In the year 2021, almost every circuit requires GFCI and/or AFCI per NEC. Let's consider bathrooms. I believe AFCI is not required (true?) but GFCI is required. I understand that GFCI protection can be either via receptacles or breakers. There are pros and cons for both. So my question is directed to anyone who knows how new homes are being wired. Are bathroom outlets protected by receptacles, breakers, or maybe both?

2 Answers 2


As far as GFCI requirements in a bathroom all bathroom receptacles have been required to be GFCI protected for many cycles NEC 210.8.A.1. currently AFCI’s are not required in bathrooms and I would suggest not getting a dual function device as AFCI technology is still not mature and there are problems, since my last job change I won’t be wiring homes anymore but I can say that AFCI’s have many more problems than GFCI’s ever had.

Now to answer your question, a majority of electricians use point of use GFCI devices, most use receptacles but a few use dead face devices (a GFCI device that has no outlet just test and reset) by stating point of use that means the device is in the bathroom.

Very few use breakers but some do the negative is that you have to go to the service panel to reset, but some see this as safer because you would not be as wet doing a reset at the panel as a justification for breakers.

I have seen no studies stating one is safer than the other but point of use GFCI reset is more convenient, I have used WR rated GFCI’s in bathrooms because of the high humidity possibility to extend the life of the device.


There are no pros for using a GFCI breaker. It's stupid, IMHO, to combine functions into a single point of failure, thus having to replace a much more expensive device. Another con is that you have to travel a much longer distance to the centrally located panel to reset the GFCI should it trip.

Around here, a typical GFCI breaker costs about $60, and a GFCI receptacle costs about $15 for a name brand (like Legrand), and about $8-10 for a cheapo brand, which, in my experience, is not worth buying. And both a GFCI receptacle as well as a breaker, can protect an entire circuit just the same.


As for your question regarding AFCI protection, they are not (yet) required in bathrooms. And rather than getting into the details here, please refer to this article by Eaton Corporation.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.