Best Solar Electric Fence Charger of 2020: Top-Rated Reviews
Electric fences keep your animals, or your crops, safe and secure, but they need a charge to function. Thankfully, with a little help, you can tap the most plentiful energy on earth to keep you fence charged. (1) Read on to learn about the best solar fence chargers available and what they could do for you!
Gallagher S40 (Best Overall)
It is portable but durable, has unique battery-saving technology, and is capable of charging fences encompassing up to 80 acres, which makes it our choice for the best overall solar fence charger.
Solar Fence Charger Reviews
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|Parmak DF-SP-LI Solar Pak 6||
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|Silver Streak Solar Fence Charger||
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|Dare DS 20 3 Acre Solar Energizer||
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|Fence Master 6 Mile||
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|Premium Solar IntelliShock||
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Solar energy is often referred to as “green power” because it’s a renewable resource that doesn’t harm the environment. (2) Since it comes from the sun, solar energy won’t run out like other energy sources, like coal. Well, unless somehow the sun goes dark. If that happens, we will have a lot more to worry about than keep fences electrified!
Harnessing the power of the sun to maintain the charge of a fence is cheaper for you (since you just need to buy the device) and better for the environment. Additionally, as you’ll see, there are many applications for these products. Read on to learn why these chargers made our list of the best solar fence chargers of 2020.
Packed with plenty of power and some impressive weather-proofing features, the Gallagher S40 tops our list as the best overall. It’s durable enough to withstand a lot of wear and tear, but portable enough that you can easily transport it to the farthest reaches of your land.
The S40’s exterior is water-resistant and includes built-in lightning protection, so it’s safe (and easy) to install it just about anywhere. Depending on your setup, the S40 can power up to 25 miles of single wire fence, or up to 5 miles of multi-wire fencing.
One of the main reasons we love this charger is how powerful it is. The low-impedance charger stores 0.4 Joules of energy. It can easily handle cattle, horses, pigs, and bulls.
Additionally, with a built-in solar panel and a rechargeable 6V battery, you have a reliable power source in any weather. This battery keeps on powering up your fence for up to three weeks without sun.
Another key feature in the S40 is the adjustable power settings. You set the charger to pulse less frequently at night when the animals are less active which can conserve power. Likewise, if you use it to keep nuisance animals away, you can lessen the power by day and crank it up at night for the nocturnal invaders!
The Parmak DF-SP-LI Solar Pak 6 earns the honor of being our budget pick because it’s a surprisingly durable, low-impedance charger that packs decent power for a reasonable price. Parmak is a respected, reputable brand that is known for its quality products and the DF-SP-LI Solar Pak 6 fits that mold.
While this charger may not look as pretty as some of the others, it delivers plenty of power to cover a small to medium-sized pasture. The DF-SP-LI Solar Pak 6 is a popular choice for containing everything from cattle to chickens.
This charger handles the cold well enough and manages sufficiently through the elements. It even has a built-in performance meter on the front that allows you to test meter operation, battery charge level, and fence voltage output.
Given the durability and reasonable price, the Parmak DF-SP-LI Solar Pak 6 could be a good choice for keeping your livestock safe or deterring wildlife from your crops. It also happens to be made in America.
One of things we would not about this one is the importance of grounding the charger properly. Based on our research, several reviewers noted that you need to follow the instructions to establish proper grounding to make the most of this charger.
If you want serious power to activate your fence, it’s tough to beat the Silver Streak Solar Fence Charger. We picked this one as our most powerful solar fence charger” because it works through tall grass and brush, adapts to steel or aluminum wire, and can power up to 100 miles of fence.
The low-impedance charger delivers two Joules of power but includes extra safety measures for children and pets. It also comes with a free lightning diverter for additional protection during storms.
One of the unique features of this solar fence charger is the battery. There is no internal battery, it clips to the outside of the unit. However, you don’t have to worry about searching for a special battery because it works with any 12V battery.
This solar charger offers serious power and range with impressive durability. However, just in case you need it, Silver Streak offers a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Note: We found that a lot of reviewers commended Silver Streak’s customer service. We reached out to ask a few questions about the charger and spoke with two different representatives. Both individuals were kind, respectful, and when one didn’t know the answer, she found somebody who did. Impressive!
The Dare DS 20 3-Acre Solar Energizer is our pick for the best solar fence charger for cattle for several reasons, including its size and power. The 6-volt Dare DS delivers up to .07 Joules in a lightweight, low-profile package. It’s small enough to fit any fence and can power fences in remote areas with no other power source.
Like other Dare products, the DS 20 is energy efficient and made to withstand the elements. This low-impedance charger even comes with built-in lightning protection.
Anybody looking to secure cattle or protect a garden from small critters may want to consider this charger. Not only is it easy to install, it efficiently powers up to 3 acres of fence, and includes a self-contained battery.
We should note that several users recommend this charger for a single-wire fence. Some users reported that they found it insufficient for cattle, but most reviewers commended the performance within the three-mile range.
The Fence Master 6-Mile Fence Charger is our pick for best solar fence charger for horses because it is powerful enough to energize up to six miles and deliver high voltage shocks that will deter but not harm your horses.
Encased in weather-proof, heavy-duty plastic, the output is 12,000 volts at the source and 5,000 volts at three miles. With such effective voltage, the Fence Master 6-mile fence charger may be a good choice for deterring predators as well.
Though the impressive power comes from an over-sized transformer, you don’t have to worry about the charger occupying too much space. It works well with single or multi-wire fences and handles most conditions, including heavy brush and wet grass.
Additionally, this low-impedance solar charger is made in America by a family-owned business. It comes with a 5-year warranty when registered with an additional 1-year warranty on batteries. If you don’t register the device, you’re not out of luck, you still get a 2-year warranty from the date of manufacturing.
The Gallagher S16 solar fence charger can energize up to ten miles of single-wire fencing. If you need a charger for a smaller to a medium-sized area, this may be a good option because it can handle up to 30 acres of pasture. Plus, it uses a 6-volt battery and special technology that keeps the charger functioning for up to three weeks without sunlight.
This low-impedance charger emits a low clicking sound and has dim blinking lights to let you know that it is running properly. It is easy to install and works with most animals, including cattle and horses, but may not deter more stubborn creatures, like goats.
Of note, we found a handful of reviews that suggested the S16 doesn’t hold up well in heavy rain or snow. Also, while it is easy to install, you may also need to make some modifications for grounding. Unfortunately, the included leads run a little shorter than we’d like.
If you want a versatile solar charger, the Premium Solar Intellishock may be a good fit for your space. It’s portable, which means you can use it almost anywhere. Plus, the Intellishock is easy to install on a fence or using the included in-ground stake.
The Intellishock is a 0.6 Joule solar charger that averages 6,000 volts. It is versatile enough to power a few rolls of electric netting, one mile of three-strand fencing, or a half mile of five to seven strand fencing.
You can adjust the position of the solar panel to maximize sun exposure at any time of year. Additionally, the included battery has a large capacity to keep the charger operational even during times of limited sun exposure. You can also plug it into a 110V battery recharger.
The Intellishock comes with a two-year warranty that happens to cover defective parts and lightning. There is a 30-day warranty on the batteries. You also get a full kit of accessories, including a five-light tester, wiring harness, and battery recharger.
This solar charger works well in damp to wet conditions. We didn’t get to try it, but some users reported that the Intellishock continued working after significant water exposure (including complete submersion during a flood!).
The Gallagher S10 is a solid low-impedance option for remote locations and can energize up to three miles of single-wire fence. It’s portable thanks to a built-in handle and low-profile enough to fit most fences, yet durable enough to withstand the elements. The S10 has a waterproof, drop-resistant case, and built-in lightning protection.
From protecting your garden to managing livestock to containing the family pets, the Gallagher S10 can last for up to three weeks with limited sun exposure. It runs on built-in solar panels and an included 6-volt battery.
The S10 is portable but it’s also easy to install and remove as needed. This is especially helpful if you need a temporary charger or aren’t sure where you want to set it up permanently. As an added perk, the Gallagher S10 comes with a three-year warranty instead of the typical one or two-year warranty options.
We would caution that while the S10 emits a decent charge, it may not deter larger animals, like bears, or stubborn animals, like goats. Also, we found that a few users struggled with getting enough charge when using poly rope or tape.
The Zareba ESP30M-Z may be an excellent choice for people who need more range than the average charger can manage. This solar-powered, low-impedance electric fence charger can cover up to thirty miles and maintain power for up to two weeks with limited to no sun exposure. It also includes a two-year warranty that includes lightning damage.
This solar charger is easy to install and use with color-coordinated terminals and a “fence OK” indicator light to let you know when the charger is functional. Whether you want to keep your livestock in or need to deter wildlife from breaching your fence, the Zareba ESP30M-Z delivers enough power to manage your space.
Note: we found that a handful of users reported the same problems with power fluctuations with this model.
The Parmak Magnum Solar-Pak boasts an impressive thirty-mile range. With a sturdy, weatherproof design, this is an excellent low-impedance option for people wanting to secure larger pastures. The American-made design includes a sealed 12-volt rechargeable battery to ensure the charger lasts through periods without sunlight.
Anybody dealing with wildlife wreaking havoc on their land (even bears!) may want to consider the Parmak MAG12-SP as a deterrent. It delivers enough charge to frighten off a nuisance but it’s safe enough to use for containment of livestock or pets.
Be aware that the charger weighs approximately twenty-five pounds, so you may need to take extra steps and use additional hardware when securing it to a post. It does come with a two-year warranty that includes lightning protection.
Looking at the Gallagher S22 tells you that it’s different from other Gallagher solar chargers. The unique shape of the S22 protects the internal battery and circuit board from the elements. This low-impedance charger features a sturdy, non-rusting case with built-in lightning protection.
Capable of managing 12 miles of a single-wire fence, the S22 is smaller than some of the others on this list, but it’s quite versatile. You can place it on the ground or attach it to a pole without compromising the effectiveness of the charge. Additionally, since the S22 is meant to be portable, it features a built-in handle for carrying and is easy to install or remove.
The Zareba ESP10M-Z is American-made and tested to ensure functionality. This low-impedance solar fence charger can handle up to ten miles of fence and can last up to two weeks without sun. Installation is simple because the ESP10M-Z includes a mounting bracket. You can mount it to almost any post or even hang it on a flat surface with screws.
There are a few important notes about the ESP10M-Z that may make it less effective for some people. First, since it has an output of 0.15 joules, it works best for short-haired animals. Also, while it can work with poly products, you will get less power.
The ESP10M-Z comes with a one-year warranty that covers lightning damage. It is also made to resist shorts caused by contact with weeds or brush.
If you like the Zareba ESP10M-Z but feel it’s a bit too much for your needs, try the smaller Zareba ESP5M-Z. Capable of energizing up to five miles of fencing, the low-impedance ESP5M-Z covers less area but still maintains a charge for up to 2 weeks without sun exposure.
Another perk of the smaller solar charger is the low-profile and 360-degree rotation that means you can find the optimal angle. The ESP5M-Z also utilizes the same mounted bracket installation system as the larger charger, and it’s equally portable. You can use it as a temporary or permanent fixture to charge your fence.
You don’t need to purchase a separate battery for this solar charger. While it’s smaller in terms of range, it delivers enough of a shock to manage cattle and horses. It is an excellent option for containing pets or deterring smaller nuisance animals from a garden.
Buyers’ Guide (Top 7 Tips – How to Buy the Best Solar Electric Fence Charger for You)
Phew! That is a lot of information on some really cool products. If you’re having trouble deciding which one is best for you, that’s okay. We think we can help you figure it out, and at the very least, break any ties, with the following seven tips.
1. Calculate your “minimum amount of voltage” required to contain your animal(s)
Selecting the best solar electric fence charger for you starts with voltage because if it is too low, your fence won’t contain (or deter) the animals in question. The minimum voltage for containing cattle may look different from beekeepers protecting their hives from bears.
Of course, this isn’t to say that you don’t have a fence serving double duty to keep your cattle in and predators out. That’s why it’s important to evaluate your situation and determine your needs to create a custom electric fence solution. (3) Here are the voltage requirements for some of the more common animals:
- You need 2,000 to 3,000 volts to keep cattle and horses secure. (4)
- Goats require higher voltage, 4,000 to 5,000 volts, because they are more difficult to fence. (5)
- Bears are large, muscular, and hairy, so you need around 7,000 volts to deter them. (6)
- For nuisance animals, like raccoons, you may need to worry more about the spacing of your wires than the voltage, but a lower voltage, between 1,000 and 2,000 volts, should do the trick.
2. Make sure the solar fence charger you want has enough “range capacity”
Charging a fence around a small vegetable garden looks a lot different from energizing several acres of grazing land. While you could try to use the same size and capacity for both, it’s doubtful that it will work out well.
Interestingly, while it’s tempting to rely on acreage, you may want to focus more on mileage. (7) Many of the chargers we reviewed claim to cover so many miles of single-wire or multi-wire fencing.
For example, you look at a charger with a range of thirty miles. If you have a single strand that is thirty miles long, you’re in business. However, if you have three or four strands covering thirty miles, then you will need more power or additional chargers.
3. Check the Joule rating to ensure “shock strength”
We discussed voltage as your first consideration, but as you may have noticed, many of our solar fence charger reviews mentioned Joules. Let’s take a moment to clarify the difference, and why it matters for your electric fence.
Voltage is a measure of electric pressure, or what makes a current happen. (8) It’s how you power an electric object, like an electric fence charger. Joules and Joule ratings are slightly more complicated because it refers to the amount of work done. In terms of electric fences, Joule ratings refer to the amount of power transferred from the charger to the fence wire. (9)
When selecting a solar fence charger, consider the Joule rating because it tells you three things you need to know:
- The amount of energy the charger can supply to your fence.
- The intensity of the shock delivered to an animal.
- The amount of strain on the fence (like weeds or brush) the charger can overcome.
4. Consider your area’s “weed conditions”
How overgrown is the land around your electric fence? Don’t worry, we’re not passing judgment on how you keep up your land. You may be surprised to learn that weeds can actually impact the efficiency of your electric fence and solar fence charger. Even if you already knew that weeds and brush could cause problems, humor us as we explain how and why.
Dense weeds that grow tall enough to reach the wires on your fence create problems by impacting the efficiency of the electric current. A lot of weed and brush leaning on the wire leads to a loss of voltage and pushes the energy to other parts of the fence line.
It’s a good idea to encourage grass growth along the fence and maintain the areas as much as possible. Allowing grass to grow thick and higher than usual, like three to four inches, is an excellent way to crowd out weeds and prevent the drain on your electric fence.
5. Consider your area’s “weather conditions”
Like your electric fence, your solar charger is probably outside where it’s exposed to the elements. It’s easy to feel good about your solar charger on a sunny summer day, but what about during a severe storm or snow or extreme cold? Before selecting a charger, look at how well it handles the elements.
Choosing a charger with a “weatherproof” case is only one consideration because it’s such a vague term. While solar panels generally withstand extreme weather, including hot and cold temperatures, there are other components involved in fence chargers. Before purchasing, it’s important to explore how much extreme weather the charger can actually handle.
You can mitigate elements like the wind by securely anchoring your charger to the ground or post. Since you need to ground the charger anyway, it doesn’t take a lot of extra work to secure your charger. However, wind isn’t the only consideration, especially for open areas that get a lot of rain and snow.
Waterproof vs. Water-resistant
Looking over our solar fence charger reviews, some of the cases are water-resistant while others claim to be waterproof. Knowing the difference could save you some losses down the line because they are not the same. (10)
Cases designated as waterproof should keep water on the outside. It would mean that the battery and circuitry inside would remain dry under normal conditions and may even be submersible in water to a certain level. Water-resistant cases offer some protection from water but may not stand up as well in heavier rains or snowstorms.
Make sure you consider the amount of precipitation you get throughout the year. You don’t want to choose a charger with a case that cannot handle the amount of rain or snow thrown at it. After all, chasing down animals after a thunderstorm sounds miserable!
In many cases, you anchor a charger to a post, which leaves it susceptible to lightning strikes. Some chargers include built-in lightning protection or at least include a lightning diverter as a part of the kit. If you select a charger that doesn’t have either of these, you may need to purchase a lightning diverter or lightning arrester separately to protect your charger.
6. Make sure you get the right “type” of solar fence charger
After reading our solar fence charger reviews, it’s easy to see that there are many options on the market. However, all of the chargers can be broken down into three types that each have benefits and disadvantages.
Continuous Output Fence Charger
The first type of solar fence charger is known as a continuous output. As the name suggests, the charger continuously streams electricity so that the wires remain constantly charged. We strongly advise against using a continuous output fence charger.
While a continuous charge sounds like a good idea at first, you may want to think twice before purchasing a continuous output fence charger for two big reasons. First, constantly charged wires could cause damage for children and pets. This type of charger also consumes a lot more energy which drains the battery faster and requires more maintenance on your part.
Solid-State Fence Charger
We prefer solid-state, or high-impedance fence chargers over continuous output chargers. Many people use solid-state chargers to manage and protect livestock, especially since they work with aluminum or steel fences.
These chargers deliver a lesser shock than the continuous output, but it’s still enough to deter unwanted animals while keeping your livestock safe. Plus, the medium voltage shock won’t harm your livestock, but they won’t like the feeling, so they will tend to avoid the fence.
Additionally, solid-state fence chargers only deliver shocks intermittently, so they don’t use as much power. These chargers produce shocks in pulses, so animals have a chance to get away before they get shocked again. The pulse feature makes these chargers safer for humans and pets.
Of course, this type of charger works better for smaller animals or those with short fur since the shock is not as strong. Weeds and brush can also impact the effectiveness, so it’s extra important to maintain the vegetation around this type of solar-powered fence charger.
Low-Impedance Technology Charger
The third type of charger is a low-impedance style that corrects the issues with solid-state chargers. Many of the newer models are low-impedance chargers because they are more efficient and effective for managing animals.
Low-impedance chargers increase the amount of energy they put out when there is a heavier load on the fence, like overgrown weeds or brush.
To do this, they hold a reserve and release it as needed. Consequently, low-impedance chargers manage power better.
Additionally, low-impedance chargers emit stronger shocks to animals, not so strong as to harm them, but enough to deter larger animals. Also, like the solid-state type, these chargers don’t deliver continuous shock, so animals have a chance to move away before receiving another jolt.
If your animals still have trouble seeing your fence and continue to shock themselves, consider adding some dusk to dawn solar outdoor lighting to help illuminate tough to see areas.
We strongly suggest choosing a low-impedance charger for several reasons. They last longer, handle power better, and tend to have greater range than the alternatives.
7. Find the “top deal” for you
There are other factors to consider that can set one product apart from the rest. From special pricing to additional charges, you probably want to get the best possible deal on a solar fence charger.
Whether you’re buying a solar lamp post, solar fence charger, or pretty much any piece of outdoor solar equipment – checking for a good warranty is always recommended. The standard warranty for solar fence chargers is two years, but some manufacturers offer as little as thirty days. A rare few offer longer warranties, but we haven’t found one that gives you more than five years.
However, given the nature of this type of equipment and the exposure to the elements, you may prefer to spend a little extra for an extended warranty. Also, look into what the warranty covers, because there may be additional limitations. For example, lightning is a common problem that may not be covered by some manufacturers.
Limited Time Deals
Who doesn’t love a good deal? Whether it’s a special discount for a certain time of year (looking at you, Black Friday) or the inclusion of additional items (like a lightning diverter), it’s nice when somebody sweetens the pot a bit.
Unless you have an emergency or a narrow time frame to work with, it may be worth your time to watch for a special deal. Just be wary of fine print or deals that sound too good to be true.
For products like this, you have to consider shipping costs. Since some of these chargers include batteries, they cannot be transported by plane. That means you have to go with ground shipping which can take longer and sometimes cost extra.
Note: don’t forget to consider possible damage incurred during shipping and whether you would have to pay to return the item.
Price is a powerful figure when you’re purchasing equipment, especially electrical equipment. Consider everything that goes into the final price of a purchase when making comparisons.
Think about it this way. One charger may look great and come in at a lower base price than another. However, if the cheaper charger doesn’t include a mounting kit or a battery, has a shorter warranty period, and higher shipping fees, it may not truly be the better deal. Be a savvy shopper and pay attention to that final price.
The Bottom Line: What is the Best Solar Fence Charger to Buy Today?
That concludes our solar fence charger reviews and buying guide. Did you decide on the best one for you?
If you’re still on the fence (ha ha) about which charger to choose, we highly-recommend our top choice, the Gallagher S40. It’s portable, durable, and powerful enough to maintain a charge for up to 25 miles. Plus, the S40 hits a lot of our power points – warranty, rechargeable battery included, and built-in lightning protection.
At the end of the day, we hope that we helped you along the way to find the best solar fence for your needs!
Want more highly-rated solar gear like the Gallagher S40 to help drive down your energy usage, and monthly bill? Check out our top solar-powered attic fans, solar refrigerators, and more – here at YourEnergyBlog.com where we work harder to find you the top solar equipment on the market.
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Hi, Im Dara. Born and raised in Farmingdale NY and I spend my time online covering alternative energy news and local developments,in the space. My mission is to help more people realise the benefits of using alternative energy. When i’m not blogging about energy you’ll find me walking my dog, working out, or practicing meditation!