A solar-powered electric fence charger is the will protect your land without running power. It will never run out of juice or require long amounts of time to install AC wiring across your yard or pasture. Even more, in a power outage, solar fence chargers will keep your electric fence charged and ready to protect your livestock and gardens.
Here’s our top solar fence chargers reviewed in 2021:
|Parmak MAG12-SP Solar Fence Charger||Best Overall||4.6/5|
|Parmak DF-SP-LI Solar Fence Charger||Runner Up||4.5/5|
|Gallagher America 30 Acre Fence Charger||Best Large Fence||4.6/5|
|Zareba ESP10M-Z Solar Fence Charger||Best Small Fence||4.5/5|
|Patriot SolarGuard 50 Solar Fence Energizer||Best Budget||4.4/5|
|Zareba ESP2M-Z Solar Fence Charger||Best Value||4.6/5|
|Patriot SolarGuard 155 Fence Energizer||Most Premium||4.5/5|
Here we review the seven best solar fence chargers on the market and provide tips for choosing the right one for your property.
What is a Solar Fence Charger?
A good option for preventing domestic animals and livestock from roaming off is using an electric fence. An electric fence puts out a quick, low-damage shock when animals touch it.
If you keep livestock, you also need to protect them from wild animals such as coyotes, wolves, and bears.
Not only can an electric fence keep out unwanted visitors, but this can be a way to save money on electricity as well. But how can you use an electric fence and be environmentally friendly at the same time?
A solar fence charger is an environmentally-friendly option to an electric charge for your fence. It is a power source that harnesses its energy from the sun and can keep an electric fence charged for prolonged periods.
How Does a Solar Fence Charger Work?
The charger supplies the energy that puts out an electric shock whenever a person or animal contacts the metal fence wire. This shock is quick but can be slightly painful.
The energy used to put out the electric shock comes from the solar panel attached to the charger. This panel has a grid pattern with cells that collect the sun’s rays and convert them to energy, which charges the charger’s rechargeable battery.
What Should You Consider When Buying a Solar Fence Charger?
Before diving into the best solar fence chargers on the market, it is important to know what to consider before you make that purchase.
Battery life is important, no matter where you live. In winter, when there is heavy cloud coverage, you need a battery that will still perform. Your battery also needs to store enough energy to work at night when there is no sunlight.
Every solar-powered charger provides energy to power fences up to a certain length. The device’s open-circuit voltage determines the range capacity of a solar-powered charger.
The first thing to consider when making your selection is the length of the wire in your fence. If you only have an idea, you could make the mistake of purchasing a charger that will not provide enough power.
Type of Animal
The second factor to consider is what type of animals you want to contain and protect. If you have large animals like cattle and horses, you may need a higher voltage charger. Small animals such as pigs, goats, and dogs don’t require as much voltage.
What about the type of animal you are trying to keep out? It is essential to consider the voltage you need to keep rabbits out compared to the voltage required to keep coyotes away.
Voltage requirements will vary depending on the size of the animal you need to deter or keep contained.
For example, big animals such as deer, bears, or moose might need 4,000 – 5,000 volts for a strong enough shock to deter them. On the other hand, cattle and horses only need between 2,000 and 3,000 volts.
A joule is a unit of measurement related to the amount of energy and work used to accelerate something. For example, one joule of electricity is needed to light a one-watt LED bulb for one second.
In an electric fence charger, you need enough joules to make the energy and release the electric shock.
The intensity of a shock and the damage it could cause is determined by the amount of energy dispelled through the animal. When an animal touches the electric fence, it grounds the fence. The grounding creates a closed circuit that sends energy through the animal and back to the energizer.
Fence chargers follow standards that determine the electric output does not happen less than one time per second. This means that if your charger has 500 ohms, the shock duration is only 10 milliseconds. A standard electric fence charger can not give more than five joules per shock.
This standard keeps animals safe. Your electric fence is not there to kill; it is there to be a reminder for animals that this is as far as they can go.
There are several types of fence wire you can use. High tensile steel or aluminum is the most recommended for its durability and how well an electrical shock can travel through the wire. High tensile fencing is a good option for more permanent fencing and slower-moving animals.
You can also use poly wire, tape, or rope, but you could compromise the effectiveness of your fence. Poly wire has more give than high tensile wire. It is best used for fencing in horses.
The type of fence wire you choose really depends on what animals you are keeping in and out. It also depends on how large or small the area you are fencing is.
The presence of weeds can affect the voltage your electric fence can produce. There are two types of voltage associated with weed conditions.
The first type is the open circuit, which should be used if no weeds are touching the fence. An open circuit is when there is a break in the electric current. The current cannot travel from the positive terminal to the negative terminal. Once an animal touches the fence, the circuit closes, allowing the current to flow from one terminal to another.
In an ideal situation, where no weeds or other foreign matter are touching the fence, your electric fence will work at maximum performance levels. However, if you have excessive weeds and vegetation, the voltage will be greatly reduced, decreasing your fence’s effectiveness.
Be aware that every manufacturer labels voltage determined by light, medium, and heavy conditions.
As mentioned above, weed conditions can greatly affect how well your fence works. Trees, overgrown weeds, or shrubs can draw energy away from the fence.
A charger with a low-impedance will still deliver a shock even though weeds are touching the fence. This feature could be important for large scale farmers and ranchers who have many miles of fence to keep clean.
Choosing a solar fence charger that can withstand varying weather conditions is very important. You want one that is durable and waterproof. You are most likely installing your solar fence charger in a location with no protective covering; therefore, you need weatherproofing.
Our 7 Best Solar Fence Chargers
With these things in mind, we have put together a list of our top 7 choices for great, sustainable, solar fence chargers.
- Good for medium or large pastures
- 3- year warranty
- Puts out 1-3.1 joules
- Voltage- 500 ohms or 6,100 volts
- 30-mile range
Parmak has been in the electric fence business for many years. They are not the biggest name in the business, but they have the experience. They began making radios and wind turbines in the 1930s for the sole purpose of helping farmers and ranchers receive news and electricity.
The Parmak MAG12-SP Solar Fence Charger is one of its top-of-the-line products in Parmak’s solar-powered chargers. It is American made and designed, and your kit will include a 12V rechargeable battery and small solar panel.
This charger is perfect for protecting horses and cattle and has a 30-mile range. It will keep deer and other predators out while keeping your livestock in.
While we loved a lot about this solar fence charger, some design features could be improved. It is a large fence charger and requires a lengthy installation process. It also doesn’t deal with water or condensation well.
- Protection of small or medium areas/pastures
- Great for horses, cattle, dogs, and pigs
- CAS and UL listed
- 25-mile fence coverage
- 0.75-1.6 joules of energy output
- 3-year warranty
The Parmak DF-SP-LI electric fence charger was made for small farming operations and gardeners. It’s designed to have low-impedance through vegetation or other foreign matter. The shock comes from a 6V battery charged by a compact solar panel located on top of the charger.
When the charger discharges energy, it can reach between 0.75 and 1.6 joules. The electric fence can send out 9,000 volts at 500 ohms. It has adequate solar power to make energy for up to 25 miles of an electric fence line.
Parmak has designed the Solar Pak 6 with a performance meter built into it. You will know how your charger is doing anytime, day or night. It’s also completely weatherproof, so rain, snow, or condensation won’t be a problem.
- 30-acre range
- Works great for larger animals with thicker hides
- 360-degree mounting
- 0.12-joule output
- Three-week battery life
- 3-year warranty
Gallagher is another big name in the electric fencing business. They are originally a New Zealand company that has grown to a global status. Their primary business is providing affordable electric fence options for horse owners.
This compact charger can power 30 acres or 10 miles. It is delivered with a rechargeable battery and a built-in solar panel. This charger can store 0.16 joules of energy and last up to three weeks without a single ray of sunshine because its pulse rate slows at night, which saves battery power.
The ease of setup and quick installation gives farmers the option to move the solar fence charger around as needed. Gallagher has produced a charger that is equipped with a waterproof casing and lightning protection. It is super tough.
There is not much to dislike about this charger. If we have to choose one thing, it would be the price. It is the priciest on the market but is well worth it.
- Easy-grip knobs
- Capable of protecting pigs, sheep, goats, cattle, and horses
- 1-year warranty
- 0.15 joules
- 11,400 open-circuit voltage
- 10-mile range
Zareba is another great brand to consider for your electric fencing needs. They have designed the ESP 10M-Z to protect animals with short hair specifically. Small animal farmers will find this product quite effective even though it only puts out 0.15 joules.
The Zareba ESP 10M-Z can reach upwards of 10 miles of electric fencing, but they only guarantee this if your fence line is free of any foreign matter or vegetation and you are using steel wire. Poly wire cuts your range in half, even if you have a weed-free fence line.
Zareba systems include a 6V battery that needs to charge for almost three days in and off position. This ensures the battery is completely charged. Once your three days are up, your solar power will kick in. This charger can last almost two weeks with no sun.
This solar fence charger does have the lowest output on our list but can still be very effective at protecting small animals and areas. The price point is low, making this product one to seriously consider.
- Multiple power options
- 2-Year Warranty
- 30-mile range
- 1- joule output
- 0.5 distance range
The Patriot P10 solar electric fence charger is a small charger best used for gardens and residential yards. This one is great for keeping domesticated animals like dogs in your yard. It can also keep unwanted pests like rabbits and squirrels out of the garden you have diligently cared for.
This solar charger is interesting because of its battery management system. The system maximizes your battery life for a maximum of two weeks without charging.
The compact design of the P10 provides great portability. This design also provides users 0.05 joules and can reach up to 0.05 miles. It also includes a battery charge indicator. A red light will flash to let you know if your fence is working correctly.
- Works with steel or poly fencing
- Good for dogs, rabbits, and chickens
- 1-year warranty
- Distance range depends on fencing material and vegetation
- Output voltage: 8kV
- 20 mA output
The Zareba ESP2M-Z solar fence charger will not suit the large scale farmer or rancher. It is best for keeping domesticated animals out of certain areas like your garden.
This solar-powered charger works with a built-in solar panel. Solar energy charges a 4V battery with an output of 0.04 joules. The battery can power your fence day and night after it has been fully charged. There is also a low-impedance feature.
Weed conditions will affect the performance of the ESP2M-Z. A fence with steel wire and is clear of weeds can provide a range of up to 2 miles. Light vegetation can cause your range to drop to 1 mile. The poly wire will also reduce your range by half, even if you have no weeds.
This charger performs well with poly rope or tape and high tensile aluminum or steel wire. It also comes with a heavy-duty case that will protect all internal circuits, and that built-in solar panel will hold up well to adverse weather conditions.
- built-in lightning protection
- Uninterrupted performance up to 21 days
- 2-year warranty
- 0.15 joules of energy
- Range: 2 km
- Voltage output at 2,000
- ohms are 5.4kV
The Patriot SolarGuard 155 Fence Energizer is the all-in-one model. It is fully portable and easy to install on T-posts or any wood fence post.
Patriot has designed another model with a combined battery and solar panel. This charger gives people an off-grid solution for powering their electric fences. The battery is 12 volts and has a 7AH capacity. It has a range of up to 1.2 miles and provides 0.15 joules of output energy.
After a complete solar charge, your electric fence will work for up to 21 days. Patriot has delivered a product that offers the most reliable and longest performance. The intelligent battery system only improves battery life.
Benefits of a Solar Electric Fence Charger
There are many benefits of using a solar-powered fence, but the first and most important is economical. Farmers, ranchers, or those choosing to live off-grid, can protect their livestock and property without paying a utility company to install an AC power point.
In areas with a domestic power supply, there is a risk of power outages or blackouts. A solar electric fence charger can give you peace of mind in those situations. Your solar-powered charger will continue to protect your land and animals for days because the battery obtains its energy from the sun.
Installing a solar-powered fence charger also greatly reduces the chance of lightning damage, which could cause your electric fence to malfunction. AC model electric fence chargers are highly susceptible to lightning strikes and will cost more money over time.
Another great benefit is that a solar-powered fence charger is eco-friendly. Solar power is renewable; it never runs out and does not harm the environment.
Solar-powered chargers are also perfect for use in remote areas and are easy to install and move as needed. Unlike a traditional fence charger, if you have land farther away from your home, you don’t have to worry that your animals are not protected.
Lastly, solar fence chargers are an awesome alternative to traditional fencing options that can be harmful to animals. Barbed wire is a popular fencing material, but horses and cattle can get their manes or long hair tangled in it easily. Small animals like pigs and goats can get cut by barbed wire.
Solar-powered electric fences are safe and effective at protecting your property and animals from any environmental dangers associated with predators or pests.
What are the Drawbacks of a Solar Fence Charger?
While solar fence chargers have many benefits, there are also a couple of drawbacks.
First, you must be diligent about keeping the solar panels clean. A dirty solar panel will produce less energy. You will also need to clean off accumulated precipitation like snow and ice.
For larger-scale farmers and ranchers, the limited reach is a concern. Hobby farmers won’t have to worry about this too much as they probably won’t reach the limits of their solar fence charger.
Lastly, consecutive days of dreary weather could cause a shortage of output. The good news is that more charger options are available today to store enough energy to keep your fence electrified for days without sunlight.
Frequently Asked Questions
If you still are “on the fence” about choosing a solar-powered charger, maybe these frequently asked questions can help you.
Do Solar Fence Chargers Work?
Yes. Every second the sun emits enough power to handle the entire human energy demands for two hours. Solar energy is capable of powering any electrical device, including your fence charger.
New technology has enabled companies to develop solar panels that work at greater efficiency. This will give you peace of mind about your animals and gardens’ livelihood. Sunlight is a renewable energy source, which means your fence will work even in a power outage.
Will Solar Fence Chargers Work If It Is Cloudy?
Yes! The solar panels can still generate solar electricity in cloudy weather. The batteries will store electricity from previous sunny days so that it can be used during inclement weather.
How Long Do Solar Fence Chargers Last?
A solar fence charger can last up to two weeks in ideal weather conditions and only after it has been fully charged.
How Do I Charge My Solar Fence Charger?
Companies like Parmak fully charge their batteries before they leave the warehouse. What tends to happen is they spend some time sitting in a warehouse or the shelves of your local dealer. Because of this, it is important to fully charge your battery before turning on your charger.
To do this, you will take off the battery lid and let the charger sit in a sunny location for three to five days. After that, you will want to test your battery. Some solar fence chargers come with an indicator light that will tell you the state of your battery.
How Many Joules Should a Solar Fence Charger Have?
The typical recommendation is to have one joule per mile of fence. Bigger is always better, but there is a point that it is no longer safe. Induction can occur when you are nearing 7,000 volts.
How Do You Test a Solar Fence Charger?
To properly test your solar fence charger, you will need a voltage tester.
You can purchase a voltage tester online or at your local farm supply store. Your tester will let you know when it’s not emitting enough voltage. For example, a 12-volt battery should be emitting 12-volts of power.
There are other ways to test your fence charger, including a terminal test, ground rod test, and then check your fence line test.
How Do You Store a Solar Fence Charger?
If you aren’t using your solar fence charger, you should store it properly. Without proper storage, you could have to purchase a new one later on.
Storing your solar charger is fairly easy. Disconnect your charger from the fence or mounting post. Remove leads from the battery terminal. Turn the panel in the sun’s direction and let it charge the battery for one to two days. After that, store the charger in a temperature-controlled area.
It is not recommended that you store them without covering them. You also want to test the battery charge periodically. You want your battery to stay at around 40% while in storage. Anything below that could hinder the ability of the battery to hold a charge.
What Is the Cost of a Solar Fence Charger?
Due to the varying types of solar fence chargers, it is hard to nail down a specific price. What we do know is that you can spend a lot of money or a little. How much you spend depends on what your needs are and what brand you decide on.
A Parmak or Gallagher brand will cost anywhere from $200 to $400. If you choose to purchase a Zareba solar fence charger, you will probably spend around $150 to $300. Patriot brand solar fence chargers are the least expensive and best for small farms. They cost between $100 to $200.
Now you have it; the seven best solar fence chargers on the market. What we can conclude is that the best one for you is the one that meets your needs.
Cattle need a high tensile wire electric fence with a 2,000 to 3,000 voltage system. Remote areas will require a charger that does not use an AC power source. Consider what animals you have or what you want to keep out, the location of your pastures, and your budget to pick the optimal solar fence charger.