All you need to know about Difference between MCB and ELCB

ELCB is a device that breaks the power supply when a specific amount of electricity flows through the earth line. However, an MCB protects the wiring of the circuit from serious mishaps that might be caused if a higher current is carried through the wires.

All the current that flows to electrical equipment through the power generation station from the neutral wire, or its supply circuit phase, must only come back to the power station through the neutral wire of the same circuit. In the absence of any problems in a circuit supplying a single phase, the current that flows to the unit in the live wire must be the exact current flowing apart from the unit in the neutral wire. Similarly, in the safety of the unit, no current should be flowing. In case current flows in the ground wire, it indicates a defective condition, and the current supply to the circuit must be immediately stopped.

What is MCB?

An MCB (miniature circuit breaker) is a switch that automatically shuts down the entire electrical circuit when an abnormal network condition takes place. This happens during a faulty condition or an overload of current. Currently, MCB is used instead of a fuse in low-voltage electrical networks. The fuse might not be able to sense, but an MCB proves to be more reliable as compared to a fuse. MCBs are more sensitive to overcurrent.

Key Advantages of MCB include:

  • Rapid restoration of the power supply is possible only with an MCB. 
  • As compared to a fuse, MCBs provide better operational safety and enhanced convenience.
  • MCBs provide enhanced protection against electrical faults, and hence, it is wise to invest in them.

What is ELCB?

An earth leakage circuit breaker, or ELCB, is a kind of circuit breaker that is integrated as a protection against leakage current. An ELCB breaks the current and the connection of the power supply to the load and then monitors any leakage current. Earth leakage can lead to electric shocks, posing a potential fatality.

Key Advantages of ELCB include:

  • ELCBs are not sensitive to faults.
  • An ELCB is highly efficient and easily affordable.
  • They protect the entire electrical system.
  • Is capable of protecting animals and humans against electrical shocks.

Differences between MCB and ELCB

Earth leakage circuit breakers (ELCBs) and miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) are two kinds of circuit breakers that are implemented in electrical systems. Even though both of them offer the same purpose of protecting electrical circuits from electrical faults and overcurrent, there are some major differences between MCB vs. ELCB in terms of application and functionality.


MCB is a kind of circuit breaker crafted to protect electrical circuits from overload. Overloading or exceeding currents causes short circuits. Basically, it is used in industrial, commercial and residential applications.

ELCB is a circuit breaker that provides protection from electrical shocks that are caused due to earth leakage currents. Its major use is to provide safety in commercial and residential installations.


A thermal magnetic gripping mechanism is used in MCBs. Overloads are detected by the thermal component by analysing the generation of heat in the circuit, and the magnetic component reacts to a short circuit by analysing the rapid increase in current.

On the other hand, an ELCB is crafted for detecting minor leakage, current flowing to the earth, which can eventually cause electrical shocks. Typically, faulty installations are the reason for these currents.

Protection Rating

MCB is available in multiple protection ratings, including 6A, 16A, and 10A. They determine the maximum current that can be carried safely.

However, a sensitive current transformer is used in ELCB for constantly monitoring the difference between the current flowing out and into the circuit. Any imbalance that indicates an earth leakage will result in an ELCB trip.

Protection System

An MCB is built to offer protection to circuits individually. This leaves some circuits isolated during faults, leaving the rest of the electrical system unaffected.

However, an ELCB is built to offer protection to the complete electrical system connected to the ELCB. 

For a quick summary of the key factors to consider between ELCB vs. MCB, refer to the table below:

MCB stands for miniature circuit breakerELCB stands for electric leakage circuit breaker
MCB is an electrical protection device for load currentELCB is a voltage-operated earth leakage device
MCB offers protection against Short Circuits, Faults, and Overloads.ELCB only detects current flowing back from the main earth wire
MCB is used for higher current ratings and offers good protection when the load of the current exceeds the limit.ELCB is designed to offer protection to the entire electrical system connected to it.
Difference between MCB and ELCB

Safer Electrical Systems with L&T Sufin

The major differences between ELCB and MCB are basically in their application and functionalities. While MCB provides protection against short circuits and overcurrents in specific circuits, ELCB protects earth leakage currents to ensure personal safety. Hence, both circuit breaker devices play crucial roles in their own aspect.

If you’re seeking the solution for a safe and secure electrical system at your workplace or personal space, L&T-SuFin brings you the best quality MCBs and ELCBs to ensure the safety of your space and life.

Find the best rates from verified suppliers by submitting quotations on the platform!

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