What Are the types of Pressure Switches?


Pressure switches are used in a variety of industries for many different applications. Although the uses vary by environment and function, the two major types of pressure switches are electromechanical and solid-state switches. Electromechanical pressures switches were the only type available for many years, but solid-state types are quickly gaining in popularity.

The Function of Pressure Switches

  • Pressure switches serve as warning devices in a system. When a change in pressure is detected by the switch, a safety warning is initiated, an alarm sounds or elements within the system are altered. The switches are designed to open, close or adjust an internal contact based on a previously programmed point or level of functioning.

Electromechanical Pressure Switches

  • This type of pressure switch has an electronic snap-action switch that is attached to a sensory element. These elements, regardless of their specific type, always respond to the pressure of the system, and the switch opens or closes the contacts based on the highs or lows detected by the differential switches. When the pressure is equal, the switch is stable.

Solid-State Pressure Switches

  • These switches are fully programmable and have analog and digital features as well as digital displays and one or more switch points. They have numerous advantages over their electromechanical counterparts. The most notable advantage of solid-state pressure switches is the length of their operational life, which is around 100 million cycles. Other advantages are higher rates of accuracy, higher resistance to external shock and vibration, adaptability to wide ranging system pressures, a wide range of frequency response and dependable and enduring stability and durability.

Cost Considerations of Electromechanical Switches

  • If properly functioning electromechanical switches are already in place, the cost of replacing them is often not considered cost-effective, especially if it is operating in the lower operating range. An electromechanical switch's life expectancy is longest when operated in the lowest 25 percent. Conversely, its readings and sensitivity will be most accurate if it is operated at the upper end of the range. Most operators choose to compromise and operate these switches in the middle range.

Cost Considerations of Solid-State Switches

  • If a newly designed system is under consideration, a solid-state pressure switch system may be the better option. It is usually considered the better investment, especially if the new system requires local transmitters and gauges along with multiple switch points. It is advised to choose a switch point in the upper 25 percent of the pressure range if a solid-state pressure switch is installed.

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  • Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Jeff Hitchcock
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