So Square D QO is the best, AND the cheapest?

fixizinApril 6, 2011

I patronize my locally-owned H/W stores over BigBox, Inc. whenever humanly possible, but let's face it, Evil Orange's "open 'til 10PM" and Sunday hours really save the day at times.

Anyway, was in Duh Depot recently, and noticed that Sq-D QO single pole "plain" (non-GFCI, non-AFCI) breakers are only $4.98 a piece. Their load panels are similarly cheap, like a 100A 6-slot indoor unit for $22 and change. Buss bars seem to be ALUMINUM?... or is it tinned copper?

Then there's some other NON-Square-D stuff that almost has to be a loss-leader, e.g. 6' long HVAC 30A appliance whip for only $10.04!! That's three different color pieces of approx. 7' of AWG10 stranded copper, 6' of NM-LT conduit, an LT-ell connector, and an LT-straight connector, pre-assembled and ready to roll! I wonder if our pro-sparkies can even get those "raw" components wholesale at that price, let alone the labor saved...?

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Ron Natalie

Square D QO is a top notch panel. It's my panel of choice and I won't argue if it's the best. Generally, you will find the big boxes have Square D and then some panel that may be locally popular. For example the HD's in New Jersey stocked Cutler Hammer, don in NC we see a lot of GE as the "other panel."

Frankly, it makes a lot of sense to get the ones that you can easily obtained breakers for. Believe me it pains me to go blow $27 (after my 50% trade discount) on a breaker for a piece of junk Zinsco panel compared to the $11 or whatever the borgs sell the more popular ones for.

The bus bars in the Square D panels are tin plated copper, not aluminum by the way.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 5:28PM
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DavidR

I vaguely remember reading that the dull grey look of the bus bars in most panels is caused by cadmium plating, not tin. I might be wrong about that, though; my memory is a little funny these days.

Some of the stuff they sell in the big box stores is loss leader merchandise. They'll buy up a huge lot of some fairly popular item in the hopes that you'll spend lots on the higher-margin products that go with it.

I find that buying most of my supplies at a medium-size local electrical jobber gets me about the same overall cost, and their stock of less common parts is MUCH better.

It's great that agent orange and big blue are open on weekends, but when I have to chase around to 2 or 3 of the big box stores to find what I need, I realize that my time would have been much better spent to have gone a little out of my way on Friday, driving to the jobber instead.

    Bookmark   April 6, 2011 at 10:23PM
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fixizin

I find that buying most of my supplies at a medium-size local electrical jobber gets me about the same overall cost, and their stock of less common parts is MUCH better.

That is indeed true... for plumbing parts too... especially when it comes to supporting locally popular stuff from X decades ago.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 12:21AM
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Ron Natalie

Square D says "electro tin plated copper bars" in their literature.

As I alluded the trade discount at the local electrical supply house is 50% of what the prices listed are. When I was actively involved, it was great. I'd do it on working hours or they'd just deliver it over to my building.

Now that I'm in a different business, the borgs are easier because their open in the evenings when I'm not working etc... I still have to go over them and cajole the trade discount out of them when I need something esoteric.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 6:45AM
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netlos

The only thing i do not like about Square D is where they have the damn neutral block, i use Siemens unless the client wants a Square D.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 4:58PM
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DavidR

Square D says "electro tin plated copper bars" in their literature.

Thanks. I stand (sit, actually) corrected.

As I alluded the trade discount at the local electrical supply house is 50% of what the prices listed are.

I hear that happens, but either the jobber I trade with gives me the trade discount even though I'm a DIY, or the pros who go there are getting prices WAY lower than the big box stores are charging.

    Bookmark   April 7, 2011 at 7:20PM
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scottys

I actually bought the SQ D panel and returned it. The mounting bar for the breakers was plastic and the breakers were made in mexico, exchanged it for a GE Powermark Gold and couldn't have been happier. Quality contruction, steel breaker mounting bars, tin plated copper bus, split neutral bar, galvanized box, american made breakers and at a great price.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2011 at 12:35AM
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DavidR

I'm a DIY, so my experience is more limited than the pros'. However, I've used both SqD QO and GE, and been pleased with both. I wasn't as impressed with SqD Homeline.

I did have one breaker failure once in ~15 years in a GE, one of the thin single pole breakers. No breaker failures ever in SqD QO.

I don't consider one breaker failure a big deal, so would (will) use GE again. I also kind of like the way the GE double pole thin breakers fit, with single pole breakers on either side.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 2:48AM
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Ron Natalie

If you're going to use GE and need ArcFaults, make sure you get the MOD3 (gray with the rocker test button) version. The mod2 nuisance trip constantly.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 8:16AM
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