What are the three types of panelboards?

19th Jun 2023

Panelboards are a type of electrical distribution board used in residential, commercial, and industrial applications. They are used to distribute electrical power to various circuits and are often installed in utility rooms, basements, or electrical closets. Panelboards typically consist of a metal enclosure that contains a series of circuit breakers or fuses that protect electrical circuits from overloads and short circuits. They also include a main circuit breaker or main lugs that control the power supply to the panelboard.

Types of panelboards

The three main types of panelboards are the main lug, main breaker, and sub panel.

Main Lug Panelboard

A main lug panelboard is a type of panelboard that is designed for use as a sub-distribution panel to provide power to branch circuits in a building. Unlike a main breaker panelboard, a main lug panelboard does not have a main breaker and is instead fed by a larger main breaker panelboard or switchboard.

Main lug panelboards are commonly used in commercial and industrial settings and are often used for applications where it is more efficient to have multiple smaller panelboards in different areas of a building rather than a single large panelboard. These panelboards typically have multiple circuits and breakers and are usually installed with an insulated case or enclosure for protection against electrical hazards. 

Main Breaker Panelboard

A Main Breaker Panelboard, also known as a Distribution Panel, contains a built-in circuit breaker that protects the panel from overloads and short circuits. It is typically used as the main power distribution center for a residential or commercial building. The main breaker panelboard can be installed outside or inside the building and is usually fed by a utility company’s service entrance cable.

The main breaker panelboard consists of two sections: the main breaker compartment and the branch circuit compartment. The main breaker compartment contains the main breaker switch, which is used to shut off power to the entire panelboard. The branch circuit compartment contains individual circuit breakers that protect the electrical circuits in the building. The main breaker panelboard can be either a single-phase or three-phase system, depending on the building’s electrical requirements. 


A subpanel is a type of electrical panel that is connected to the main electrical panel in a building. It is typically installed in a remote location, such as a garage or basement, and provides additional circuits for a specific area or application. Subpanels are commonly used to expand the capacity of an existing electrical system and to improve the distribution of power throughout a building.

Subpanels are similar in design to main breaker panelboards, but they do not have a main breaker. Instead, they have a main lug that is connected to a breaker in the main panel. This allows the subpanel to be powered from the main panel while also allowing individual circuits in the subpanel to be controlled by circuit breakers.

ZONZEN provides a range of lock solutions for panelboards, including pad-lockable cam locks and plane locks. These locks can be easily installed on panelboard doors to ensure that only authorized personnel can access the electrical components inside.

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