my bedroom, where I have a TV, the outlet the TV plugs into is tied into the wall switch (layout of room doesn't allow for any other configuration), and it's too easy to turn the TV on and off accidentally. I'd rather have the toggle switch just for that outlet.
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:04 am

Rocker but with a small button similar to this :



80's home, in newer ones you get rocker with big buttons, sometimes the whole thing is a button, or is touch sensitive.

Toggle I've never seen in France, not sure it ever existed but I don't know, most old houses I know have been redone in the last decades, including my parents' centuries old vacation home.
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cptkrell
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:11 am

Hey...I forgot about "The Clapper". One clap on, two claps off. I sincerely hope this doesn't offend anyone, but what if you only have one hand? Then how about "The Stomper"? Never mind...it's getting late. best regards...jack (feel free to suggest deletion because of insensitivity).
all best; jack
 
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:24 am

We have Insteon switches which are decora style, but with far more function.

Quoting AirAfreak (Reply 15):
The Hipsters!!!!!!! lol!!!!!!!!!!!!

Don't knock the hipsters. They will overpay for "vintage" rentals. We own an old house with lots of "vintage" and "unique" features and our hipster artist tenant will never let the lease end. He even sublets if he needs to be out of the area for 6 months, rather than give up his dream home! His 60s and 70s furniture is hilarious.
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1337Delta764
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 2:37 am

Quoting Aesma (Reply 18):

Toggle I've never seen in France, not sure it ever existed but I don't know, most old houses I know have been redone in the last decades, including my parents' centuries old vacation home.

I heard that in Europe, toggle switches are considered old fashioned and are rarely (if ever) used at all nowadays.
 
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AirAfreak
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 3:15 am

Quoting ikramerica (Reply 20):
Don't knock the hipsters. They will overpay for "vintage" rentals. We own an old house with lots of "vintage" and "unique" features and our hipster artist tenant will never let the lease end. He even sublets if he needs to be out of the area for 6 months, rather than give up his dream home! His 60s and 70s furniture is hilarious.

I quite like the hipsters, actually. I frequent Venice, CA almost daily, and it's fun to watch the world of hipsters take interest in vintage, all-things Michael Bastian, Linus bicycles, endless cold-press juices, and skinny jeans. I own one pair of "Chuck's" and a pair of "TOM'S" - does a Cannondale bicycle count?? lol!!!!

Cheers!!!
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larshjort
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:40 am

Why is it all the screws are visible, that looks hideous.

In my apartment I have LK Fuga switches like these.


Installed in frames like this. They are also available in narrow frames.
http://www.greenline.dk/produktBillede/Lauritz-Knudsen-FUGA/LK-Fuga-Baseline-rammer/6039/large/63mm-LK-Fuga-2-modul-vandret-ramme.jpg

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 21):
Quoting Aesma (Reply 18):
Toggle I've never seen in France, not sure it ever existed but I don't know, most old houses I know have been redone in the last decades, including my parents' centuries old vacation home.
I heard that in Europe, toggle switches are considered old fashioned and are rarely (if ever) used at all nowadays.

I've seen a few houses +50 years old with toggle switches, all the rest have rocker switches.

I would estimate that +90% of all switches and sockets installed in Denmark has been made by LK/Lauritz Knudsen. Until a few years ago it wasn't allowed to install a "german" style earth socket which left LK as the only manufacturer of the danish style socket

German

Danish ocket with a 3rd pin for earth
http://www.wattoo.dk/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/700x500/db2b9889405e9db0b78cf71d8e7a875b/9/c/9cf8fff6-023e-4a33-a677-4449c8a45215.jpg.jpg
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IFlyTWA
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:20 am

Push button in my 1923 home.
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Rara
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 12:54 pm

Quoting 1337Delta764 (Reply 21):
I heard that in Europe, toggle switches are considered old fashioned and are rarely (if ever) used at all nowadays.

Sure haven't seen them anywhere in Europe. But I like them.   They're very retro and remind me of America.
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mham001
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RE: Light Switches - Toggle Or Rocker Aka Decora?

Wed Nov 06, 2013 4:49 pm

Quoting zckls04 (Reply 11):
The rocker switches look horrible in old houses, so I certainly wouldn't have them. Maybe that makes me a hipster!

I have a 105 year old downtown rental with rockers and they look good with fresh wall paint and white trim. Must be ok, hipsters rented it.

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