Know About Pressure Switches and Transmitters

“Switches”, “transmitters”, & “transducers” are said interchangeably with no regards for the differences, but that’s wrong. They aren’t all the same thing. You can’t use a transmitter in place of a switch and expect your circuit to work the way you wanted it to. And one of the biggest reasons you would have used the wrong part is that you thought they were all the same and didn’t know the difference. In order to put an end to the confusion and misuse, let’s talk about the difference between pressure switches and pressure transmitters.

A pressure switch is an electromechanical device that measures a system’s pressure. When the pressure reading is too high or too low from a set point, the power switches to close or open a circuit powering a connected device such as an alarm clock or valve. Pressure switches get their name from that ability to open or close circuits— their “switching” ability.

A pressure transmitter, also known as a pressure transducer, is an electromechanical device that measures a system’s pressure and then sends a read-out signal of what the specific pressure value is to a remote location. Unlike pressure switches, reaching any level pressure does not lead to any overt change, only in a different value being sent to any device that requires that information.

Typically, pressure-system applications where safety is of the utmost importance will use a switch instead of a transmitter because a switch has an inherent safety-feature. High enough pressure readings can trigger the blowout preventer and “switch” the circuit open. But at the same time, a transmitter is significantly more versatile. With the help of 3rd party software, a transmitter can be used to measure the efficiency of pressure systems or control many industrial functions, like inlets, outlets, chemical or fuel mixtures, or even act as a safety switch itself. But that versatility does not come cheap— transmitters tend to be more expensive than switches since they are costlier to produce. In fact, extremely accurate and repeatable transmitters, not necessarily the best or most expensive already cost as much as over $1000 while the most expensive switches generally only cost half that at about $500.

At Purchasing 3Sixty, owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find all the pressure switches you need, new or obsolete. As a premier supplier of parts for the aerospace, civil aviation, and defense industries, we’re always available and ready to help you find all the parts and equipment you need, 24/7x365. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


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