Can I Use a Car Battery for Electric Fence? (Solved!)

If you’re setting up an electric fence on your property, you have to devise a way to power it. Ones designed for electric fences tend to be expensive. If it dies, you have to purchase another one and it might be difficult to locate a replacement within the time you need it.

You have a car battery lying around so, you may wonder, “Can I use a car battery for an electric fence?” Yes, you can. But, it can only be 12 volts or less. Anything more than that will be difficult to maintain. While it’s okay to do this, there are some problems as well.

So, just because you can use a car battery for your electric fence doesn’t mean it will be effective in all situations. For instance, if you’re looking to deter a large animal, a car battery won’t be powerful enough. But, in the event you just want to keep out small critters, then it will work well but you have to set up a system.

5 Reasons Why Using a Car Battery for an Electric Fence is Possible

There are five main reasons why using a car battery for an electric fence is possible and a good idea. They’re easy on the bank account, simple to locate and a cinch to replace. Plus, they last for years if you maintain them correctly and they’re safe in the event someone accidentally walks into it.

1. Inexpensive

One of the best reasons to use a car battery to power your electric fence is the fact that they’re rather inexpensive. Depending on if you use 6, 9 or 12 volts, they can cost anywhere between $5 and $35. When you find them used, the price can be much less.

2. Easy to Get

You can find car batteries almost anywhere. This makes them easy to get and replace whenever you need it. They’re available at hardware stores, auto centers and several places online. But you can also get used ones from junk yards and auto mechanics.

3. Simple to Replace

Once you create your system, switching out the batteries are easy and uncomplicated. Therefore, it will be a time-saver, which can be invaluable when you’re busy. Plus, you can have anyone over the age of 13 years old change it out if you don’t have time to.

4. Lasts for Years

Because the design of car batteries lends itself to at least a decade of use, you can trust that a car battery will work for much longer for an electric fence. This is because of the current that pulses into the wiring of the fence. 

5. Relatively Safe for Humans

The low amount of electricity running at any given time will not hurt anyone. This will be especially poignant if you have a lot of children running around. However, it’s not that people won’t experience a shock, but it won’t be damaging or end in a trip to the emergency room.

5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Use a Car Battery for an Electric Fence

When creating a makeshift power source for an electric fence with a car battery, you are going to run into a few problems. First, the power will be brief due to the pulse current going into the fence. This means you have to recharge it and come up with a system for switching out the battery on a weekly basis.

Also, if you’re looking to shock larger animals, 12 volts or less will not deter them. Then there’s the fact that you cannot use a car battery for an electric fence in an actual car. You can only use it for the fence, you can’t use it on both.

1. Short Lived Power

Unfortunately, because of the consistent pulsing electrical current moving through the fence, it will cause the battery to drain. So, while they will last a long time, you are going to have to recharge them and switch them out on a weekly basis.

2. Not Effective against All Animals

Depending on what your purposes are for having the electric fence, understand it’s not going to be effective against all animals. A battery that’s 12 volts or less will help deter small animals like small dogs, squirrels, chickens and rabbits.

But, if you’re looking to use it for a mammoth-sized dog, raccoons, deer or some other larger creature, then 12 volts will hardly do it. For this, you have use power from a source designed for electric fences. There really isn’t any other way around this if you want it to be effective.

3. Constantly Have to Recharge

One thing that many people attest to who use car batteries for their electric fences is that you must check and recharge them often. If you don’t, the batteries will go flat. When that happens, your electric fence becomes an exercise in futility.

4. Must Setup a Switch Out System

Due to the consistent recharging you have to do with a car battery, you’re going to have to setup a system to switch them out weekly. This is so you can have continuous power running through your fence without worry or issue. For some people, this can get expensive; especially if you use more than one battery at a time.

5. Limited Versatility

The other problem with using a car battery for an electric fence is that you can’t use it to run your vehicle. The batteries you get for your electric fence must only be for the fence. You can’t use them interchangeably. This will not only cause the battery to die early but it will also create stability problems.

Final Thoughts

You can use a 12-volt car battery for an electric fence. However, your purposes for the fence will dictate whether this is going to be a good idea or not. As long as you intend it for smaller animals, then it will work perfectly. However, it will not deter larger animals.