Fence Planning


The best electric fence is the one that is suited to your requirements. The table below outlines the 3 main types of electric fence structures as a starting point to help you identify which fence type best suits your needs.



Traditional CONTAINMENT electric fence applications, such as those used to control cattle, horses, sheep and goats, are primarily designed to keep these animals in a limited area. These animals are usually  domesticated and are somewhat predictable. Most importantly, you are fencing these animals IN with their food source.

Standard EXCLUSION fences – such as those designed to keep out bears, wolves, coyotes, deer, or feral hogs – are different from traditional electric fence applications. These animals are not domesticated, are highly unpredictable, and can be extremely dangerous. Most importantly, you are fencing these animals OUT of their food source. Electric fence is a terrific and an effective solution for EXCLUSION fences, but it is absolutely critical that you do it right – for you, your property, and the animals.


DO use an energizer with a MINIMUM of 0.5
OUTPUT joules (NOT stored joules). Wildlife
agencies recognize 0.5 output joules as the
minimum output energy required to control
DO NOT use inferior products. This is NOT the time
to go cheap on your energizer, fence materials,
and ground system just to save a few dollars.
Remember what you are trying to protect and
how much it’s worth to you!
DO research the type of fence design and
conductor wire required for your specific
DO NOT annoy the animal by using small
energizers. The energizer must deliver a powerful
enough shock to deter the animal. Small
energizers just make the animal mad, making
the animal try harder to get through the fence.
DO use proper grounding and fence construction
techniques when building the electric fence. Both
of these elements are crucial to the success of
the fence.
DO NOT annoy the animal by using small
energizers. The energizer must deliver a powerful
enough shock to deter the animal. Small
energizers just make the animal mad, making
the animal try harder to get through the fence.
DO solicit sound, professional advice before
starting any project.
DO NOT assume that all conductors (wires)
are good or acceptable to use when controlling
predators. Certain applications are fine with poli
products, while others will require heavier gauge
steel or aluminum wires.



Exclusion Fences

Also recommended for wolves and coyotes.










Key Considerations

Size of the predator determines the wire spacing
Jumping ability of the predator will determine height
Maintain low wire spacings for predators known to dig
As a general rule, all exclusion fences should use a hot/
ground system
NETTING can be an acceptable solution in some
cases. Use “Pos/Neg” electrified netting in areas with
poor grounding conditions.

Common Uses

Residential garbage protection


Exclusion Fences






Common Uses

Commercial row crop protection
Food plots



Certified organic operations


Key Considerations

The 2 fence system (i.e. inside and outside fence) with differing heights and the slant fence, achieve a 3-dimensional effect on the deer. This impairs the deer’s ability to judge the height and distance they need to jump to clear the fence.


Containment Fences

Also recommended for pigs (not feral hogs) and other domesticated livestock  






 Sketch a diagram and measure the distance of the area you would like to fence. Grab a pencil and walk around the area you want to fence, measuring and sketching your layout. Also include in your plan:

  • Location of buildings/barns enclosed by or sitting adjacent to your fence
  • Location of your fence energizer and electrical source (if required)
  • Trees, hills, low and/or wet areas or other obstacles. If necessary, it is also a good idea to have your utility company mark any underground cables/lines that may be in the immediate vicinity
  • Water supply and feeding locations
  • Gate locations
  • Fence termination points.


As you are sketching your layout consider these questions:

  • Are you going to use wood posts, steel posts, rod posts, etc.? Or is it just a temporary fence with pigtail or tread‑in posts?
  • What type of gate(s) do you plan on using?



Once you have sketched your fence you are ready to create a list of all the components and tools you require to construct your fence.
First, you need to measure the perimeter of the area that will be fenced. Once you have done this you will be able to work out the amount of fence wire you require. You do this by multiplying the length of your fence by the number of wires you plan to use. For example, if your fence perimeter is 500 feet and will have four wires, the length of fence wire you require is 2,000 feet.


Forming the heart of your electric fence system, energizers provide the source for the electric current that flows through the fence wire. The amount of electric current output (size) and power source AC (110 V) , battery or solar differs across energizer products.
When selecting your fence energizer consider the following key factors:

  • Length of your fence
  • Number of wires
  • Power source
  • Type of animal contained or excluded.

How to select your Energizer

Power Source
Select an electric fence energizer power source based on your fencing situation. For example a traditional AC (110 V) plug-in energizer is great if you need a very powerful energizer or have a very long electric fence.
If you don’t have access to an electrical outlet then a portable, battery or solar powered energizer would be best suited.

Power Rating
You also need to select an energizer that will give you the power (energy) rating required for your electric fence. Measured as joules, Patriot energizers offer a range to suit every need from 0.05 joules output to 4.5 joules. More joules = more power.

For additional help, view our energizer selection chart.



An important part of your electric fence system, insulators are used to fasten electrified wires to your fence posts. An insulator’s job is to allow electricity to continue through the wire without any loss of energy to a post. Made from materials that do not conduct electricity (mainly plastic or porcelain), a good quality, long life insulator is necessary for the performance, efficiency and longevity of your electric fence. If you are using a low impedance fence energizer you will also need insulators that provide excellent arcing protection due to the high energy output of these energizers.

How to select your Insulator
Available in many styles, firstly identify insulators that fit your post type. From these, select the right insulator that works with your selected wire and energizer.

Patriot Insulators

  • Able to be used with low impedance energizers. Developed to complement Patriot’s full range of energizers (all of which are low impedance)
  • Made from quality plastic and porcelain materials that are UV stable and designed for long life
  • Designed to be easily attached to compatible fence posts
  • Deliver excellent arcing protection, reducing risk of shorts on the fence
  • Full range of options to cover most fence post and wire types
  • Patriot extender insulators protect existing fences by extending electric fence barrier from existing wires
  • All Patriot insulators come with a 5 year warranty.
  • Tried and tested to ensure reliability and durability.



Now that you have selected your energizer and accessories, you need to build your fence. See Installation Tips for handy tips on building your electric fence.



This is one of the most important parts of the fence. Without a proper ground system, your will not be able to achieve the maximum benefits of your electric fence. Please refer to the Grounding and Testing section for more information on how to properly install and test a good ground system.


Other Things to Consider in the Planning Process

Converting a barb Wire or Woven Wire Fence

Do you already have a good barb wire or woven wire fence, but want to make it electric? (Note: You should never try to electrify the existing barb or woven wire as it is too dangerous for your livestock and not very effective.) Patriot Wood Post Extenders and T-Post Extenders, as shown in the pictures below, allow you to maintain your current fence structure while adding high tensile wire, poliwire, ½in politape, or polirope to make it electric. This is a safe and highly effective way to convert a barbed or woven wire to an electric fence.


Where You Should Install Your Energizer?

If you plan to use a mains / AC (110 V) to power your energizer, it should be placed inside a barn or shed near the power source.
Patriot Dual-Purpose energizers (P5, P10, P20, P30) offer both a weather- resistant case and a built-in clip-on-wire feature allowing them to be attached directly to the fence wire.
If you are using the Patriot PS5, SolarGuard 50 or SolarGuard 155, these are most effective if placed along the middle of the fence with the panel facing towards the South.

In all cases, refer to your energizer’s user manual for specific installation instructions and always mount the energizer where it is out of reach of children and animals.

Can I use more than one Energizer?

Yes, you can use more than one charger, but each charger must be on a separate fence system.
NEVER connect more than one charger to the SAME FENCE.

What Type of Wire Should I Use for the Fence Line

The best permanent electric fences are constructed using 12.5 gauge galvanized high tensile wire. It provides a lower level of resistance than a smaller gauge of wire and has sufficient capacity to carry the electrical current of the fence. Some people use a smaller gauge galvanized wire (i.e., 14 ga., 16 ga., etc.); however, these have higher levels of resistance, do not allow you to achieve the maximum benefits of your charger, and your fence life may not be as long. (Aluminium wire is not the same as steel galvanized wire. Small aluminium wire also has less resistance than comparable size steel wire.) For temporary fences, good poliwire or politape with at least 6 strands of conductors are the best choice.”


For more information visit:

» Permanent Electric Fencing Guide
» Temporary Electric Fencing Guide