What is a Slide Switch: How It Works and Its Applications?

Slide switches are commonly found in a variety of electronic devices and are a simple and reliable method of controlling current flow.

Slide switches are commonly found in a variety of electronic devices and are a simple and reliable method of controlling current flow. They have a simple switching function and are often used as a form of circuit protection.

Understanding how slide switches work and their applications is essential for any electronics engineer or hobbyist who wants to design or repair electronic equipment.

Slide switches are found in a wide variety of devices, from audio equipment to automotive applications. This article provides a comprehensive overview of what a slide switch is, how it works, and its various applications.

What is a Slide Switch

What is A Slide Switch?

Essentially, a slide switch is a mechanical switch that utilizes a sliding motion to achieve an open-to-closed position. This controls the current flow to the circuit without having to manually cut the wires.

They are a great alternative to push button switches, allowing you to see if a device is on or off without the need for a secondary indicator such as an illuminated LED indicator or indicator light.

Slide switches are available in a variety of sizes including miniature, subminiature or standard sizes.

Types of Slide Switches

There is a wide range of slide switches available in the market, each designed to meet specific requirements. Let’s take a look at some of these varieties:

SPDT Slide Switch

SPDT slide switches are also known as three-way switches because they link a single conductor to any of two other single conductors. In most cases, these switches have three terminals utilized in pairs.

This standard switch may be used as an ON or OFF or a standard control switch. These switches have a 0.1 gap between pins. however, they are not suggested for usage on a breadboard because they are very thin. These switches are rated for 0.3A at 50VDC. Because these switches are so little, they take up less space on the PCB.

SPDT Slide Switch

SPST Slide Switch

SPST slide switches have two terminals, with one terminal connected to one side of the circuit, and the other connected to the other side. When no force is applied to the slider, it remains in its “off” position, making both sides of the circuit disconnected from each other. When the slider is moved toward one terminal, it turns “on”, shutting that terminal.

SPST Slide Switch

DPST Slide Switch

These switches are mainly utilized within a single branch circuit to make or break the connection between two circuit conductors. These switches usually have four connections. Spring separates the contacts mechanically, but a central pi makes an electrical connection.

The middle pin connects one pole to the other when the slider is moved to one side, allowing electricity to flow between them. This connection is destroyed when the slider is moved to the opposite side, and no current passes through the device.

DPST Slide Switch

DPDT Slide Switch

These switches are used to make or break the two conductors into two separate circuits connection. Generally, these switches include six terminals. Two of the terminals are connected together internally inside the switch, so they are effectively tied together. The other four terminals are connected to external electrical circuits and devices in various combinations.

When you apply voltage to one pair of terminals and ground to another pair, the circuit will conduct electricity in only one direction. If you apply voltage to both pairs of terminals at once, the circuit will conduct electricity in both directions simultaneously — this is known as a short circuit.

DPDT Slide Switch

Slide Switch Structure

Metal slides that touch the switch’s planar metal elements can be used to build the slide switch. When the switch’s slider moves, metal slide contacts glide from one set of metal contacts to the next, activating the switch. The terminals, contact, sliding, and handle of this switch are explained below.

Slide Switch Structure


This switch has three terminals, including one common pin and two other pins that fight for connection to the common. These are best for switching inputs and switching between two power sources.

Sliding Contact

A sliding contact is an electrical contact in a switch that allows the current to pass across it. The most common types of contacts are rotating parts, such as a commutator or slip-ring, and a stationary portion, such as a brush. The materials utilized in these contacts primarily require a low wear rate, consistent contact voltage, and low contact resistance.


A slide switch has a bar handle that is used to change the state of the switch by sliding it from one place to another.

How Does Slide Switch Work?

Slide switches work by using a slider to move from the OFF position to the ON position. They control the flow of current within a circuit in small projects. These switches are designed in two ways by using a metal slide and a metal seesaw.

The metal slides are used in most common designs that make contact through the flat metal parts on the switch. When the slider on the switch is moved, then metal slide contacts can move from one set of metal contacts to the other to activate the switch.

A metal seesaw is used in the secondary design, too. A spring is included in the slider of this switch, which pulls down on one face of the metal seesaw if the other is not pushed down. These are maintained-contact switches, which means they wait in one state till they are activated into the latest state, then remain in that condition until they are engaged again.

The Applications of Slide Switch

Slide switches, also known as toggle switches or slider switches, are commonly used in a variety of electronic devices and applications due to their simplicity, reliability, and ease of use.

Here are some applications of slide switches: 

  • Handheld devices
  • Smart homes
  • Testing equipment
  • Audio mixer desks
  • Automotive electronics
  • Industrial equipment
  • Security systems


A slide switch is considered a basic mechanical switch that provides a simple function, usually when switching between one state or another is required. They provide the user with the visual benefit of knowing exactly how the switch is operating, as well as consistent and consistent control over the switch mechanism.

By simply understanding their typical configurations, key specifications, and design considerations, engineers can choose the right slide switch for their design. BITUO offers a range of miniature slide switch types available in compact packages and a variety of size options. If you have any questions about our products, please feel free to contact us at [email protected].

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