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Best Invisible Fences

Updated July 2023
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Best of the Best
PetSafe Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence System
Stubborn Dog In-Ground Fence System
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For Strong-willed Dogs
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A system with stronger correction intensity settings than traditional invisible fence systems; designed for harder-to-train dogs.


Offers audible warning tones for owners when dog approaches boundary. Has a vibration-only mode. Low battery indicator. Can work with multiple pets, although you'd need separate receivers for each pet.


Occasional reports of faulty units.

Best Bang for the Buck
Free Spirit In-Ground Fence Containment System
Free Spirit
In-Ground Fence Containment System
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Versatile Coverage
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An invisible fence that's easy to set up, suitable for large dogs and can expand for multi-dog homes.


Very reliable with five levels of correction. Initial kit features 1/3-acre coverage for one dog, but can expand to work across one acre with many dogs. Works with pets of any size and age. Easy to set up. Decent price.


Expanding the system will up the price tag.

Extreme Dog Fence Standard Grade Digital In-Ground Fence
Extreme Dog Fence
Standard Grade Digital In-Ground Fence
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Most Comprehensive
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Durable, waterproof system that's suitable for large areas and can be expanded with ease for numerous dogs.


Updated version with a 1/3-acre range that can be expanded to cover as much as six acres. Great for dogs that swim, thanks to the submersible receiver. Easy to add multiple dogs.


A bit challenging to install. Some reports of faulty receivers and "dead" spots in the fence.

PetSafe Stay & Play Compact Wireless Fence
Stay & Play Compact Wireless Fence
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Most Portable
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The one to choose if you need a wireless fence that you can take when traveling, as it can be set up in a few hours with minimal effort.


Portable model that doesn't require a buried wire for operation. Offers a circular range of 3/4-acre coverage. Waterproof receiver adjusts easily to fit dogs of various sizes.


Signal isn't always consistent, which can result in a dog leaving the designated area.

Educator E-Fence Underground Fence Containment System for Dogs
E-Fence Underground Fence Containment System for Dogs
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Notable Tech Support
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A versatile system with relatively few complaints. Noteworthy customer support adds to its value.


Comprehensive, programmable model that caters to your yard and needs. Correction is consistent. Includes modes for highly sensitive dogs. Owners rave about the attentive customer service.


Higher priced option. Requires time and effort to set up.

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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for best electric fences

Are you looking for a way to contain your dog within the boundaries of your yard? While some people prefer a physical fence made of wood, plastic, or chain link, others gravitate toward an “invisible” fence with a mild electric charge.

Most states do not require dog owners to leash their dogs. However, many cities and other municipalities will impound “at large” dogs that are found wandering alone. As a dog owner, you want your furry friend to stay safe and close to home. You don’t want him interacting with strangers who pass by your yard, and you most certainly don’t want him to get snatched up by animal control.

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When training your dog to abide by an electric fence, do not leave him unsupervised until you’re confident that he won’t cross his boundaries. Also, always test the fence before you begin to train your pet.

Electric fence types

Two types of electric fences exist on today’s market: wired and wireless. Both types work to keep your dog secure in his space, and both have their pros and cons.

Wired electric fences

These fences include an actual wire that works above and/or below the ground.

Pros of wired fences:

  • Adjustable for property
  • Covers large amounts of land
  • You can create boundaries around objects
  • Dependable (except for loss of power)
  • No harm to the pet if it fails

Cons of wired fences:

  • Non-flat surfaces pose a problem
  • Base must be kept somewhere safe, like a garage
  • Wire could break from use and wear over time
  • Some must be buried underground

Wireless electric fences

These fences employ a sensor grid to determine when the dog goes near (or crosses) the line of sight.

Pros of wireless fences:

  • Can be installed in a central point to create an invisible bubble
  • Can be set up anywhere
  • Portable

Cons of wireless fences:

  • Cannot create exclusion areas
  • Limited to a few hundred feet
  • Delicate; needs to stay indoors, may lose signal.

Ultimately, though, it’s an aesthetic choice.

How it works

The basic goal of an electric fence is to keep your pet or animal in an enclosed area without setting up walls. First, you take the wire line (or sensors, depending on which system you get) and set up a perimeter. Then you mark that perimeter with small flags that both you and the dog can see.

After the perimeter is set up, you hook the dog to a collar that sends a small static electric charge or auditory response that only he can feel or hear. Over time, the dog learns where he can and cannot go.

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Did you know?
If you choose a wireless system, make sure nothing is blocking the sensor(s). If the sensor is blocked, gaps within your invisible barrier could occur.

A note about response time

When your dog approaches the invisible fence, the product senses the device you’ve hooked to his collar and sends a signal. If the signal persists, the system will continue sending shocks until the signal goes away.

When you’re training your dog to stay within his boundaries, this is a great feature. But if he’s a naturally fast dog who visits the fence line frequently — or if he happens to chase something that goes outside the boundary — this could pose a hazard for him.

Keep this in mind when setting up your fence. You want to keep your dog in, but you certainly don’t want to put him in a situation where he could shock himself repeatedly.

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Did you know?
The more often your dog tests his boundaries, the faster his collar battery will wear down. Check the collar batteries frequently to make sure they have enough juice.

Assessing your space

Yard size

How big is your yard? The dimensions of your property can help you determine which electric fence is best for you.

The PetSafe model covers about three quarters of an acre. This would be enough for most urban backyards. The Friendly Pet Products and SportDOG can cover 25 acres and 100 acres respectively. This type of product would probably be better for a dog owner with a massive yard or farm land.

"Some electric fences cover less than an acre; others span dozens of acres. Check the size of your space before moving forward with a purchase."

Ease of installation

You needn’t be a handyman or electrician to install your electric fence. Thankfully, most amateurs have an easy time setting up their system.

Simply unpack the wire, run it the length of where you want it to go, and place the flags or markers around the line so you and the animal know exactly where they are. Then put the collar on the dog and turn the system on. Depending on the type of fence you purchase, there may be a few other technicalities to your setup. However, most systems work the same way.

The collar

Most fences employs a collar system. It will likely become an everyday task for you to switch the system off when you take your dog beyond the fenceline.

Some systems, such as the Perimeter Technologies and PetSafe products, include cloth-based collars with a snap. Owners tell us these are quite easy to remove. Other products use a notched belt system that may be harder to take off and put back on again.

While the fence itself plugs into an outlet and never needs charging, the collar is another story. At some point, you’ll need to remove the collar and charge it overnight. People whose pets live outside year-round must keep this in mind before investing in a collar system that requires periodic charging.

"Some invisible fences include a battery-backup function — a terrific safety net if you forget to charge the battery. Other products include a “low battery” indicator on the collar."


There’s no such thing as a cheap system. Some electric fences cost less than others, but you’re simply not going to get a quality fence for under $50.

We strongly advocate against cheap, poorly made systems. The welfare of your dog is at stake. You don’t want a system that shocks him unnecessarily, nor do you want a system that fails to contain him safely in his own yard.

An electric fence is no easy purchase. 

An invisible fence system and dog collar
You should initially set up a smaller field (using any included flags or markers) than the field you ultimately want the dog to abide by. This trains the dog to recognize the flags/markers as boundaries.


Q. Will the shock provided by an electric fence hurt my animal?
 The best electric fences provide a shock that deters unwanted behavior but isn’t painful. The shock is meant to be irritating, but it should never cause injury or pain. That said, there are some consumers that view the use of an electric fence as a moral dilemma. And there are definitely some poorly made products out there that do more harm than good.

Q. I’m interested in an electric fence for my dog, but I want to use the least amount of shock possible. Any advice?
 First of all, opt for a quality-made fence with a reliable shocking system. Cheap invisible fences have been known to deliver too much shock or even shock at the wrong times.

Second, investigate options that let you customize the amount of shock your dog will receive. For example, the SportDOG offers four levels of shock, and the PetSafe Wireless offers five levels.

Q. Is an electric fence the right choice for me?
 This is a question that only you can answer. If you’re struggling with this decision, think about the pros and cons of installing an electric fence.

  • Pros: An electric fence helps your dog learn to stay in his own yard without the visual obstruction of a physical fence. It may even be cheaper than installing a regular fence. You don’t have to change your landscaping, and you don’t have to worry about the physical upkeep of a wood, plastic, or chain link fence.
  • Cons: An electric fence won’t keep other animals and people out of your yard. The collar will need to be charged periodically, and some people find set-up to be a hassle. Furthermore, some people just don’t feel comfortable subjecting their dog to the disciplinary electric shocks associated with an invisible fence.
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