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What is a latching push button switch, and how does it work?

Push-button switches are electrical devices that can be used to regulate power supply in electrical circuits, with a satisfying click when pushed 'in' or returned to their 'out' position. They feature an in-built spring mechanism, which establishes contact with electrical wires to complete a circuit when the switch is pushed in and breaks the circuit when the switch is returned to its original 'out' position. 

These types of switches are made of metal or thermoplastic and come in a variety of sizes, shapes, textures, and contact mechanisms such as latching, and momentary. You'll find these types of switches in light switches, doorbells, alarms, computers, kitchen appliances, etc. This article explores latching push button switches and how they work. 

What are latching push button switches?

Latching push button switches, aka maintained push button switches, are switches that  remain active after the button is pressed and can only be deactivated by pushing the button again, like that button on your TV set, radio, speaker device, laptop power button, etc 

There are many different types of latching push button switches, including single-pole and double-pole. The word pole simply refers to the number of circuits the switch is designed to operate, Meaning a single pole latching push button switch operates one circuit while a double pole latching operates two. 

Applications of latching push button switches include but are not limited to: 

  • Start
  • and stop buttons for machinery
  • Toggle switches
  • Signal switches
  • Lighting controllers
  • Car door lock switches
  • Water heater switches 

How do latching push button switches work?

Latching push button switches are switches that feature a latching contact mechanism such that when you press the button, the switch latches onto the desired contact position and remains that way until the button is pressed again. Some latching push button switch mechanisms even use two buttons such that when you press one of the buttons, it remains in the 'IN' position until you press the other button to release the first back to the 'OUT' position. 

Some latching push button switches are normally closed (Default ON), meaning the circuit is always complete and power flow is uninterrupted until the button is pressed to the OFF status. In contrast, some push button switches are Default OFF,  meaning the circuit is always broken until the push button is switched on.

For example, if you own a water heater, check, and you'll see that its electrical circuit is always Default OFF and remains that way until the switch is activated. 

Latching push button switches can also be illuminated or non-illuminated. Illuminated latching push button switches feature LED lights to emphasize the 'ON' position. The light can be a simple dot, a ring, or full illumination on the button. 

To cap it, latching push button switches are designed to maintain their contact position when pressed and only release when pressed again. They can be illuminated or non-illuminated and of the single pole or double pole design. We have a massive collection of these switches for clients looking to add them to their products. Please find a suitable latching push button switch for your project.


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