You may have heard jokes or read cartoons about sadistic homeowners. They kind that line their yards with electric fence then sit back, watch, and giggle as (human) trespassers get electrocuted while peeing on the fence. But entertainment aside, electric fences can be a lifesaver.
They keep your livestock in while keeping predators and pests out. But without a good energizer, your electric fence is useless. So how can you be sure you’ve bought the best electric fence charger? We’ll get you started by analyzing ten popular electric fence charging models.
Parmak Magnum Solar-Pak 12 Low Impedance 12 Volt Battery Operated 30 Mile Range Electric Fence Charger MAG12-SP
The Best Electric Fence Charger on the Market 2020
1. Parmak Magnum Solar Electric Fence Charger (Our Top Pick)
There’s some misconception about how solar chargers work. Yes, they are powered by the sun and have panels that absorb radiation. But they’re not exactly like AC power sources. All solar chargers have a battery inside them. This battery stores power while the sun is out.
Then at night, or on rainy, gloomy days, the ‘back-up power reservoir’ can still keep the fence running. Parmak Magnum has a 12-volt battery, and it’s included in your charger pack. The sun-harvesting panels are positioned at the top of the fence charger, allowing maximum absorption.
The Parmal is a low-impedance model. It has reduced resistance, so it works in places where weeds, tall grass, and brush often graze the electric fence. It’s recommended for pastures and perimeter fencing, and it can cover a 30-mile electric fence. It’s portable too and has built-in performance meter that constantly evaluates the condition of your electric fence.
This means as the seasons change and your vegetation grows, you can move it to a part of the fence that receives more direct sunlight. The charger is intended for outdoor use and won’t be in any protective shade (because it needs access to sunlight). So it’s built to be fully weatherproof.
Parmak Magnum has a two-year lightning warranty and a 1-year battery warranty. But you have to buy mounting hardware separately – 2 wood screws with large heads, and possibly a bracket.
2. Cyclops Boss 32 Joule Electric Fence Charger
This charger is AC-powered, so it plugs directly into your mains. It’s stored energy is 41 joules, but due to unavoidable resistance, it only releases 32 joules to the fence. Still, it comfortably powers a 30-mile stretch, which easily fences 1,000 acres. It claims the best lightning protection on the globe. It’s a locally-made (USA) product that outperforms many imports.
The Cyclops has lower-output energizers, some releasing as little as 1.5 joules, but this 32-joule model is their power-house. In listings, it’s sometimes rounded off to 30 joules, but testers have proven its 32-joule output. It’s manufactured by a US company called Taylor Fence.
The fence releases energy in pulses, so it’s ideal if you keep animals or pets. Continuous fences can trap and kill an animal, so those are best if you’re trying to keep predators out, as opposed to keeping domesticated animals in. Pulsing fences are also good if you’re trying to keep your animals out of your crops since you don’t want the animals to die. That’s bad for business.
If you want a fence that will protect your crops without harming your domestic animals, Cyclops is a good choice. But it’s not waterproof or weatherproof, so you’ll have to keep it covered.
3. Zareba 200-Mile Range Electric Fence Charger
When we think about electric fences, our main worry is accidental electrocution. This type of accident could affect playing kids, straying pets, curious livestock, or even an absent-minded farm worker. But there’s another risk associated with electric fences – lightning.
This Zareba fence energizer has a storm guard built in. It can handle lightning up to 1,250 joules, so if the fence won’t power up after a storm, you know its time to replace the storm guard. The fence charger has a 3-year warranty, but it doesn’t include the storm guard.
The warranty does cover lightning damage, but the storm guard itself is unprotected. So if it burns out, just go buy a new storm guard at your own expense. The fence charger is pretty powerful though, covering fences that are up to 200 miles long.
It’s an AC-powered fence energizer that releases 15 joules, so it can safely jolt goats, deer, horses, wolves, and even bison without killing them. This is because its power pulses once a second in 60-second cycles. It’s a low-impedance fence, so it’s not bothered by weeds or tall grass.
For a versatile, extra-length fence charger, go for Zareba. It has a digital timer and no fuse. But if your area is prone to lightning strikes, have a few spare storm guards in storage. Just in case.
4. Patriot PE2 250-Feet Range Electric Fence Charger (Budget Pick)
Sometimes, your electric fencing needs are closer to home. You may need to prevent your dog from digging their way out of the yard. Or maybe you want to keep moles, rabbits, and raccoons out of your back yard kitchen garden Patriot fence energizer is ideal for this, as it only covers 2 miles. That’s roughly 8 acres of land, so it’s larger than you think.
Because you want this fence to protect your pets, you may want to test it yourself. Just make sure you’re not wearing rubber shoes or boots since they’ll cancel out the electric shock and you won’t feel a thing. That said, you have to install a separate grounding system – it’s not built in.
However, the energizer comes with its own ‘fence’ in the form of a 2-mile (250-foot) aluminum spool. But you still have to buy separate grounding rods. Preferably a single long 6.6-inch rod rather than several shorter ones. The soil around your grounding rod needs regular watering to stay moist. Wet soil conducts electricity better, so it makes your grounding more effective.
Also, check that the grounding rod is a minimum of 33 inches (10 meters) away from any underground wiring (phone lines, power lines, internet cables). They can interfere with your electric current. The Patriot is an AC system, and the aluminum spool is 17-gauge metal.
Most electric fences are for farm animals and predators. But if you want household one for pets and small neighborhood rodents, Patriot fence chargers are a smart selection.
5. Gallagher M300 110 Volt Electric Fence Charger
Electric fences date back to 1886, and Bill Gallagher designed the first modern, agricultural fence in the 1930s. (Before that, electric fences were used for military purposes in World War 1). Gallagher is a Kiwi. The US and New Zealand currently dominate in the electric fencing space.
This particular Gallagher fence charger plugs into 110V AC outlets. It can fence 85 acres / 50 miles and has color-coded indicator lights. It’s designed in New Zealand but manufactured in China, so importing may be an issue, thanks to Sino-US tariffs and trading tensions.
It’s an attractive, lightweight unit at just 3 pounds, and it’s painted in bright, easy-to-spot colors. It only measures 8 inches square and is 8.8 inches thick. It seems flimsy and delicate (because of its bright, child-like hues), but it’s weatherproof, safe for outdoor installation. But it’s not waterproof, so be careful about rain exposure. Water damage isn’t covered in the warranty.
If you want a small, hardy fence-charging unit, buy the M300 Gallagher. It can resist outdoor conditions but build an enclosure for it just in case since it doesn’t repel rainwater or moisture.
6. Fi-Shock 2-Mile Solar Electric Fence Charger
Not all solar charges are power-houses. Sometimes you need something on a smaller scale. This Fi-Shock charger covers 2 miles and puts out 0.4 joules or 8KV with open circuitry. Its mini solar battery holds 4 volts, and it’s a low-impedance fence that suits weed-infested areas.
To further protect the fence charger from brush and physical damage, the panels are protected by a reinforced cage-like enclosure. The energizer targets small animals like chicken, rabbits, or household pets. The charger has a 1-year lightning warranty and flashing indicator light.
This fence charger pulses and its 4-volt solar battery is included in the box. It works with all types of electric fence materials, from poly to steel, and even aluminum. It’s easy to install and takes less than thirty minutes. But it holds a minimal charge, so it’s not helpful for long winters.
This is a bare-bones fence charger for small-scale use. The shock it produces is minimal, and its solar battery is on the smaller side. But it’s fine for a kitchen garden, back yard, or pet pen.
7. Red Snap’r 25-Mile Electric Fence Charger
Is there a way to tell your fence is working properly? Preferably without giving yourself a mini-shock? Well, if you buy the right electric fence charger, it’s only a flashing light away. The Red Snap’r is one such charger. It has an indicator light to show when everything is in good order.
The Red Snap’r covers 25 miles and has a 1-joule output. It plugs into a 115-volt outlet and releases 75-ohm pulsed chargers at one pulse per second. Each cycle is 1 minute long. The fence energizer has a 2-year limited warranty. The charger has no fuse, and its timer is digital.
It’s a low-impedance fence charger, so you don’t have to worry about grass or weeds disrupting it. This charger is best housed indoors in a non-humid since it isn’t waterproof. You can build a weatherproof shelter if you plan to install it outdoors. It’s a US-made fence charger.
This fence charger works best with 10-gauge to 18-gauge wire, whether it’s poly, aluminum, or steel. Its case is hardy and can withstand weather damage, but keep it covered just in case. Its warranty includes lightning damage. The charger can hold off domestic animals and wildlife.
For an eye-catching electric fence charger that offers optimal functionality, get the Red Snap’r. Install it within easy reach of your power mains, and keep it sheltered, just to be safe.
8. Powerfields B2D The Trail Electric Fence Charger
Sometimes, you want a basic charger. Especially if you live off-grid and have no connection to the main power grid. And more so if you’re in a low-sunlight area. The Trail can be useful under these circumstances. It has a clip to easily attach it to your electric fence.
This is a DC-powered fence charger, so make sure you have lots of spare 12V batteries lying around. The charger uses 2 of these at a time, and you need to replace them every month or so. If you have power mains, you can use rechargeable batteries instead. Avoid using car batteries.
Yes, many people use them as a shortcut, especially old batteries that are no longer used in cars. But car chargers release short, spaced, high-burst pulses, so they’re not ideal for electric fences. They can short your electric fence charger as well as the fence itself. Instead, stick to the two D-Cell alkaline batteries that are included in the pack, and buy lots of back-up batteries.
The fence energizer releases 0.04 joules, and have a fence clip and a grounding clip. The charger is extremely lightweight at just 1.6 pounds, and it’s fully portable. Just slide the clip along the fence, moving it to your preferred position. But disconnect the power before you do.
If you need an electric fence charger that uses alkaline batteries. Powerfields The Trail is a good one to buy. Just make sure you always have spare batteries in your kitchen drawers.
9. Stafix X61 Multipurpose Electric Fence Charger
These days, almost every device has a remote controller, so why not your electric fence charger? The Stafix X61 comes bundled with one. It releases 6 joules and has a slider to select from multiple functionalities. The slider is on the device, allowing manual control of your charger.
It also has four color-coded dials for further functionality. It’s a dual-purpose charger, so you either power it through 110V mains or a 12V alkaline battery. It’s a low-impedance charger, so it’s fine for grassy areas with stubborn weeds. The remote controller only works along the fence line though, so you can’t operate the fence charger while you’re inside the house.
There are LCD screens, both on the charger itself and the remote control. And the charger is fully adjustable. You can tweak the speed and power of each pulse. The energizer is covered by a 2-year warranty. Remember that it ships on its own, though there’s no extra cost.
This Stafix Charger is easy to use. Icons on the slider help you set the pulsing power for various animals and conditions. When you buy 12V batteries, buy batteries for the remote as well.
10. Premier Solar Intellishock Electric Fence Charger
How do you test your electric fence charger? You don’t have to make your hair stand on end. If you buy Intellishock, you won’t need to. It comes with a wireless tester. Its grounding rod is included as well, so this solar charger comes ready to go. Unlike other chargers, the Intellishock solar battery has a 30-day warranty, while the rest of the charger has a 2-year limited warranty.
This charger has a 0.6-joule output. Sunshine varies throughout the year, so Intellishock has an adjustable 10W solar panel. You can change the angle of the paneling, enabling it to catch more sunlight. This portable energizer is hardy enough to be installed directly on the ground. It has a built-in stake that can dig into fields or farms and hold the fence charger steady.
The stake is u-shaped, and it serves as both a supporting frame and a grounding rod. Its 12V lead-acid battery is designed with a large capacity, so it continues to work during long stretches of low-to-no sunlight. The outer case is protected from UV rays.
So if you want a solar pack that thrives in low light, this is what you should buy. Its warranty doesn’t include flood damage, so avoid this floor-mounted charger in areas with high runoff.
The electric fence charger you buy will be driven by several factors. Let’s look at some of your most crucial shopping criteria. These will include functionality, style, and convenience.
An electric fence needs to be connected to an electric outlet. This could be a standard wall socket, a DC battery, a solar battery, or a hybrid. Think about the amount of sunshine your neighborhood typically receives. If you have gloomy, cloudy skies, solar fences won’t do.
That said, a good solar charger can power your fence for two weeks at a time, even without direct sunlight. But remember, solar chargers have built-in batteries as well, and these batteries have to be changed after 3 or 4 years. Solar fence chargers can electrify a 30-mile fence at the max.
But if you opt for battery-powered chargers, you have to regularly replace the batteries. On the other hand, you need a reliable power line if your fence charger plugs into your mains. This won’t work if your ranch is in a remote, off-grid area with no piped water or electric masts.
Check the guide if you want to make an electric fence with a battery charger.
Some fences are high-impedance, and these are prone to causing fires. Instead, you want a fence that’s low impedance and is lifted a good distance above grass and brush. These are generally the agents that collect sparks and spread fire when the fence experiences a surge of power.
For the same reason, you want a charger that pulses. If it releases a continuous stream, of electricity, it’s more likely to start a fire or cause injuries. This is key if your fence is intended to keep your livestock from straying. You don’t want them dying on the fence as they try to escape.
You also need to ensure your electric fence charger is well-grounded. Otherwise, it could short-circuit, leaving your fence unprotected, and possibly causing injuries. Check whether the charger has some kind of surge protection built-in. If it’s outdoors, it should be weatherproof.
Some perimeter fences are several miles long and are intended to keep wildlife off your farm. We’re talking about larger animals like wolves or bears that may prey on your cattle. You may also need a fence to keep herbivores like deer, moose, or rodents out of your crops.
This kind of fence can have a higher-voltage charger unless your neighborhood has wildlife protection rules. On the other hand, if your fence keeps your domestic animals away from your plants, you may want a lower voltage charger. After all, you don’t want your cattle to die.
The function of your fence will also affect the type of wire you select. Common options include steel, aluminum, and poly. They all conduct electricity differently, so a good conductor may survive on a lower-voltage charger than a poor conductor, which experiences higher resistance.
Think about the amps, volts, and joules your charger will deliver. A fence needs about 1 joule for every mile of fencing, so measure out the full fence length first. The amount of electricity stored in your fence is 60% more than the amount it emits, so your charger has two-joule readings.
These will be listed as Output Joules and Stored Joules. The 40% difference is due to natural resistance from your cables and wires. You should also think about amps, which describe the total about of electricity. And volts, which refer to the pace or pressure of your electricity.
For reference, you want 500V to 900V for chicken, and 700V to 1,000 volts for cats, dogs, and other small pets. To keep away rabbits, raccoons, and mongooses, your voltage should range from 1,000V to 2,000V. Pigs, horses, and cows can be controlled by 2,000V to 3,000V. For larger predators and tricky livestock like goats, aim for 4,000V to 5,000V.
Length and Location
Naturally, your fence will be somewhere in your yard, farm, or garden. It could be a perimeter fence or a divider, keeping pets out of the flower bed or chicken out of the plantation. But how long is the fence, and is there any wild vegetation directly around it?
Grass, trees, and brush can snag the fence, potential short-circuiting it or causing bush fires. They can also provide ‘escape routes’ as animals can climb the branches and use them to jump over the fence unharmed. Your electric fence charger needs to have the right amount of power.
It needs to deter animals without affecting wild brush. It should be well-grounded to avoid any electrical damage triggered by surrounding vegetation, especially in a strong wind when the brush may blow onto the fence. And it needs enough voltage and amperage to match the fence length.
Light It Up!
Given all these tips and recommendations, we believe you should buy the Parmak Magnum:
- It’s a low-impedance fence, so it can withstand weeds and shrubs.
- It can power fences of up to 30 miles and recharges automatically.
- It’s charged by the sun and has a 12-volt battery included.
- You can change its location at will since it’s a portable charger.
- It’s easy to operate, with a simple on-off toggle switch.
- It’s intended for outdoor use so it’s hardy, waterproof, and weather-resistant.
What are you using your electric fence for, and how is it energized? Tell us in the comments!