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Electric fence vs. barbed wire: Which is better for home security?

When it comes to protecting the perimeter of your property, few things beat a sturdy fence. While you might think barbed wire is the cheap and easy way to keep unwanted intruders, an article in My Family Survival Plan makes strong arguments for going the extra mile in building an electrified fence.

True to its name, an electric fence delivers a sharp shock to anything that comes into contact with its wires. Unless there is a warning sign present, they do not look different.

They are widely used by both farms and prisons. In the former, the electric fences deliver unpleasant but nonlethal shocks that teach the animals to keep their distance. In the latter, they channel lethal voltages and are intended to keep dangerous criminals penned inside.

Electric fences are easy to acquire. If you have the right materials and skills, you can even build your own system. (Related: Home security is of monumental importance when SHTF… have you reviewed your security plan recently?)

Why you should choose an electric fence

Why go to the expense and trouble of installing an electric fence? It has several significant advantages over its conventional counterparts.

Believe it or not, an electric fence is cheaper than a barbed wire fence. It needs fewer wires and posts than conventional equivalents, which translates to savings in both material and installation labor costs.

The lighter weight and fewer parts make an electric system easier to install than a wooden fence or barbed wire equivalent. You do not need to dig holes. You can even set it up by yourself if it comes to that, although the more people helping you out, the better.

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Once installed, an electric fence requires less physical maintenance than you might think. Mainly, the wires need to be kept clean and dry. If a section has been damaged, it is very inexpensive and easy to replace or repair. Modifying their arrangement and size is just as easy.

The fence does not even need to be hooked up to the grid. An appropriately sized battery system will suffice to power your fence.

Last but definitely not least, an electrified fence is much more effective at its job of protecting your property. You can modify the strength of its electric pulse according to your liking, which makes it more versatile.

It is also more secure than non-electric equivalents. Barbed wire can be cut while other physical fences and walls can be scaled or broken down. But anyone who tries to touch an electric fence will get a very rude shock.

Keep these in mind when maintaining your electric fence

An electric fence does have drawbacks and weaknesses. The most obvious one is its need for electricity. It is best to get an off-grid source of power and a battery system as soon as possible.

Likewise, the fence will function best if you keep it and the area around it clean and dry. Furthermore, you should remove any plants growing near it. Do the same for the battery and the control console.

Install a means of protecting the electric fence against thunderstorms. While most commercially available systems will have a means of grounding themselves, they can still be shut down by a lightning bolt.

Most states have laws governing the visibility and signaling of electric fences. Find out the specifics of these laws. Concealing your electric fence would of course make it much more effective at protecting your home, but getting arrested and thrown into jail would be the worse outcome.

Want to know other means of securing your homestead? You can find out more at

Sources include:

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