Wire Fencing: Compare Your Options

Learn how to pick the right fencing type for your budget, expertise and animals. 

By Oscar H. Will III 

The chart below contains information about different types of wire fencing, including cost, strength and how difficult the installation process may be. Learn more about livestock fencing in Farm Fencing: Horse High, Chicken Tight and Bull Strong.


Relative Cost* 

Relative Strength^ 



Conventional Smooth Wire

Low Low Easy

Really only effective if electrified.

High-Tensile Smooth Wire

Low High Average

Requires strong braces and can be electrified.

Conventional Barbed Wire

Medium Medium Average

Proper hand and arm protection is a must.

High-Tensile Barbed Wire

Medium High Average

Never electrify barbed wire.

Conventional Woven Wire 

High Medium Difficult

Most effective when topped with one strand
of barbed wire or electric.

High-Tensile Steel Woven Wire

High High Difficult

Good permanent barrier — best topped with
barbed or electric wire.

Electric Fence Low Variable Easy

Can be portable; charger can be

Welded Wire Stock Panels

High High Easy

Good for areas with high animal contact.

*Relative costs are based on new posts and four runs of smooth or barbed wire, or a single run of woven or welded wire.
^Relative strengths are based on commonly available and comparable wire sizes.
+Ease of intallation is based on technical and physical aspects of post setting as well as wire stretching and hanging.

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