In my experience, GFCI breakers exhibit more of a tendency toward nuisance tripping than the receptacle types, particularly when feeding a very long branch circuit run, or just about any length of old cable. I presume this has to do with leakage to ground (either resistive or capacitive) in the cable run.
Putting the GFCI at the point of use avoids tripping from these leakage currents. The receptacles are also generally less expensive than the breakers....
#50211 - 03/26/0511:24 PMRe: gfi receptacle vs gfi breaker
You have capacitance between any 2 insulated conductors in a raceway or cable, as well as between the conductors and ground. A capacitor is simply 2 conductors (the copper wires or metal raceway/armor) separated by an insulating dielectric (the wire insulation). The potential leakage gets higher with a longer cable run (adds more capacitance) or older, degraded insulation (lowers leakage resistance).
If the resistance gets low enough or the capacitance gets high enough, sufficient leakage current can be present to trip the GFCI, or to lower the "overhead", so additional leakage below the usual 5 mA will be enough to cause a trip.
[This message has been edited by NJwirenut (edited 03-27-2005).]
#50213 - 03/27/0501:07 PMRe: gfi receptacle vs gfi breaker