A Comprehensive Guide to Types of Electric Fence Wire

Electric Fence

Electric fences are a popular and effective means of containing livestock, securing property, and protecting gardens from wildlife. The efficiency and durability of an electric fence largely depend on the type of wire used. This guide explores the various types of electric fence wire, their characteristics, and their best applications.

High-Tensile Wire

High Tensile Wire is suitable for permanent fences over a large area. High-tensile wire is available in two options: galvanized steel and aluminum. Both are strong, hard-wearing, and low maintenance, and are a good choice for constructing perimeter fences to contain slow animals. Galvanized steel offers an economic solution that will effectively carry an electric charge long distances. Aluminum offers superior conducting capabilities – four times as much as galvanized steel however, it tends to be more expensive than steel wire.

high tensile electric fence wire


  • Affordable and low maintenance
  • Safely contain most species of livestock
  • Effective at keeping predators out

Applications: Ideal for long-term fencing solutions, especially for large properties or containing robust animals like cattle and horses.

Poly Wire

Poly Wire is made of plastic strands and embedded thin metal wires used to carry electrical current from a Fence Energizer. The individual strands of plastic and wire are typically twisted tightly together to form a single wire


  • Moderate durable, with UV-resistant options available to increase lifespan.
  • Good conductivity, but not as high as metal wires alone.
  • Needs regular maintenance checking for wear and tear.
  • Easy to install and adjust, making it ideal for temporary setups.

Applications: Best for temporary paddocks, rotational grazing systems, and for areas where visibility is crucial.

Poly Tape

Poly Tape threads individual strands of plastic and wire together creating what appears to be a highly visible ribbon. Tape is strong, can withstand all weather conditions, and won’t rust. White tape is more visible against green vegetation or brown landscape, whereas brown or green tape is more visible against a snow background.

poly tape electric fence


  • Highly visible to animals
  • Lightweight
  • Wind passes through, low wear & tear
  • Convenient to install and repair
  • Will not rust

Applications: Ideal for horse paddocks, temporary enclosures, and areas where visibility and safety are paramount.

Braided Wire

Poly Braid consists of individual strands of plastic and wire that are braided together to form a tight weave making it more durable, and less prone to tangles and overstretching.


  • High durability, as the braiding adds strength and reduces breakage.
  • Excellent due to multiple conductive strands.
  • Low maintenance, with high resistance to wear and tear.
  • Slightly more complex to install than single-strand wire but manageable.

Applications: Perfect for long-term fencing, particularly in areas with high animal traffic and for large, powerful livestock.


Polyrope is a thicker, rope-like material that includes multiple strands of wire and polyethylene fibers. It combines strength with high visibility.

poly rope


  • More visible than traditional wire
  • Lightweight, convenient to use
  • Easier to install, repair, and splice than metal wire
  • Will not rust, resistant to breaking and stretching

Applications: Suitable for horse fencing and areas where a more substantial barrier is needed without compromising visibility.

Factors to consider when choosing an Electric Fence Wire

When selecting the right electric fence wire, consider the following factors:

  • Animal Type: Stronger, more robust wire like high-tensile steel is suitable for large animals, while polywire or polytape may suffice for smaller animals.
  • Fence Duration: Temporary fences benefit from polywire, polytape, or polyrope, while permanent installations are better suited to high-tensile or aluminum wire.
  • Visibility Needs: For high visibility, opt for polytape or polyrope, especially when fencing horses or for areas near public roads.
  • Maintenance Capacity: Choose a wire type that matches your willingness and ability to perform maintenance.


Electric fence wires vary in their properties and applications, so understanding these differences is crucial for creating an effective and reliable fencing system. Whether you need a temporary solution or a long-lasting barrier, there’s a wire type suited to your specific needs.

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