If you can’t find Eaton breakers, can you replace them with other brands? Is it safe? This guide will tell you.
What Circuit Breakers Are Compatible With Eaton?
Eaton Breaker Compatibility Chart
|GE||May/May not be Compatible|
- Cutler Hammer
Cutler Hammer is ancient. The company made circuit breakers for decades. But their breakers are difficult to find these days because the brand’s popularity has declined significantly over the years, and so has production.
More importantly, Eaton bought them in the 1970s. Therefore, Eaton and Cutler Hammer circuit breakers are interchangeable. You can tell by looking at them. Admittedly, you can’t interchange circuit breakers simply because they have similar physical attributes.
But in this case, Eaton and Cutler Hammer breakers originate from the same manufacturer. According to this Eaton platform, the company has placed the Eaton name on many Cutler-Hammer products. But the item inside the package has not changed.
Most compatibility charts you consult will classify Eaton and Siemens as swappable breakers. If you have doubts, remember that Eaton is compatible with Cutler Hammer. Cutler Hammer is interchangeable with Murray.
This matters because Siemens and Murray are basically the same company. Siemens breakers can work in place of Murray and vice versa. If Siemens and Murray are practically the same, and Cutler Hammer works with Siemens, you can comfortably conclude that Eaton and Siemens are interchangeable.
This Eaton platform said the same thing. They included Siemens in a list of brands you can interchange with their circuit breakers.
- Square D
Keep in mind that Eaton and Cutler Hammer are the same because Eaton bought Cutler Hammer. If Square D is compatible with Cutler Hammer, there’s no reason to assume that Eaton will reject Square D or vice versa.
Considering the National Power Equipment’s submission, it has revealed that Eaton owns the rights to the Square D product line. Therefore, Eaton and Square D breakers are the same. Their design and functionality are identical. You can swap them without incurring negative consequences.
Murray is compatible with Eaton and Square D. You can add Siemens to that equation because Murray and Siemens are compatible (Siemens owns Murray). Once again, Eaton has the final word on this issue. Their list of compatible breaker brands includes Murray, and the easiest way to determine interchangeability between brands is to look at each company’s compatibility list.
You have plenty of reasons to assume that GE and Eaton are compatible. After all, GE is interchangeable with brands like Siemens that work with Eaton breakers and panels. But compatibility is not guaranteed between every single Eaton and GE breaker.
Contact Eaton for clarity if you’re tempted to use a GE breaker in their panel. They can guide you accordingly.
- Crouse Hinds
Crouse-Hinds breakers are ancient, so much so that some consumers may struggle to find one in their local store. However, they are still safe. But the market has newer and more reliable breakers.
Therefore, if you have a Crouse-Hinds breaker, you are better off using its modern counterparts. Siemens owns Crouse-Hinds. This matters because Crouse-Hinds bought Murray at some point. These days, Siemens and Murray are identical, and as you now know, Siemens breakers and Murray are compatible with Eaton.
Eaton CL breakers are UL-classified for Crouse-Hinds. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to replace Crouse-Hinds with Eaton.
Eaton has a list of compatible brands that include Crouse-Hinds, which should put any doubts you have to bed.
There’s an argument to be made for replacing Eaton breakers with Bryant or vice versa. This is because Bryant is compatible with Siemens and Cutler Hammer. A contributor to this Mike Holt forum thread ordered Bryant breakers but was sent Eaton and Cutler-Hammer, further cementing the idea that Bryant and Eaton are compatible and interchangeable.
Siemens owns ITE. They bought the company in 1983. Therefore, you shouldn’t hesitate to replace ITE with Siemens breakers. Because Siemens and Eaton are compatible, you have every reason to assume that ITE and Eaton are also compatible.
You can reach out to Siemens to confirm your suspicions. They will recommend a suitable ITE breaker to replace your Eaton breaker.
You can interchange Homeline with Square D. Square D is also compatible with Eaton. Therefore, you wouldn’t be wrong if you tried to interchange Homeline and Eaton breakers. Homeline breakers can fit panels from many brands.
Westinghouse is compatible with several brands, including Murray, Bryant, GE, Siemens, and Square D. As you’ve probably noticed, all those brands are just as compatible with Eaton. Therefore, you can use Westinghouse breakers in Eaton panels and vice versa.
How Do I Know If Eaton Breaker Is Compatible With Other Breakers?
Manufacturers add unique twists and designs to their breakers to prevent consumers from installing them in a panel from a different brand.
But if that is true, how can you ensure that brands like Homeline and Westinghouse are compatible with Eaton? Consider the following:
First of all, Eaton will tell you. If you check their panel, it will provide a list of compatible brands. If you have a breaker from a different brand and you’re tempted to replace it with an Eaton product, check Eaton’s compatibility list. If your brand appears, you can safely install Eaton breakers as replacements.
If your brand doesn’t appear, you risk causing harm by forcing Eaton’s breakers into your panel. Proceed carefully.
Does your panel have a manual? Manuals list all the compatible brands. Don’t expect every manufacturer to provide this information. Even if they know the compatible brands, they won’t tell you because doing so pushes consumers to their competitors. They don’t want that.
If your manufacturer has a list of compatible brands, but you can’t find their manual, they will tell you what you need to know if you call them. If interchangeability is unacceptable, they will warn you. Some manufacturers void warranties when you install a breaker from a different brand. Keep this in mind before you interchange breakers.
Interchangeability is impossible when the breakers in question are different sizes. Does the Homeline breaker fit in your Eaton panel? If it doesn’t, look for a brand with breakers of a similar size.
Sometimes the size is the same, but the mounting mechanisms vary. Many manufacturers include unique mounting mechanisms to prevent compatibility with other breakers. Don’t modify your breaker in an effort to fit a panel from a different brand.
Make sure the new breaker’s specs match the Eaton breaker you want to replace. Rantle East Electronic wants you to look at the voltage rating, current rating, amperage setting, and rotation. The manual typically reveals all this information.
7) . UL
Underwriters Laboratories have a list of brands that work with Eaton. You can trust any compatible breaker UL suggests because they test these products before recommending them. Some contractors won’t interchange breakers unless the brands in question are UL-classified.
Is It Safe To Use Eaton Breaker With Other Breakers?
It is safe if the new breaker’s specs match those of your Eaton breaker. The best option is to use a breaker that Eaton recommends because it won’t steer you wrong. The company has a better understanding of its breaker’s technology than anyone else. Therefore, they are better placed to determine whether other brands are compatible with them.
If they don’t mention your brand, you can also rely on an Underwriters Laboratories recommendation. The wrong breaker may fail to fit your panel, or it won’t connect with the bus bar. This is dangerous because it causes arcing, and arcing starts fires all the time.
If you’re lucky, the wrong breaker won’t even fit in your Eaton panel. Unfortunately, some breakers are not compatible, yet they look identical on the outside. This is why you shouldn’t proceed without Eaton or a contractor’s blessing.
Why Use Other Breakers Instead of Eaton Breakers?
You should always use breakers and panels from the same brand. And once your Eaton breaker dies, you should replace it with an Eaton breaker. But some people live in places where they can’t access Eaton’s product line.
They must make do with the brands in their local stores. If those brands don’t include Eaton, they must find an alternative brand that is interchangeable with Eaton.
Others do the opposite. They replace a dead breaker with Eaton because their previous breaker was discontinued. Manufacturers go out of business every day. Consumers don’t realize this because they don’t replace breakers regularly.
Therefore, it always comes as a shock when they visit a retailer in search of a particular breaker, only to learn that their manufacturer doesn’t exist anymore. This forces them to use Eaton as a replacement because the company’s products are compatible with the discontinued brand.
You also have homeowners that use other breakers instead of Eaton because those other breakers are cheaper. They don’t realize that cheaper breakers are also less reliable.