What is a Foot Switch?
An electrical switch is simply a device that opens or closes an electrical circuit, and a foot switch, sometimes called a "stomp" switch, is operated by someone stepping on the actuator, which is typically a pushbutton or a pedal.
The advantage of using a foot switch is simply that it frees up a person's hands for other work while still allowing a human operator full control over switching.
What are foot switches used for?
Hands-Free Switching: You may consider getting foot switches for any application where having "hands-free" switching would be helpful.
Examples of "hands-free" applications includ: guitar amplifiers, wireless page turner for sheet music (e.g. if you have your sheet music on a tablet or laptop), woodworking equipment such as saws, sanders, or routers, and dental chairs
How to Select a Foot Switch
Please see our electrical switch overview for general information, descriptions of various types of switches, and explanations of commonly used terms like pole, throw, N.O. (normally open), and N.C. (normally closed).
Standard foot switch with 37 inch cord. Constructed of thermoplastic ABS (Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) material.
Industrial foot switch with 36 inch cord. Constructed of steel.
Cast aluminum material for industrial environments with three mounting holes in the base.
Thick cast aluminum construction, dome nut cable strain relief, non-slip base pads, and heavy-duty internal gasket to seal gaps and protect against water, oil, and dust.
Extra Heavy Duty
Includes all the features of the Heavy Duty style plus even thicker cast aluminum construction and a cover guard with reinforcing ribs for added toughness.
Double Extra Heavy Duty
Includes all the features of the Extra Heavy Duty style with 1 NO and 1 NC contacts per pedal. Useful for applications where you need to quickly and easily control multiple machines.
|Foot Switch Type||Quantity||Number of
|Contact Action||Rated Amps||Max
|Extra Heavy Duty||CN0004||CN0086||CN0087||CN0088||CN0089||CN0090||1||SPDT|
|Double Extra Heavy Duty||CN0005||CN0091||CN0092||CN0093||CN0094||CN0095||2||DPST (1NO 1NC)|
Voltage and Current Ratings
As with any component of an electrical circuit, you need to make sure your switch contacts can handle the voltages and currents of the circuit being switched. Voltage and current ratings will also vary depending on whether you switch AC or DC power.
Maintained or Momentary Action
The contacts in a maintained action switch will remain open or closed until actuated. For example, a maintained action foot switch may be useful for some lighting applications. In contrast, the contacts in momentary action switches will return to a normal position once the actuating force is removed.
Enclosure Protection Rating (NEMA or IP)
Different environments require different enclosure protection ratings. For example, NEMA-classified hazardous locations require special enclosures designed to prevent the ignition of combustible materials and contain explosions.
Number of Poles and Throws
How many movable contacts do you require? Answering this question will help you figure out how many poles you need.
See the diagrams under "Common Pole and Throw Counts" for diagrams that illustrate the function of poles and throws.
You will want to figure out the number of circuits, or fixed contacts, you need a given pole to switch between to determine the number of throws you need.
Number of N.O. and N.C. Contacts
Do you need momentary action switches where the contacts open or close a circuit and then automatically return, using some sort of spring mechanism, to a normal position? If so, how many normally-open or normally-closed contacts do you need?