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Do I need to make sure my switches, plates, and outlets are from the same manufacturer or can I mix and match? I'm referring to the rectangular decora-style and wasn't sure if there'd be slight differences in size between brands.

Some examples:

Are these all the same dimensions?

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  • 1
    I'm fairly sure it's standardized.
    – Tester101
    Nov 14, 2015 at 2:32
  • 1
    Not related to size, but one place you might notice slight variations are with the color. Even that is pretty standardized though.
    – Comintern
    Nov 14, 2015 at 3:12
  • Also note that there are three common outside dimensions for switch plates. They are normally labeled (in order of size) Standard, Midway, and Jumbo. The larger outside dimensions can be used to cover up holes for the electrical box that were not cut as close as they should have been or to hide damage, old paint lines, etc.
    – JPhi1618
    Nov 16, 2015 at 16:50

3 Answers 3

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Yes, all "Decora" style devices share the same cover plate opening, within a couple of thousandths of an inch (+/-.005" or so). GFCI receptacles also fit this description, as well as many dimmers, timers and "smart switches".

For instance the opening on a Hubbell plate is 1.312"x2.625", while these Leviton are slightly different, but all within a reasonable spec to be called the same.

3 gang Decora cover plate drawing

NEMA WD 6-2016, page 5 says: Wallplate Dimensions for Rectangular Face Devices

W: 1.310 (min)

L: 2.630 (min)

R: 0.094 (0.079 347V)

C: 3.812 (4.062 347V) +/- 0.010 (counter-sunk for #6-32 UNC oval head machine screw)

Application (Face of device): 1.300 (max) W x 2.620 (max) L

page iv notes: (#1) dimensions are in inches (#2) tolerances are +/- 0.005 (#10) dimensions are for interchangeability and do not preclude other designs.

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    There's a standard, there are tolerances, but all should fit (that's the whole point of standards and tolerances.)
    – Ecnerwal
    Nov 14, 2015 at 3:01
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Yes and no.

The boxes, outlets, and switches are standard sizes. Except that ceiling boxes, ceiling fan boxes, audio wiring boxes, etc. are different sizes than boxes for outlets and switches. Those are normally interchangeable between manufacturers. The only exception which comes to mind is that dimmer switches may require a larger than normal box for heat dissipation.

Cover plates generally are the same size if they are the "standard size". (Sorry, I am not trying to be funny.) But there are also oversize plates and jumbo plates which are handy if the sheetrock does not butt close to the box. Most are designed for artistic effect to provide a larger work of art. These don't seem to be standard sizes, but are interchangeable unless replacing a larger one with a slightly smaller one exposes some unpainted wall. My experience includes cover plates sold by Paris street vendors as well as U.S. electrical supply stores.

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The standard dimensions are for the switch itself which will include the hole for the switch and the ability to be screwed on the top and bottom of the switch.

As for the outer edges of the plates these are pretty close but actually can differ by as much as 1/4". This has no effect unless you are putting the outlet in a really tight space.

Other than the look of the outlets probably a thing to really think about is how flexible they are. The metal ones generally aren't very flexible but since they don't really break, they can provide a good solution if wall isn't perfect. Then there are some manufacturers that have rigid plastic. These are generally crap and have to be on a perfect wall or they have issues. And then you have the higher priced poly/plastic blends that bend into place without breaking.

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