Razor Wire vs Classic Barbed Wire

A barbed wire fence.

Barbed wire and razor wire are two well-known security installations used worldwide to protect boundaries whether they be for humans or for animals. Barbed and razor wire differ in a number of aspects which are enumerated below.

Razor Wire

Razor wire is commonly used in security applications. Similar to barbed wire in construction, it features sharp-edged blades made from steel tape.

Unlike barbed wire, razor wire is manufactured using a central strand of high tension wire, around which sharp barbs are taped and crimped by a machine. The wire is exceedingly difficult to cut using hand tools. While the barbs have a piercing and gripping action, reinforced steel makes it very hard to bend.

Barbed Wire

A barbed wire fence.

Barbed wire is fencing wire with sharp edges or pointed barbs at regular intervals along the central strand. It is used worldwide to construct inexpensive fences and used on top of walls to protect properties. An animal or a person trying to pass through or over a barbed wire can attain a possible injury. This kind of wiring is used extensively to keep cattle in bounds.


Razor wire is used to top security fences. An individual attempting to get into or out of a secured area will have difficulties in getting through without adequate tools. On the other hand, barbed wire is usually used to restrain cattle and as inexpensive fencing.

Razor wire has been used by the military over the barbed wire in the recent past as the former is slightly lighter for the same effective coverage and occupies less space in storage. Compared to barbed wire, razor wire can be more injurious and hard to pass. Instances where cattle and people have toppled over barbed wire have been common. It is very difficult to get across razor wire without being seriously cut.


Installation of a razor wire needs a little precision and expertise as the wire features sharp barbs and is not easy to bend around.

Barbed wire, on the other hand, requires only fence posts, wire, and staples to fix. It is simple to construct and quick to install. Even a workman of medium skill can easily install such a fencing system.

Ease of Use and Maintenance

Both barbed wire and razor wire have different potential uses. The requirement or need for a certain type of fencing would signify the way the fencing needs to be used. The barbed wire is pretty easy to use when it comes to fencing to restrain cattle. Similarly, for a particular security establishment, the use of any of the two wires will be complicated.

The maintenance of barbed wire is easy as the fencing doesn't wear out easily if installed properly. However, fixing problems is a little difficult with the razor wire due to the non-flexibility of the wire and the larger amount of tension.


Razor wire is intricately processed for strength and efficiency making it costlier than the barbed wire which is available at a fairly decent price.