Light switches that snap

I’m replacing all of the light switches in my house and all I can find are wimpy ones. I want a beefy feeling switch that snaps when you turn it on and off. The Levitons at Home Depot just don’t cut it…even the 20 amp switches feel flimsy. Any suggestions? I also posted this in the Barn House forum.

We ask that you not post more than one thread on a topic, so I locked the other one.

twickster, for the SDMB

Do you need toggles, or would you consider other types? Some people really like pushbuttons like these; they have a pretty satisfying action. There are all-metal toggles, usually for industrial applications, with serious snap to them, but they’d need to be custom-mounted in metal wall plates to replace your typical residential switches.

Snap-action switches are extinct. People complained about the noise they made, so manufacturers replaced them with silent-action switches. The first ones used Mercury, but I think those have been replaced with mechanical designs.

I’ve never had a silent-action switch wear out, so I doubt they are any less reliable than snap-action switches (they may even be more reliable, since they don’t take as much pounding).

If you want a switch that has a nice action, try these “Decora” switches.

I need regular toggle switches (not the modern flat ones). Though I have an old house, I don’t think I’m going to go the button route. I am trying to find a source for NOS bakelite switches. They pop up on ebay, but I would like to try out the action first.

IMO (having taken many switches apart in my life) is that the old style switch with a heavy feeling to it was more likely to fail than today’s switches. There was a lot more stress on the plastic parts.

I understand the desire for a solid feel but in this case it doesn’t mean solid construction.

Good luck. Buy more then you need, because some will break on reinstallation. Also, if mounting in plastic boxes, make sure you don’t use metal cover plates, because they won’t be grounded on the strap.

Actually, since you have an older house, you may have metal boxes in the walls without grounding conductors, so you should probably just use bakelite plates to match.

You probably would like the action on any still-working switches you can find, though.

Perhaps you’d be happier with industrial grade switches, made to handle more power. If your local electrical supply house doesn’t have them, try Grainger. Some of those big bruisers have a clack your neighbors will hear.

http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/wwg/start.shtml

You’re apparently confusing noise with quality. The engineering and design of today’s commercial or industrial grade switches are completely different than the noisy old-fashioned Bakelite-bodied switches of yesteryear.

Trust me, for home use, 20-amp commercial grade devices are more than enough quality and durability.