9 Different Types of Electrical Boxes

Different Types of Electrical Boxes

Electrical boxes are often not given much thought, but they are essential. They are a crucial part of any electrical setup, serving several purposes.

These boxes hold the electrical wiring, providing a space for connection. Knowing the different types of electrical boxes makes it easier to decide the best type for your project.

Read on as I have discussed each electrical box type in this article.

What is an Electrical Box?

An electrical box is an essential component of your home’s electrical system. It houses electrical components, such as switches, outlets, and circuit breakers. This box comes in metal or plastic, protecting the components from moisture and dust.

It is the central point from which all your home’s electrical circuits originate. We can also find your home’s main electrical circuit breaker in an electric box.

It has many purposes, like protecting your home’s electrical system from overload. It usually shuts off the power, preventing damage.

Different Types of Electrical Boxes

1. Rectangular Boxes

Standard regular boxes, single-gang or one-gang boxes, are one of the most exciting types of electrical boxes.

They generally have 2 x 3 inches, while depth ranges from 1 ½ to 3 ½ inches. In addition, they are best used for single light fixtures and receptacles.

However, these boxes come in various types of designs (old and new). Most are either metallic or non-metallic though the former is of better quality. Some of them possess in-built clamps to secure NM cables.

2. Metal and Plastic Boxes

Electrical boxes are mostly made of either plastic or metal. All plastic boxes are either fiberglass or PVC, while metal boxes are from steel. Metal boxes are one of the types of electrical boxes that are secure and known for their durability.

Furthermore, they are best used for metal conduit or non-metallic cables. Plastic boxes have built-in clamps for wires and are cheaper than metal boxes.

3. 2-Gang, 3-Gang, and 4-Gang Boxes

You can find these in different old-work and new-work designs. They can accommodate up to two, three, or four devices. Also, gangable boxes function in electrical outlets and holding household switches.

Gangable boxes are mostly of steel material, although you might find some plastic-snap types in some hardware stores.

4. Round Pan Electrical Boxes

Round Pan electrical boxes, also known as Pancake, are circular boxes. They are used for wall-mounted or ceiling light fixtures that only weigh up to 50 pounds.

This type of electrical box can be either metal or plastic and, of course, at affordable prices. Also, they are all typically ½ inch or ¾ inch deep.

5. Junction Box

A Junction box best describes any electrical box that works for enclosing wire splices. This is one of the different types of electrical boxes that cost depending on the types of box you choose.

Make sure there are no holes on the junction box and cover solidly. Also, ensure they are always accessible and do not install them in a concealed area.

6. Ceiling-Fan Rated Box

These are commonly round in shape but can also be octagonal. Ceiling fan rated boxes are metal or plastic and come in different types and sizes.

Unlike round pan electrical boxes, these work for light fixtures or ceiling fans that weigh up to 75 pounds.

They are also a bit more expensive than other electrical boxes. Ceiling fan-rated boxes need a unique fastening to bear the loading of a rotating fan.

7. Round and Octagon Electrical Boxes

The difference between round & Octagon electrical and Round pan boxes is that they are more profound. They work for ceiling and wall-mounted fixtures that weigh up to 50 pounds.

Like other boxes, they also vary between 1 ½ inch and 3 inches deep. One of the similarities with round pan boxes is the prices, but they allow more space for wiring.

8. 4-Inch Square Box

Square boxes are available in the depth of 1 ¼ inches and 2 ⅛ inches. The square corners give more space, allowing multiple connections and conductors.

Due to this, 4-inch square boxes run multiple conductors in various directions. They are for installations in walls or ceilings, house switches, and supporting light fixtures.

That is why they commonly use them as junction boxes. However, like other electrical boxes, square boxes are either of plastic or metallic type.

9. Box Extenders

Box extenders come in various sizes and shapes to fit the different types of electrical boxes. You can install them in front of these boxes to enable more functions or bring the box flush with other surface material.

They have the same shape as the box they are set for, without a back panel. Use metal box extenders for metal electrical boxes and plastic box extenders for plastic electrical boxes. However, they’re costlier than standard boxes.


With many electrical boxes to select from, choosing a box for its actual purpose is essential. We hope that with this knowledge, you can buy the correct electrical box you need. Thanks for reading!

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