The use of electricity is essential for every building in the modern era. You are getting a lot of benefits from electricity in your daily life. A building without electricity (whether commercial or residential) cannot survive. But, to get more and save electricity benefits, you must know about its basics. Different distribution board types are part of the electrical system.

Distribution boards are located in the middle of the main electrical supply and home appliances like bulbs, lights, fans, etc. DB (Short form of Distribution Board) is a gateway that provides a path of external power (i.e., power from power distribution companies) to your building. In the market, a lot of distribution board types are available.

Knowing about different distribution board types is very important because after knowing about them, you can choose which type of board is the best fit for your building.

What is the purpose of a distribution board?

A distribution system, also referred to as a panelboard, electrical problems, electric panel, DB board, or DB box, is a part of a supply system for electricity that separates an electrical energy feed into subordinate circuits and provides a protective fuse or light switch for each circuit in a single enclosure.

Distribution boards vs. consumer unit

Users sometimes confuse between the consumer unit and distribution board and consider these terms the same. It is important to note that these terms have a difference. As a result of this difference, a consumer unit is merely a type of distribution board.

Consumer units can be denoted as distribution boards, but distribution boards cannot be denoted as consumer units.

However, the consumer unit is the most used type of panelboard (Panelboard is the second name of the Distribution board) worldwide. You can recognize consumer units by their metal or plastic body boxes. In the consumer unit, some circuit breakers and contactors are present. The primary purpose of the consumer units is to protect the end-user from the main supply danger.

In a nutshell, the consumer unit electrical is a type of distribution board tested and approved by experts. The consumer unit is suitable to fulfill most commercial and domestic building requirements.

The primary purpose of the distribution board

The primary purpose of the distribution board is to take incoming electrical supply as input. And distribute this incoming power supply to the sub-circuit for outdoor, commercial, residential, and public usage. Distribution boards fulfill this purpose by isolating and splitting the main power and rerouting it more than on subcircuit.

The distribution board also helps by providing complete electricity control to a precise level. By using distribution, you can “switch on” or “shut down” the power of a section out of the whole system. As a result, you did not have to “shut down” the entire electrical system in the case of a failure; instead, you only had to “turn off” the supply to the particular faulty unit and troubleshoot it.

While using electrical-related items, safety must be your priority. And the distribution board gives you this feature. In the distribution boards, multiple safety devices are used, like fuses, breakers, RCDs, etc. Due to these devices, you can use electricity safely.

Overall, distribution boards are essential components of electrical systems. Using electricity without distribution boards is hazardous for your electrical appliances, and you are also in danger of electric shock.

Distribution Board Types

The market is filled with a variety of distribution boards. Various distribution board types are available based on different factors mentioned below.

  • Design
  • Purpose
  • Place of installation
  • Other factors

Some important distribution board types and detail is described below.

Main lug panel distribution board

The first type of distribution board is in the main lug panels. In this type of DB (Distribution Boards), the input and output electrical lines are made in a way that they can quickly run through rugs. The Lug panel distribution board splits the input and output power through circuit breakers.

The primary purpose of the lug panel distribution board is to disconnect the meter in case of an electrical emergency. Main lug panels are designed to continuously analyze the current that is following the electrical system. If main lug panels monitor any excessive current in the system, then the breaker of DB shuts immediately. As a result, the main power meter minimizes the current to the system.

All the above-mentioned factors shows the importance of main lug panel.

The main breaker distribution board

The main breaker distribution board is the second and most commonly used distribution board type. The primary purpose of the main breaker DB is to protect the secondary circuits in the building. Usually, in these panels, an ampere and voltmeter are installed. These meters tell real-time values of current and voltage to the consumers. So, a consumer can decide when to step up or strep down the main power. Circuit breakers are also installed in this DB to protect against electrical emergencies.

Subpanels distribution board

These are the simplest form of distribution boards. Usually, the installation and handling, and cleaning of subpanels are easy. Due to this reason, this type of DBs is the best fit for home use. The size of the subpanel distribution board is smaller as compared to other Dbs. Subpanels are suitable for power distribution to the different sections of a house.

Fuse boxes distribution board

Because fuse boxes are affordable and cheaper, they are also commonly used in residences and office buildings. It functions as a control and distribution device for the electricity it receives from the main power line and distributes it to secondary circuits. Circuit breakers and residual current devices are also present in the fuse box and the main switch. Fuse boxes are generally positioned in a strategic location within a building where they are easily accessible during times of emergency. 

Final Thoughts

You must use different distribution board types depending on your application to ensure a safe and secure electrical system. A distribution board should include fuses, bus bars, residual current detectors, bypass equipment, and cables and circuits. Residual current detectors are necessary for protection against shock and fire.


  • How does a three-phase distribution board work?

To distribute power to individual consumer points or circuits within a building, 3 phase distribution boards contain circuit breakers, ground leakage protection units, and fuses.

  • How does an 8-way distribution board work?

Designed to fit in residential areas and protect electrical wiring, switches, receptacles, and light fixtures, the 8 Way Distribution Box is made from durable material. The following features make this product ideal for use on walls and ceilings that are fire rated. In surface mounting applications, the raised ground screw eliminates interference.

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abdul waheed
Abdul Waheed is a seasoned business blogger, specializing in entrepreneurship and small business management. With over 10 years of experience, he offers invaluable insights and practical guidance to aspiring entrepreneurs, helping them navigate the challenges of starting and growing a successful business.