When it comes to managing electricity in our homes, two common components come to mind: the fuse box and the breaker panel. Both serve the critical function of protecting our electrical systems from overloading and potential hazards. However, they operate in different ways and have distinct characteristics.

In this blog post let’s delve into the nuances of each to gain a better understanding of how they work.

Fuse Box

Fuse Box

Traditionally, older homes are equipped with fuse boxes - sometimes called fuse panels - which contain fuses of various sizes. These fuses act as sacrificial devices that melt when they detect an overload or short circuit. When the fuse blows, it interrupts the electrical circuit in order to prevent any damage to appliances and wiring.

Disadvantages of Fuse Boxes

  • Easy to overload by installing larger fuses (reducing overcurrent protection).
  • Blown fuses cannot be reset and must be replaced.
  • Replacement parts are not available for most applications.
  • Insurance companies can choose to not insure houses with these older fuse boxes.

Advantages of Fuse Boxes

  • None

Breaker Panel

Modern homes typically feature breaker panels, also known as circuit breaker boxes. Instead of using fuses, these panels contain circuit breakers. These are devices that automatically trip when they detect an overload or short circuit. Once tripped, the circuit breaker must be manually reset to restore power to the circuit. (If the breaker trips again, call a licensed electrical contractor, such as Engle Services, to diagnose the problem.)

Checking a flickering light

Disadvantages of Breaker Panels

  • Breakers are more sensitive and may trip more frequently.
  • Cost of breakers can be more expensive than fuses. However, they are resettable.

Advantages of Breaker Panels

  • Convenience

    Circuit breakers can be reset with a single flip of a switch, eliminating the need to replace fuses.

  • Enhanced Safety

    With the modern technology of GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter) and AFCI (Arc Fault Circuit Interrupter), breaker safety has never been better. These drastically reduce accidents and house fires.

  • Diagnostic Features

    Some breakers come with built-in fault light indicators that help homeowners identify the source of the problem.


In conclusion, both fuse boxes and breaker panels serve the vital role of safeguarding our electrical systems. However, in my opinion breaker panels provide enhanced safety and convenience. It is crucial to prioritize electrical safety above all and consult with a qualified licensed electrician for installation and maintenance.

Engle Services' team of expert pros includes licensed electricians. If you're ready for an electrical repair or installation, or are looking to move away from a fuse box to a breaker panel, we're here to help! Schedule an appointment online or give us a call at (855) GET-ENGLE