Electric fences are great, not only for keeping animals in but for keeping unwanted animals out. Whether protecting your livestock or your delicious vegetable garden, an electric fence can be a great addition to your yard or pasture. Of course, it is important to make sure that your electric fence is easy to maintain and cost-effective. There is not a more cost-effective way to run your electric fence than by harnessing the power of the sunlight.
Choosing the right solar fence charger can be a daunting task. There are hundreds to choose from and the prices and applications can vary greatly. Hopefully, this guide can help you to decide which solar fence charger is right for you. Be sure to check out the FAQ portion at the end just in case you have any lingering questions.
Solar Fence Chargers: Our Top 5 Choices
Zareba is North America’s largest electric fencing manufacturer. This means that Zareba has a plethora of options when it comes to anything electric fence related. Replacement components are fairly easy to find and fairly simple to install.
The Zareba ESP10M-Z has an output of 0.15 joules and is designed for deterring short haired animals. The unit itself is covered in a hard-plastic case and is easily mounted to outdoor fences or walls. This unit can be used with various types of wires or lines including steel wire, aluminum wire, polytape. polywire, or polyrope. This model is rated to deliver electrical pulses through up to 10 miles of fencing and includes an ‘at a glance indicator’ that flashes red when the fence is energized.
The battery can hold a solar charge for up to 14 days at a time. This particular model is typically bought for smaller applications and seems to get the job done for small enclosures like gardens or ‘holding’ areas, however, Zareba makes several larger models that pack a considerably higher punch.
- Durable hard-plastic casing.
- Easily mounted to various types of fenceposts.
- Indicator showing when the fence is energized.
- Low impedance technology (accommodates moderate contact with weeds so that shorting does not happen)
- Includes a 1-year warranty that includes lightning damage.
- The ‘at a glance’ indicator tends to be dim in appearance in bright conditions.
- The built-in batteries do not last an exceptionally long time.
Parmak has been in business since 1921, making it the oldest brand in the industry of farm-related electronics. They began by making wind-chargers and radios, and now make a variety of products that focus on durability and cost efficiency. Parmak is known for their high-quality electric fencing products.
The Parmak DF-SP-LI Solar Pak 6 has an output of 1.4 joules and can energize up to 25 miles of fencing. This model is also equipped with low impedance technology and includes a built-in performance meter that allows the user to verify the output in the event that any additional ‘fine-tuning’ needs to be done.
- Charges up to 25 miles of fencing.
- Can deliver shock through wet weeds and brush.
- Strong shocking power.
- Easily handles cold temperatures.
- Durable and long-lasting components.
- Includes a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Includes a built-in performance meter.
- Slightly more difficult to install.
Fi-Shock is a trusted brand of electric fencing equipment that most farm and home stores carry. They provide a fairly wide range of products and most all of their parts and components are readily available and easy to locate. Fi-Shock is known for their availability and user-friendliness.
The Fi-Shock ESP2M-FS is extremely user friendly. It has a simple toggle switch that can be switched on and off and an indicator light that indicates when the fence is energized. The solar panel is built with damage-resistant compartmentalization, making it very durable. This model is also equipped with low-impedance technology. The joule output is only rated at 0.04, meaning that it can charge up to 2 miles of fencing.
- Extremely easy to operate.
- Easy to install.
- Replacement parts and/or components are easy to find.
- Only has a 2-mile maximum range
- Shock is not very strong
- The built-in batteries do not last long and malfunctions happen often
Although previously mentioned, Parmak has another model that is definitely worth a look. The previous products covered are ideal for small to medium-sized spaces, but Parmak makes another model that packs a bigger punch.
The Parmak Magnum Solar-Pak 12 is operated by a rechargeable 12-volt battery that is charged by a built-in solar panel. The sun charges the battery via the panel during the day, and the fence operates by battery at night. The Parmak Magnum Solar-Pak 12 has a powerful charge and can operate a fence ranging up to 30 miles long with a joule output of 3.1. The unit is also equipped with low impedance technology. The weatherproof unit can be installed easily outdoors and is portable.
- Operates a fence up to 30 miles long.
- Has a strong output of 3.1 joules.
- Portable, durable, and weatherproof.
- Includes a built-in performance meter.
- Has a 3-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Long Lasting
- Slightly more expensive than smaller models.
Gallagher is known for their many farm and home electrical fencing options. They have extremely specialized equipment and thorough explanations of their applications. With great online availability and a wide variety of products, it is not very hard to find what you are looking for.
The Gallagher S10 solar fence charger has an extremely durable casing and can energize up to 3 miles of fencing. This model does not have low impedance technology but has the capacity 360 degree mounting so that the panel can be easily oriented towards the sun. This model also has a built-in lightning diverter. Its size, range, and durability make it a great choice for garden use.
- Extreme durability.
- 360 degree mounting capability.
- Fairly inexpensive.
- Easily installed.
- Not extremely powerful.
- Only has a 3-mile range.
Solar Fence Charger Buying Guide: Things to Know
Since there are a lot of things to consider when buying a solar fence charger, here are some things to remember to evaluate while making your decision.
Output Rating: The first thing to consider when purchasing a solar fence charger is the capacity that the unit has to deter the animal that you are trying to discourage from crossing the boundary that you are setting. Are you trying to hold large livestock or deter large predators or nuisance animals? Are you trying to keep small rodents or intruders from your garden? Each charger has a specific output power that is designed for a different and specific application. The higher the output power, the more effective the charge is for larger animals.
Maximum Range: Another important consideration is the size of the are that you are trying to enclose. Each unit will only be effective for a certain length of fence. Are you merely enclosing a garden space? Are you looking to enclose your entire property to graze livestock or protect your pets? If you are merely looking to protect your garden, a small enclosure with a less expensive solar fence charger might be adequate. However, if you are looking to enclose a medium or large pasture, it is important that you purchase a unit that can deliver an electric charge to a longer length of fence.
Durability: If you are looking for a long term, outdoor use unit that can withstand the elements and frequent repositioning, a unit with a high durability rating might be a better option for you. There are plenty of outdoor units available, and most solar fence chargers are rated to be out in the elements, however, each application has its own requirements, and some may need a more durable unit.
Ease of Installation and Repair: Some of the larger and more powerful solar fence chargers require extensive attention while installing and, inherently, more maintenance to keep them at their peak performance. Be sure that you have the time and energy to install and maintain the unit that you need so that it remains effective. If you ‘bite off more than you can chew’ and do not install or maintain your unit correctly, you will surely be disappointed.
Availability of Materials: Lastly, it is important that you consider that accidents happen, and you will surely need replacement components to your fencing over the years. Make sure to check and make sure that you can easily get the parts and components that you need for your fence in case of emergencies.
FAQ about Solar Fence Chargers
Q: Can I connect my solar charger to my pre-existing fence?
A: Unfortunately, NO. Under most circumstances, a traditional fence is grounded multiple times down its length. This means that the electricity will not successfully travel the length of the fence to complete the required circuit.
Q: How long should it take to charge the built-in battery?
A: This Depends on the unit. The best way to ensure that the integrity of the battery is maintained is to install the solar charger on a bright and sunny day, orienting the panel to face sunlight for as much time each day as possible.
Q: Will my solar charger work with multiple kinds of fencing?
A: Most often the answer is YES. Most chargers will be compatible with most styles of electric fencing; however, it is important that you check with the manufacturer’s description of the unit to verify the compatibility with the fencing that you plan to use.
Of the hundreds of available solar fence chargers, these are some of the better products to be considered. Depending upon your preferred application and the availability of the products, this should be a good starting point in your decision. There are so many products out there, it can be hard to make a choice. Just remember that a little research and comparison will go a long way.
Be sure that you decide exactly what you need your electric fence to do before you buy a solar fence charger. The charger is the ‘heart’ of an electric fence. The power enters and exits the charger and, hopefully, sends reminders to those who try to cross it where their boundary is. Hopefully, this buying for the best solar fence chargers has helped you! Happy zapping!