Electric Fence Buying Guide

An electric fence prevents animals such as livestock from straying into out-of-bounds areas. Sometimes the fences prevent dogs from digging out of containment. But if you plan to buy an electric fence, you should know about the various types and quantities of material and power supplies. You will find information on some of those things below.

Identifying Your Objective in Using the Fence

You can choose the best electric fence for your needs if you first identify your goal. You might want to keep livestock and pets within an enclosed area. Or you might, instead, wish to keep out wild animals such as deer, coyotes, skunks and racoons.    

Determining Needed Electrical Power

Electrical power—voltage and amperes—needed to keep larger animals away from the fence might present a danger to smaller animals. So you need to know the power you will need. The range or distance covered by the fence will also help determine your power requirements.

Deciding on Your Power Type

Some fence chargers are powered by AC current, some by DC (battery power). Others are solar-powered. If you choose AC power, you need to hire an electrician to install an AC line to your fence charger. Battery power will require a battery charger. You also need to know how many batteries will be required.

A disadvantage with battery power is that you will eventually have to replace the batteries. Solar power, by comparison, will cost more initially, but over the long run, it will save you from paying for AC power or replacement batteries.

Choosing Insulator Types

With each of the electrical fence types, you will need insulators on each post where the electric wire is to be attached. If you're not informed on which insulator you should use, ask the sales clerk at the store where you buy your electric fence supplies. The clerk can tell you whether you should use the nail-on type, or the type you attach to wood posts, pipe fences or other surfaces.

Selecting Your Fencing Material

Typically, your choices of fencing will be aluminum or galvanized steel, either of which will resist rusting from rain or snow. For normal use you can use medium-gauge electric fence wire. If you need higher voltage for more shocking power, you will have other options, such as polytape, which is made up of several wire strands, or polyrope, which gives you greater tensile strength.

Installing Your Electric Fence Posts

Once you have obtained your fencing, power supply, and insulators, you can begin installing your fence. First  plant your electric fence posts. If your plan is to contain stock, you need sturdy posts. You will probably want to plant the posts in concrete to keep larger animals from knocking them over.

If you choose not to use concrete, be sure you have good solid earth to plant your posts into. And be sure to plant your posts solidly, at least two feet into the ground.