How To Test Your Electric Fence Without A Tester In 8 Steps

If you’re like most people, you don’t have an electric fence tester lying around the house. But that doesn’t mean you can’t test your fence! In this post, we’ll show you how to test your electric fence without a tester in 8 easy steps. So follow along and see if your fence is up to par!

Here’s how you can safely test your electric fence in just 8 steps.

Note: If you click some of the links or pictures in this article we may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.

electric line on wooden fence

Step 1: Check Transmitter

One of the first steps you should take is to see if the transmitter is operational. Depending on the transmitter type, it may emit a clicking sound. This clicking sound indicates that a charge is currently being passed through the wires.

If your transmitter doesn’t emit a clicking sound and it’s supposed to, then this may be your first sign that the fence isn’t working.

If your transmitter doesn’t click, then it means your fence is on all the time. There should be a light or some other indicator on the transmitter that tells you if it’s operational or not. If you don’t see a light or symbol, then the transmitter may not be operational.

Radio Systems PetSafe 25 Acre In-Ground Fence Replacement Transmitter with Power Supply - RFA-435

Get Our #1 Easy, Homemade Dog Food Recipe (Vet-Approved), 100% Free!!! Click to get it NOW!

Step 2: Check for Broken Wires

If you have a wired fence, then you should next check to see if any of the wires are broken. You can do this with an official wire detector or by just using an AM radio and engine.

Finding a broken wire means that the rest of the fence isn’t going to receive electricity. Before you attempt to fix the fence, you need to turn the transmitter off.

Step 3: Search for a Blade of Grass

In order to test your fence, you’re going to want to find a long blade of grass. Any type will do.

electric line on wooden post in field of dandelions

Step 4: Hold Blade of Grass Against Fence Wire

Once you’ve found your blade of grass, you’ll want to pluck it at the stem and hold it against the fence wire. You should hold the grass by its base and only touch the tip of the glass to wire.

Step 5: Move Blade Closer If Needed

If you don’t feel a pulse at first, then you may need to move the blade of glass closer. Slowly slide the blade of grass along the wire a few inches.

Step 6: Hold the Grass at the Sweet Spot

The most common distance to feel a pulse is to hold the base of the blade two to three inches away from the wire. Your fingers should only be two or three inches away from the wire, itself.

electric line on wire fence

Step 7: Consider Pulses

If your fence gives a pulse, then you may need to wait a few moments before feeling a pulse. Touch the blade of grass to the wire for a few moments before withdrawing or attempting to move the glass closer.

Get Our #1 Easy, Homemade Dog Food Recipe (Vet-Approved), 100% Free!!! Click to get it NOW!

Step 8: Run Down the Fence

With your blade of grass, you can test several different areas of the fence to ensure the current is being passed through.

How Do You Tell If An Electric Fence Is Working Without Touching It?

There are a few ways that you can test your electric fence to determine if it’s active or not. The first is to check the transmitter. Some transmitters will click, indicating that it’s sending out a pulse through the fence. However, sometimes the transmitter will still click even though it’s not actually working.

Some transmitters also come with a light. If the light is on, the fence is active.

You can also walk along your fence. In some cases, the wire will also make a clicking sound when a pulse runs through it.

Otherwise, you can use a wire detector to determine if there’s a charge passing through the wire.

You can also use a blade of grass, as indicated above, for a quick and easy way to determine if the wire is live without directly touching it.

Can You Test An Electric Fence With A Voltmeter?

You can test an electric fence with a voltmeter. In order to receive accurate results, your fence needs to be active when testing it with a voltmeter. You can test the fence by attaching one part of the voltmeter to the fence. The other part is connected to the ground.

Then you just run the voltmeter along the fence, although not touching it, to receive information about how many volts are passing through the fence.

Voltage can be decreased if vegetation touches the fence. This forces the current to be directed to the ground rather than continuing through the fence. A good indication that vegetation is interfering with your fence is if the voltage drops by 1,000 volts.

Get Our #1 Easy, Homemade Dog Food Recipe (Vet-Approved), 100% Free!!! Click to get it NOW!

How Many Volts Should Electric Fence Have?

A high-quality fence emits 6,000 volts. Depending on the type of fence that you have or its purpose, you may find that your fence has a higher or lower voltage. The max voltage your fence conducts is listed on its manual.

A rule of thumb for indicating faults in your fence is the 100-volt rule. By checking the fence every 100 meters, your voltage should remain the same. However, if you notice that the voltage is starting to drop by 100 volts every 100 meters, then you’re coming close to a fault.

The voltage continues to drop until you’re over the fault. After you pass the fault, the voltage levels out again.

What Is The Best Electric Fence Tester?

If you want to know the voltage of your fence, then the best electric fence tester for you is the Speedrite Digital Fault Finder. This is a voltmeter that indicates the fence’s voltage as well as the direction that the current is traveling.

Speedrite Digital Fault Finder
Speedrite Digital Fault Finder

It can also remember past readings that the meter gave you in order to compare the new readings.

If you just want something to tell you whether or not the fence is active, then you may enjoy the Electric Fence Light Bulb. After you connect the bulb to the fence, it will light up when it detects a charge. This is an ideal choice if you don’t care about the voltage.

EFL Electric Fence Light Z-Bulb Plus
Electric Fence Light Bulb

Finally, if you want the cheapest way to test your electric fence, then you should just use the blade of grass method described above. It doesn’t cost you anything.