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#83246 - 01/24/03 08:03 AM Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
Joe Tedesco Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
First, a DEVICE is defined as a "unit of an electrical system that carries but does not use electricity" such as a duplex receptacle and single or three-way switch, etc.

Is it better to spec out the best quality products, and which ones would you recommend?

I have seen many on the shelves, and have also found where some don't stand up to continued used, like in hotels where they have to use tape to keep the cord plugged into the wall!

We had a discussion here a while back that asked a similar question, and instead of linking to that thread, I wanted to set up this new thread hoping we'll encourage new members to come aboard.

Any comments, here or pictures?
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

2017 / 2014 NEC & Related Books and Study Guides
#83247 - 01/24/03 01:18 PM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
HotLine1 Offline


Registered: 04/03/02
Posts: 6824
Loc: Brick, NJ USA
Is this another test of the old adage "you get what you pay for"?

We/I use "spec" grade devices. I know there is no industry standard of "grades" but the "pricier" devices do not cause any problems "down the road". We also install "Decora" type devices when the decorator/architect specs them, but I make sure the supply house has "real" ones. There was a rash of off-shore crap floating around for a while; (China, mostly). One supply house had a bunch of it, we got some delivered, and they came back awful quick to pick it back up. The GFI's lasted 2-3 days.

I feel the "cheap" stuff primarily is available at the "Big Boxes", and some resi EC's shop there for the bargains. We/I primarily do comm work.

The above is my humble opinion, and is not to be construed as derogitory to any country, mfg, EC (Sparkies) or "Big Box".

#83248 - 01/24/03 02:00 PM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
Fred Offline

Registered: 04/30/01
Posts: 461
Loc: Straughn, IN 47387
Even in residential work I use spec grade devices. Leviton makes a very good 15A duplex (BR-15I)that is back wired(pressure plates)and costs less than $2.00. Everywhere else I'm exclusively a Hubbell man. You won't find and Hubbell $.39 duplex receptacles but you will have a hard time finding a Hubbell device that is defective or worn out.

#83249 - 01/24/03 02:19 PM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
This is very true - stick with spec grade and higher.

At my mom's I replaced all the outlets with Leviton Spec. Grade devices. However these are not back-wire - they're side wire (wrap around the screw).

Haven't had one get cracked ... yet. Same thing with the sockets in my apartment - all Leviton spec-grade.

I had a bad experience with a Decora device I installed at my mom's -- purely as a try-out.

Apparently someone (my kid brother probably) forced a three-pin plug into it or twisted it and cracked the face! It has been replaced by a Bryant/Hubbell spec. grade socket.

For the money you spend on Decorator-style devices you're better off getting "normal" Spec-grade I think.

Recently I've come to prefer Eagle/Cooper and Hubbell/Bryant spec. devices though.

For instance the 15-amp sockets have triple-wipe contacts that hold the plug in very tight. And I'm not kidding about tight, you have to give the cord cap a good pull to be able to get it out of the socket!!

Even though Leviton specs grip the plugs firmly enough, they still seem too loose in comparison with the Eagle/Cooper and Hubbel stuff. Next time a socket in my house requires replacement I've got a pair of Hubbles and one Cooper in my junk box ready for installation.

The problem is how easy can I get them: Home Depot pretty much sells only Leviton products (one H.D. in New Jersey did have Bryant 5-15s - where I picked up two).

And the local hardware stores usually just sell the crappy "residential" stuff that is very prone to breakage, in my experience.

At Lowes you can get the Cooper/Eagle spec grade stuff - that's where I got the one Eagle outlet that I have.

I have a very old Hubbell single 1-15 receptacle with the two T-slots that I found at a junk store. I plugged a cap into it to see how worn out it was and guess what, the contacts still had spring-action in them and held the prongs securely!!

What do you think of Pass & Seymour sockets? I used one (again as a try-out) and it seemed OK.

I'll tell you one thing though - avoid General Electric outlets - especially the ones sold at K-Mart. But you all probably know this.

You can just tell by looking at them that they're not going to last any length of time - even Leviton's "residential" line sold at the big Orange store is cheaper and better (and that one is true crap I think).

'Scuse the long post.

#83250 - 01/24/03 03:53 PM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
ga.sparky56 Offline

Registered: 11/24/02
Posts: 582
Loc: young harris georgia usa
We've used p&s residental and spec grade devices for the last 5 years with few problems.

#83251 - 01/25/03 12:03 AM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
Joe Tedesco Offline

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 3325
Loc: Boston, Massachusetts USA
Thanks for your comments. it helps when they are directed to the specific questions asked.

Does anyone have any stories about defective or misapplied products such as those mentioned here?
Joe Tedesco, NEC Consultant

#83252 - 01/25/03 04:07 AM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
iwire Offline

Registered: 01/05/03
Posts: 4343
Loc: North Attleboro, MA USA
Where durability is going to be a problem I would go Hubbell "Specification Grade" every time.
Bob Badger
Construction & Maintenance Electrician

#83253 - 01/25/03 07:46 AM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
George Offline

Registered: 02/23/02
Posts: 380
I use the backwire spec grade recepts, Leviton or Cooper/Eagle about $2.25.

The backwiring saves as much time in installing as they cost in price over the midrange recepts about $1.50.

I have had problems with Levition lighted switches. Three failed in the first 2 days on a stairway. The one at the top still works so I now ignore the one on the bottom.

#83254 - 01/25/03 10:37 AM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
SvenNYC Offline

Registered: 08/19/02
Posts: 1685
Loc: New York City
I've had cord caps come with missing screws or screws with stripped threads (where the thing would just keep turning after it was tightened all the way). These were mostly Nema 1-15 caps.

One bakelite lampholder I bought for a table lamp came with an improperly cast shell (big crack around the nipple that screws into the threaded pipe in the lamp.

That's about it...I've taken them back to the retailers who exchange them with no problems. But usually you find out about missing terminal screws when you're settling down to do your project way after the store (on the other side of the city) has shut down for the night. :\

#83255 - 01/25/03 01:32 PM Re: Devices, Which Ones are the Best??
pseudonym Offline

Registered: 12/13/02
Posts: 24
Loc: USA
Which device manufacturer provides training and technical information?

Should they be held liable for misapplication of their products by a user?

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