How to Determine the Length Between Your Electric Fence Posts

An electric fence with old barbed wire and wood posts.

When you’re installing electric fence posts, one thing you need to know is how far apart to place them. This will depend on the type of fence you’re installing and whether it’s permanent or temporary. Each has its own demands and requirements. There are other things you need to consider during installation as well, but the information below should give you a good foundation to start with.

Temporary Fence

You might be setting up a temporary electric fence to contain stock while they forage in a particular area, and you will want something that you can set up and tear down quite easily without putting in too much work or time. However, at the same time, you still want the barrier to be effective at preventing the animals from wandering into other areas. In this case, you’re best served by spacing the electric fence posts 50 feet apart. That might seem like too great a distance, but it’s actually ideal for getting this job done efficiently.

Make sure the posts are properly embedded in the ground and run the fence taut between the poles. Because this installation is just temporary you shouldn’t be using it for more than a few weeks, so the fence itself won’t have time to stretch and sag. It will remain taut and work effectively, even with the posts so far apart. The great advantage is that this spacing of electric fence posts means you can set up and remove the electric fence quickly and with the minimum amount of labor.

Permanent Fence

Things change when you’re installing a permanent electric fence. This is intended to stay in place and you don’t want to have to perform regular maintenance on it. There are two basic requirements for a secure, permanent fence: it shouldn’t sag and it should follow the topography of the land.

It’s vital to follow the contours of the ground through the dips and hills. This means that the electric fence will remain at the same height to keep your stock where you want them. This is not going to happen if the electric wire or tape sags. When this occurs, it’s like opening a gate. You can’t constantly check the fence to see everything is fine either, so you need to make sure this will be correct from the get-go.

To avoid the wire sagging or to stop the tape flapping wildly in the wind, the electric fence posts need to be much closer together than with a temporary electric fence. Although it’s really up to you, the commonly accepted distance between posts is 12 feet. However, others recommend anywhere between 15 feet and 30 feet. The longer distance can be problematic over time and you’ll need to keep a closer eye on it, but a shorter distance means a lot more work in the beginning because you’ll have to install many more posts to run the entire length of the fence.

When you string your electric wire or tape on the posts, make sure it’s taut. This way, it will be less likely to sag later. Also, if you use wooden posts, they should have insulators attached, but if you have plastic horse posts, ensure they’re fully pressed into the ground for stability.

Length Between Electric Fence Posts FAQ

How far apart should electric fence posts be for horses?

Fence post placement for an electric fence is actually determined due to a number of reasons. Posts are placed evenly several feet apart.

The spacing of the posts depends on how tall the fence is, the electrical strength of the fence, and the terrain.

How do you measure fence spacing?

Use a stake to mark the spot where you want to set the first fence post. Hold your tape measure and walk around the perimeter of your paving area, stopping to place a wooden stake every few feet.

Fenceposts can be placed anywhere from eight to 25 feet apart.

Does an electric fence have to make a complete loop?

Electric fences do not have to make a complete loop. The animal actually completes the loop when it touches the fence, which is why the current runs through the animal and creates a shocking sensation.

How far apart should electric fence posts be for deer?

To create a fence to keep deer away, posts should be no farther than 15 feet apart.

What is one of the biggest problems with an electric fence?

Weak spots and poor electrical coverage are the biggest problems with electric fences. These issues are usually due to improper grounding.