High Voltage’s Jon Milne on why
cheap sockets and switches are
a false economy

I SELL SOCKETS and switches that range in price from £7 to £100. I’m sometimes asked why people pay top dollar for sockets and switches. My answer? You buy cheap, you buy twice.

Now, buying twice might not be a big deal for a retail customer who’s buying just a few products. But for a property developer fitting 50 new flats with sockets and switches, then it can get very expensive indeed.

One big problem with cheap sockets and switches is the metal plate is very thin – often no more than 2mm. This means they’re easily bent when screwed into the wall, sometimes so badly that the rocker switch won’t work.

And often they’re not lacquered, which means they also get badly scratched – again, often during the fitting. And with no lacquer, brass and steel plates tarnish quickly if there’s any moisture in the air.

The problem is that cheap sockets and switches are usually made in China, and there’s little or no quality control. They tend to last no time at all.

The expensive brands are made in the UK. A good example is Wandsworth Electrical. Their switches and sockets are found in schools and public buildings everywhere, because you can be sure they’ll last longer than the buildings themselves.

Cheap sockets and switches scuff and tarnish quickly and are so thin they bend easily when installed.