If you’re a dairy farmer raising cattle, then you need the best fencing and wiring system to keep your cows in—and keep predators out. However, an electric fence is only as effective as the electric fence charger producing the voltage.
The best electric fence charger for a large dairy farm is the Gallagher M1100 Electric Fence Charger; this versatile charger produces a consistent, powerful shock over long mileage and will power multiple wires at a time. However, there are other great options to suit every dairy farm’s needs.
Electric fence chargers vary greatly in their range, how they are powered, and the amount of voltage they produce.
Continue reading to learn more about the best electric fence chargers for dairy farms and find one that will best fit your needs.
How to Choose the Best Electric Fence Charger
There is a lot of jargon when it comes to electric fence chargers, from various power outputs and distance ranges for electric chargers to many different terms like volts, joules, and OHMs. This can make it seem confusing to determine which charger is best for you, as well as how much energy you’ll need to energize your electric fence effectively.
Below, we’ll cover a few factors you should consider when picking an electric fence charger for your dairy farm:
The best rule of thumb to follow when deciding on a fence charger is to get 3-6 miles of power per joule. So, a 20-mile fence will be powered best by a 4-6-joule charger.
Manufacturer numbers for how much fence will be powered by each joule of energy may be higher than what the charger will produce because those numbers are based on ideal conditions.
Length Over Acreage
It is also important to note that although manufacturer descriptions often include an acreage amount, this is not a good number to rely on when choosing a charger. This is because a narrow pasture will require more fencing than a square-shaped pasture, even if both are the same acreage.
It is best to measure the length of your fence when choosing the best charger for your pasture.
How Many Wires Your Fence Has
Another important consideration when determining how much power your electric fence will require is how many wires the fence will contain.
Even if you have a smaller pasture, with a 5-mile fence, for example, a charger with a 5-mile range will only be effective if your fence only has one wire. If your 5-mile fence has 3 wires, you will need a fence charger with up to a 15-mile range.
Plug-In Charger v. Solar Powered Charger
The tables below provide the pros and cons of electric chargers that plug into a power outlet (AC chargers) and chargers that rely on solar power. Compare the items on these tables to determine which power source will best fit your needs.
Pros & Cons of AC Powered/Plug-in Electric Fence Charger
Pros & Cons of Solar Powered Electric Fence Charger
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Our Recommended List for Best Electric Fence Chargers
This solar-powered fence charger contains a built-in mounting bracket so that you can easily attach it to a post along the fence and is weatherproof. It also offers 360-degree rotation capabilities so that you can rotate it to directly face the sunlight.
Suppose you are concerned about the effectiveness of a solar-powered fence charger at night or on cloudy days. In that case, it is essential to note that this charger will operate and provide electricity for up to 2 weeks without sunlight.
This low-power charger will provide a strong enough charge to keep cattle in, as they are typically docile creatures. However, you may want to opt for a higher-power charger if your main goal is to keep aggressive predatory animals out.
If you’ve got a large farm with a lot of land to cover, then this electric fence charger may be the one for you. This charger will energize up to 110 miles of fencing with a single wire or up to 36 miles of fencing with multiple wires, ideal for large pastures.
The range of length of this electric fence charger also makes it a versatile option. If you only need a low-powered fence, then you can extend it to its maximum range. If you need a stronger charge to keep predators out, you can add multiple wires to a smaller area.
The manufacturer also notes that a fence with a large amount of overgrown vegetation will limit the range of this charger. This is the case with almost every electric charger.
Best in solar Chargers
This electric fence charger by Parmak is another solar-powered option with great online reviews. This charger produces 1.4 joules of electricity and will power up to 25 miles of wire.
This size would be ideal for a small to medium size dairy farm. It is made in the US and is covered by a 2-year warranty for free repair and replacement.
Another charger offered by Parmak, this option is not solar-powered but rather must be plugged into a power outlet. This charger also includes a performance meter that takes away the guessing game of how well the charger works.
This charger can be used with a single or multi-wire fence. It also offers color-coded terminals to easily determine which wires go to the fence and which go to the ground.
This charger by Zareba is another option ideal for a small pasture. It must be plugged into a power outlet to operate, so the charger will need to be located near a building or power source. It should also be kept under shelter to protect from weather damage.
This is also another low-power option that will effectively keep cattle in but may not be effective in keeping large predators out.
Another small-range option, this electric fence energizer by Briidea is an affordable choice ideal for a hobby farmer with a small pasture.
Storing this charger under shelter or indoors is recommended. So, if the fence that you’ll be charging is not located near an adequate shelter, this might not be the best option for you.
This solar-powered charger is another option ideal for smaller dairy farms. Like the solar-powered chargers above, this feature also makes it ideal for use in places with no access to power. The built-in solar panel charges a battery used to power the fence even when there is no sunlight.
As mentioned above, a low-powered charger will most likely keep cattle in but will not keep larger predators out. However, this charger will most likely effectively keep out other small intruders such as raccoons and skunks.
This electric fence charger by Parmak is an ideal solar-powered choice for larger pastures. The solar power charges the included 12-volt battery, which stores power for use during the night and cloudy or overcast days.
This charger is also weatherproof, meaning it can be kept outdoors and will not malfunction by rain and storms.
Best for Very Large Fences
This electric fence charger is an excellent option for very large pastures and dairy farms, as it will power up to 200 miles. It would also be ideal for fences with multiple wires. This charger must be plugged into a power outlet to operate and be housed under shelter to protect it from poor weather conditions.
This charger will be effective in both keeping cattle in and predators out.
This solar-powered charger is another ideal option for smaller hobby farms that will effectively keep docile livestock inside the fence but may not keep out predators like coyotes and wolves.
The solar power charges a battery used to power the fence at nighttime and can also power the fence for up to 2 weeks when fully charged.
This weatherproof fence charger contains a built-in mounting bracket so that it can easily be attached to a T-post, Y-post, or round wood post to receive the maximum amount of sunlight.
Electric Fence Chargers - Quick Reference Table
up to 5 Miles
Horses, Cattle, Pigs, Sheep, Goats
AC Power outlet
- 110 Miles on Single wire
- 36 Miles on Multi-Wire
Cattle, Horses, Pigs, Bulls, Sheep, Goats, Wildlife
up to 25 Miles
Horses, Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Bears
AC Power outlet
up to 50 Miles
Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Bears
AC Power outlet
up to 5 Miles
Animals heavier than 10 pounds
AC Power outlet
- 8 Acres
- Can go upto 2 Miles if used with Steel wire and no green touching the line
Cattle, Goats, Sheep.
Also it is good against the intruding animals rabbits, mice, skunks, woodchucks and raccoons
-3 Miles with single wire
- 0.5 Mile multi-wire fence
Cattle, Horses, Pigs
up to 30 miles
Cattle, Sheep, Goats, Horses
AC Power outlet
Cattle, horses, pigs, sheep, goats
up to 10 miles
Horses, cattle, pigs, sheep, goats
Electric Fence Charger Accessories
Of course, the electric fence charger does not come with all of the other items. You will need to add an electric wire to your fence. Here are some other things that you’ll need to purchase:
More information on these items that you will need for a complete electric fence circuit is listed below.
Portable Milking Machine?
Important Notes for Electric Fence Chargers
If you’re unsure whether your fence has enough charge or the charger doesn’t seem to be working effectively, it may not be a defective charger. These are some things that you can do to remedy the problems:
Purchase a Tester
Suppose you want to know how well your electric fence charger is working, rather than touching it yourself, as many of the reviewers using electric fence chargers have admitted doing. In that case, you can purchase a tester, like this voltmeter, for electric fences.
A tester will allow you to accurately determine how well your electric fence is performing so that you can know whether you need to troubleshoot and repair potential problems.
Additionally, some chargers, like the Parmak Super Energizer 5 listed above, include a built-in meter that allows you to know how well the charger is working.
Use a Good Ground
If you purchase a fence charger, only to find that it’s not working as well as you’d hoped, don’t jump to conclusions and return the charger. The first thing that you should do is to try to improve your ground. As many of the reviewers of these products attested, properly grounding your electric fence charger is key to having the best charger possible.
Why Is Grounding Necessary?
Grounding is necessary because it allows the electric circuit to be completed when an animal or other object touches the fence. Here’s how it works:
Tips to ensure a proper ground
Know Your Soil Quality
Because the electric current is conducted back to the grounding rod through the moisture in the soil, your soil quality can impact the performance of your electric charger and fence overall.
If you have very well-draining and dry soil or live in a dry climate, your fence may not provide a powerful shock because the moisture in the ground is not completing the electric circuit. This is an important note to keep in mind if you wonder why your charger is not working as it should.
How Does Vegetation Impacts Electric Fence Chargers?
On many pastures, especially on larger farms, vegetation is not kept well-trimmed. If you have tall grass and weeds growing up along your fence line and touching the electric wire, this will reduce the power of the shock that your electric fence will give.
Each blade of grass that touches the fence line returns a small amount of electric current to the grounding rod. This saps the power and reduces the efficacy of the shock provided to animals and larger objects.
If you think your electric fence charger is not putting out enough electricity, it may not be a defective product. Try cutting down any tall vegetation around your fence to produce a better shock.
There are many factors to consider when choosing the best electric fence charger for your dairy farm’s pasture, including the number of joules, the length of the fence that can be powered, and the power source used.
Even when you choose the best fence charger for you, it is also important to consider factors such as grounding, vegetation, and soil quality, to allow your fence charger to function effectively.
Browse the best and most highly recommended electric fence chargers listed above and consider all of the variants and factors to select the best product for your needs.