receptacle material


Old 02-27-05, 08:19 AM
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receptacle material

There are metal and plastic receptacle boxes. Are there times when it is better to use one over the other?
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Old 02-27-05, 09:20 AM
TomZ1's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: New Hampshire
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Generally the choice is yours. However, there may be other circumstances that dictate which you use.

What type of wire/cable is used in the system? NM (romex)? BX or other metal-clad?
Old 02-27-05, 08:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: United States
Posts: 18,497
If you are running NM cable (i.e., Romex), and if the boxes will be recessed in a drywalled wall, then I recommend plastic. However, don't necessarily buy the cheapest plastic boxes you find. Spend a few more pennies and get ones that seem more substantial. Plastic boxes are preferred for most DIY jobs because (1) they are cheaper, (2) they are generally larger, which is a really big factor, (3) they have built-in clamps for NM cable (although pretty rinky-dinky), (4) they don't need to be grounded. Of all of these, the larger size is the probably most significant. You can find single-gang boxes of 22.5 cubic inches in plastic, but it's hard to find such large boxes in metal. The bigger the box, the easier it is to get all that stuff in.
Old 02-28-05, 07:55 AM
Mr Fixit eh's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 94
You don't want to use plastic boxes in metal stud walls. The metal stud assembly should be grounded, and the easiest way to do this is by using a metal box attached with a non-coated screw. If you use a plastic box and do not ground the stud assemblies, you have the potential for the stud assembly to become energized if a cable gets pierced with a drywall screw, etc. Check out this link for details...
Old 02-28-05, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Fayetteville, NY, USA
Posts: 1,052
One further advantage to plastic: the screws on the sides of your receptacle can make contact with the box and there will be no shorting against the box.


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