Is Switchgear the Same as a Circuit Breaker?

Electrical circuit breakers and switch gears are electrical components that are commonly confused. Circuit breakers are designed to protect electrical circuits from overloads or short circuits, while the switchgear is designed to control the flow of electricity within a system.

The switchgear will typically include circuit breakers as part of its assembly but it has other components, such as disconnectors and load interrupters that make it more complex than just a circuit breaker. Switchgear can also be used to control the on-and-off switching of electricity to certain parts of an electrical system, while circuit breakers are designed simply to protect against overloads or short circuits. 

The main difference between switchgear and circuit breakers is that while they both provide protection for an electrical system, switchgear is designed to provide a more advanced level of safety and control, while circuit breakers are designed simply to prevent overloads or shorts. Switchgear also typically takes up more space than just a single circuit breaker due to its additional components. 

Overall, switchgear is the better choice if you need an electrical system that provides superior protection and control. They can include space-saving designs, arc-resistance as well as indoor systems that can handle up to 75 kilovolts. The cooling components in air-insulated and gas-insulated switchgear are also superior to those in circuit breakers. However, if you are just looking for basic protection against overloads and short circuits, a circuit breaker may be the better choice. 

Circuit Breaker

Circuit breakers are a simple choice if you need a reliable solution for protecting your electrical system from overloads and short circuits. Ultimately, the decision on which one to use should be based on the specific needs of your application. 

In conclusion, while both switchgear and circuit breakers provide protection for electrical systems, each has different design capabilities and provides varying levels of safety and control.

This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at Swartz Engineering. For nearly half a century, Swartz Engineering has been at the forefront of industry safety. They are a family-owned company specializing in power distribution for the electrical industry. Our design ensures maximum flexibility for excellent reliability and a high return on investment