What is a Four-Way Switch?

A 4-way switch is a type of electrical switch that allows you to control a ceiling light from three or more different locations.

We use them in staircases, hallways, large rooms, and other places where it may be hard to run wires to a single light fixture.

Four-way switches require a 3-way switch to work. And with proper connection, you can control a single light from anywhere in your room.

How it works

A four-way switch usually comes with 4 terminals called the traveller terminals. These terminals provide 2 sets of toggle positions.

When the toggle switch is in the up-position, the current flows through the two terminals. If it is in a down position, currents flow through the other terminals.

Difference between a 3 way and a four-way switch

  • A 3-way switch allows you to control a light fixture from two different locations.
  • They are typically used in hallways, staircases, and other locations where it is hard to run wires to a single light fixture.
  • A three-way switch has three terminals.
  • While the 4-ways or intermediate switch controls light from three or more different locations.
  • They also come with four terminals.

Can you use a 3-way switch as a 4-way?

No, 3-way switches are for controlling a light fixture from two locations. You will need a 4-way switch to control the same lights from three or more locations.

How do you wire a 4-way switch?

To wire a 4-way switch, you will need to run an electrical wire from the light source to the three-way switch. This red or hot wire will pass through the traveller terminal of the four-way switch to the second switch.

From there, you can use another wire depending on your country code to connect the traveler terminals of the first, second and third switches.

The first set of wires is used to extend out and connect with these other switches, while the second set is used to extend back to the original switch, which was connected directly to the light fixture.

This setup provides you with three or four different locations where you can control a single light fixture. You’ll simply flick one of the three or four switches for that location, and your light will turn on!

For complete details on how to wire a light switch, check out the following: