5 Different Circuit Breaker Types

A man inspects a circuit breaker.
  • Beginner

The circuit breaker comes in a wide range of sizes for home and industrial uses. You can learn more about the different types of residential circuit breakers below.

1. Residential Circuit Breaker Types

Many homes still use a circuit fuse system to protect their homes. However, a fuse can only do this job once, then it is "blown." A breaker can be reset after each time it interrupts an electrical circuit.

2. Types of Circuit Breakers and Their Function

The Thermal Magnetic Circuit Breaker switches on or off, protects against electrical current surges with a thermal breaker, and against a complete short-circuit, by a magnetic trip feature.

3. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

This circuit controller protects kitchens and bathrooms where water, people, and electricity might come in contact. They prevent shocks when the electricity travels outside its insulated wiring and is touched by a human who completes the circuit.

4. Arc Fault Circuit Breaker

This device prevents live wires completing a circuit with the ground, arcs between the live wire, and charge-neutral line arcs and arcs that can happen in series. Any of these can cause an electrical fire.

5. Surge Protectors

These prevent a moderate voltage surge from damaging your computer, which is their most critical application.