Blurred image of electrical panel with electricity symbol

Electrical Panel: All You Need to Know


  1. What is the electrical panel?
  2. What are the different types of electrical panels?
  3. Where are electrical panels used?
  4. Characteristics of electrical panels

What is the electrical panel?

The electrical panel is an enclosure that accommodates the main electrical circuitry for a building. It typically contains circuit breakers, fuses, and wiring for the entire electrical system. It is also often referred to as the breaker box, breaker panel, electrical control panel or service panel.

An electrical panel comprises two main categories

  1. Panel Structure
  2. Electrical component

What is electrical panel structure?

The electrical panel structure consists of a box-like structure that accommodates and protects the circuit breakers. Circuit breakers control the electrical system for a building. These electrical panels are usually installed in areas like a garage, basement, or utility closet, and are designed to keep people and property safe from potential electrical hazards.

Inside the panel are several circuit breakers that can be switched off or on to supply or cut off the power to different parts of the building. In larger buildings, multiple electrical panels may be connected together in an electrical network.

What is electrical component?

An electrical component is an object that is used as part of the electrical system. Examples of electrical components include switches, circuit breakers, relays, resistors, capacitors, transistors, transformers, motors, and more. These components are connected together, along with an electrical power source, in order to create an electrical circuit. The components all interact together in order to produce the desired result, whether it is to power a light, activate a motor, or control a device.

Electrical components at a glance.

  • Main circuit breaker
  • Surge arrestors
  • Transformer
  • Terminal blocks
  • Programmable logic control
  • Relays and contractors
  • Circuit breakers
  • Human-machine interface

What are the different types of electrical panel?

There are several types of electrical panels, including

  • Main breaker,
  • Subpanel, and
  • Tandem circuit breaker panels.

Main breaker panels are the most common type of electrical panels, and they accommodate all of the main electrical circuitry for the buildings.

Subpanels are installed as additional circuits or aid in increasing the circuit capacity of an existing electrical panel.

Tandem circuit breaker panels are generally used in small-space applications, as they allow two circuits to be controlled via a single circuit breaker.

What is a circuit breaker?

A circuit breaker is an automatically managed & operated electrical switch that is designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuits. Its basic function is to detect a faulty condition, such as an overload or short circuit and then it acts to interrupt the current flow. Circuit breakers come in various sizes and can be manually or automatically operated.

Where are electrical-panel used?

Electrical panels are used in:

  • Homes,
  • Businesses,
  • Factories; and a variety of other settings.

In residential settings, the panel is typically installed in a garage, basement, or utility closet.

In commercial settings, they may be installed in a dedicated electrical room or equipment shed.

Electrical panels are also found in factories, where they are used to control large, complex electrical systems.

Electrical panels use in factories

In factories, electrical panels are used to control a variety of machines and processes. They supply the power required to operate motors, pumps, and other equipment, and they provide the safety features needed to protect personnel and property. Electrical panels are also used to control lighting, heating and cooling systems, and other utilities.


The primary characteristics of electrical panels are their size, enclosure material, and the number of circuit breakers.

  1. Size: The size of the panel depends on the amount of current it needs to handle and the number of circuits it needs to manage.
  2. Enclosure material: The enclosure material can be metal or plastic, and it must be rated to provide protection against electrocution, shock, and fire.
  3. The number of circuit breakers: Number of circuit breakers in the panel depends on the electrical system\’s needs; more circuit breakers may be added if more power is needed.

The panel also includes other features, such as the main disconnect switch and grounding busbar.

To learn more, visit our resource centre on the website for the complete rundown on all your electrical panel systems and features.

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