Fuses and Circuit Breakers: Shorting the Confusion 


Fuses and circuit breakers are used in everyday components such as in your car, construction equipment, and other electronics. Fuses and circuit breakers satisfy a simple question: When bad things happen with electricity, would you rather ruin your $100+ electronic item or a $0.40 fuse? Fuses and circuit breakers are used as safety devices in electrical circuits to help eliminate damage from overheating due to overflow of current. Let's see if we can take the complexity out of fuses and circuit breakers.

 Common automotive fuses:








Low Profile Mini 

Low-Profile Mini




-Older technology


-Large footprint


-Best seller across time


-Most common fuse installed today


-Smaller footprint




-Newest - the future


-Smaller height than Mini


-Not compatible with Mini footprints

-Higher amperage protection


-Largest footprint


Circuit breakers are made to replace automotive fuses. Rather than needing to be replaced after the first spike, circuit breakers are able to be reset. Circuit breakers commonly have three reset styles detailed below.




Automatic Reset (Type I)

Power-Off Reset (Type II)

Manual Reset (Type III)

When overflow occurs, the breaker will blow and reset itself automatically.

When overflow occurs, the power needs to be turned off and back on for the breaker to reset.

When overflow occurs, the circuit breaker needs to be manually reset by pressing a button or a switch.



Inline fuse holders are an easy and inexpensive way to protect an add-on electrical item or to provide additional protection to a device in a system. Installation is simple, just splice this into your wire. LED versions allow you to identify blown fuses in hard to reach places.



Surface mount fuse panels give you a convenient way to protect multiple circuits away from the fuse panel. They often have a common feed-in and protect at higher amps. Some can even act as a kill switch to ensure your battery does not drain when devices are not in use.




Have a tricky application question? Want some advise on the best way to protect your circuit? Give me a call or shoot me an email!


Gary Twomey

Product/Application Expert