Barbed wire has its uses, but nothing is as efficient as an electric fence at keeping livestock and pests and predators out. A good electric fence charger will give you the consistent, reliable performance you need. However, with so many different models to choose from, it is not easy to choose the right one. We looked at the technical aspects in the following manual and made some recommendations. Our favorite, the Parmak Magnum Solar-Pak fence charger, is weatherproof and runs on solar power. So you have no problem getting power in inconvenient locations and it’s free.
Considerations When Choosing Electric Fence Chargers
The voltage (V) is the amount of energy in the fence. It must be enough to deter the animals in question, which vary from around 500 V for poultry to around 5,000 V for bears or elk.
Joule is technically the energy supply. In this case it is measured how far the tension can be pushed along the fence wire. You can do a little math, but it’s easier to use the given number to compare one model to another.
Acreage seems like a useful number, but it’s not an accurate way of measuring loading capacity, so it’s not of great value.
Miles is perhaps the best number (when combined with tension). It shows you the cable length over which the charger takes effect. If you have two or three strands of wire you need to take this into account. For example, a 30 mile charger provides 10 miles of effective range over three strands.
Certain materials – e.g. B. Ribbon cables – may use more power than poly wire. Some manufacturers offer multi-wire calculations, but you may have to do a little math yourself.
Electric fence chargers operate on either AC (mains), DC (usually a 12 V battery – similar to your car), or solar panels (with rechargeable battery backup). AC is great when you have a handy supply, but that doesn’t always come in handy. DC power is the traditional solution when you don’t have AC power, but DC batteries eventually run out and need to be plugged into an AC charger. So if you want to keep the fence going, you’ll need a spare 12v battery – and these aren’t cheap. Solar energy is the modern solution. While the systems are relatively expensive, unlike AC, there are no ongoing operating costs.
Pulse versus continuous current
Most electric fence chargers generate a pulse. They send electricity about every second. Some provide continuous power. The former is safer (it does not cause a “lock-on” when an animal or person cannot let go of the wire) and it is cheaper to operate.
Low impedance electric fence chargers regulate power based on external factors so they work better in situations where weeds or grass grow and otherwise potentially use electricity.
Most fence chargers do not have an on / off switch. You have to disconnect them to stop the flow of electricity. Some have an indicator light that shows they are on, but this is by no means common.
You can buy an affordable electric fence charger for a dog fence or keep small pests out for about $ 50, but it’s not powerful enough to hold livestock. For this, you will expect more than $ 80 depending on the performance. Solar models cost around $ 200. These may require you to add a battery. High performance AC models can exceed $ 700.
Q. Are electric fence chargers complicated to install?
A. No. You will need a power source, some grounding sticks (instructions are provided, but you usually need three, a few feet apart), and you need a place to mount the charger. Then just connect a ground wire from the charger to the poles and another wire from the charger to the fence.
Q. Can I leave my electric fence charger off in bad weather?
A. There is no hard and fast rule; it depends on the model. Some can withstand rain, snow, and even lightning strikes. Others are designed for use in a shed or barn. It is important to check before you order.
We recommend electric fence chargers
Best of the best: Finger Magnum Solar-Pak Fence Charger
Our opinion: High performance kit, ideal for remote pastures.
What we like: Solar panel for day and 12V rechargeable for night. Weatherproof power supply, can be used anywhere, set the power supply and forget it. The warranty covers lightning strikes. No running costs.
What we don’t like: Expensive.
The best for your money: Electric fence energizer from Fi-Shock
Our opinion: The high capacity budget model has a wide range of uses.
What we like: Modest performance but still performs well in weed areas. Light to show fence works. Competitive price.
What we don’t like: Must be housed in the shelter. Some shelf life concerns.
Choice 3: Taylor Fence Cyclops Brute Fence Charger
Our opinion: The name reveals this. Massive capacity when you have to go big.
What we like: The eight-joule model offers a consistently high energy output (even more powerful models are available). Good lightning protection. Excellent customer service.
What we don’t like: Must be installed indoors.
Bob Beacham is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a unique mission: to help you simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and buys every product it reviews with its own funds.
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