Neutral vs Ground: Difference and Comparison

There is a very vast study of electric wires, but the most known wires around everyone are the live wire, the neutral wire, and the grounded wire.

But the neutral and grounded are used synonymously, which is wrong. Here are some differences between neutral and grounded to clear the difference between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. The neutral wire carries current back to the power source, completing the electrical circuit and ensuring a safe flow of electricity.
  2. The ground wire discharges excess electrical current safely, protecting users and equipment from electrical faults and shocks.
  3. Grounding and neutral wires should not be interconnected except at the main service panel to maintain electrical safety and prevent hazardous conditions.

Neutral vs Ground

Neutral wire is a current-carrying conductor that completes the circuit and carries current back to the source,  a transformer or generator. It is coloured white or gray. The ground wire is a safety conductor that provides a path for electrical current to flow to the earth in the event of a fault or short circuit. It is coloured green or bare.

Neutral vs Ground

The neutral wire is also called the half circuit as it connects back the AC power and flows back the current, which is carried by the live wire from the substation to the private network.

The neutral wire is one of the most important connections of electricity. It is blue-covered wire among the three network systems.

The ground wire is always connected for safety purposes. This is a common connection irrespective of the network that is whether it is private or public.

The main aim is when there is excess voltage flow through the live and neutral wires, the excess electricity is conducted through the ground.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonNeutralGround
DefinitionThis wire is for the back path for the flow of current.This is a path which connects the electric connection to the earth.
ConnectionNeutral wire is mostly connected from a substation of electricity.It may or may not be connected to any substation.
ConditionsNeural wire can be grounded.Ground wire can never be neutral.
Normal conditionCarries current in normal conditionDoes not carry current in normal condition
Use in electricThis carries back the current which was supplied by live wire.This carries current in case of emergency and transfers it to the earth.
PreventsIt creates a conducting path to flow current.Prevents huge current to flow and short circuiting and accidents.

What is Neutral?

The main function of the neutral wire is to complete the whole circuit. The three-phase system has three wires; those are the live wire, the neutral wire, and the ground wire.

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The live wire carries the current from the substation to the private or public networks. The neutral wire connects back the path of current flow from the private or public network to the local substation.

The neutral wire is mostly insulated with a blue color insulator covering.

But sometimes, it is seen that the neutral wire is covered by black color, but the live wire is always covered with red color, so one can assume the other to be a neutral wire.

In normal conditions also the neutral wire is always n work. It is always functioning till the tear of the wire. It does not have any special usage or function.

The neutral wire is also sometimes grounded for the extra safety of the place.

But the main matter to understand here is that it is said that neutral wire conducts but the point of the three-phase circuit called neutral point is always at a zero potential. It is normally needed in AC conduction systems.

What is Ground?

The ground wire carries one of the special purposes in the connection. This is one of the wires of the three-phase connection.

This wire connects the whole electricity flow of a building to the earth. This makes a connection between the electricity and earth.

As the earth is the highest and strongest conductor of electricity.

Sometimes if any fault is there in the connection between the life and the neutral wire, then there may be excess voltage in the line. This can lead to short-circuiting and massive danger in the building or areas.

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So this wire carries down the excess voltage to the earth and prevents accidents.

This wire is green in color. This has no usage in normal conditions.

The ground wire is always not connected to the electricity substation, but sometimes in rare cases, this wire can also be connected to the substation. The buildings or private connections implement these for safety purposes.

The ground wire can never be neutral. The job of the neutral wire is something different from the ground wire.

Main Differences Between Neutral and Ground

  1. The neutral wire is the reverse path for the flow of current. On the other hand, the grounded wire is a path that connects to the earth
  2. The neutral wire is always connected from a substation of the electricity office, but in contrast to that, the grounded wire may or may not be connected to any substation.
  3. Neutral wire can be grounded, but grounded wire can ever be made neutral.
  4. The duty of neutral wire is to carry back the current which was supplied by live wire, but on the other hand, the duty of the grounded wire is to carry current in case of emergency and transfer it to the earth.
  5. The neutral wire creates a conducting path to flow current and is always in use, but in contrast to that, the grounded wire prevents short-circuiting and accidents in extreme conditions.
Difference Between Neutral and Ground

Last Updated : 04 July, 2023

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10 thoughts on “Neutral vs Ground: Difference and Comparison”

  1. A highly educational article that effectively communicates the differences and functions of neutral and ground wires. A must-read for those looking to understand electrical systems in-depth.

  2. Extremely informative article. Neutral and ground wiring are often misunderstood, and this content has clarified the main differences between the two types of wiring.

    • I couldn’t agree more. This article provides a comprehensive explanation, especially for those who are not from the electrical field.

  3. This article provides a clear and concise comparison between neutral and ground wires, which is incredibly helpful for those seeking an in-depth understanding. It’s evident that the authors have made a significant effort to present the material in an accessible way.

  4. This article would be excellent for those unfamiliar with electrical systems. It’s a great resource for educating people on the importance of understanding and distinguishing between neutral and ground wires.

    • The authors have done a fantastic job of addressing common misconceptions and explaining the role of neutral and ground wiring. A must-read for anyone wanting to enhance their knowledge on the topic.

  5. This is by far the most comprehensive and accurate comparison of neutral and ground wires that I’ve come across. The inclusion of the comparison table further enhances the content’s clarity.


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