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Which Material Is Better For Your Electrical Box: Metal or Plastic? 

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Every building's or home's electrical system must include an electrical box. These enclosures store the transition wires and electrical connections for a variety of applications, including switches, outlets, and fixtures, making them accessible. Electrical boxes guard the cables and wires against any outside harm, short circuits, and other problems that could impair their functionality or start electrical fires. 

When installing electrical boxes, homeowners, especially do-it-yourselfers, should make sure they use the right type of box that complies with local building rules and industry standards. To ensure that the installation of an electric box is done correctly, it is usually essential to contact a professional electrician. 

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The most typical materials utilised to make electrical boxes are metal and plastic. Steel, aluminium, or cast iron are the main materials used to make metal boxes, whereas PVC or fibreglass are used to make non-metallic boxes. 

Is it advantageous to switch to plastic from the metal electric box? 

Before the introduction of electrical boxes made of plastic, metal boxes dominated the market. However, many homeowners are concerned about switching from their outdated metal electrical boxes to plastic after the emergence of affordable and simple to use plastic electrical boxes. 

The benefits of electrical boxes made of plastic 

Residential applications benefit greatly from plastic electrical boxes. In addition to being inexpensive, another advantage is that grounding is not necessary, which takes a lot of time. Because of this, the majority of do-it-yourselfers and different electrical contractors employ plastic electrical boxes whenever practical. 

Plastic electrical boxes do not conduct electricity when contacted by a live wire, in contrast to metal boxes, and thus are not required to be grounded. The plastic electrical box is also lightweight and simpler to install because mounting nails or clamps are already built into the design. 

If non-metallic cables enter and exit the electrical box, homeowners can swap out the metal box for a plastic one. 

The drawback of plastic electrical boxes is that they can warp or split when under pressure, and PVC can melt when it gets too hot. Additionally, it will be impossible to install the nail brackets because they readily break off during installation or replacement. 

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When is it preferable to use metal boxes? 

Metal boxes offer great security for a variety of electrical wiring applications because they are sturdy, fireproof, and do not melt, warp, crack, crush, or bend. Due to its durability, higher performance, and longer life, metal electrical boxes are required by local building codes in a number of locations. DIYers should wear gloves during installation to protect themselves from the sharp edges. 

When a metal cable or conduit enters and exits the electrical box, a metal electrical box must be used. For interior exposed applications, such as conduits in unfinished basements and mudrooms with incomplete drywall systems, it is preferable to use a metal electrical box. Metal boxes can be used with non-metallic wire, although adequate grounding must always be guaranteed. 

Consider using aluminium weatherproof electrical boxes for outdoor installations to shield the wires from deterioration from moisture. 

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Seek advice from experts to select the proper electrical box. 

The decision between metal and plastic electrical boxes typically comes down to convenience, cost, and personal preference. The decision is evident in a few instances, particularly for grounding. An electrician can examine your current metal electrical box and advise whether you should switch to a plastic one. 


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