How do I properly choose between a basic switch and a sensor?

ID: FAQE20002E



Basic switches and sensors are both used for detection of an object (workpiece). A basic switch has a simple structure that helps to save energy and directly opens and closes both DC and AC circuit by the contacts. Its snap-action mechanism creates a click feeling that is required for some devices (e.g. computer mouse).


The typical applications for basic switches and sensors are described below to help select them for detection purposes.

  1. Basic switches should be used:
    1. As limit switches of a facility or equipment (under an environment susceptible to noise, static electrical charge, light, dust, etc.)
    2. For detection applications with less power consumption
    3. For applications to cut off (interlock) the main power supply
      *Please note that no forced separation mechanism is provided.
    4. To detect an object in contact
    5. For devices that require a click feeling (e.g. computer mouse, joystick)
  2. Sensors should be used:
    1. To detect an object (workpiece) while not coming into contact with it
    2. To avoid constraints of basic switches such as electrical and mechanical life (in applications with very frequent or very infrequent detection usage)
    3. For applications requiring high-speed response (e.g. high-speed rotating gear detection)
    4. For applications requiring accurate positioning

Quick tips

The following table shows the differences between Photomicrosensors and basic switches as a reference to select a suitable product for your application. Note that the contents of the table are not necessarily shared by every model. Refer to the product’s datasheet for detail specifications.

Difference between snap-action switches and photomicrosensors?
Product category Switches Basic Switches
Classification Selection, Characteristics
Related keywords
  • Basic Switch
  • Sensor
  • DC / AC Switching
  • Snap-Action Strucure
  • Cut off Circuit
  • Click Feeling
  • Long Life
  • Energy Saving
  • Dust
  • Photomicrosensor

If the information you are looking for is not found