How to Install an In-Line Cord Switch

Replace a standard lamp switch with an in line switch

Make turning lamps on and off easier by installing an in line cord switch. We'll show you how to add the switch so you don't have to reach under the lampshade to flip on the light. The installation is fast, simple and doesn't require any special tools.

By the DIY experts of The Family Handyman Magazine

TIME

Instant!

COMPLEXITY

Super Simple!

COST

Under $20

Install the switch

Tired of reaching up under the lampshade to switch on your favorite lamp? Mount an in line switch on the cord. Several sizes of in-line cord switches are available at hardware stores, home centers and lamp specialty stores. Look at the tiny printing on the cord to determine which size switch you need, SPT-1 or SPT-2. In-line cord switches also vary slightly in design. Consult the instruction sheet before installation.

Note: Connect an in-line switch only to a cord with a polarized plug. A polarized plug has one prong wider than the other so you can only insert it one way into an outlet.

Photos 1 and 2 show how to prepare the cord for the new switch. Make sure you cut the non-identified (hot) wire only. It's the one without any indentations or ribbing.

CAUTION

Unplug the lamp before you start the repair.

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Required Tools for this Project

Have the necessary tools for this DIY project lined up before you start—you’ll save time and frustration.

  • 4-in-1 screwdriver
  • Wire stripper/cutter

The photos show a pocketknife, but you could also use a utility knife.