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What Are the 3 Types of GFCI?


Electrical Safety Foundation International, www.esfi.org, states that if a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter was installed in each U.S. home nearly 7 percent of the approximately 330 electrical accidents that occur in the U.S. every year could be avoided.

What is a GFCI?

GFCIs prevent death or serious injury from electric shocks by detecting faults in the ground at low levels.


In certain areas, such as unfinished basements and garages, GFCIs should be installed.


When a GFCI detects a small current leakage in an electrical circuit to the ground, it believes that a fault has occurred. The GFCI interrupts the power quickly enough to avoid serious injuries from electrical shock.


There are three types of GFCIs designed for use in the home: wall receptacles, circuit breakers, and portable plug-ins. All three types are easily available, cheap, and easy to install.


  1. Wall Receptacle: This type of GFCI is installed in a wall outlet, and it monitors the flow of electricity between the hot and neutral wires. If it detects an imbalance in the flow of electricity, it quickly interrupts the circuit to prevent electrical shock.
  2. Circuit Breaker: This type of GFCI is installed in the main electrical panel and provides GFCI protection for the entire circuit. It works by monitoring the current flow through the circuit and tripping the breaker if it detects a ground fault.
  3. Portable GFCI: This type of GFCI is a standalone device that can be plugged into an electrical outlet to provide GFCI protection for any devices plugged into it. It’s commonly used for outdoor electrical equipment, such as power tools, to protect against electrical shock in wet or damp conditions.


This post was written by Justin Tidd, Director at https://www.swartzengineering.com. For nearly half a century, Swartz Engineering has been at the forefront of industry safety. They are a family-owned company specializing in power distribution for the electrical industry. Our design ensures maximum flexibility for excellent reliability and a high return on investment.