What's the correct way to wire two 3-way switches that each have lights attached to them?

This is my guestimate...

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I saw this exact question from 2017 but had trouble following the diagram, and am hoping I don't need more wires as I think it implies.

Wire a 3 way switch with lights at both ends

  • each 3 way switch has 3 wires. One incoming hot on one switch one outgoing switched hot on the other switch. then there are 2 wires that go from one switch to the other. Those are the switching wires. From the outgoing wire you connect the lights (all of them). The neutrals and ground are not switched. You drawing is not correct.
    – Traveler
    Commented Mar 27 at 21:07
  • 1
    Yeah you can't have the lights connected to different switches - you must choose one end or the other - which may mean extra cable
    – DJ.
    Commented Mar 27 at 23:28
  • @DJ. Thanks for the clear response. 😓 though Commented Mar 28 at 13:05

1 Answer 1


Cable types are /2 for black/white/ground (all grounds together always, so ignored in diagrams and in cable wire numbering scheme) and /3 for black/red/white/ground.

  • /2 from panel to first switch. Black to switch common screw. White to /3 white.
  • /3 from first switch to second switch. Black and red to switch traveler screws on both switches. White to /2 white in both switch boxes.
  • /2 from second switch to first light. Black to switch common screw. White to /3 white.
  • At first light you will have /2 from second switch and /2 to second light. Blacks together and to the light hot. Whites together and to the light neutral./
  • At second light, /2 black to light hot and /2 white to light neutral.

Effectively the hot goes from panel to first switch, over travelers to second switch, to first light and to second light. The neutral goes the same way - i.e., always following along with hot/switched hot/travelers - but does not connect to any of the switches.

  • 1
    What about the light connected to the line-side switch box? Commented Mar 28 at 4:31

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