How Much Does It Cost to Install an Electric Fence?

Margaret Wack
Written by Margaret Wack
Updated February 1, 2022
Two kids have fun with their dog
Photo: Gorodenkoff / Adobe Stock

Highlights

  • Electric fences—whether underground or above-ground—are one way to contain pets and other animals in a specific area.

  • Underground electric fences tend to be less expensive than above-ground fences.

  • Wood, vinyl, and aluminum fences are other options to consider.

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Electric fences are one strategy some pet owners use to keep their dogs in the yard. Invisible types are buried underground and often used in homes with dogs. The other type of electric fence is an above-ground version, which delivers a physical shock to animals that touch it. Electric dog fences cost an average of $1,750 to install, but prices vary depending on the type of fence you choose, how many pets you have, and the size of your yard.

  • National Average Cost: $1,750

  • Minimum Cost: $1,000

  • Maximum Cost: $2,500

Cost to Install an Electric Fence Per Linear Foot

Electric fencing around a pasture with farm animals
Photo: Mdennah / Adobe Stock

It costs an average of $2.40 per linear foot to install an invisible electric fence and about $3.90 per linear foot to install an above-ground electric fence. Costs vary depending on the terrain of your yard. Electric fencing can be a simple, safe way to train your pet not to leave the yard.

Cost to Install an Electric Fence Yourself

If you’re a little handy, installing an electric fence yourself is possible (and less expensive). Retail invisible electric fences from PetSafe and Havahart are typically cheaper than their professional counterparts, but they also tend to be less durable and effective. A retail fence can cost around $400, cheaper than the average cost of a higher-end invisible electric fence, which is about $1,750.

While retail electric fences are less expensive, they also require a lot more work to install, including digging trenches and installing wires. For these reasons, it’s often a good idea to go with a professional when it comes to this project. In addition, many local fencing contractors provide free pet training resources so you don’t have to spend time training your dog to respond to the electric fence.

For homeowners considering an above-ground electric fence, get in touch with a dog fence installer near you to discuss your options since this fence type can be more dangerous to install on your own.

Electric Fence Cost Breakdown

The main factors that affect the cost of electric fences are materials and labor.

Materials

The cost of the materials for an electric fence ranges from $400 to $1,900. Retail invisible electric fences tend to be less expensive but are generally lower quality, while professional and above-ground electric fences cost more.

Labor

Labor is another crucial factor in the project cost. Depending on the type of fence and the ruggedness of your terrain, labor can cost anywhere from $600 to $1,800. For invisible fences, this process includes digging trenches and training your pet to use the fence properly.

Cost to Install an Electric Fence by Type

Homeowners can choose from two main types of electric fences.

Invisible Electric Fence

It costs an average of $1,100 to $2,500 to install an invisible electric fence. The cost may be higher if your yard has any areas with hilly, rocky, or otherwise difficult terrain.

Invisible electric fences are a good choice if you’re trying to train your dog to respect the boundaries of your yard. They’re also an option worth considering if you don’t want to install a physical fence of any kind. However, they’re not a good idea if you’re trying to contain larger animals like horses or cattle since the small shocks aren’t as effective for these animals.

Above-Ground Electric Fence

An above-ground electric fence costs $1,700 to $2,500 on average. These fences are often used for non-domesticated animals since above-ground fences pose a physical barrier and don’t require training wild animals.

They also tend to be more expensive due to the extra materials involved and pose more safety risks since you could shock yourself if you run into one.

Cost Factors for Electric Fences

Some factors influencing electric fence costs include the fence type, yard size, and terrain.

Fence Type

When installing an electric fence, you can choose between an invisible electric fence and an above-ground electric fence. Invisible ones tend to be less expensive and are suitable for dogs. Above-ground electric fences cost more and are best for horses, cattle, and larger animals.

Yard Size

The larger the area you’re trying to enclose, the more expensive it’ll be to install an electric fence. Invisible electric fences cost an average of $2.40 per linear foot, while above-ground electric types cost about $3.90 per linear foot.

Terrain

The more uneven your terrain is, the more expensive it’ll be to install the fence. This is because rocky or hilly terrain can require additional labor fees and time.

FAQs About Electric Fences

How do electric fences work?

Invisible electric fences use radio waves to transmit a small shock through your pet's collar. The pet will first hear a warning beep as it approaches the boundary, and then will receive a mild static shock if it continues past the fence line. With training, dogs can learn to respect the fence boundaries to avoid the small shock.

Are electric fences humane to animals?

While electric fences do use a mild shock to discourage pets from crossing, they're generally safe to use as long as you install the fence correctly and you train the animal properly. That said, a hidden fence may not be right for every dog since it requires patience and training to work correctly.

Do electric fences require power?

Yes, electrical fences need power to operate. They may not work in heavy snow or if the power goes out.

What other fence types should I consider?

If you’re trying to keep your dog from running away, an electric fence isn’t the only fence type for your yard worth considering. The cost of dog fences can range from $1,500 to $8,000, with popular materials including wood, vinyl, or aluminum to keep your pet safe and sound. Get in touch with a pro to discuss your options.

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