A power cut occurs because of many natural and artificial reasons, such as a hurricane, transformer failure, low or high voltage, and several other factors. A power cut is also referred to as a brownout or blackout. Power interruption is another term referred to the disruption of a power supply. If you are one of those who have questions like how to compare blackout vs brownout: are they the same, then this article is for you. Moreover, in this article, we will give you complete information about brownout vs blackout vs power interruption.

Brownout Vs Blackout Vs Power Interruption-What’s the Difference?

JAN 23 Brownout Vs Blackout Vs Power Interruption-What's the Difference?Let’s take a look at the following points to understand what’s the difference between brownouts and blackouts and power interruptions.


A brownout is a short-term decrease in voltage levels in an electrical grid. Brownouts happen due to an overload in the power grid or high electricity demand. This can be also caused by factors such as any circuitry faults in the power system or any lightning strikes. This may last for about an hour or a minute. When brownouts happen, the electrical structure makes an effort to conserve power by decreasing the voltage level and dimming the lighting. During brownouts, you will be able to use some electronic equipment, but it may cause damage because of the sudden change in high and low voltage. Brownouts are intentionally caused by an electric company to prevent a complete blackout.

Also Read: Can Circuit Breakers Go Bad Without Tripping?


On the other hand,  a blackout means a complete dropping of power in an electrical grid, which means the dropping of power in an area or city; it may last for a long period of time, such as for a few hours, a few days, or even a week. There are several factors that cause blackouts, such as equipment failure, human negligence, hurricanes, transformer damage, and earthquakes,

When blackouts occur, home appliances and business work lose access to electricity. This includes electronically operated appliances such as fans, lights, refrigerators, heaters, washing machines, televisions, computers, and all that other equipment that needs electricity to work.

Power Interruptions

Power interruption is a temporary and short loss of electricity that affects a selected part of a region. It occurs suddenly, and the loss of power lasts for a minute or two. Factors, like tripped circuit breakers, and accidents near power lines or the utility pole, are responsible for this issue. Power interruptions are generally short, and the power can be restored in less than a minute. It is managed and maintained by workers at the power station to make sure that customers have the benefits of a good power supply. It occurs because of electrical crashes.

Also See: Is it Dangerous If Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping?

What’s the Difference Between Brownouts and Blackouts?

A brownout and blackout are both power outages and have separate effects and sources. There are various distinctions between brownouts and blackouts, such as:

1. Brownouts happen because of the high demand for electricity. When this happens, the light becomes dim, and all electrical equipment works at a low, up-down voltage. While blackouts are a complete loss of power in a region or city, when this happens, you will experience complete darkness.

2. Brownouts are intentionally caused by the electric company to restore full power levels. While blackouts occur unintentionally and are unexpected. Sometimes it may also occur intentionally by the electric company as a rolling blackout, for example, if the electronic overload is too much to control the power supply. The electric company may decide to cut power for a few minutes or for an hour.

3. When brownouts happen, they last for a few hours or for a minute while blackouts last for an hour, a day, or even a week, in several situations.

4. During brownouts, you can use some electronic equipment at low voltage, but in a blackout, your electronic equipment is completely off and will not work till the power is back.

5. A blackout is less dangerous as compared to a brownout because brownouts can damage electronic equipment due to the sudden ups and downs in voltage levels. They might burn electrical appliances or damage them.

Also See: What to Do After a Power Surge?

Blackout vs Brownout: Are They Same?

No, blackouts and brownouts are not the same. However, they both are termed a temporary loss of electric power, which mainly happens due to severe weather conditions such as heavy rainfall, lightning strikes, storms, etc. The power cut will take some time to come back.

Because a blackout is sudden and unexpected, it might lead to commercial losses in hospitals, schools, businesses, etc. So, it’s better to have an emergency power supply to deal with brownout vs blackout vs power interruption. Overall, a brownout is a temporary drop in voltage levels that can soon recover to their full levels, but a blackout is a complete crash of the power grid in the area that lasts for several hours, minutes, or days.

Also Read: Can a Power Surge Damage an Outlet?

Are Brownouts Worse than Blackouts?

Yes, brownouts seem to be worse than blackouts, as they cause sudden high or low voltage that affects electrical equipment such as heaters, refrigerators, televisions, PCs, washing machines, fans, and all other equipment that works with electricity. Brownouts will work at low voltage, but they will damage all electronic equipment. However, in a blackout, there is no voltage issue, which means a complete power cut. In a blackout, no electronic appliances will work, which means no electrical damage. Therefore, it is better to not use electronic equipment during brownouts and turn off and unplug all electronic equipment to prevent damage.

With this, all the differences between brownouts vs blackouts vs power interruptions must be clear to you. It doesn’t matter if it’s a brownout, blackout, or power interruption, living without power is irritating. But, the next time any such event happens, you can use the information you gathered here to hold great conversations. This will help you spend the painfully long hours of a power cut productively.

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Olivia is committed to green energy and works to help ensure our planet's long-term habitability. She takes part in environmental conservation by recycling and avoiding single-use plastic.

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