What are the Considerations for Outdoor Wall Mount Enclosures?

Outdoor Wall Mount Enclosures

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Electronic and automation components, when placed outdoors, bear the full brunt of environmental factors. Exposure to the elements can quickly lead to their degradation, causing system failure and connectivity issues.

Fortunately, outdoor wall mount enclosures are an optimal solution to protect these critical and sensitive components. However, picking a product based on dimensional requirements is a grave error. So, continue reading to know how to choose an enclosure that’s just right for the components and conditions.

What is Considered an Outdoor Wall Mount Enclosure

An outdoor cabinet that is designed to be fixed to the wall’s surface and house electrical, electronic, automation, and connectivity components, is called a wall mount enclosure. These units are available in different sizes and are fabricated using metal, polycarbonate, or plastic.

Some are also available with knockouts, which helps for quick on-site installation and wiring. Typically, outdoor wall-mount electrical enclosures will house components such as:

  • Switch gears: This is a cumulative term that refers to a collection of components such as fuses, circuit breakers, meters, and switches that are coupled together to isolate, control and protect an electrical system. Basically, this setup controls the flow of power to a specific part of an area or the entire available residential or commercial area.
  • Instrumentation devices: These are components of an electrical system that are used to control, manipulate and regulate variables such as flow, pressure, temperature, and level.
  • Cable/wire junctions and splices: These connect power and data supply and usage points.
  • Pilot devices: These provide a means of interaction between machines and humans. They provide a way to control the operation of the machine through on-off switches and they also offer a means to monitor the current status of the operation.
  • Circuit breakers: This safety component prevents short circuits and overcurrent from damaging the electrical system.
  • Automation sensors: As their name suggests, these sensors measure various parameters such as vibration, pressure, and others to monitor the performance of equipment and to prevent and report system breakdowns.
  • System controllers: These switches provide control over the operation and the performance of various types of equipment, such as lighting and audio devices and systems, hydraulic equipment, heavy machinery, irrigation systems, and security systems.

Related Article: What Is Wall Mounting Enclosure Used for?

Types of Outdoor Wall Mount Electrical Enclosure

The intended application and the environmental conditions are paramount considerations when picking wall-mount network enclosures. The different types of wall boxes available in terms of design include:

  • Single-door enclosures: These boxes are typically priced lower than their double-door counterparts and provide a cost-effective solution to house and protect a range of electrical and automation equipment.
  • Double door enclosure: These boxes offer a viable solution to handle space constraints wherein a single door, when open, would hinder access to the components housed inside the enclosure. Also, the divided loading capacity of the doors makes them sturdier. Moreover, some double-door enclosures are designed to provide front and rear access to the components.
  • Single or double-door enclosures with integrated rain hood: As the name suggests, these boxes are specifically designed to handle exposure to rain. The integrated rain hood diverts the water away from the body of the enclosure, protecting the components inside.

In addition to the door design type, wall-mounted electrical enclosures also come with additional features and accessories that should be considered in light of their application. For instance:

  • Door handles and locks: Sturdy door handles and hinges are an essential requirement if the components housed inside the enclosure have to be accessed frequently. Moreover, the availability of a locking mechanism is also important as outdoor enclosures are vulnerable to the onslaught of nature and human tampering.
  • Filter fans: Because these boxes are exposed to outdoor weather conditions, temperature fluctuations are to be expected inside the enclosure. The highest risk comes from a rise in temperature that can damage the internal circuitry of the sensitive components. A filter fan helps to mitigate this risk by dissipating the heat inside the enclosure and keeping the system cool.
  • Knockouts: These play a vital role in the quick and easy installation of wire splices and cables.

Common NEMA Enclosure Types

NEMA enclosures are designed to meet rating standards that specify their ability to withstand certain environmental conditions and operational hazards. The rating system makes it simpler to choose a box that would suit the performance and safety requirements of an industrial/commercial space. Take a look at what the different NEMA ratings stand for:

  • NEMA 1 – Boxes with this rating are general-purpose enclosures that offer some protection against light, sun exposure, dust, and indirect splashing. These enclosures are not dust-tight and are only meant to be used in normal atmospheric conditions. So, they are better suited for indoor use as they are primarily built to prevent human contact with live wires and components.
  • NEMA 2 – Also indoor-use only enclosures, these are designed to protect internal components from the ingress of foreign objects such as falling leaves and dirt. But, when it comes to the ingress of water such as through light splashing or dripping, these enclosures only provide a marginal degree of protection. In other words, they are not meant to handle a full-blown downpour.
  • NEMA 3R – These are indoor-outdoor enclosures that provide protection against the ingress of foreign objects as well as water. These boxes are designed to offer a certain degree of protection against rain, snow, and sleet.
  • NEMA 4 – In terms of protection against the ingress of foreign objects and water, NEMA 4-rated enclosures offer the greatest degree of protection as they are designed to protect the internal components against falling dirt and leaves as well as windblown dust. Moreover, these boxes can withstand splashing water and hose-directed water along with the external formation of ice. Hence, they are well suited for both indoor and outdoor use.
  • NEMA 4X – In addition to the protection offered by NEMA- 4 boxes, the 4X rating means that the enclosure is also corrosion protected. These boxes are also suitable for indoor-outdoor use.
  • NEMA 12 – These enclosures are specifically designed for indoor use and, as such, are sold without knockouts. They only offer a certain degree of protection against the ingress of water, such as light splashing and dripping. However, they are designed to offer exceptional protection against the ingress of solid foreign objects such as circulating dust, lint fibers, and other light airborne particles and materials.
  • NEMA 13 – These boxes are also meant for exclusive indoor use. In addition to protecting the internal components from the ingress of solid foreign objects and water, these enclosures also offer a degree of protection against the seepage, spillage, and splashing of non-corrosive coolants and oil.

Standard Specifications of Outdoor Wall Mount Network Enclosures

Outdoor enclosures are fabricated from various materials, and both the application of the box and the operating environment will play a role in the suitability of a specific material. These units are generally made of:

  • Stainless steel
  • Galvanized steel
  • Aluminum
  • Carbon steel
  • Sheet steel
  • Polycarbonate
  • Rigid plastic

In addition to the type of material used in the construction of the enclosure, some other features that should be considered and sought include:

  • Concealed and continuous hinges for optimal performance, sturdiness, and increased security.
  • Powder coating on the back panel for greater protection against corrosion.
  • Door seals to protect against ingress of dripping and falling water and falling debris/dirt.
  • Latches that can be opened with ¼ turn for enhanced lifespan and easier access.
  • High-quality and sturdy lifting eyelets and mounting brackets for overall safety.
  • Double insulation for added protection against the elements.
  • Grounding as per the specifications of the UL508A standard for metallic electrical enclosures.
  • Availability of accessories such as canopies to provide greater protection against water ingress.

The NXW5 wall mount enclosure from ChintGlobal has all these features and more. The box is available in single and double-door designs. These enclosures are made of electro-galvanized steel with superior anti-corrosive properties even when exposed to harsh environmental conditions.

Outdoor Wall Mount Network Enclosures

What to Consider When Buying an Outdoor Wall Mount Enclosure

Apart from the design elements, the material used in construction, and the NEMA rating of the box, you should also consider other factors such as:

  • The size: Wall Mount enclosures are available in sizes that start at 75 X 35 X 300 and go right up to 300 X 136 X 600 mm. The required size will, of course, depend on the application of the enclosure and the type and number of components to be housed inside. However, as a general rule, the size of the enclosure should allow for the safe mounting of all components while leaving enough room around them for free air circulation and ventilation.
  • The type: While NEMA-rated boxes are designed for use under specified operating conditions, you may also want to consider additional safety and operational standards such as Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) listing, IP rating, CE, and NFPA, among others.
  • The quality: The individual components and the gauge/thickness of the material used in fabricating the casing of the enclosure will play a crucial role in how well the box performs upon exposure to harsh conditions.
  • The cost: The price of a wall mount enclosure can range from $30 to $200 or more, depending on the material used, the size of the box, and the features of the product. Usually, an all-metal box will cost more than a plastic body enclosure.


An outdoor wall mount enclosure is a long-term investment and one that can protect the electrical or automation systems of a commercial or industrial workspace. In fact, more often than not the safety of expensive machinery depends on the performance of these boxes.

So, scrimping on this front is certainly not an option. Also, it goes without saying that the sturdiness and reliability of these boxes can safeguard commercial units and the personnel working in such establishments from electrical and electric-fire hazards. Hence, it is of utmost importance to choose a high-quality product with the right safety and performance ratings.

The ChintGlobal wall mounting enclosure NXW5 is designed to offer superlative protection and consistent performance. To learn more about the specifications of this product, click here. If you are looking for top-notch quality and cost-effective enclosures that will provide glitch-free performance for years, you simply can’t go wrong with ChintGlobal products.

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