Help: Switchboard or Switchgear?

Is anyone able to tell based on this photo if the piece of equipment is a switchboard or switchgear? What is your visual indicator?

The following switchboard is next to it in a warehouse. TIA.

1 Like

Found this on the internet…Does this help?

Switchgear is designed to handle higher voltages that can reach 350 kV. Switchboards are designed to handle lower voltages that are generally less than 600 volts . Switchgears come with automatic features and come with manual control during emergency.

1 Like

Looks like switchboards from the photo but when you look at the NEC definitions you’ll immediately notice that the definitions are terrible when you compare them to the equipment in the photos. You can usually tell by the UL or other NRTL listing label as to what standard has been applied.
Curious as to why you need to know? It should be either:

Switchboards (UL 891, the Standard for Switchboards - WEVZ)

Switchgear (UL 1558, the Standard for Metal-Enclosed Low-Voltage Power Circuit Breaker Switchgear - WUTZ)

2020 NEC:
Switchboard. A large single panel, frame, or assembly of panels on which are mounted on the face, back, or both, switches, overcurrent and other protective devices, buses, and usually instruments. These assemblies are generally accessible from the rear as well as from the front and are not intended to be instal⁠led in cabinets. (CMP-9)
An assembly completely enclosed on all sides and top with sheet metal (except for ventilating openings and inspection windows) and containing primary power circuit switching, interrupting devices, or both, with buses and connections. The assembly may include control and auxiliary devices. Access to the interior of the enclosure is provided by doors, removable covers, or both. (CMP-9)
Informational Note: All switchgear subject to NEC requirements is metal enclosed. Switchgear rated below 1000 V or less may be identified as “low-voltage power circuit breaker switchgear.” Switchgear rated
over 1000 V may be identified as “metal-enclosed switchgear” or “metal-clad switchgear.” Switchgear is available in non–arc-resistant or arc-resistant constructions.


Okay, thank you. I am trying to find extra photos of switchgear and switchboard for a course. I had these photos from a building I visited awhile ago. I unfortunately don’t have any other angles or closer view.

If anyone is willing to share photos of switchboard or switchgear that are easily identified, let me know. It would be greatly appreciated.

1 Like

I have many switchboard photos. Once I find some I’ll post them.

1 Like

With all due respect…

Did you ask the alleged experts you have makling videos and teaching classes to inexperienced CCPIA newbies for a determination?

What did they say?

Thank you! Much appreciated.

Nope. I posted on the forum and am looking for photos since we’re in an editing phase…

1 Like

Hi Maggie,

Robert M, provided good information. The UL is very important. Unfortunately, a proper determination cannot be made from that photo.

Also, typically switchgears (most circumstances) have front and rear access. Here’s some information from actual manufacture

That 1st photo appears to have a close wall behind the panel and a wild guess it would align more with a switchboard. But that is a very big guess :slight_smile:

I like that craftmanship of fastening a piece of wood strip with sharp pointy screws too, yikes!


Thanks, Ray! Very helpful.

This is Switch Gear

How did you come to this determination?

1 Like

These are all switchboards. The last two photos are a substation transformer and switchboard.

Medium Voltage (4160 volts) Switchgear and transformer:


It was just a guess. When i did electeic we called all these switch gear. Lol. I went and read the posts and found out im wrong. But just was participating. Lol

1 Like

The two terms are used interchangeably even though they’re technically different. If you look at the NEC definitions you’ll see why people are confused. We still call rooms switchgear rooms even though they only contain switchboards.


Lol, that’s good to know I’m not the only one who still calls them that. Great info and Thank you for posting.

I’m all for using the correct terminology but admittedly I do unintentionally switch them up from time to time. :shushing_face:

Thank you! :raised_hands:The photos help. Credit will be given if they’re placed in the course. I passed them along to our editor with the note about UL numbers being important.

1 Like