An electric fence is easy to install and connect up, but once set up, it is recommended that you test whether everything is working correctly and that there are no short circuits that could weaken the electric pulse to render your fence ineffective. You could of course physically touch the live fence yourself to check if it is in fact receiving an electrical pulse through the wire; however, an electric fence tester offers a far more appealing alternative, and is the most reliable way to test the fence line without exposing yourself to an unpleasant sensation.
Depending on the model you choose, an electric fence tester can do a number of different things:
- It can test that your fence is on and is receiving current
- It can pin-point short circuits
- It can determine the voltage running through the fence line
- Some models are also able to test the voltage emitted by the charger
If you are just wanting to test whether your fence is charged, a basic electric fence tester that detects current will be adequate for your needs. Simply insert the probe into the ground and attach the fence tester onto the fence wire; a led indicator light will blink if the fence is charged. An alternative option is a hand held electric fence alert that will emit an alarm and flashing light when it comes within a few feet of a live electric fence. This gadget will allow you to check that your fence is on, without having to touch it at all. Unfortunately, these simple electric fence testers are not able to measure voltage, so you will not know whether the voltage is high enough for the animal you are trying to contain or exclude.
Some animals require a substantially higher voltage than others to effectively contain them. In addition, if you are charging a fence line that runs over a long distance you may need to check that the voltage at the end of the line is high enough to be effective. In these situations you may need an electric fence tester that can give you a more accurate picture of how your fence is faring.
More advanced models have features that allow you to determine the voltage of the current on the fence, as well as the fence charger. While some electric fence testers indicate voltage with a series of lights, a digital electric fence tester is able to determine the voltage with far more accuracy, displaying the reading in an LCD screen that is easy to view, which will allow you to quickly see where current may be weaker.
A digital electric fence tester is an effective tool for assessing weak points on your fence line, and for detecting short circuits, which are often caused by vegetation touching the fence wire. As digital fence testers cost a bit more than standard versions, look for a heavy duty model that is durable and will last. Also, as they are battery operated, look for one that has an automatic on-off feature that will save battery power to prolong battery life.