Best residential load center

jmellc

Senior Member
Square-D Homeline, hands-down! That is the ONLY panel I ever install when I do service upgrades, and I have done hundreds! I have installed a Siemens before, but only when the customer requested such. I consider Siemens to be second-best. But I don't like G.E. or any other brand of panel available. I consider them to be of poor quality.

Keep in mind that Michigan doesn't require AFCI breakers at all, and many other states only require them for bedroom circuits. I have worked in such a state, and never had any problem with nuisance tripping on Square-D ones.
Dittoes on GE. As nearly worthless as any product out there. Only marginally better than Zinsco and Federal Pacific.

Homeline has also been a favorite of mine but I got mad at them the past year or so. They came out with the stab on AFCI breakers and now some suppliers don't always have both types in stock. If you don't think to spec pigtail type, they give you stab ons and they don't work on existing panels. Bad enough we got AFCI's forced down our throats and then Sq D had to further complicate the issue. Hooray for Michigan not requiring them. I think Indiana doesn't either.

Also, many Homeline new panels now come with those confounded plastic slot inserts at top and bottom. They are a major pain on a rewire, as different size cables don't always meet them in the right places. I've see a lot of QO panels with them too recently.

I have been leaning toward Cutler Hammer BR more in recent times. Usually available and reasonable priced. I've seen no major issues with them. I like CH but it is really pricey and many of the breakers trip to off position with no trip indicator.

I used to like Siemens OK but I got really angry with them. Supplier sent us a panel with GFCI breakers not rated for personnel. I think Siemens is the only manufacturer to queer this up. Failed inspection and supplier made us pay for new breakers. Same job, they were going to charge us $400 for a switchgear plate about 4 x 24 inches, 1 breaker opening. I used a blank we already had and cut it with a jigsaw.
 
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norcal

Senior Member
:roll::roll:

There are literally billions of 1" plug on loadcenters in this country, none of them I would consider true garbage. They serve the purpose for the residential market, which is huge. Any trace of Zinsco influence is long gone with the Cutler Hammer products now.
I specifically mentioned the BR line, that leaves out Siemens, Murray, GE, & SQ D Homeline, any of them I would use over Zinsco II.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Also, many Homeline new panels now come with those confounded plastic slot inserts at top and bottom. They are a major pain on a rewire, as different size cables don't always meet them in the right places. I've see a lot of QO panels with them too recently.
I completely forgot about those. I think they are an epic fail and another thing to add to my list of why I dislike Homeline. Those "quick wire" slots are great for new construction but indeed a major pain for panels changes as you pointed out.

I have been leaning toward Cutler Hammer BR more in recent times.
That is exactly the brand I have chosen and I have not been disappointed at all. :thumbsup:
 

jaggedben

Senior Member
I still consider the BR line Zinsco II, when Westinghouse bought Challenger, their loadcenters became the BR panels, and the BR breakers were listed and branded for Challenger, plus used Zinsco mains in 150A plus main breaker panels, so Challenger, and Westinghouse BR, were the same, when Eaton took over the Zinsco mains went away, but being advertised as "Engineered Value" is just newspeak for cheap. I prefer CH loadcenters, they are the last quality residential/light commercial panel, 2nd choice is Siemens, 3rd would be QO, after that, anything but a Zinsco II. After the end of Zinsco/Sylvania/Challenger somebody has to be at the bottom, Eaton BR fits it well as the garbage line.
It's BR because it came from Bryant. I don't think you have the history correct.
 

jmellc

Senior Member
I completely forgot about those. I think they are an epic fail and another thing to add to my list of why I dislike Homeline. Those "quick wire" slots are great for new construction but indeed a major pain for panels changes as you pointed out.



That is exactly the brand I have chosen and I have not been disappointed at all. :thumbsup:
I still consider the BR line Zinsco II, when Westinghouse bought Challenger, their loadcenters became the BR panels, and the BR breakers were listed and branded for Challenger, plus used Zinsco mains in 150A plus main breaker panels, so Challenger, and Westinghouse BR, were the same, when Eaton took over the Zinsco mains went away, but being advertised as "Engineered Value" is just newspeak for cheap. I prefer CH loadcenters, they are the last quality residential/light commercial panel, 2nd choice is Siemens, 3rd would be QO, after that, anything but a Zinsco II. After the end of Zinsco/Sylvania/Challenger somebody has to be at the bottom, Eaton BR fits it well as the garbage line.
I've only seen a few Challenger panels or breakers and didn't like them but didn't recall they were part of the CH/BR line at all. But I can't keep it all in my head. I've had OK luck recently with BR. I consider GE the bottom of the barrel.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Keep in mind that all brands, even bolt ons and DIN rails can burn up. Don't let one QO sour your preference. :)
We’ve replaced QO loadcenters similar to the damage shown. Ours were on grain bins and I suspect the vibrations of the fans complimented the failures along with the moisture and dirt.

CH then QO would be my preferred followed by the CH BR and Homeline for dollar conscious projects. CH has been consistently available in the area throughout my business years.
QO had some panels in the 70's that had aluminum bus bars, those were more prone to failure, especially in outdoor panels. Tin plated copper bus bars that are still common today do not have the same kind of failure rate.

Dittoes on GE. As nearly worthless as any product out there. Only marginally better than Zinsco and Federal Pacific.

Homeline has also been a favorite of mine but I got mad at them the past year or so. They came out with the stab on AFCI breakers and now some suppliers don't always have both types in stock. If you don't think to spec pigtail type, they give you stab ons and they don't work on existing panels. Bad enough we got AFCI's forced down our throats and then Sq D had to further complicate the issue. Hooray for Michigan not requiring them. I think Indiana doesn't either.

Also, many Homeline new panels now come with those confounded plastic slot inserts at top and bottom. They are a major pain on a rewire, as different size cables don't always meet them in the right places. I've see a lot of QO panels with them too recently.

I have been leaning toward Cutler Hammer BR more in recent times. Usually available and reasonable priced. I've seen no major issues with them. I like CH but it is really pricey and many of the breakers trip to off position with no trip indicator.

I used to like Siemens OK but I got really angry with them. Supplier sent us a panel with GFCI breakers not rated for personnel. I think Siemens is the only manufacturer to queer this up. Failed inspection and supplier made us pay for new breakers. Same job, they were going to charge us $400 for a switchgear plate about 4 x 24 inches, 1 breaker opening. I used a blank we already had and cut it with a jigsaw.
Never seen one yet but BR supposedly has plug on neutral now, so you may end up with same dilemma - supplier only stocks one or the other and you find yourself needing what they don't stock.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
Also, many Homeline new panels now come with those confounded plastic slot inserts at top and bottom. They are a major pain on a rewire, as different size cables don't always meet them in the right places. I've see a lot of QO panels with them too recently.
I hate those! :rant:
 

kwired

Electron manager
Originally Posted by jmellc

Also, many Homeline new panels now come with those confounded plastic slot inserts at top and bottom. They are a major pain on a rewire, as different size cables don't always meet them in the right places. I've see a lot of QO panels with them too recently.
I hate those! :rant:
Never used one, don't look like something I have much interest in though.

Seems you need to ask for product you want, or at big box store at least pay attention to what you grab, which is good idea anyway. I usually order from supply house by catalog number, if I give wrong number it is my fault. Did that once and ended up with single phase panel instead of three phase on a quote - that was a little costly, but was only a 125 amp panel so not horribly costly.
 

peter d

Senior Member
Eaton encompasses these legacy products: Cutler Hammer, Challenger, Bryant and Westinghouse.

Siemens = ITE Gould, Crouse Hinds, Murray, and Furnas.

GE has always been GE, and likewise with Square D.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Eaton encompasses these legacy products: Cutler Hammer, Challenger, Bryant and Westinghouse.

Siemens = ITE Gould, Crouse Hinds, Murray, and Furnas.

GE has always been GE, and likewise with Square D.
Eaton has had Cutler Hammer for a long time, Westinghouse took over Bryant, not sure exactly where Challenger fits in but also absorbed into Westinhouse AFAIK at some point, Eaton eventually acquired Westinghouse though.

I don't ever recall seeing Furnas breakers/loadcenters, but yes Siemens did take over items that formerly were known as Furnas, mostly controls devices.

GE has always been GE, but the low voltage power distribution is now a part of ABB, but AFAIK still has the GE name, so far.

Square D has always been Square D, is a division of Schneider now, and has been for some time, So far still kept the Square D name on a lot of products, though there are some that have Schneider name on them. Some miniature relays that once were Square D are now just labeled Schneider - but I think they are more less what used to be produced under the Magnecraft name, that is now also part of Schneider, and I think the previous Square D versions of same product are no longer made.
 

LarryFine

Master Electrician Electric Contractor Richmond VA
I understand the thinking, but it backfired. Much like Square D trilliant.
Besides being difficult with in-wall replacement, as mentioned above, there are almost no KOs suitable for larger cables, which don't fit in the plastic slots.
 

mbrooke

Senior Member
Besides being difficult with in-wall replacement, as mentioned above, there are almost no KOs suitable for larger cables, which don't fit in the plastic slots.
Yes and Yes. Square D does not think at times it seems as to what electricians look for or really need.
 

JohnE

Senior Member
I

My new personal favorite is Eaton Cutler Hammer BR (and sometimes CH). Now that Eaton has a plug on neutal with a normal sized AFCI breaker, they are the clear winner. I don't use GE but would be fine with them, since their regular AFCI's do not include GFPE.
Same here, Peter.
 
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