Which load center do you prefer?


Old 01-01-17, 07:28 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,357
Received 43 Votes on 39 Posts
Which load center do you prefer?

This is a question to professional electricians in this forum.
Which load center do you prefer and which load center do you hate? Why and why not?

I know this has been discussed multiple times everywhere, but I'm just curious what electrician here prefer.

Personally, I don't really have a preference. I'd use any load center I can get my hands on with reasonable price. I like Eaton/Cutler Hammer Type BR because they are cheap and breakers are readly avilable. I also like GE's Q-Line slim breaker because it saves space (although you are achive same with tandem breaker in Type BR).

I don't really see advantage of Siemens or Square D Homeline. Squre D QO is nice with trip indicator, but then I can tell which breaker has tripped by looking at the handle anyway.

Pretty much all of current type of breakers and load centers has been outthere for a long time and proven to be safe. Aren't they?
Sponsored Links
Old 01-02-17, 03:37 AM
chandler's Avatar
Banned. Rule And/Or Policy Violation
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 39,967
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
I have never thought about it, but Cutler Hammer BR is a good panel. In reality all of them, including the Homeline's are good. Most breakers are inexpensive until you go to install AFCI's. That is usually the telltale mark. Not all breaker handles show tripped, and the little red indicator can help when there is no legend on the door to pinpoint a trip without turning them all off and on again.

Maybe some of the others have preferences with a better reasoning.
Old 01-02-17, 06:44 AM
Join Date: Feb 2016
Location: United States, Virginia
Posts: 1,318
Received 45 Votes on 38 Posts
I like the Cutler-Hammer CH and Square-D QO because of having a copper bus.
Old 01-02-17, 07:35 AM
Join Date: May 2015
Location: USA
Posts: 3,138
Received 2 Votes on 2 Posts
Not a pro electrician but have installed quite a few panels.

I like the siemens PL series...copper buss, neutral bars right in front of the breakers so they wire up cleaner and neater, all the neutral and ground screws come backed out so you don't waste time unscrewing them for every connection, two ground bars standard, invertable for bottom feed entry...

Also like the SQuare D plug on neutral panels, really handy with all the AFCIs needed now. But premium price.
Old 01-02-17, 04:05 PM
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2015
Posts: 1,357
Received 43 Votes on 39 Posts
Not all breaker handles show tripped
Yeah. Some breakers trip to off position. Some to center position.
I once had Brant breaker tripped, but stuck in on position. They are designed to trip to center, so must been defect or just being old. Slight touch with my finger moved handle to the center.
While trip indicator is a nice addition, not sure if it is worth paying more for.

I like the Cutler-Hammer CH and Square-D QO because of having a copper bus.
Copper bus can be a good reason to pay more.

like the SQuare D plug on neutral panels
Never used one yet, but that is a good reason for the choice. Neurtral pigtale of AFCI and GFCI can be a mess.
Old 01-02-17, 05:13 PM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Twin Cities, MN
Posts: 13,277
Received 127 Votes on 112 Posts
I like, and mostly use Siemens because they have been the best quality for a low price, but they are changing. Last Siemens load center I have bought only had a neutral bus on one side! I thought that was the dumbest thing to do to cheapen up a panel!

My latest panel that tops my list is Square D Homeline with the plug on neutral bus. When using a GFCI or AFCI breakers that are required in all locations starting 2017 NEC cycle you buy the plug on breakers at not only connect to the hot bus but also the neutral bus. There is no pigtail that you have to connect to the neutral bus from the breaker. Just connect the hot and neutral wires to the breaker, plug it in and you are done! Breakers and panel do not cost any extra then the pigtail breakers. I believe these also come in the QO line as well.

Panels I don't like are Cuttler Hammer/Eaton BR. These panels are very poorly made, the KO are weak, only have a neutral bus on one side, they have aluminum buses, and the breaker screws are junk!

I also don't like GE panel that use the skinny breakers. The panels are too small (see how much room you have after installing 40 circuits) , the bus connection is very small with the thin breakers, you can only put 2 pole breakers in some locations where they hit both buses, and the thin breakers are getting pointless with AFCI requirements. I do like GE full size breakers/panels and they are the few AFCI breakers that can share a neutral of a multiwire circuit because they do not rely on ground fault CT's
Old 01-02-17, 07:22 PM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,490
Received 60 Votes on 51 Posts
I like the Cutler-Hammer CH and Square-D QO because of having a copper bus.
I prefer copper bus for myself or family members I may be helping, but those two are pretty high priced. Cutler-Hammer BR series has copper bus options available for many of their panels as does Siemens. I used to swear by Square D many years ago, but swear at them any more since they were purchased by the French company, Schneider. Once you've been screwed by Square D at a supply house for having a service truck pick up a couple simple parts you will feel the same way. I detest how Square D does business, but they will give you a good deal on big projects knowing they'll get their money back later.

I also don't like GE panel that use the skinny breakers
I agree. The newer GE panels mostly all have copper bus, but the older ones had aluminum bus. Once you've seen an older GE panel with the thin THQP breakers catch on fire you won't forget it.
Old 01-02-17, 09:31 PM
Justin Smith's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Cressona, Pa, USA
Posts: 2,546
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
For new construction/rewiring where there's going to be a lot of AFCI's I like Square D's QO series with the plug-on neutrals. I also like how they have a proprietary design where you can't mis-match breakers.

For service changes and commercial I generally use Siemens PL series with a copper buss. It's good quality and reasonably priced.

I stay away from anything with an aluminum buss.

Eaton equipment isn't really available around here so I don't have much experience other than ripping it out. The nice thing is the BR breakers are listed for just about anything.

I refuse to install GE. I've replaced more failed GE than everything else combined. Plus the breakers don't always like to trip.
Old 01-03-17, 12:01 PM
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Near Lansing, Michigan
Posts: 10,944
Received 42 Votes on 40 Posts
I generally go with Siemens PL as they are widely available in my area at a reasonable price with a number of high-end features. Of course Q0 and CH are both great panels, but will cost you more for the privilege; I happily work with these if the client is OK with the cost. I do not install BR or General Electric panels. I have done some HOM panels, but don't really care for them compared to Siemens at roughly the same price.
Old 01-04-17, 09:38 AM
CasualJoe's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: United States
Posts: 10,490
Received 60 Votes on 51 Posts
I believe the Siemens PL series now comes with a lifetime warranty like the Eaton/Cutler-Hammer CH series and Square D QO series. That's a definite plus.
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Your question will be posted in: