10 Differences Between earthing and neutral

What is Earthing?

Earthing, also known as grounding, is a safety measure used to prevent electric shock and protect human life and electrical equipment. It involves connecting the conducting parts of an electrical system to the ground. This connection directs excess electricity away from the system, ensuring that it is safely discharged.

Examples of Earthing

  • An electrical panel in a house connected to a grounding rod driven into the earth.
  • A metal water pipe bonded to the grounding system of a building.
  • The third prong of a power cord on an appliance that is plugged into a properly grounded outlet.

What is Neutral?

Neutral is a conducting wire in an electrical system that carries current back from various outlets, completing the circuit. It is typically connected to the neutral bus bar in the service panel and is used as a return path for the current flow.

Examples of Neutral

  • The white wire in a residential electrical system connected to the neutral bus bar in the breaker panel.
  • A conductor in a three-phase electrical system connected to the common point between the power sources.

Differences between Earthing and Neutral

Difference Area Earthing Neutral
Function Provides a path for fault current to flow into the ground in the event of a fault. Completes the circuit and carries current back from the loads to the source.
Connection Connected to the grounding system of an electrical installation. Connected to the neutral bus bar in the service panel.
Color Code Green or green with a yellow stripe. White or gray.
Importance Ensures safety by preventing electric shock and redirecting fault current. Ensures proper functioning of electrical devices and balanced load distribution.
Current Flow Carries fault current only during a fault condition. Carries load current in normal operating conditions.
Installation Requires a grounding system with ground electrodes or rods. Connected directly to the neutral bus bar in the service panel.
Protection Protects against electric shock and electrical fires. Protects electrical devices from overvoltage and maintains a reference point.
Size of Conductor Decided based on fault current and grounding requirements. Determined based on load calculations and voltage drop.
Use in Appliances May not be present in certain small appliances. Present in appliances to ensure proper functioning.
Current Path Current flows through the ground in the event of a fault. Current flows through the neutral conductor back to the source.


In summary, earthing and neutral serve different purposes in an electrical system. Earthing ensures safety by providing a path for fault current to flow into the ground, while neutral completes the circuit and carries current back from the loads to the source. Both are essential for the proper functioning and protection of electrical systems.

People Also Ask:

1. Why is earthing important?

Earthing is important as it prevents electric shock, directs fault current into the ground, and protects electrical appliances and human life from potential risks.

2. What happens if earthing is not done?

Without proper earthing, there is an increased risk of electric shock, potential damage to electrical equipment, and a higher chance of electrical fires.

3. Can neutral wire shock you?

In normal conditions, the neutral wire should not shock you. However, if there is a fault in the electrical system, the neutral wire can become energized, posing a potential shock hazard.

4. Is earthing and grounding the same thing?

Earthing and grounding are often used interchangeably, although there may be slight differences depending on regional or industry-specific practices. Both concepts involve connecting electrical systems to the ground for safety and functional purposes.

5. Do all electrical systems have neutral wires?

Not all electrical systems have neutral wires. Some systems, such as two-wire circuits, may only have hot (live) and ground wires. However, most residential and commercial systems include a neutral wire for completing the circuit and returning current to the source.

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