How to Wire a 2-Way Switch

Updated February 21, 2017

A 2-way switch is simply a single pole switch. A single pole switch is a switch that is used most often to turn a light on and off from a single location. The reason it is sometimes referred to as a 2-way switch is because it has two positions, on and off. They are also used to turn on things like exhaust fans and garbage disposals. To replace a broken 2-way switch or wire a new one, follow these basic instructions.

Turn off the electrical power to the area in which you are working. If you are unaware of which breaker supplies the power to the area, turn each breaker off until nothing in the room is operating.

Remove the switch plate from the 2-way switch you are needing to wire. The switch plate is held on by two screws. Remove the screws and take off the switch plate to expose the 2-way switch and the electrical wiring.

Remove the old 2-way switch from the electrical box. The switch is held onto the electrical box by two screws, one at the top of the switch and one at the bottom. Remove these screws to gently pull the switch from the electrical box.

Disconnect the wires from the 2-way switch. The switch will be connected to two black wires under copper set screws located on the side of the switch. One wire will be at the top of the switch and the other will be at the bottom. Loosen the screws and remove the wires from underneath them.

Wire in a new 2-way switch by connecting the wires to the switch. The new switch will be wired exactly like the old switch had been. Loosen the copper set screws on the side of the switch and slip the black wires under each set screw, one at the top and one at the bottom, and tighten to hold the wires in place.

Attach the 2-way switch to the electrical box. Gently push the wires and the switch back into the electrical box and secure to the box with the two screws that previously held the original switch.

Reattach the switch plate to the 2-way switch by screwing the two screws through the switch plate and into the switch.

Turn the power back on at the breaker panel to restore power to the area.


When working on any electrical project, make sure all power is off to the area.

Things You'll Need

  • Screwdriver
  • 2-way switch
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About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.