Best Challenger Breaker Replacement: Which One To Choose?

The Challenger Circuit Breaker is an electrical safety device that opens the circuit to protect against a fault if it is overloaded or not working correctly.

If you are here, you must have tripped another circuit breaker from your vintage Challenger electrical panel.

It is common for a load center to lose its breakers eventually. Finding a new breaker built by the same manufacturer has proven to be quite challenging, as the company that manufactured Challenger panels went out of business in 1994.

Now that you have undoubtedly fallen in love with the service this panel board offers, you are probably searching for circuit breakers suitable with Challenger.

In this article, I will provide you with 4 compatible Challenger breaker replacements that will save your life.

What Can Be Used As Challenger Breaker Replacement?

Circuit breakers of the Challenger Type A are difficult to replace. This is because very few breakers’ manufacturers are UL-listed or UL-classified for use or are almost non-interchangeable.

Fortunately, the model of this panel will fit and function well with only a few famous brands.

ProductsAmp RatingPrice Range
Cutler-Hammer Type BR/C Breakers20 Amps$30-$60 USD
Connecticut Electric Challenger Type A Series20, 30, and 60 Amps$50-$70 USD
Square D Brand15 Amps$30-$50 USD
Interchangeable Breakers15, 20, and 30 Amps$20-$200 USD

Cutler-Hammer Type BR/C Breakers

The Challenger brand breakers are no longer produced. However, Cutler-Hammer currently has a line of breakers that are suitable replacements.

The Challenger breakers are specifically stated as being directly replaced by the Cutler-Hammer BR/C line of breakers.

This company sells Eaton/CH breaker replacements for Challenger that Underwriters Laboratories Inc has endorsed.

Users can be confident that it passed the necessary fail-safe testing and is secure for use because it is UL-classified.

Change every breaker if your house still has Challenger breakers. Challenger breakers present a known fire risk.

Eaton Cutler-Hammer Single-Pole BR Type Circuit Breaker, 20-Amp, 120/240-VoltPrice
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Connecticut Electric Challenger Type A Series

Connecticut Electric is ETL-listed for the UL standard and only produces the Challenger Type A series.

In other words, there is a legal requirement for this brand to be compatible with Challenger Type A load centers.

They are compatible with Challenger bus bars that are single-pole (120V) and double-pole (240V) breakers.

If Connecticut Electric isn’t available where you live, other challenger-compatible breakers won’t let you down either.

Connecticut Electric UBITBA240 New Challenger MH240
Type A Replacement, Two Pole 40 Amp Clip Circuit Breaker
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Square D Brand

For more than a century, the Square D company has produced load centers and circuit breakers for home and commercial use.

The company’s trustworthy circuit breakers can replace any load center made by another manufacturer and obsolete fuse boxes.

Square D electrical load centers are made to regulate both heavier-duty 220V circuits, which power appliances like electric stoves, laundry dryers, and water heaters, and 110V circuits, which power things like lights, televisions, and entertainment equipment.

Square D circuit breakers can be used in place of Challenger Type A circuit breakers.

Square D HOM230 Circuit Breaker 1/pkg 30A 120/240V 2P 10kAICPrice
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Interchangeable Breakers

Old manufacturers of circuit breakers, like Zinsco/Sylvania, Federal Pacific, Wadsworth, Challenger, and Pushmatic, went out of business to be replaced by modern manufacturers of panel boards.

Of course, we are all aware of this. The faulty circuit breakers are the source of the issue.

The Challenger’s original circuit breakers malfunction occasionally, but the bus bars are good electrical panels because they are made to last for a long time.

Despite this, the manufacturer could still make this load center functional for those who have bought it already.

These circuit breaker manufacturers provide suitable replacements, but rather than purchasing them randomly; you should get a recommendation from your retailer to ensure they’re appropriate for your panel.

You can buy these breakers if you run out of options; otherwise, choose Cutler-Hammer or Connecticut Electric if available.

Therefore, you should only use Challenger models that are approved for use in that specific load center to replace the breakers in your load center.

Connecticut Electric UBIZ0220-New Zinsco RC3820
Replacement Two Pole 20 Amp Thin Series Circuit Breaker
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Why Do I Need To Replace My Original Circuit Breaker?

Builders and electricians used Challenger breakers and panels for many years in the 1980s and 1990s.

The Challenger brand, however, ultimately failed after certain severe problems with the Challenger breakers.

During regular use, the Challenger breakers displayed a tendency to overheat. The parts of the Challenger breakers frequently fuse due to this overheating.

A fused breaker often fails to trigger, even in cases with a significant ground fault in the circuit. Fused breakers, charred breakers, and service panel damage were the most common outcomes.

There have been reported and documented structure fires as well.

Overheating and failure issues ultimately forced Challenger to stop manufacturing. However, countless breakers and circuit breaker panels are still in use in homes all over the country.

The majority of electricians strongly advise replacing any Challenger breakers right away.

What Will Happen If I Use A Mismatched Breaker?

Just because you are permitted to use a breaker that is not the same brand as the panel doesn’t mean that is how things are supposed to work.

  • Doing this risks voiding the UL listing and electrical system warranty or, worse, melting down your property.
  • You won’t notice mounting variances immediately, such as individual breakers seated wrongly on the bus bar, which causes it to overheat.
  • In addition to damage and physical consequences, buying a breaker different from its panel is financially painful.
  • Without thorough study or professional opinion, you might spend $10–$20 without even having the chance to install it due to their disregard for contact tension.
  • Issues with the Challenger panel’s old and alien breakers won’t alert you to overloading until the stabs are destroyed.

Bottom Line

Challenger circuit breakers may last for a very long time, but on the other hand, they present a serious threat to the security of your house and your family, according to history and experience.

The estimated life span of this equipment is already quickly approaching, given the age of this hardware. Maintaining the performance of your electrical system should be a top priority.


Are GE and Challenger breakers interchangeable?

Circuit breakers from various compatible brands, including GE, can be used in place of your Challenger model if it is no longer manufactured.

Circuit breakers from Square D, easily recognized by their iconic yellow “D” emblem, may also fit well inside your circuit panel.

Can Siemens breakers replace Challenger?

Siemens QT breakers are compatible with some GE, Murray, Arrow Hart, Challenger, and Westinghouse panels.

Siemens QT breakers are simple to install because they are made to fit in practically any panel, which is one of their biggest advantages.

Is challenger now Eaton?

When Eaton purchased Westinghouse’s Distribution and Control Business Unit in 1993, they also added the Challenger and Westinghouse lines.

Since then, they have sold the original Cutler-Hammer line and retired Challenger; and only sell their goods under the Eaton brand.

Can I mix and match breakers?

Never mix and match circuit breakers. Circuit breaker panels are created, examined, and certified for use with just the specified circuit breakers.

How Much Do Replacement Breakers for Challenger Breakers Cost?

Typically, Challenger equipment replacement breakers cost between $14.00 and $24.00. These replacement breakers are available at most home improvement stores.

You can also order replacement breakers online. The main challenge for most homeowners is choosing the proper breaker to replace their outdated Challenger appliances.