Momentary & Latching Switch: Differences You Shall Know

Switches have multiple functions, such as momentary function, latching function, normally open and normally closed function, etc. There are differences between various functions. Whether you are a newbie or an industry leader, understanding the differences between these different features will make you more aware of how to choose the right push button switch. This short article details the differences between momentary and latching functions,welcome to read.

Different in Working Principle

Momentary and latching are the two most basic functions of the switch. They are combined with the contacts 1NO, 1NC, and COM to form different parameters, which brings great convenience and practicality to the operation of the machine.

Momentary function(Non-locking switch): When combined with 1NO, only at the moment when the switch button is pressed, the moving and static contacts are connected, current passes through, and the internal components of the trigger switch do not change the surface state of the switch. If pressed again, the spring mechanism promotes the separation of the moving and static contacts, and the current is cut off, and the machine is turned off. When combined with 1NC, the opposite is true.

This function not only provides a simpler and faster way to operate the switch, but also provides higher safety for the switch to be used in some scenarios. Some switch operations require a certain amount of external force to achieve, and the momentary function will allow the button head to return to its original position after the operation at the moment the external force disappears.This also provides good user feedback for the user’s operation, allowing the user to clearly notice that the switch has been successfully operated, reducing the occurrence of accidental triggering of the switch.

figure 1 Different in Working Principle-momentary

Latching function(On off Switch): When the switch button is pressed, the internal parts of the switch are triggered to operate the switch. When the button is released, the head button will be maintained in the pressed state and will not return to its original position.

This function can provide users with operational feedback more intuitively, and can directly see the switch status and machine status, providing more possibilities for machine operation, while improving user experience and convenience of device control. When used in conjunction with a COM common pin, a push button switch can control that line or another line. It is worth noting that the length of the self-locking switch shell is longer than that of the self-locking switch because there is an additional buckle structure inside.

figure 2 Different in Working Principle-latching

This is the difference in how these two features work. As the two most commonly used functions of switches, they are also functions that we often come into contact with in our daily lives. If you want to know more about the combination of these two functions and other functions, you can search more articles to learn more.

Different in Scope of Application

The difference in principle between momentary and latching functions also determines their differences in scope of application.

Momentary buttons are also called reset buttons. It provides instant and short-term circuit operation. This usually requires manual operation. It has a wide range of applications, such as buttons on car control panels, hair dryers, household appliances, computers, mobile phones, tablets, cameras, etc. Momentary switches can be found in a range of electronic equipment and household appliances, as well as in factory production line machines, surgical instruments, monitoring equipment and other medical equipment.

The latch feature provides hold circuit triggering so that the state is maintained without the need for continuous external force. This is ideal for applications that need to maintain state, such as home appliances, lighting control and industrial automation equipment, the status of traffic lights, elevator buttons, function switching or locking functions in medical equipment, etc.

figure 3 Different in Scope of Application

These two functions are used in combination in life. If you want to know more about other functions, you can search for relevant information and continue learning.


  • Which function is better, momentary or latching?

It depends on which one is suitable for the needs of the specific application to be used.

  • How to choose between the two?

For continuous operations, choose the latching function, and for instantaneous operations, choose the momentary function.

  • Can these two features appear on one device at the same time?

It’s definitely possible. Because different controls on the device require different button switches to control.

  • Which switch is mechanically more complex?

In terms of internal structure, the self-locking mechanical button switch is more complicated than the self-restoring one.

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