Key Differences between Metal and Plastic Enclosures

Electrical enclosures or electrical boxes are integral components of any establishment’s electrical system. They protect the wires from external elements such as rain, wind, dust, and dirt, and they protect people and animals from getting electrocuted. Electrical enclosures are suitable for both indoor and outdoor applications, and they can either be made of plastic or metal. There are many sites on the Internet, such as that sell these enclosures and customers have a wide selection of options for their individual and specific needs.


Metal enclosures are more suitable in industrial settings, and for the longest time were the only option for electrical enclosures until the plastic variety was developed several decades ago. They are also the required enclosure type in commercial establishments due to the fact that these establishments use more electricity than households, thus a more durable and suitable enclosure is necessary. Here are some other characteristics of metal enclosures.

  • Costlier than the plastic variety.
  • Need to be grounded prior to installation of wiring, which takes an ample amount of time.
  • More frequently used in outdoor settings.
  • Required when the enclosure is to be installed beneath an outdoor wall.


Plastic enclosures are more suitable for household applications. They blend and complement the décor of the home better than the metal variety.

  • Less expensive than metal ones.
  • Need not be grounded prior to use.
  • Easier to install by DIYers.
  • Easier to install or mount as they already come with mountings.
  • The tabs for inserting cables are much easier to pop out.
  • There is less risk of getting cuts when handled.


Buying Guide

It is important to note that regardless of the material of the electrical enclosure, it should conform to electrical standards. Electrical enclosures indicate the number of wires that they can accommodate. Inserting more than the required number will cause overcrowding, and wires can get scratches and cuts, which can lead to short circuiting and possibly fires and electric shocks. Always check the rating capacity indicated on each box to be sure that you are buying a suitable enclosure for your needs.


When deciding on where to install an electrical enclosure, it must be determined if water can penetrate the enclosure and reach the wires, which can have a devastating result. Door seals must be applied to protect the wires from potential water damage. The installation of an enclosure is best left to a professional electrician to ensure that each detail is thoroughly checked.

Not everyone is knowledgeable about electrical enclosures. If you are unsure, it is wise to ask for assistance from an expert to avoid getting hold of an unsuitable enclosure. Electrical experts can also advise you on how best to care for your chosen enclosure to maximise its optimum potential.


Image: (jeswin)



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