Well, if cost is not an issue, I recommend either Square D or Cutler Hammer with bolt on circuit breakers. The wholesale cost with circuit breakers should be $800 to $900 for the Cutler Hammer, more for the Square D.
If that is too pricey, Square D QO or Cutler Hammer CH series. CH has lifetime warranty on the branch breakers & 15 year warranty on the main.
Few things are harder to put up with than the annoyance of a good example.
For the situation described Square D QO is most appropriate. The design & quality is above the competion. Bolt-on is better, just as an 18-wheel could be considered a better truck, but not really needed for a trip to the hardware store.
Tom, do they have AFCIs for any of the bolt-on panels? I've not noticed any available (except for plugging a QO AFCI into an NQOD panel), which would seem to be a problem for residential use of bolt-on panels.
[This message has been edited by SolarPowered (edited 09-23-2006).]