3 Best Electrical Panel Brands
July 15, 2021 | Cristina Dinulescu
Before the rise of electronic innovations, most households consumed electricity on lights, radios and a few appliances, all of which were low energy. Fuse boxes were installed in most homes and were enough for regular consumption. Today, contemporary homes have a myriad of devices like laptops, PCs, game consoles and more that have greater power needs. Electrical panels replaced fuse boxes and even began to increase in size and power.
Today, electrical panel brands offer a range of products from 100 Amps to 400 Amps to meet the needs of various households, but also commercial properties. As our technological needs also evolve, many homeowners are upgrading their electrical panels from smaller sizes like 60 or even 100 Amps to 200-amp panels.
If you are looking to upgrade or you’re building a new construction, then it’s helpful to know what your options are and what are the best electrical panel brands out there. Of course, it’s not just that brand that matters, you’ll also need to know your devices and appliances well, and how they work, in order to decide on the right size for your home.
Additionally, before you start looking at brands, there are a few things to take into account when shopping for a new electrical panel.
- Location – this is important because not all panels can adapt to substance penetration or atmospheric conditions
- Power requirements – although most modern homes need a 200-amp panel, that may not necessarily be for you, so it’s wise to know your individual power requirements before you buy
- Safety – you do want to make sure though that your panel holds enough capacity to protect your home and your devices from short circuits, power surges, etc.
- Type of breakers – it’s not just the best electrical panel brands that you’re after, but also the best quality components and materials
1. Siemens Electrical Panels
Siemens residential electrical panels are a great line of breaker panels for the home. Most models are designed ergonomically and include all the accessories needed for installation. There are several Siemens panels available on the market and different models that fit a household.
You can find panels from 100 to 200 Amps, depending on your individual needs. If you don’t require the higher end of the range, but feel like 100 Amps will not suffice, the P1224L1125CU Load Center could be a good compromise. It has 125 amp capacity and 12 spaces for 24 circuits.
The panel makes use of a copper bus to provide electricity to the breakers, which is resistant to corrosion and power efficient. The ground and neutral bars use Siemens’ insta-wire technology, which means they’re ready to accept wires and saves time on installation.
Siemens is one of the top electrical panel brands and many professional electricians will recommend it. The quality of the materials used, the durability and strength of the panels, but also their flexibility make them a top choice for many households.
2. Square D Electrical Panels
Square D electrical panels are manufactured by Schneider Electric, a reputable company that’s well known for high quality products. The panels have a heavy solid metal construction, which offers great durability. They also provide a range of panels, from smaller ones that can also be used as sub-panels to higher capacity 200-amp panels.
The Square D 100-amp panels usually come with 6 spaces, which allows for mounting the main breaker and 5 double-pole breakers, or 10 single-pole ones. These can function as sub-panels as well. They are usually enough for smaller homes, such as 1-bedroom or 2-bedroom apartments. They can be installed in both flush and surface mountings.
If you have a bigger house, then you might want to choose one of their 125-amp panels. These have space for 12 breakers, which usually mean there’s enough room for a later expansion if needed. The breaker board allows for 24 circuits, which is enough for many standard-size homes.
However, if you have a larger home or different equipment or appliances that require extra power, you can choose the Square D HOM4080M200PQCVP model, which is a 200-amp panel. It features Qwik-Grip technology, which means the cable easily slides into the slot and the branch wire is quickly gripped by the shield. Therefore, this panel doesn’t require cable connectors or steek knockouts. It allows for full-size tandem and breakers with 120/240 AC voltage. The panel comes with three 20A single-pole breakers and two 30A double-pole breakers.
3. Leviton Panels
A great advantage of the Leviton electrical panels is that they have a panel surge protector. This protects your sensitive electronics, but also motor and pump appliances like your dishwasher or washing machine, against surges, which are unexpected increases in voltage.
Another advantage of Leviton panels is that the company offers insurance on connected indoor home appliances and gadgets, up to $25,000 if the surge protector fails under regular use. That’s certainly proof that the company stands behind their products.
The panels provide several safety features that exceed the UL Standard, such as GFCI circuit breaker protection that locks users out if ground-fault protection is lost. Their design is quite sleek with all-white indoor box and an optional observation window. They also provide intuitive LED diagnostics, and you can opt for Smart Circuit Breakers, which will give you insight into energy usage.
The Leviton panels can come with either thermal magnetic or hydraulic magnetic breakers. The difference between these is basically how they react in the case of an overload, but also the type of environment the panel is installed in. The thermal breakers are best for indoor installation, while the hydraulic ones are great for harsh environments, where temperatures can vary widely.