# What does "1 Gang", "2 Gang", and so forth mean when talking about electrical boxes?

What does a "1 Gang" mean when talking about electrical boxes?

It refers to the width of the box. A 1-gang box is wide enough for a switch or duplex receptacle. The idea is that you can "gang" up electrical components in the box.

## Common sizes

• That first picture for 3-gang is actually a 1-gang turned sideways. Jan 24, 2012 at 4:39
• I think this is a very US-centric answer. Internationally, "gang" tends to refer to the number of circuits in a circuit box, irrespective of the physical size of the box. If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say this was probably the same in the US at one time. However, since US construction generally follows a rule of one circuit per standard fixed box width, then "gang" gradually took on an alternate meaning of width rather than circuit number. This American approach has benefits since it makes it easier to swap out or customize each circuit. See my answer below for more references. Jul 26, 2020 at 1:13
• The wording here is a bit inaccurate; it's not about the width of the box but the number of switch/outlet banks afforded. The width is just a function of that former piece of information. Oct 15, 2020 at 22:13

The n-Gang terminology is also used in the UK, but with somewhat different meaning.

• For sockets it is similar, except UK plugs are bigger and not normally stacked two on top of each other. So a 2-Gang is wider than a 1-gang and has 2 sockets. The dimensions are of course different from the US ones.
• Blank face plates are similar. A 2-Gang plate is the same size as a 2-Gang socket.
• For switches it refers to the number of switches. 1-Gang, 2-Gang and 3-Gang switches may be the same size, but have 1, 2 or 3 switch buttons.
• Note that in the UK boxes follow the same terminology as sockets and blank plates, not switches. So a 1-3 gang switch normally fits on a 1 gang box and a 4 or 6 gang switch normally fits on a 2 gang box. Jul 26, 2020 at 2:28

In the USA, "gang" generally refers to the physical size of the circuit box. With switches and receptacles generally conforming to a standard width, the number of "gangs" indicates how many of these standard switches or receptacles the box can accommodate. This question is more thoroughly answered by Steve Jackson above.

As Tor Klingberg hints at above, however, on the international stage "gang" tends to refer to the number of circuits within a single box, irrespective of the size of the box.

Here are two UK-based websites (with pictures) that explain what a "gang" is:

https://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/what-is-a-gang-switch.htm

‘Gang’ describes the number of switches on the plate.

http://www.lightwiring.co.uk/lighting-circuit-components/light-switches/gangs-and-their-ways/

If your light switch has one ‘switch button’ on it then it’s a single (or 1) gang switch. If it has two ‘switch buttons’ on it then it’s a double (or 2) gang switch. etc. etc.

Here is a random Filipino website which has what we would call a "3-rocker, single-gang" switch in the USA. But in the link it's called a "3-gang" switch: