Electric fence wire carries the current or electricity in an electric fence. A source of electricity (battery or main electric supply) sends power to an energizer or fence charger, which in turn delivers pulsing signals of electricity through the electric fence wire. When any conducting object or an animal touches the fence, it completes the electric circuit by connecting to ground. As a result, a short electric shock passes through the object or animal in question. Electric fence wire has several benefits over barbed wire.

Many South African home owners and businesses rely on electric fences to keep criminals out, but weaknesses in electric fence designs allow criminals to get through or over these barriers.

Electric fencing is successful in uses such as home, business or industrial security, safeguarding farm animals and preventing pets from straying. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages you need to consider before installing an electric fence.


Some of the advantages to installing an electric fence are, to start with, it’s an excellent security deterrent to burglary, vandalism and trespassing. Also, they are very easy to build due to their lighter material construction, and the maintenance involved is very minimal. Another big advantage is that it is a very durable style of fencing, one that you can trust in to last for many years. There are also many specialised selections that you can opt for to make sure that the fence suits your needs exactly.

Electric fences are cheap compared to other fences. They can be made with inexpensive wire, a low-cost fencer (the unit that sends pulsed voltage through the wire), steel rods and affordable plastic insulators. A fence can be put up in a few hours or less, and it will suffice for basic livestock and animal control.

They are easy to build or add to an existing structure. It doesn’t take an electrician to install a fence, and if you can set fence posts, you can electrify a field or garden. No special tools are required, and you don’t have to worry about how perfectly straight the fence is, or even the tension on the wire. If you already have a fence installed, then simply fasten some insulators to the existing structure and run your wire, and you are good to go!


One of the major disadvantages of having an electric fence installed is that it requires regular maintenance. There are many rules and regulations involved, one that you need to check with local council to ensure even installing one is approved. Another is that you must constantly maintain the surrounding plant life. If trees and grass are not properly trimmed back they could be considered a fire hazard. You also need to ensure that the fence has been properly grounded otherwise it may become hazardous or ineffective.


They require a working power source. If you have access to the grid, that’s great, and your fence is ready to go. If you make your own power, then you will need to integrate them to solar power or another source. The power consumption is still low, but it is a constant low-level drain you must keep in mind.

An electric fence must be maintained. Broken or damaged insulators can leak current, poorly grounded fencers can fail to perform, weeds and vegetation on wires can drain the voltage and negate the entire purpose of the fence, and a scared animal can run right through the fragile wire if they are spooked enough.

Unfortunately, a home security system isn’t a guarantee your home won’t be a target. Here are tips you can use to help protect your home from burglary:

  1. Lock your windows and doors at all times; even when you leave briefly, are outside on your property, or inside your home. Also, keep your valuables in a safe or lockbox when you go out. 
  2. Change passcodes on electronic locks and garage doors from time to time.
  3. Keep your windows covered and your garage locked so valuable items are out of sight.
  4. Install motion sensor lights, deadbolt locks and upgrade patio/sliding glass door locks.
  5. Trim shrubs and bushes to eliminate hiding spots, and never hide keys outside.
  6. Don’t announce your vacation or trips on social media. 
  7. Always change the locks when you move into a new home, condo or apartment, or if your keys are lost or stolen.
  8. Opportunistic criminals commonly target unlocked cars. Don’t leave anything valuable in your car and always lock the doors. 
  9. If you live in an apartment or condo building, close the door behind you when entering or exiting the building. Report any security concerns, such as dim lighting around entrances or points of easy access, to your property manager.