An electric fence is great for keeping livestock and domestic animals contained in an area or to keep unwanted intruders such as foxes or wolves to protect your property or livestock. It creates a low but quick shock to anyone or anything that touches it.
Most of the time due to limitations of AC outlets, certain sections of your electric fence may be left uncharged in a larger location. Also in the event of a blackout or power outage, your livestock and property would not be protected.
As such, the best way to prevent this problem would be to get some solar electric fence chargers that will never run out of energy or require complex installations for alternating current wiring across larger sized pastures. Continue on our guide to getting the best solar fence chargers that are currently on the market right now.
Before we go to our list, it is good to know 5 things before purchasing a solar fence charger.
5 Things to know before buying a solar fence charger
Every solar electric fence charge is designed to only power up a fence charger up to a maximum length or range. The item that dictates the range capacity of the solar electric fence charger will be the open-circuit voltage of the solar electric fence charger as well as the estimated voltage drops that are suffered across the electric wire fence.
So the first factor that you should look out for when purchasing a solar electric fence charger would be the length of the wire of your electric fence. If you were to select a solar fence charge that contains a lower range capacity than what is required then it will result in poor performance over time as well as across the fence.
You can use a simple formula to find out the range capacity and it is best to verify this with the manufacturer of the solar fence charger. The formula is below.
Range rating = fence length x Number of wires x 2
Using this formula will allow you to safely select a solar fence charger that will compensate for voltage drops as well as ensuring good performance.
The second factor is the voltage requirements that you will need in order to keep certain animals in or out of your fence. This is because different voltage requirements vary depending on the size of the animal that you want to keep out.
For example, larger animals such as moose or deer and some other predators might require between 4,000 to 5,000 volts at the bare minimum in order to generate enough of an electric shock to keep the animals contained or away. Meanwhile, other animals such as cattle or horses would require about 2,000 and 3,000 volts in a fence wire.
We have included a Zareba systems minimum voltage chart as a reference for how much is the minimum voltage recommended on fence lines for specific animals.
Another measurement unit that is often used and provided in a solar fence charger is the Joule output which is a unit of energy that is also represented as watts per second.
In most solar electric fence chargers, a joule is the indicator of the strength of the electric shock that the animal will receive. How intense the shock and damage that it can cause would depend on the amount of energy that is dissipated in the body of the said animal.
Since Voltage x Current = Watt, the electric shock received will depend on the current, voltage, time of electric pulse plus electrical resistance of the said animal.
Most solar fence chargers will be designed following standards such as the UL-69 or IEC 60335-2-76 that places the foundation that an electric pulse emitted by an electric fence must not occur less than once per second.
These standards also establish that while there occurs a load of 500 ohms, the impulse duration will last no longer than 10 milliseconds. The standards put in place will ensure that the maximum joule output that a solar fence charger shock will provide will not exceed 5 joules as a safety feature to avoid accidental damage to the body.
As can be expected, the higher the joule output, the stronger the electrical shock. So, if you have bigger livestock such as bulls and bison, you will require more joules in order to create an electrical shock that the animal will remember compared to smaller animals such as rabbits or dogs.
The solar powered electric fence should only be treated as a psychological barrier, the animals should be trained to recognize the solar powered electric fence as a barrier.
Weed conditions and use of fence wire
Most manufacturers offer two types of voltage conditions for solar fence chargers
The first type of condition is an open circuit voltage. This refers to the voltage that must be available in the fence if there is no animal or vegetation present touching the fence and should be measured as an indicator for voltage selection depending on the type of animal under ideal conditions.
There are external factors such as excessive weed conditions that could lead to substantial reductions in the effective voltage available in a fence wiring. Other factors you should take into account would be the selection of poly tape, rope, poly or steel wires.
As such, you should do some research and be aware of the fence voltage that is established by the manufacturer established under light, medium or even heavy weed conditions. The type of wire should also be taken into account as it would cause variations in the voltage output. Steel should always obtain the best and most consistent results.
You might also find some references indicating voltage at both 500 or 100 ohms. These measurements are referred to the electrical resistance that is generated by weeds. A 500 Ohm voltage could be referred to as medium weed levels and 100 ohm voltage will refer to heavy weed conditions.
The warranty of solar fence chargers would be an additional factor to consider as typical warranty periods range from 1-3 years depending on the brand as well as range capacity. You should always look to purchase the best solar electric fence charger with the correct range capacity as well as the longest provided warranty available.
Types of solar fence chargers
There are mainly three types of solar fence chargers that are out there in the market.
The first time is called the Continuous output fence charge. This type of solar fence charger provides a constant charge on hot wires, unlike pulse charges. This provides a consistent electrical charge to your fences but consumes a lot of power and is not as safe which is why they are rarely used nowadays.
The second type of solar fence charger is a solid state fence charge. This type of solar fence charge delivers a medium level of amperage shock in pulses of medium duration. As such, these types of solar fence charges are great for controlling shorthaired livestock in low weed conditions.
The third type of solar fence charger is the low impedance technology charger which is a modern and easy to install charger that has lower electrical resistance in the charger.
What this means is that more power will be able to flow through the wire fence and this is what makes it one of the best solar fence chargers that are ideal in most weed conditions and general conditions as well.
Location to install your solar fence chargers
Solar fence chargers are built and designed to withstand even the harshest weather conditions under rain or snow so weather conditions would not be something to worry about. On the other hand, you should know that your solar fence charger will require exposure to direct sunlight in order to maximize the energy conversion and in turn charge the battery faster.
As such, you should position the charger on the ground in a place where there are no nearby shade covers that will shelter the solar fence charger such as large and tall trees. Also, you should install the solar charger outside of the fence to prevent collision or damage caused by animals.
Finally, in order to ensure that the solar fence charger will work at peak performance, you should place it as close as possible to the grounding rods that you have installed so that you will be able to reduce the resistive path back to the solar fence charger.
Your solar fence charger should also be installed in the middle of the fence or at a place where the fence is not too far away from the solar fence charger compared to the other side as this will ensure that you will receive a similar voltage across the fence and prevent any substantial voltage drop at any point along the length of the fence.
Another option will be to try and position the solar fence charge at other points if you do somehow notice a significant drop in voltage across the fence. Generally, you will find certain models to be similar to solar phone chargers which are compact and easy to move and transport and so will be easy to configure without much effort in order to reach the desired voltage drop.
Benefits of a solar fence charger
There are a number of benefits and the main one is that the best solar fence chargers out there are economical.
Most of the times, these solar fence chargers will be employed in isolated areas where an AC power outlet connection might not be available, you might need to request for an installation of the AC power point to your utility company which could prove to be a very costly connection.
The only other option that you could take would be to make the installation yourself and install wires into the terrain from the nearest AC power point.
The process and costs involved that are associated with the wiring installation as well as additional tweaks to ensure the installation is safe and protected from either the terrain, weather conditions or wildlife would not be easy. These factors could easily result in the AC cables being damaged and that means no power could be sent to your fence chargers.
Additionally, another disadvantage of using an AC power source would be that in cases of a blackout, power outage or a short-circuit situation within your home, your fence chargers would be left without power and this may result in a possible escaping of your livestock or trespassing of unwanted intruders or predators.
Using solar fence chargers will remove the worry of any of the above conditions from happening. This is because solar fence chargers have fewer chances of getting damaged by lightning strikes compared to AC models.
Additionally, if your farm is located near an AC outlet, you will be able to achieve savings in the future while at the same time reducing pollution on the environment by utilising an eco-friendly electric fence.
Writer’s Top Choice for Overall Best Solar Fence Charger in 2021
1. Parmak MAG12-SP Solar Electric Fence Charger
The Parmak MAG12-SP solar fence charger is the state of the area best solar fence charger from Parmak. This Parmak Magnum model is designed and manufactured entirely in the USA that has operated and has years of experience in the electric fence market.
When you purchase this solar fence charge with impedance technology, you will also receive a kit component that includes a small solar panel that daily charges a 12V sealed lead-acid solar rechargeable battery that also helps to power and recharge your electric fence system even during the night.
This solar fence charger also has a built-in performance meter that will offer you three main functions when you turn it on. The first one is the performance meter operation test that you will use to verify if the meter movement is smooth and also able to indicate voltage output at maximum scale.
The second use would be the solar battery level test which comes in three indicators which are red, yellow and green to show whether the battery is discharged or if it is suitable for operation.
The final function that this solar fence charger provides would be the voltage output test which indicates the exact level of voltage that is available on your electric fence after performing the battery level test.
Parmak Magnum 12 volt solar fence chargers utilise low impedance technology with an open-circuit voltage of about 11,000 volts and also up to ranges of 40 miles making it one of the best solar fence chargers for medium to large fence pastures. As such, this solar fence charge is perfect for cattle, predators, dogs, pigs, bears, sheep and horses.
- 2 year warranty
- Suitable for medium to larger sized pastures
- Solar fence charger with low impedance technology
- In case of breakdown, not easy to fix
2. Parmak DF-SP-LI Solar Electric Fence Charger
The Parmak DF-SP-LI solar charger is also a great solar fence charger option available from Parmak that is designed for small to medium pastures and would be cheaper than our top recommended solar fence charger.
This solar powered fence charger is designed to be durable, solid state circuitry, computer precision and able to provide powerful shock on its powered electric fences. This fence charger utilises a small solar panel that will be able to constantly power a 6-volt battery with over 40% more solar battery charging and also holding enough energy to be able to cover up to 25 miles of electric fence wire.
Additionally, the Parmak DF-SP-LI offers a 3 year warranty that is covered by the brand and is one of the best solar fence chargers out there for horses, cattle, pigs and dogs. THis charger is able to dispense energy shock that reaches between 0.75 and 1.6 joules with voltage of the fence at 500 ohms that goes up to 9,000 volts.
Other features that make the Parmak DP-SP-LI the best solar fence charger out there is that it is totally weatherproof and comes with a built0in performance meter which measures and shows the condition of the fence at all times making it perfect for outdoor use.
Lastly, similar to the Parmak Magnum solar-park model, the performance meter that comes with this model features three operational tests which are the meter test, solar battery charge level as well as the final voltage output test.
- Suitable for small to medium pastures
- UL and CAS listed
- Low impedance technology
- Low performance in gray west coast winter conditions
3. Zareba ESP10M-Z Solar Electric Fence Charger
The Zareba ESP10m Z fence charger is also another great choice for a solar fence charger as it comes from another amazing brand that is focused on designing and manufacturing electric fencing systems.
The Zareba ESP10M Z charger allows a 10-mile solar electric fence that is perfect to contain animals such as goats, bulls, cattle and horses. The product provides up to 0.15 joules of electric shock that is designed to keep most short-haired animals well contained within their fence perimeter system.
Manufacturers of the Zareba ESP10M Z recommend that this product’s 6-volt battery is charged for up to 3 days in the off position so that it will completely charge up the battery. Once it is fully charged, the solar powered electric fence charger will be able to last up to two weeks without further charging.
This makes the Zareba ESP10M Z to be very reliable and is the best solar fence charger for medium pastures.
Additionally, this solar powered fence charger is able to reach and charge up to 10 miles of electric fence with low or no weeds if your fence is made up of steel wires and up to 5 miles if your perimeter is made up of poly wire with no weeds.
If heavy weed conditions are present, it would reduce the effectiveness of the charger range to zero while light weed can reduce it to up to 5 miles with steel wire or 2.5 miles with poly wire.
The Zareba ESP10M Z is manufactured in the USA and tested at full load at Zareba Systems’ manufacturing facility and comes with a 1-Year limited warranty which includes damages from lightning.
- Suitable for cattle, goats, horses, pigs, sheep and bulls
- Comes with easy grip knobs
- Some products come with faulty chargers
4. Patriot SolarGuard 50 Fence Energizer
The Patriot Solarguard 50 Fence energizer is a small fence charger that is intended for residential yards or vegetable gardens which make it great for applications that include containing domestic animals or keeping certain pests out.
The key feature of this fence charger is that it features an innovative and intelligent battery management system that is able to maximise the battery life once fully charged to last up to two weeks without a single charge.
Manufacturer specifications indicate that this fence charger is easy to install as well as being suitable for multiple animals which include roosters, rabbits, dogs, pigs, squirrels, smaller cattle and horses.
The Patriot SolarGuard 50 is designed to be compact and will be able to provide up to 0.05 joules of energy allowing it to reach up to 0.62 miles. This modular design allows it to generate an output voltage that is equivalent to 4.7kV on open circuits and 2.2kV at 1,000 ohms with an electric current consumption that is lower than 15 mA.
Due to its compact design, you will definitely appreciate its portability as well as its integrated solar panel that is designed to charge a 6-Volt battery with solar energy. This solar powered electric fence charger also includes a red light indicator that flashes and will show you the state of charge of the battery as well as letting you know if the fence is actually working properly or not.
- Weatherproof and rated IPX4
- Product comes with fence and earth leads
- Last 14 days without charging
- Small residential yards or vegetable gardens
- Not suitable for larger pastures
5. Zareba ESP2M-Z
The Zareba ESP2M Z mile solar fence charger is great for keeping smaller domestic animals outside of your restricted perimeter or a vegetable garden. It works by completely using a built-in solar panel that charges a 4 volt battery with a 0.04 Joule output and features low impedance for maximum performance.
The mile solar fence charger will be affected by weed conditions though as the distance range varies between 2 miles for steel wire with no weeds or only 1 mile for light weeds and using steel wires on your electric fence. If you have an option for poly wire, the distance range reduces to 1 mile with no weeds to 0.5 miles under light weed conditions.
A great feature with this easy to install charger is that it works with all types of fence wires ranging from high tensile steel, aluminium wire, poly rope or even poly tape wires.
Additionally, this Zareba Systems product will be able to operate during both day and night by utilising its 4-volt rechargeable battery which features a battery life of two weeks without sunlight after being fully charged with solar power.
Other features that come with this charger is that the product is designed with a durable case that protects the internal circuitry and also the integrated mount solar panel for extreme weather conditions.
- Suitable for smaller animals such as dogs and rabbits
- Works with all types of fence wires
- 1 year warranty
- Low-impedance technology
- Some customers experience faulty products
6. Patriot SolarGuard 150 Fence Energizer
The SolarGuard 150 solar Fence energizer is designed to be fully portable with an all in one compact design featuring an energy-efficient solar panel that charges the internal battery in order to power your fence line for a reliable and constant year round performance.
With an output of 0.15 joules, it is able to power up to 10 miles of electric fence or 40 acres of fence. It comes with a low-impedance energizer that is highly visible and flashes a red light that indicates when the energizer is working and powering the fence.
The SolarGuard 155 also comes with an intelligent battery-saving mode which helps to maximise battery life and can be mounted on T-posts or wood posts.
This model is designed with an integrated solar panel and battery of 12 volts and 7Ah capacity that allows a complete off the grid chagrin solution for your fence system. The storage capability of theis charger and easy to install features allow it to keep working for 21 consecutive days without charging.
As such, this feature offers one of the longest and reliable performances among the list of solar state fence charger that are listed on this list.
Among other things, the Patriot Solar Guard has a monocrystalline solar panel that is secured by a strong aluminium frame which helps to protect it from any damage.
- Comes with lightning protection
- 21 days of uninterrupted performance after a full charge
- Powers up to 10 miles of fence
- No warranty
7. Fi-Shock ESP2M-FS 2-Mile Solar-Powered Electric Fence Charger
You will be able to rely on the Fi Shock 2 Mile solar fence charger to provide an electric charge to your fence as it is mainly used to control smaller domestic animals and poultry such as keeping chickens in or foxes out.
As such, you will be able to exclude annoying animals that you would want to keep out of your property. This fence charger will be perfect for those owners who do not have an AC outlet that is close to the fenced area.
- Energizes up to two miles
- Operates up to 14 days without charging
- Low impedance tech
- Might not be suitable for larger animals
8. Silver Streak 12 Volt Lightning Diverter
If you are a serious farmer/rancher who is on the lookout for the best in fence solar energizers which are easy to install, then the Silver Streak 12 Volt Lightning Diverter is the charger for you. These chargers are designed with a 12V battery for portability in mind and have enough juice in them to shock through light weed and grass.
This charger is a pulse type charger that provides extra safety measures for children, small pets as well as wildlife. This solar charger also comes with indicator light flashes as the fence pulses in order to indicate that the charger is fully operational.
This fencer energizer charger is suitably for installation indoors or within a protected enclosure. Extra safety features include being fused for added protection against power surges. It would be good to know that the SIlver STreak Super 12 fence charger is designed to accept either steel or aluminium wire and charges up to 25 miles of fence under limited weed conditions or more ideal conditions.
The product comes with a one year limited warranty which covers any material defects and workmanship as well as lightning damage protection so you can always count on the manufacturer to provide any spare parts so that your charger can be up and running in a matter of days.
- Suitable for small to medium pastures
- Suitable for larger animals
- Product comes with lightning protection
- Releases slightly less than 2 Joules than advertised
9. Gallagher S100 1.0 Joule
For those of you who prefer a convenient and easy to install solar charger then the Gallagher S100, Solar Powered Electric Fence Energizer is the one for you as it is convenient and comes with a fully integrated portable power with 1 Joule of solar powering charging up to 30 miles or 100 acres of land and comes with integrated solar panels, rechargeable battery and fancy and ground leadsets.
This solar charger also comes with a battery status indicator so that you will have peace of mind as it will indicate whether the battery requires charging or replacement. It is also designed to be highly portable and robust with a convenient carry handle as well as a tough plastic case that is designed for outdoor use.
It is resistant to weather conditions and will keep pulsing despite any dust, heat, rain or cold and also comes with additional built-in lightning protection.
The S100 Solar Energizer comes with multiple power options and two operating modes which ensure optimum battery management and also animal control specific to your shock requirements. There will be two options, the wildlife control mode as well as the Livestock animal control mode.
When in Wildlife control mode, the charger will operate with a fast pulse both day and night in order to ensure all wildlife is repelled. When in Livestock animal control mode, the charger operates with a fast pulse during the day while it will have a slower pulse at night since domestic animals will be less active during the night.
Other features of the S100 Solar ENergizer include a turn on and forget option with automated battery management, an indicator light for measuring fence power, a quick to install feature as it is easy to set up at almost any location as well as being portable for grazing and better pasture management.
When mounting the S100 Solar Energizer, you will be able to have the option of having 360 degrees mounting on T-posts for correct orientation towards the sun, so this allows the energizer to be mounted on at post that is already part of your pasture’s fence line no matter which way the post is facing.
- Convenient fully integrated portable power
- Lasts up to 3 weeks after full charge
- Lightning protection
10. Gallagher S10 solar fence energizer
Similar to the Gallagher S100, it is another powerful and efficient product that will definitely meet your expectations.
It is a portable fence charger that will be able to cover about 3 miles and so will be just enough for a small fence and able to cover up to 15 acres of a single wire fence without vegetation, so you should take note that not only is this item for animal protection but also for garden protection.
Additionally, you may want to consider this option if you are considering a temporary grazing application so it is definitely a versatile choice that you can take advantage of for many different types of application.
Another great feature of this fencer charger is that it is made out of durable materials and is tough for outdoor applications being both drops resistant as well as having a waterproof casing to be able to withstand harsh weather conditions. It also comes with integrated lightning protection so all of the features definitely help promote the good use of this product.
Similar to the Gallagher S100, this solar charger comes with a 360-degree mounting on steel posts so that you will be able to adjust the correct positioning towards sunlight and one feature that makes it stand out from the other solar chargers is that it comes with an integrated lightning diverter which might not be available in other chargers.
- Ideal for temporary gazing applications
- Easy to install
- Made out of durable materials
- Lower shock output compared to other chargers on our list
How to safely operate an electric fence
Electric fences are designed specifically to generate damage and shock so it will be necessary to know the steps and precautions you should take to safely and successfully operate an electric fence by first performing a few tests.
Before you install your solar fence charger into a wood post, you should first ensure that the fence charger is turned off. Even in a turn of state, the battery that is contained inside the fence charger may still contain some charges so turning on the device before it is connected to hot and grounded terminals could lead to you experiencing an unexpected shock.
After installation, the next step that you should take would be to leave the fence charger alone for about 3-4 days to receive direct sunlight so that your solar fence charger will be able to recharge the DC battery.
After this is done, you should turn on your solar fence charger and perform the below tests. Usually, a performance meter or indicator light will come with your solar fence chargers and will generally be available for you to perform tests on the product.
The first test that you should perform on your solar powered electric fence would be to verify if the meter of your solar fence charger is actually working. If it does, the meter should be able to smoothly measure any increase in voltage to its ultimate value.
The next test that you should perform would be related to checking the state of the solar fence charger battery. You should look for an indicator of how much energy is available inside the battery regarding the maximum capacity it is able to hold.
The third and last step should be checking the voltage of your solar fence charger under normal conditions. There should be a meter that indicates the open-circuit value of your electric fence.
If you have a voltage tester, it could also be used to verify the voltage output across your electric fence and you should expect to see some voltage drops the further the electric fence is from your solar fence charger.
The most important thing to keep in mind would be the grounding system as it is the most essential part of keeping your solar powered electric fence in safe operation. This is because a good grounding system will be able to guarantee that the electrical current will rapidly find the shortest path back to the fence charger.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Q: How long do solar powered chargers last?
Depending on the type of product, after a full charger, they typically last about 2-3 weeks
Q: Do solar electric fences work at night?
As long as the battery within your charger is charged, they will still work at night.