The online condition assessment of circuit breakers (CBs) has been increasingly requested by power utilities in recent years. Trip and close coil current (CC) signature is an effective and noninvasive parameter in CB online condition monitoring. This paper gives an insight into the impacts of the various failures on the coil current waveform, as well as on the CB operation time. The failures and their causes are categorized based on the outcome of these investigations. Finally, a new algorithm using trip/close CC is proposed to detect the mode and cause of CB incipient failures. In this study, the CC patterns are acquired by measurements carried out on (healthy and faulty) CBs of 72.5-kV and 24-kV rating voltages, having SF 6 insulation medium, and are equipped with a spring-drive mechanism.