Difference between Main Panel and Subpanel

What Is the Difference Between a Main Panel and a Subpanel?

The main difference between main panels and subpanels is their location and the number of circuits they supply. Main panels are the central point of electricity distribution, while subpanels are secondary points used to supply electricity to specific areas. Main panels typically have more circuits than subpanels, and are located near the main electrical service entrance. Subpanels are usually located away from the main electrical service entrance, and have fewer circuits.

As an expert electrical technician at Sgelectricsb, I often get asked about the main difference between main electrical panels and subpanels. Here is a brief explanation:


The main panel is the central point of your home’s electrical system. It houses the circuit breaker or fuse for each of your home’s circuits, and is typically located near the main electrical service entrance. The main panel supplies electricity to all of the circuits in your home, and is therefore responsible for distributing the large amount of electrical current that your home uses.


A subpanel is a secondary point of electricity distribution in your home. It is typically located away from the main electrical service entrance, and has fewer circuits than the main panel. Subpanels are used to supply electricity to specific areas of your home that require a lot of power, such as a workshop or a large appliance.

Related Post: Why Should You Install A Subpanel In Your Home?


Subpanels are used to improve the efficiency of your home’s electrical system by distributing the load of high-power circuits. This reduces the risk of overloading your main panel, and helps to prevent circuit breaker trips or blown fuses.

Additonally, subpanels can be used to provide electricity to an area of your home that is not served by the main panel. This might be necessary if your main panel is located on the other side of your home from the area you want to power.


There is no simple answer to this question. It depends on the specific needs of your home’s electrical system. If you have a lot of high-power circuits, or if you need to provide electricity to an area that is not served by your main panel, then a subpanel might be the best option. However, if you don’t have any special electrical needs, then a main panel will probably be sufficient.

If you’re unsure of which option is most beneficial for your home, it’s best to speak with a licensed electrician. After assessing your home’s individual needs, they will be able to recommend the optimal route.

What is the mission of Sgelectricsb?

At Sgelectricsb, we’re dedicated to providing our Santa Barbara community with top-notch electrical services. We offer everything from main panel installation service to subpanel installation service.

However, we’ve noticed that many of our clients are unsure about the difference between main panel and subpanel. This inspired us to write this article, which will hopefully clear up any confusion you may have about these two types of panels. If you have any questions about this or any other issue, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a main panel be used as a subpanel?

If you want to use a main panel as a subpanel, you need to make sure that the only bond between ground and neutral is in the main panel. The subpanel must have separate ground and neutral bus bars. Since your panel is being used as a main panel now, it will currently have a bond between ground and neutral – which you’ll need to remove before using it as a subpanel.

How to choose the right subpanel size?

The size of the subpanel you’ll need will depend on the number and types of circuits you plan on running to the subpanel. If you have a lot of high-power circuits, you’ll need a larger subpanel. You should also consider the amperage and voltage rating of the subpanel. These ratings must be higher than the highest-rated circuit in the subpanel.

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