How to Check Electric Fence Amperage

The use of electric fences has become increasingly popular in various applications, from livestock containment to home security. One crucial aspect to consider is the amperage of the electric fence, as this determines the strength of the electric shock it delivers. To accurately check the amperage of an electric fence, a multimeter can be employed. By setting the multimeter to the kilovolts (kV) range, placing the positive probe on one of the electric fence wires, and grounding the negative probe on a nearby metal surface, the amperage can be measured.

How Do I Check the Power on My Electric Fence?

To check the power on your electric fence, you can make use of a multimeter, which is a handy tool that measures electrical current, voltage, and resistance. However, before proceeding, it’s crucial to ensure that you’ve the necessary information regarding your fences voltage type and range. This information can typically be found in the user manual that came with your electric fence.

Once you’ve determined the correct voltage type and range, you can set your multimeter accordingly. In most cases, you’ll need to select the appropriate voltage measurement, such as AC or DC, depending on your fence system. This step is crucial to obtain accurate readings and prevent any potential damage to your multimeter.

To begin the testing process, find a point on your electric fence where it’s safe to touch the metal. Ensure that you’re properly grounded and not at risk of electric shocks. Once you’re confident in your safety, touch one of the multimeters probes to the fences metal conductor. Carefully touch the other probe to a ground or earth point.

As you make these connections, the multimeter will display the current voltage reading. This reading will indicate the power running through the electric fence at that specific point. It’s essential to note that the voltage reading may fluctuate along different sections of the fence, as well as during different conditions, such as dry or wet weather.

This information can be useful in identifying any potential issues, such as weak sections or faulty components, that may require attention or maintenance.

However, it’s important to note that testing an electric fence with a standard multimeter may not provide accurate results. The specific voltage and current requirements of an electric fence may exceed the capabilities of a standard multimeter. It’s recommended to use a specialized fence tester for accurate and reliable results.

Can You Test Electric Fence With Standard Multimeter?

The electric fence is a crucial tool for maintaining the security and containment of livestock. It’s essential to regularly check the amperage of the electric fence to ensure it’s effectiveness. Many people wonder if they can test the electric fence with a standard multimeter.

To perform this test, start by turning off the fence charger to avoid any accidents. Then, set your multimeter to the “kilovolts” setting.

Next, you need to carefully touch the probes of the multimeter to the electric fence wire. Ensure that you hold the probes by the insulated portions to prevent any shocks. Once the probes are in contact with the wire, observe the reading on the multimeter.

If the multimeter reading shows an acceptable value, usually between 5,000 to 9,000 volts, then your electric fence is working properly. This voltage is strong enough to deter animals from coming into contact with the fence. However, if the reading is below this range, it indicates a problem with the fence, such as a weak charge or a short circuit.

How to Troubleshoot Common Issues With Electric Fences


  • Electric fence not working
  • Low voltage
  • Break in the wire
  • Faulty energizer
  • Poor grounding
  • Animal interference
  • Insulator damage
  • Corroded connections
  • Inadequate vegetation control
  • Overgrown foliage


Source: How to Test an Electric Fence With a Multimeter?

When it comes to determining the ideal output for an electric fence, several factors come into play. One of the key considerations is the load or amount of debris that may come into contact with the fence. Under heavy loads, such as a fence surrounded by lots of debris, the output may be limited to approximately 1 mile/joule. However, if you’re planning to power a multi-strand sheep fence, it’s advisable to opt for a higher ratio of approximately 0.16-0.33 miles/joule (equivalent to 3 and 6 joules per mile). This higher ratio takes into account the insulation value of wool and the need to accommodate a larger number of wires.

What Is a Good Electric Fence Output?

When it comes to electric fences, the output is an important factor to consider. The output of an electric fence refers to the amount of energy produced by the fence charger, which is expressed in joules.

Under heavy loads, such as when there’s a lot of debris touching your fence, the effectiveness of the fence can be greatly reduced. In such cases, you might only get approximately 1 mile per joule. This means that with a high load on your fence, the energy produced by the charger isn’t effectively reaching the entire length of the fence.

However, if you’re planning to power a multi-strand sheep fence, you’ll need a higher electric fence output. This is because the high number of wires and the insulation value of wool can decrease the effectiveness of the fence. In this case, it’s recommended to have a ratio of approximately 0.16-0.33 miles per joule, which translates to around 3 to 6 joules per mile.

Having a higher electric fence output in this scenario ensures that the energy produced by the charger is sufficient to effectively deter the sheep from coming into contact with the fence. This helps to maintain the security and containment of the animals within the fence perimeter.

Other factors, such as the condition of the fence wires, grounding system, and overall maintenance, also play a crucial role in determining the performance of the electric fence.

Under heavy loads, a lower output might be acceptable, while for multi-strand sheep fences, a higher output is recommended. It’s important to thoroughly evaluate and consider all aspects of your electric fence setup to ensure it’s effectiveness and safety.


In conclusion, ensuring the optimal functioning of an electric fence requires monitoring it’s amperage levels regularly. By setting the multimeter to the kV range and placing the positive probe on the fence wire while grounding the negative probe, one can determine if the electric fence is operating according to the manufacturer's specifications. This simple yet crucial step helps maintain the fence's effectiveness in containing livestock or securing property while avoiding potential power disruptions or safety hazards.

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