How to test an electric fence?

After successfully installing an electric fence, testing whether it works correctly is essential. There are some ways to test fencing, and they are given in this article. The fencing article below has detailed information regarding the methods to test and other related information.

Importance of testing an electric fence:

Many install electric fences to protect their farms and horses for other reasons. The fence is expensive and needs continuous observation.

Even though you are confident that the fencing has enough electric power, it still needs testing. It is mandatory to know whether the voltage is low or not.

When the voltage is very high, it gives dangerous shocks while touching animals. If the voltage is low, then animals may escape from the farm. By testing the fence, we can test whether it is working or not and find the fault.

Electric Fence

Reasons why an electric fence is not working:

Due to some reasons, the electric fence you installed on the farm may need to be fixed. There are some reasons why a fence doesn’t work, and they are,

No proper power supply:

Even after successfully installing electric fencing, it may not work due to improper electricity. Electricity is essential to run a fence. When there is an electrical issue, it stops working or doesn’t work correctly.

Finding the fault in the power supply is very easy. Check the power by using a voltmeter and measure the reading.


Weather in a place changes often, affecting the fencing. It may not have a problem during summer, but the voltage may fall during heavy rains and snowfall.

Poorly tied connectors:

When the connectors are poorly tied, it can cause disturbance in a fence. This problem is mainly seen for long connectors.

It is effortless and straightforward to find the fault and correct it. You can find the poorly tied connectors by walking and seeing all the connectors carefully.


These are essential, and this device doesn’t allow electric flow. Insulators cannot withstand the sun, and they may be damaged during summer. The only option to overcome this is to fix the damaged insulators.

Improper spacing:

Spacing between every fence post is essential. The fence post must maintain a 15-foot distance between them.

Breakage of the fence:

The common reason why electric fencing stops working is its breakage. When a fence breaks, the power doesn’t pass through the fence. The only way is to find the location of the fence breakage and fix it.


The long plants and grass may touch and damage the fence. So, it is essential to trim the plants regularly.

Ways to test an electric fence:

There are many ways to test an electric fence, and the following are some.

With Voltmeter:

The most reliable way to test a fence is by using a voltmeter. Voltmeter costs between $20 to $50 at home improvement stores. Follow the below steps to use a voltmeter to test a fence.

  • Firstly, stand near the fence and farthest from the fence charger. Check the manual to identify the ground wires.
  • After finding them, take the voltmeter, hold the plastic probe, and let the metal tip touch the ground where the fence is installed. Let the metal tip touch the soil near the fence if there is no ground wire.
  • Simultaneously, hold the metal pong on the end of the voltmeter.
  • The digital display of the voltmeter displays the voltage in the fence. Compare the manual and displayed voltage to check if it is working.
  • Follow these steps to find the fault in the fence.
With a non-contact voltmeter:

One of the easier ways to test the fence is by using a non-contact Voltmeter. It is available at any home improvement store for $20 to $50. Using this device, you can test the fence without contacting the fence.

  • Firstly, hold the voltmeter and move close to the fence. The distance can be 5 feet distance. Hold the device where the blinking lights are pointing at the fence.
  • If there is a fence charge, the device blinks or beeps. If not, move a little closer; even though there is no blink or beep, there is no charge in the fence.
  • Repeat these steps to find the fault in the fence.
Test using the compass:

The everyday use of a Compass is to find directions. We can test the fence with the electromagnetic field with a compass. Take the compass and hold it in your hand. Move close to the fence and make sure not to fall on the fence accidentally. Hold it for 30 seconds, and the compass arrow vibrates if there is any charge.

Using Electric Fence Indicator lights: 

While installing the fence, install the electric fencing indicator lights along with them. This helps to test the fence and monitor them.

The lights will be on if the fence is working properly, and the lights may blink or stop if it is not working correctly.

By hearing:

One of the ways to test the fence without any tools is by hearing them. You can hear the sound of the fence, whether it is working or not, by standing near it. Go to the calmest point of the fence and hear the current flowing sounds.

You can hear a slight sound, such as buzzing or humming sounds. If you don’t hear any sounds, then it may not be working.

Using a screwdriver:

The standard way most households use to check the current is with a screwdriver. The plastic holder of the screwdriver is non-conductive and doesn’t hurt your hands.

Remember not to touch the metallic part of the screwdriver. Now follow the below steps to test the fencing using a screwdriver.

  • Hold the screwdriver on the plastic part and touch the fence at any point. If there is a charge, the screwdriver will have an immediate arc.
  • If there are no arc movements, move to another step and touch it. The fence has no proper charge if you don’t find any difference.

Electric Fence Test with a Multimeter:

There is a way to test the Electric Fence is by using a Multimeter. The following steps are to test the fence using a Multimeter.

Homemade Electric Fence tester
Set the device in the Kilovolts range:

The fence commonly uses a high voltage to run a fence. To get accurate readings, set the Multimeter to Kilovolts. Set them and observe if the display has KV on display.

The typical household Multimeter’s range is only 600v, so get a Multimeter with a high voltage range. The fence may have AC or DC; find it in the manual.

Put the Multimeter on the fence:

Now, you need to place the positive(red) probe on the fence wire and the negative(black) probe on the metal surface close by.

The metal surface should not have any current flow. Make sure the Probes are placed correctly.

Check the Multimeter readings:

Now, check the Multimeter display; it shows the readings on it. The average voltage is 8000v. Refer to the manual to get the fence voltage range. If it is between them, then it is working correctly.

What is the process of making a homemade Electric Fence tester?

You can make an Electric Fence tester home if no tester is available. Follow the below steps to make one.

How to test an electric fence
  • Check the transmitter: Firstly, it is essential to check a transmitter. Most of the transmitters make a clicking sound if a charge is passing through them. It is the first sign that the fence is not working if you don’t hear any sound.
  • Check the wires: The next step is to check the entire fence wires, whether it has any broken wires or not. If the wire is broken, the electricity doesn’t pass through.
  • Search for the blade of grass: Now, find a long blade from the farm. Any type of grass is preferable.
  • Hold the grass against the fence: After finding the blade of grass, cut the stem and hold the grass against the fence.
  • Move the blade if needed: If it is not touching the fence, move it closer. Slide the blade of grass slowly.
  • Hold the grass: Find a perfect spot to find the voltage pulse. Now, hold the blade a few inches away from the wire.
  • Check pulses: Wait for a few minutes until you find the fence gives pulses. Let the blade of grass touch the wire before moving the glass closer.
  • Run down the fence: Now, hold the blade of glass and run a test for the entire fence wires to check if it is working or not.


An Electric fence is commonly used to protect farms and animals. Even after its successful installation, running a test on the fence is essential. This test is to check whether the fence is working correctly or not. There are many reasons that a fence might not work. Find the exact reason and use the above ways in the article to test the fence. You can find the operation of fencing by following any of the methods.


Can we test an electric fence using a Multimeter?

Yes, using a Multimeter, we can check whether the electric fence is working or not accurately.

How do you test an electric fence or energizer?

The simplest way to test an energizer is by turning off the energizer. Disconnect the ground wire and other fence wires. Now turn on the energizer and take the tester. Place one probe in the ground and another onto the energizer. If it shows any readings, then it is working correctly.

Can we test a fence using a Voltmeter?

Using the voltmeter to test the fence is one of the standard and reliable ways. This gives accurate readings and results.

Is the electric fencing flow AC or DC?

It can have both AC and DC based on the energizer. But AC is preferable.

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