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CostHelper > Home and Garden  > Driveways, Pools & Outdoor Living > Electric Fence

Electric Fence Cost


How Much Does an Electric Fence Cost?

 
low costCharger: $50-$300+average costMaterials: $0.05-$0.75 Per Foothigh costProfessional Installation: $0.20-$3 Per Foot
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Also called a charged fence system, an electric fence uses mild shocks to train livestock like horses, cattle or sheep to stay inside the fence and/or wildlife like deer to stay outside. A grounded charger (sometimes called an energizer, a fence controller or a fencer) sends a pulsed electric current along the fence wire at about one pulse per second. When an animal touches the fence it completes the circuit between the fence and the ground, and receives a short, sharp shock that causes no serious harm. People wearing rubber-soled shoes and touching the fence might not feel a shock because they don't complete the circuit.

Typical costs:

  • The heart of any electric fence system is the charger, which can cost $50-$300 or more, depending on its power output. Most chargers plug into a standard outlet and use minimal energy, but a charger can also be powered by a marine battery ($50-$300 or more); some high-end chargers are solar powered.
  • The number and type of strands on an electric fence depends on the animals being controlled. There can be 1-11 strands, which vary from thin, fine steel to thicker, high-tensile wire (hard and springy steel that bounces back from tight tension) . Depending on the number of strands, the distance between fence posts, the terrain, and if the fence is temporary or permanent, total costs (including the charger) for do-it-yourself installation can vary from $0.05-$0.75 a foot, or $45-$650 to enclose a square acre (about 830' of fencing) and $2,700-$4,000 for a mile (about 5,280') of electric fencing. With professional installation costs can be $0.20-$3 a foot, or $200-$2,500 to enclose an acre and $1,000-$16,000 for a mile, depending on the terrain and the number and type of strands.
  • For example, Zareba Fence Systems[1] estimates that materials for a temporary, 2-strand, 14-gauge electric fence costs $0.08 a foot or $408 per mile, and a permanent 6-strand high-tensile electric fence costs $0.29 a foot or $1,517 a mile. The educational website PastureManagement.com estimates labor and materials for a typical 2-wire, permanent, smooth-wire electric fence at about $0.20 a foot ($1,056 a mile), depending on the terrain. And DIYNetwork.com explains how to install a two-wire electric deer deterrent fence[2] above an existing wooden fence, estimating the moderate-to-hard project will take several weekends and cost $500-$1,000; while FineGardening.com[3] estimates a temporary electric fence can be built around a 50'x50' home garden for less than $250.
  • An underground or hidden electric fence that keeps animals inside an area by sending signals to the animal's collar can cost $100-$350 for a do-it-yourself kit, or $850-$1,500 with professional installation. For details, see How Much Does an Invisible Fence Cost.
Related articles: Invisible Fence, Wire Fence, Chain-Link Fence, Wood Fence, Handyman

What should be included:
  • Electric fencing can be temporary or permanent, and is a relatively low-cost way to enclose a small garden, a one-acre property or several miles of land. An electric fence is fairly easy to install. The wires should be flexible and not pulled too tight. The fence posts should be spaced at least 50' apart, and there can be 60'-90' or more between the supporting posts. Rocky, dry or sandy soil limits the amount of shock produced, so more strands are needed, with a live wire alternating with a grounding wire. TractorSupply.com provides installation instructions[4] .
  • Most deer can be kept out of a garden or a landscaped yard with one or two electrified strands, and five to seven strands might be used for a boundary fence to keep sheep inside and predators out. Gallagher Animal Management Systems charts standard electric fence configurations[5] .
  • Never electrify barbed wire, because an animal can get trapped by the barbs and die from repeated shocks. PastureManagement.com lists mistakes to avoid.
  • Before installing any type of fence posts, call 811[6] to have utility companies mark any underground utility lines; or contact local utility companies directly. Also check local zoning, building and neighborhood codes.
Additional costs:
  • An electric fence should be tested routinely for voltage drops that indicate problems with the fence. A digital voltage meter typically costs $5-$30.
Shopping for an electric fence:
  • EquiSearch.com lists tips[7] for selecting and installing an electric fence.
  • Electric fencing supplies are available at home improvement centers like Home Depot[8] and Lowe's[9] ; hardware stores like Ace Hardware[10] ; and online retailers like Amazon[11] .
  • Find local fencing contractors by searching for the keywords "electric fence" with the American Fence Association[12] .
  • Get several estimates; verify that the company is properly bonded and insured; ask for and check references; and search for any complaints with the Better Business Bureau[13] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.zarebasystems.com/resources/faqs
  2.  www.diynetwork.com/how-to/how-to-install-an-electric-fence/index.html
  3.  www.finegardening.com/how-to/articles/deer-proof-electric-fence.aspx
  4.  www.tractorsupply.com/know-how_Fencing_how-to-select-an-electric-fence.html
  5.  www.gallagherusa.com/electric-fencing/types/cattle_1WC.aspx
  6.  www.call811.com/state-specific.aspx
  7.  www.equisearch.com/farm_ranch/fencing/electricfence_021005/
  8.  www.homedepot.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/Search?keyword=electric+fence&langId=-1&sto...
  9.  www.lowes.com/SearchCatalogDisplay?storeId=10151&langId=-1&catalogId=10051&N=0&newSearc...
  10.  www.acehardware.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=electric%20fence&origkw=electric%20fen...
  11.  www.amazon.com/s/nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dgarden&field-keywords=electric+fence&x=1...
  12.  www.americanfenceassociation.com/Consumers/GatesAccessControl/tabid/124/~/Consumers/Fin...
  13.  www.bbb.org/en/us/search
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