Difference Between Switchboards & Panelboards…What is it?

Switchboards and panelboards serve similar functions in electrical distribution systems but differ in terms of their size, current capacity, access options, and application areas. Switchboards are typically used for heavy-duty industrial applications, while panelboards are more commonly found in residential, commercial, and light industrial settings.

Switchboards vs Panelboards

*Image of ABB ReliaGear SB Switchboard & ABB ReliaGear neXT Power Panelboards

Switchboards and panelboards indeed serve similar functions in power distribution systems, but they differ in several key aspects:

  • Mounting Style:
    • Panelboards are typically flush-mounted or surface-mounted, meaning they are installed within walls or on surfaces.
    • Switchboards are freestanding units. They are not installed within walls but are standalone structures.
  • Accessibility:
    • Both switchboards and panelboards typically offer front access for maintenance and operation.
    • Switchboards have the additional capability of allowing rear access if needed, providing more flexibility in installation and maintenance scenarios.
  • Capacity:
    • Panelboards are limited to a maximum incoming current (main) of 1,200amps. 
    • Switchboards can accommodate higher incoming currents, with the capability to handle bussing and overcurrent devices up to 5,000amps.
  • Standards:
    • Panelboards are designed to comply with UL 67 standards.
    • Switchboards are governed by UL 891 standards.


Whether you are looking for a UL891 Switchboard or a UL67 Panelboard, Butcher Power Products has the capacity to manufacture your desired solution, FAST. With Quick-Ship stock options and full build-to-spec capabilities we are the trusted manufacturer for those projects in need of expedited electrical distribution. 

Contact us today to learn more about our offerings and unmatched lead-times! 

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