Was wondering about simple light switches that have both the conventional
screw terminals, and also have the push in holes for the stripped wire in
Are either just as good, and safe ?
Which do you folks use; the push in is certainly a bit simpler, but one
wonders if the "grippers" inside really make as good and as secure a contact
as well tightened screws ?
Both are equally legal and approved if used according to the
instructions. OTOH, I get lots of calls from people with homes about ten
years old that have sizzling, smoking, or defunct switches and outlets.
Nearly always, it is because the push-in terminals have failed. Push-in
terminals were invented to save a few seconds per device in the
construction business. If you are doing your own wiring, use the screws.
In my home, I want as much contact with the wire as possible and that means
I really dont want to come home to find out that the fire was caused by an
overheated connection in a stab connection..while its prob rare, its not
worth the worry. Take the extra 10 seconds and loop and tighten the wire.
The side screws are always best. However...
The better switches have back stab clamps that tighten down when you turn
the side screws. They work reasonably well; just not as well as the side
screw, but sometimes the convenience is worth it.
The cheap switches have spring clips. They don't work worth a darn and
should never be used. In fact, those switches should never be used either;
just not worth it to save $1.
"Back stabbing" bad since it replies on a spring that will heat and
cool over time. There is a reason why you can't use 12# in this way
I only use techniques that rely on screw pressure, either on the
terminal, or via 'back wiring' Same direction as "back stabbing" but
no spring, it uses a screw to apply pressure.
All this is an option, using 14# wire in 'back stabbing' applications
doesn't appear to violate any code, and is allowed by 'labels and
The push in kind where you can screw a plate down onit it are really
the best kind if you want to do this. Look for ones called "spec
grade". Note that there is sometimes more then one type of "spec
grade" and you should check them first. And this is how I do it
becasue it is easier to use and I use mostly stranded wire so it's
either this or use ring lugs.
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