Do all GFCI and AFCI breakers take a hot and neutral connection?

This Bryant GFCI circuit breaker has a hot (black) and a neutral (white) wire. It also appears to have a pigtail (white), but I’m not positive if that’s what it is.

I was unable to find any installation instructions for this Bryant GFCI circuit breaker.

Do all GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers take a hot and a neutral wire? Should I always expect to see a hot and a neutral wire connecting to GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers? How do I know if a panel has a neutral bus bar where a neutral wire would not be required for GFCI and AFCI circuit breakers?

Do any GFCI or AFCI circuit breakers require two hot wires?


All brands do not have a neutral connection.

You will need to look at the panel to see if it is a plug on neutral panel.

Two pole breakers would have 2 hot wires.


The two branch circuit conductors (black and white) will attach to the circuit breaker as shown in the photo. As Jim stated there may or may not be a neutral pigtail. There will not be a neutral pigtails if the panel and the circuit breaker is designed for plug-on neutral. For a protected 240 volt circuit you may find two ungrounded conductors as well as a neutral on the circuit breaker.


Two examples of plug on neutral panels:
The neutral bar runs behind the breakers, and the GFCI breakers are longer, to connect to both the main bus bar and the neutral bar


Thank you for clarifying, Jim! This is good training and feedback for me.

This explanation is helping me to understand what it is that I’m looking at, as well as what to look for. Thank you, @rmeier2 !

That neutral bar is something that I’ve probably seen before, but I never realized that the breakers clamp onto there. It sounds like a c or u-shaped clamp on the breaker allows it to secure itself to the neutral bar. Do the neutral grounded conductors underneath lugs on the neutral bar come from each circuit?

To help clarify… is it safe to say these “plug-on” neutral panels will only be found in newer houses? I don’t recall ever seeing one before a couple years ago.

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The circuit neutral would connect to the breaker. A plug on neutral does not have the pigtail to the neutral bus.

IIRC Siemens has a AFCI or GFI breaker that the neutral does not connect to the breaker.

Plug on neutral panels are a more recent panel, only a few years old.



ALL brands have a neutral connection. It seems that a guy who claims to be an electrician would know a little about circuit breakers.

Wrong again.

Reminds me of a line from Good Will Hunting.

How do you like them apples.


You’re correct, these CB’s do not require a load neutral connection and the line neutral connection is from the plug-in neutral. There selling point is the one wire connection. From Siemens:

Product Overview

Siemens introduces the new simple, spacious and secure Plug-on neutral load centers with electronic breakers. The Siemens Plug-On Neutral Combination Type AFCI breaker detects arcing faults (an unintentional arcing condition in a circuit) that standard circuit breakers are unable to detect. This AFCI circuit breaker is the same, reliable design, without the pigtail, specifically design for the Plug-On Neutral Load Centers. These breakers now only have a single load lug. The branch neutral conductor is returned to the neutral terminal bar for simpler and quicker wiring.

Simply installs like any other breaker, now without the pigtail
10,000 AIC
HACR and SWD rated
UL Listed

So is there a neutral connection or not on CAFCI breakers?

What is the significance of that pic? Isn’t it just showing 3.5 amps at the circuit?

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Thanks for posting that Robert and confirmation that i was correct.

Don’t worry George i won’t wait for your retraction or apology.

Dan, that was a picture of afci breaker without a load neutral connection. Showing an actual installation of something that someone says doesn’t exist.

Tom G, depends on the brand and design. Many brands do require a load neutral to the breaker, but i just posted photos proving that some do not.

The original statement refuted by George did not say anything about a “load” neutral connection only that they had a neutral connection. This they do without a pigtail because it is a “plug on neutral.” So they do have a neutral connection.


I’m guessing that those Siemens CAFCIs connect via a “plug on neutral” with some clamp on the bottom of the breaker that cannot be seen in those photos?

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Correct. Hence the name “plug on neutral.”

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It’s unclear to me what the difference is between the function of a “load neutral connection” and a “line neutral connection.” It sounds like the “load neutral connection” would attach to the side of the breaker, while the “line neutral connection” would be the the plug-on clamp attachment to the neutral bar. Is there any difference in what kind of function the two types of neutral connections would serve?