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

Related Questions

Does Omron have a small high-capacity snap-action switch?
Omron’s basic switch D2F is small sized and can be used for high-capacity switching.
How do I choose between a Photomicrosensors(photointerrupter) and a basic switch (the difference in usage)?
A basic switch is made of open and closed contacts whereas a Photomicrosensors(photointerrupter) is non-contact switching using an optical beam. A basic switch is available for AC and DC supplies.
Since a basic switch does not emit LED, it is ideally suited for applications that require low current consumption such as battery-powered equipment. A Photomicrosensors is superior in durability, sensing position accuracy and response speed.
Is there a switch without chattering that turns ON when pressed?
Basic switches cannot completely eliminate chattering due to their structure.

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