Two novel lateral metal-contact radio-frequency microelectromechanical system (RF MEMS) switches are reported. These switches are implemented with quasi-finite ground coplanar waveguide (FGCPW) configuration and actuated by applying electrostatic force on a high-aspect-ratio cantilever beam. It is demonstrated that the insertion loss of the switch is less than 0.2 dB up to 15 GHz and the isolation is higher than 20 dB up to 25 GHz. An RF model of the switches is used to analyse the effects of the switch design parameters and RF performance. The optimization of the switch mechanical design is discussed where the threshold voltage can be lower than 25 V. The lateral switches are fabricated by deep reactive ion etching (DRIE) process on a silicon-on-insulator (SOI) wafer with shadow mask technology.