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The Different Types Of Electrical Boxes And How To Choose The Right One

Every house – or really, any building at this point – needs to have a solid electrical system. Otherwise, blackouts and interruptions will put the lives and comfort of everyone in them at serious risk. 

In a world where everything needs to be top-notch, one of the biggest things you need to keep an eye on is the quality of your overall electrical setup. And, a considerable part of that is the strength of your electrical boxes

That said, whether you’re working on a DIY project or having a professional install it, one of the biggest questions you will need to ask is how to get the perfect option among the many types of electrical outlet boxes we have. In this article, we’ll break the different types down so you can get a better understanding.  

The Types Of Electrical Boxes Homeowners Should Have

Junction Boxes 

Easily the most popular of the electric outlet box options is the junction box. Here, you have an enclosure that properly covers all of your electrical connections and ensures that no interference from the external environment is able to get in and mess up the quality of your overall setup.

Junction boxes are mostly beloved because of their ease of access. You can easily find this electricity box around you, and as long as you’re getting it from a reputable manufacturer, you can count on it to be effective. 

That said, you want to keep a few of the most prominent types of junction boxes in mind as well. Some of these include: 

Metal Junction Boxes: 

Here, you have an electrical outlet box that is made of some metal variant – the most common options include aluminum, steel, and galvanized steel, although some people also prefer titanium. They’re durable and robust, and they especially do well to protect your connection from any form of physical damage. 

Plastic Junction Boxes: 

While this seems pretty straightforward, this term actually focuses more on a junction box material that is anything but metal. So, you can have options like PVC and ABS – obviously, they provide more protection than just ordinary plastic. 

With their light build and ability to last long even in the midst of corrosion, plastic junction boxes are quite effective. That said, they do their best work in indoor locations – not out in the sun. 

Weatherproof Junction Boxes

The name pretty much says it all here – this is an electricity box that provides protection against elements of the weather. They can be made of plastic, although the primary focus should be having a material that can stand against weather elements. 

Underground Junction Boxes

If you’re not necessarily interested in a junction box that is placed high up somewhere, then an underground junction box is a solid option. These outlet boxes are usually made of PVC, although you can choose any other material – as long as it resists corrosion. 

Switch Boxes

If you’re not necessarily a fan of the junction box and its bulky frame, then a switch box might be a bit better for you. These outlet boxes provide a more organized alternative to junction boxes, allowing you to keep your electrical components safely and in a tidy manner. They focus on ensuring that you’re able to prevent any contact with live wires, and you can also find them in different sizes so you enjoy optimal flexibility when it comes to electrical box sizes

Switch boxes come in different types, with some of the more popular options being the following: 

Single-Gang Switch Boxes

These boxes are built primarily to only accommodate a single device – one outlet, one light switch, etc. And, because of their limited capacity, they work better in residential locations; not malls or other commercial buildings. 

Double-Gang Switch Box

You’ve got the single, and you’ve got the double. These electrical boxes house two electrical devices, and they work when you need two switches placed together closely. 

Triple-Gang Switch Box

If you’re looking for something that goes even bigger than the double-gang box, then this is what you want to have. Place three electrical outlets together in close proximity, and they’ll be able to properly fit in a triple-gang switch box. 

Round Ceiling Box

This is a circular electrical box that is placed in a ceiling and helps to support devices that are upwards – ceiling fans, lights, etc. Based on the size of the fixtures themselves, you can find these boxes in different diameters, so flexibility in terms of electrical box sizes is available. 

Handy Box

These boxes are small and rectangular, and you usually mount them on surfaces. They are compact, so they work best in situations where you don’t have so much space to fit a larger box. 

Ceiling Boxes 

For ceiling boxes, you have an option that essentially works if you don’t want to place a box near people. These boxes are installed in ceilings, and they are secure – how many people reach for ceilings to get a hold of things? 

Operating an alternative to the electrical wall box, these options can work -although you need to be especially careful and consider the placement parameter. If you’re getting a ceiling box, however, you need to be aware of what you’re getting overall. Here are some prominent options available: 

Round Ceiling Box 

With their round boxes, these boxes work perfectly if you want to mount a light fixture – or a ceiling fan, or some other device that is to be placed high up. You can find them in different diameters too, so positioning isn’t much of an issue. 

Octagon Ceiling Box 

They work pretty much like the round ones, except that they have eight sides. That said, their unique shape also comes with an advantage as you have more mounting points and a generally easier installation process. 

Square Ceiling Box

If you want a box that looks more modern and aesthetically pleasing, then the square ceiling box will definitely work for you. These boxes work better in industrial and commercial settings, and they provide a considerable amount of functionality overall.

Fan Support Box 

The entire point of the design that you get here is that it helps to support the weight of a regular ceiling fan. Besides the box itself, you also get an additional form of bracing or support for your fan. And if you have a generally heavier fixture, you can use the box to provide optimal support for it. 

Pan Box 

These boxes go a bit from the norm and incorporate a rectangular frame. Add a flat bottom, and you have something that works perfectly for surface-mounted fixtures. If you don’t have enough support for recessed mounting, a pan box works perfectly. 

Outdoor Electrical Boxes

If you don’t want your electrical box installed within your building, then the outdoor electrical box is what you want to get instead. These boxes are flexible and versatile enough to work in any location, but their design makes them especially reliable when you need something to work in external environments. 

With their weatherproof functionality, these electric boxes easily protect your components from things like rain, the sun, and snow. They are the pinnacle when you’re looking for something that works out in the open, and experts generally recommend them if you need something to operate outdoors. 

Pretty much every other option on this list comes in a weatherproof variant. However, you also need to keep an eye out for some unique names when you’re discussing the different types that you have. These include: 

Landscape Lighting Box 

These boxes work best for lighting fixtures – particularly, the landscape lighting installations placed outside of your building. They tend to be smaller, and they also provide the option of being installed partially – instead of fully. 

Pedestal Outlet Box

The pedestal outlet box stands on its own and focuses on protecting your outdoor power outlets. They mostly work in spaces like yards or gardens, and they are especially convenient if you need something to hold the electric circuits in an open area. 

In-Use Cover Box 

With a flip-up cover, these boxes can achieve the dual benefit of protecting while still being in use. They are usually applied in outdoor outlets where you need your devices to stay plugged in, and you also get a sense of regulatory compliance since they are in line with requirements set by the National Electrical Code (NEC).

Bubble Cover Box 

The bubble cover box comes with a cover that allows you to place and store your plugs and other larger electronic devices. These boxes are perfect for switches and outlets that have weatherproof covers, and the fact that you also get a little extra space for plug heads means that you don’t have anything to worry about. 

Post Mount Outlet Box 

These boxes are more like public utilities. They are mounted on poles and posts, and they help to power outdoor areas like gardens and driveways. As you would imagine, weatherproofing is one of the major functions of these boxes. 

Bell Box

The bell box is a strong, sturdy box that is built to accommodate the needs of significant outdoor applications. From outdoor junctions to conduit connections, these boxes are more than perfect. And, as you can imagine, they come in different sizes as well, offering the highest levels of flexibility.

Floor Electrical Boxes

For those who might not necessarily be comfortable with placing their outlets in the ceiling, the floor is always a solid option for placing outlet boxes. Whether you’re running a residential or a commercial building, the floor works pretty well overall and allows you to be more flexible with your placement. Plus, it’s considerably more accessible than the ceiling anyway, so you don’t have much to worry about. 

The types of floor boxes available are pretty much the same as the types of ceiling outlet boxes that you have. But, there are also a few bespoke variants that need to be considered:

Pop-Up Floor Boxes

These options are designed to maintain their flushiness with the floor even when you’re not using them. If you need to access your connections and data points, you can just get the floor to pop up, and it shows what you need. 

With a sleek and generally accessible appearance, these boxes are more than perfect for use overall. 

Recessed Floor Boxes

These boxes are installed entirely below the floor level – so they offer a fully flushed look. In most cases, you see them being used in areas where you need to have consistency in your floor surfacing. And because you can use them with different flooring materials, you don’t have much to worry about when it comes to compatibility. 

Adjustable Height Floor Box 

The height adjustment feature available in these boxes means that you can easily use them to accommodate different levels of floor thickness. By extension, it means that you can enjoy higher levels of flexibility when it comes to installing with different flooring materials. 

Raised floor Box 

These are mostly installed on raised floors – which you can generally find in office spaces and other commercial locations. With them, you get easy access to data and power connections, and you don’t have to compromise on the general raised floor design. 

What Is An Electrical Box?

At this point, we should all be familiar with what an electrical box is – it’s a container that you put in your building that houses all of the electrical connections and components. These boxes play a critical role in maintaining the electrical integrity of your home by offering a safe and accessible location for you to secure all of your components. 

Electrical boxes are responsible for several functionalities. Some of those include: 

Maintaining Integrity & Safety: 

You can never be too safe when it comes to electrical connections. Physical damage, environmental hazards, and much more are just a handful of risks that you face. With electric boxes, you can make sure that aloof your components are protected across the board. 

An Organized Location

With the right standard electrical box dimensions, you will be able to keep all of your electrical fittings in a single place. So, whether you need cleanup or easy access, you know that your fixtures are safe and protected in one location. 

Keeping Your Building Up to Code

An electrical handy box also does a great deal to ensure that your building is in line with electrical codes and regulations. Any inspector will flag your building if you don’t have the right electrical boxes – and if your standard electrical box dimensions aren’t in line with their laws. So, this is very important. 

Easy & Secure Mounting

An electrical box will offer a secure mounting surface for things like light outlets, switches, fixtures, and more. With their help, you can properly anchor and mount these devices overall. 

Protection From the Elements

We already mentioned that several specialized electrical boxes are specially designed to keep all of your outlets safe from the effects of environmental factors. Moisture, winds, and more can easily affect the efficiency of your connections, and the right electrical boxes will ensure that the effects of these elements are minimal – if not completely eradicated. 

Choosing an Electrical Box

Because there are so many options available when looking for an electrical handy box, you can imagine that making a choice won’t be so easy. This is why you need to keep a few factors in mind as you make a decision. 

What Device Type Are You Working With? 

Electrical devices come in different types. As you can imagine, you need to have the right box for the right device type. 

Does It Need To Be Weatherproof? 

If you’re installing your box in an outdoor location, then you will need to make sure that you have a weatherproof box. The last thing you want is for weather elements to get in the way of the efficiency of your box, so this is especially important overall. 

Some Boxes Are Specialized

You might also need a bit of a bespoke service from your box. For instance, some boxes work better for ceiling fans, while others are especially adept at protecting things like television sets and media outlets. Understanding your needs and the role of these specialized electrical boxes will help you to significantly cut down on load. 

What’s The Makeup Of The Box? 

Next, you need to keep an eye out for the material of the box in question. Boxes made of metal material are durable and can provide the needed amount of grounding. But, if you go for something with a plastic material, then you need to ensure that it won’t be used for anything outdoors.

How Do You Plug Your Cable? 

Make sure you select a box that has the right number of knockouts for your cable entry – and which supports the type of cable you’re working with in the first place. Finally, make sure that the box is perfect for your cable wiring method, so you don’t end up having to deal with compatibility challenges. 

Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For Help 

If you’re not sure about what to choose or who to work with, then you can always ask for professional help. We at KDM Fabrication understand electrical boxes perfectly, and we’ll be more than happy to help you ensure that your box is installed perfectly. 

How To Install An Electrical Box

There’s a lot of consideration to be done when it comes to installing an electric box. These boxes are very different, and this means that you want to make sure you have what you need to conduct the installation process as seamlessly as possible. 

But, there’s a general process that you can follow to install an electric box, and it goes something like this: 

Power Down On Your Appliances 

There is no way to install electrical boxes without first cutting the power to everything in your building. As long as there’s an area where work will be done, power down and let the electrical system hold off for a bit. 

Where Are You Installing The Box? 

Next, choose where you’ll be installing the box. To do this, you’ll need to consider the device you’re installing the box around and the possible local electrical codes.

Ensure That Nothing Is Blocking You 

Once you mark your installation location, make sure that you’re not being blocked by anything. Things like wires and pipes have already been installed in your electrical system. But, when they come in contact with your box, they just might cause some issues. So, make sure that there is no potential problem with them, and that you can easily maneuver your way around. 

Put The Box In Your Location

Since you already know where you want the box to be placed, go ahead with the placement. Start by cutting an opening in the surface, then place the box carefully and make sure that the mounting is solid. Fortunately for you, things like fasteners and other mounting tools can help you make sure that you’re good to go. 

As long as you can ascertain that the mounting is solid, go ahead. 

Finish The Wiring

Make sure that your wires are properly prepared, and that they can fit into the electrical box itself. From there, use connectors to secure them and fit them into your electrical fittings

Run A Final Check And Fire Up Your System

Connect the electrical box to your device, then make sure that you follow the manufacturer’s rules for connections. From there, run one more check to make sure that everything is as it should be, and cover the box. Painting will ensure that you can maintain your aesthetic properties, and then you can fire up the system and see just how it works. 

Conclusion

Electrical boxes are a critical part of any overall electrical system. But, with so many options being available, choosing the right one is more than important if you hope to ensure the security and efficiency of your connection. 

We’ve laid out the available options above, but don’t be afraid to speak to us at KDM Fabrication if you need a little more help. 

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