Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Fuse and Breaker

Fuse vs Breaker

“Fuse” and “breakers,” are shorthand terms for “circuit breakers,” are two devices that provide protection to life and property when the electrical current becomes too much or when a short circuit occurs. Although they serve the same purpose, the way in which they achieve it is very different. The main difference between a fuse and a breaker is that a fuse is spent once it is tripped while a breaker is not. Once tripped, a fuse needs to be replaced with a new one. In comparison, a circuit breaker can be reset back to the “on” position after the fault. A breaker is a lot more convenient especially if the fault happens at night and you do not have spare fuses.

A fuse is relatively simple as it is basically composed of a conducting material that heats up when current flows through it enclosed in a non-conducting material like glass. When the current reaches or exceeds the rating, the temperature is enough to melt the metal and sever the connection. A breaker is a lot more complex but basically relies on a solenoid that magnetizes with increasing current and pulls the contacts apart, thereby achieving the same thing. However, the complexity of the construction and the number of moving parts in a breaker means that it is a lot more costly per piece; partially offset by the fact that you would probably only need one.

More-advanced breakers, although even more costly, can also be a lot more advantageous. A type of breaker has integrated motors that allow the remote opening or closing of the breaker which is something that you cannot do with fuses as you need to physically replace a blown fuse. Remote triggering certainly has its advantages, especially when you are monitoring multiple breakers that are located far apart from each other. Some breakers even have the ability to automatically reset themselves after some time. This is good for intermittent faults, like surges, and allows the current to flow again even without human intervention.

Most homes nowadays use breakers due to their many advantages. Fuses are not yet dead, though, as they are used widely in cars and in some appliances where their simplicity and small size is desirable.


1.A fuse is spent if it is tripped but a breaker isn’t.
2.A breaker is more complex and more expensive than a fuse.
3.A breaker allows for unattended setups while a fuse doesn’t.

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