10 Best Circuit Breaker Locators | April 2017

10 Best Circuit Breaker Locators | April 2017
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We spent 33 hours on research, videography, and editing, to review the top choices for this wiki. Whether you are a construction professional or just looking to do a little DIY at home, a circuit breaker locator will keep you safe and save time. Skip to the best circuit breaker locator on Amazon.
The Amprobe ECB50A works well for tracing an outlet to its breaker, but its accuracy is questionable and only works on live outlets.
  • transmitter fitted with a nema 5-15 plug
  • emits a coded signal for location
  • over priced for its poor performance
Brand Amprobe
Model ECB50A
Weight 12 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The General Tools & Instruments CL10 locates hidden infrastructure up to 6.6' behind walls and its transmitter has three power levels.
  • works with one or two-pole circuits
  • detects open and short circuits
  • won't locate currents underground
Brand General Tools & Instrum
Model CL10
Weight 3.2 pounds
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
Any circuit finder can locate breakers, but the Extech 40180 traces phone, coax, and computer network cables too, plus it has a non contact probe.
  • choose continuous or variable tone
  • insulated probe tip prevents shorts
  • has clips for non-terminated cables
Brand Extech
Model 40180
Weight 15.2 ounces
Rating 3.6 / 5.0
The multifunction Extech CB10 can test GFI circuits and receptacles, locate breakers, and trace lines making it a great addition to any toolbox.
  • transmitter and receiver snap together
  • colored leds indicate proper wiring
  • has variable sensitivity adjustment
Brand Extech
Model CB10
Weight 9.6 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
The Reliance Controls THP110 is exceptionally easy to use; just plug in the transmitter and start scanning the load center to identify the right breaker.
  • works on a 9v battery
  • has a dual pass calibration method
  • has 100% accuracy
Model THP110
Weight 3.2 ounces
Rating 4.0 / 5.0
The Klein Tools ET300 was designed by electricians for electricians. It's loaded with features, but at a price that won't break the bank.
  • flashing arrow indicator
  • transmitter reaches up to 1,000 feet
  • microprocessor controlled for accuracy
Brand Klein Tools
Model ET300
Weight 10.4 ounces
Rating 3.9 / 5.0
The Sperry Instruments CS61200 takes the guesswork out of finding live currents, so you can get started on the repair without wasting time.
  • extra bright led visual indication
  • has a magnetic back for hands-free use
  • sender unit doubles as a circuit tester
Brand Sperry Instruments
Model CS61200
Weight 11.2 ounces
Rating 4.4 / 5.0
Easily scan and identify breakers with the Zircon 64057 Breaker ID Pro and its auto sensitivity adjustment, useful in residential and industrial applications.
  • works on 120v or 220v
  • comes packaged in a lockable case
  • quickly finds breakers and circuits
Brand Zircon
Model 64057
Weight 2 pounds
Rating 4.9 / 5.0
You won't find a better performing model for the price than the Triplett 9650 Breaker Sniff-It, which beeps and flashes near magnetic fields.
  • tone generator helps pinpoint location
  • auto shutoff extends battery life
  • comes with a lifetime warranty
Brand Triplett
Model 9650
Weight 0.8 ounces
Rating 4.8 / 5.0
Made to professional electrician standards, the Fluke 2042 can trace cables, locate fuses, and find line interruptions, whether behind walls or underground.
  • can trace metal water and heating pipes
  • includes transmitter, receiver and case
  • auto and manual sensitivity adjustments
Brand Fluke
Model Fluke 2042
Weight 6.6 pounds
Rating 4.5 / 5.0

Buyer's Guide

Why Circuit Breakers Matter

To understand circuit breakers, it’s first important to learn how electricity works in a home. When electricians discuss electricity, they’ll often refer to the voltage, the current and the resistance. The voltage, which is typically listed on items like power tools, is the amount of pressure that mobilizes an electrical charge. The current refers to the speed of that charge. The charge moves through a conductor, which provides a certain amount of resistance, slowing the electricity down. Each of these elements directly affects the other, as seen by the equation I=v/r (current equals voltage divided by resistance). Altering one will always alter the other two.

When a person is electrocuted and admitted to the hospital, the doctor might ask what the voltage of the tool or device was that hurt the individual. That is because a higher voltage can mean a more dangerous injury. Voltages for different appliances vary depending on the country and the adapter. With the dangers of electricity in mind, one can begin to understand the need for a circuit breaker. Circuit breakers can shut off power in a house when the electrical current is too strong, causing devices to send out sparks and potentially hurt people. Circuit breakers can also help prevent electrical-related accidents.

One can usually find a control panel for a circuit breaker, which is connected to a complex network of wires throughout the home. Damaging those wires can be very dangerous, but since they cannot be seen through the wall, people need circuit breaker locators to find them. Anytime people perform renovations in their home and need to break through a wall, it’s essential that they use a circuit breaker locator to make sure they don’t accidentally send a hammer or power tool through a wire.

Features Of A Circuit Breaker Locator

Some circuit breaker locators can find additional important items behind walls, like phone and computer network cables. Damaging these can lead to extremely expensive repairs, and leave a home without Internet and working telephones for days. Some models can even find ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs), which are devices that turn off power if they suspect an electrical current is running through something it shouldn’t be, such as water. These are critical to the safety of a home and shouldn’t be damaged.

Sometimes wires run under the ground or floor boards, which is why homeowners might want a circuit breaker locator that can detect electrical currents through several common types of walls. In some homes, the electrical wiring is several feet behind the wall, or sits under a thick material. People dealing with these conditions should use a circuit breaker locator that is extremely sensitive and can pick up a current that’s far away, or covered by several feet of building material.

For those who struggle to interpret the screens on circuit breaker locators, a model that beeps and flashes when it finds a current can be incredibly useful. If one needs a locator for residential and commercial use, they should get one with sensitivity adjustment, since these two types of buildings can have drastically different voltages running through their wires.

Common Household Electrical Troubles

People in older homes might notice that their lights occasionally become dim, and then bright again, even though they are not manually adjusting their output. This could be a sign that the neutral conductor is poorly connected, causing voltage changes that result in lights becoming darker and brighter, or flickering. An electrician can determine how loose the conductor is and what has to be done. They may need to remove the conductor entirely, re-strip it and reinstall it.

Anyone who uses a blow dryer has probably noticed that there are two buttons on the outside of the plug that read “Reset” and “Test.” These act as circuit breakers. When a person is done using the blow dryer but has left it plugged in, the reset button will pop out, making it so the appliance is no longer pulling electrical current from the wall. This can prevent electrical surges and injury to the user. A person has to press the reset button in order to use their blow dryer again. This shouldn’t be considered a nuisance, but rather a safety precaution taken by the manufacturer.

Electrical overload is another common and dangerous electrical problem in homes. Many people have had the experience of turning on several appliances in the house at one time and causing the power to go out completely. These incidents are not only annoying but can be hazardous so it's important that people try to avoid them. There are two types of circuits in most homes; dedicated and general.

Dedicated circuits deliver power to demanding appliances like garbage disposals, whereas general ones service multiple outlets around the home, powering what are known as vampire appliances. If they are overloaded, they can cause a whole-house outage.

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Last updated on April 27 2017 by multiple members of the ezvid wiki editorial staff

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