Tact Switches – Illuminated and Non-Illuminated Switches


What are Tact Switches?

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What are Tact Switches?

Tact switches are small compact switches designed to mount PCB boards, made to connect electronic components to form an electronic circuit. Tact switches are an electromechanical component intended for a PCB (printed circuit board) and a type of push button switch, as it needs to be pressed. PCB switches are mounted directly on to a PCB (Printed Circuit Board), surface mount PCB switches (SMD/SMT) sit flat on the PCB whereas a through-hole or ‘thru-hole’ PCB switches are inserted into a drilled hole on the printed circuit boards and soldered to pads on the opposite side. Tact switches are also referred to as Tactile switches, referring to the tactile function.

How do they work? Tact switches are required to be touched or pressed. In some respect, a Tact switch is a type of PCB push button switch however it requires less force when pressed. Often, Tact switches have less travel distance between the top of the switch and the base, where the Tact switch is mounted on the PCB, this is because they are a lot smaller and compact to the panel mount switch.  When gently pressed, a Tact switches will have a' clicky' feel and or sound. Our Tact switches are available with a silent-feedback, meaning it just feels ‘clicky’ without the sound.

Types of Tact Switches:

◆ Standard Tact Switch – another way to refer to all PCB, Tact switches.

◆ Horizontal and Vertical – indicates the position of the PCB, Tact switch as this may be a crucial part of your design.

◆ Illuminated Type – refers to Tact switches which can emit LED illumination.

◆ SMD Type –  is referred to a mounting style and SMD is an abbreviation for ‘surface mount device’ type, means it will be placed directly on the surface of the PCB.

◆ Hinged lever-type  – this type of Tact switch with the end of the switch slightly raised.

◆ Ultra subminiature type – refers to smaller Tact switches.

We can supply a range of tact switches which support momentary and latching push button functionality, support LED illumination or etching and stamping or select from a range of different caps.

Illuminated Tactile Switches

Our, PCB tact switches, many of our tact switches are available with LED illumination. LED illumination can be a great way to make your product design stand out as the LED illumination can be a style feature or a safety feature.

Let us explain the LED illumination options:

Single Colour Illumination: component only displays single colour LED and when illuminated usually indicates the device is operational or signals fault.

Red | Blue | Green | White | Orange /Amber | Yellow

Dual/ Bi-Colour Illumination – a component that allows two colours in a single LED, this means the colour will change from one to the other but not display together.

Red/Red | Red/Yellow | Red/Green  | Yellow/Green | Green/Blue | Blue/Red | White/Green | White/Blue

RGB illumination consists of red, green and blue LEDs. RGB illumination combines these colours to produce a wide range of hues of light.

Alternatively, if you require non-illuminated tact switches, see the full range here.

Non-Illuminated tactile switches:

Our non-illuminated tact switches function precisely like the illuminated tact switches. However, the caps or top of the switch doesn’t emit light. The non-illuminated tact switch can support solid coloured caps, custom etching or stamping to suited to your design.

What/Where are tactile switches used?

Our Tact switches have been used for a wide range of commercial and domestic electronic devices for a wide range of applications from toys to medical equipment. Also used within the automotive industry, industrial controls, audio and broadcasting industry, door entry and security. Tact switches are ideal for electronic devices and applications which have multiple out-put functions. Tact switches are less bulky and lighter compared to panel mount push button switches.

Additional information about our Tact Switches to help find the correct tact switch for your design.

Pole and Throw Configurations

◆ SPSP – single pole single throw |SPDT – single pole double throw

◆ DPST – double pole single throw | DPDT – double pole double throw

◆ 3PDT – Three poles double throw | 4DPDT – Four poles double throw

◆ SPST switches make or break the connection of a single conductor in a single branch circuit. This switch type typically has two terminals and is referred to as a single-pole switch.

◆ SPDT switches make or break the connection of a single conductor with either of two other single conductors. These switches usually have three terminals and are commonly used in pairs. SPDT switches are sometimes called three-way switches.

◆ DPST switches make or break the connection of two circuit conductors in a single branch circuit. They usually have four terminals.

◆ DPDT switches make or break the connection of two conductors to two separate circuits. They usually have six terminals are available in both momentary and maintained contact versions.

Switch Travel:

Use our filter bar on the left to quickly locate the Tact switch for your design. One of the key features you may need to know is about Switch Travel. Switch travel indicated the distance the switch goes down when it has been pressed, as some of our Tact switches can travel between from 0.1mm up to 2.5mm.


Let’s make it a little personal, many of our PCB push button switches can be customised. See the possible ideas, select a range of finishes, legends and shapes to support our tact switch to support your design.

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