An electric fence is made of more than just conductive matieral, and it is the sum of all parts that can create a well-functioning fence... or not. Aside from the conductive material you need, of course, fence posts and insulators so that the conductive material can be connected and carried on along the posts. The following is a brief overview of the types of posts and insulators.
The type of fence posts that are recommended depends both on the local conditions (like the soil texture, the size of your pasture and the scenic appearance) and also on the fence type.
In principle, fence posts fulfill two different tasks:
- The corner posts present the framework of your electric fence. Theses posts have to be very stable because they have to hold the tension of the conductive material.
- The stretch posts hold the conductive material, but are not fastened and therefore are not subject to the tension. However, they still have to be stable enough so that they do not fall over if animals run into the fence.
There are different kinds of posts depending on the type of fence:
- Permanent fence systems often stand for several years. For this reason, usually wooden posts, recycled or steel T-posts are used. All posts are driven deeply into the ground, idealy about a third of their total length. Recycled posts may be treated as wooden posts, which means sawn, drilled etc. If the ground is too hard for wooden or recycled posts it is best to use T-posts made of steel.
- Half-permanent fence systems are usually built at the beginning of the season and deconstructed at its end. In this case, it is also advisable to use wooden or recycled posts. The posts along the fence line may be made of plastic. Plastic posts are completely insulated and easy to put up and take down.
- Mobile fence systems are often set up and taken down several times per year. This is why easy-to-build plastic posts or T-posts are used. For the corner posts, use longer and more stable plastic or T-posts. Both options usually have nubs along the total length so that component parts, like insulators in particular, can be attached easily. As plastic does not conduct the current, the insulators on plastic posts are integrated and you can simply attach the conductive material.
The space between the posts should normally be 4 to 5 meters. The spacing may also be shorter or longer depending on the ground.
Insulators separate the conductive material from the fence posts, so that the current is not discharged into the ground through the posts. The larger the insulators, the better their capacity to insulate. Insulators fulfill two different tasks:
- Insulators are attached to the corner posts to hold and keep the tension of the conductive material.
- Conductive insulators are attached to the fence line posts to keep the conductive material at the right height. The conductive material should not be fixed to the fence line posts by the insulators, simply held, so that the flexibility of the fence is not impaired.
Moreover, there are various insulators matching the respective form of the post, how it is attached or the type of conductive material.
The most widely-used conductive insulator is the classic ring insulator. Corner insulators are particularly stable, because they have to withstand the tension of the conductive material. They are also used to attach the beginning and end of the conductive material. There are also specific insulators for fence ropes and tapes, and for gate handles, there are gate insulators.
Fore more information about the other components of the electric fence, download our free guide book: