All the Types of Barbed Wire: A Quick Reference

If you want to learn more about all the different types of barbed wire, then you’re not alone! Although it may seem like there’s only one type, there are actually seven common types of barbed wire, which are all listed below for your convenience.

The primary types of barbed wire are galvanized, high tensile, PVC-coated, concertina, standard, leather, and single twist. These barbed wires are all unique in purpose but are typically used to restrict access to a location. Barbed wire has sharp razor-like points to prevent intruders from trespassing.

Many do not know that there are different kinds of barbed wire. They assume that the standard barbed wire is the only one to exist, however, that could not be further from the truth. Keep on reading to learn everything you could ever want to know about the various types of barbed wire.

Reference Chart—The Main Types of Barbed Wire

If you do not have time to read a full description of each of the seven kinds of barbed wire, then you will want to read the chart below. The helpful chart that is listed below will give you a concise summary of each kind of barbed wire, so that way it is easier to learn.

TypeMain FeaturesWhere to Purchase
Galvanized barbed wireHas a zinc coating, two points, class one, made of barbed and line wire, used for security purposes.Amazon
High tensile barbed wireFour points, galvanized, class three, made from steel, coil diameter of 1,000 mm, used in agricultural areas.Amazon
PVC coated barbed wireDurable, high tensile steel barbed wire, less rust, galvanized, two points, class one, and can be used in water.Tractor Supply
Concertina barbed wireMade of barbed wire and high tensile steel wire, barbed wire spikes made of iron wire, galvanized.Amazon
Standard barbed wireTwo wires twisted around each other, galvanized, low price, easy to maintain, has four points, class one or class three.Amazon
Leather barbed wireLooks exactly like barbed wire, not sharp like regular barbed wire, made of leather, used for accessories.Amazon
Single twist barbed wirePVC coated, galvanized, three points, can have four points, does not corrode easily.Home Depot

1. Galvanized Barbed Wire

The first type of barbed wire is galvanized barbed wire (a razor-wire). It is characterized by sharp blades and its main purpose is to fence off areas due to security.

Main Features

  • Has a zinc coating
  • Is made of barbed and line wire
  • Used for security

The word galvanized means covered in zinc. By knowing this, it can easily be assumed that galvanized barbed wire has a layer of zinc on it to protect it. However, many do not know what exactly zinc is protecting the wire from. Zinc prevents corrosion, preventing rust. This helps your fence last longer, and can keep you from needing to run to the doctor for an emergency tetanus shot.

Galvanized barbed wire has two points on each barb, and the wire is a member of class one barbed wire (which will be discussed later on).

Primary Use

Galvanized barbed wire is primarily used for security purposes. Its sharp edges make it great for surrounding areas of restricted access. It is commonly used to block off properties and buildings to prevent people from either entering or exiting.


Galvanized barbed wire can be purchased from Amazon in 250, 500, or 750-foot rolls.

2. PVC Coated Barbed Wire

The second type of barbed wire is PVC-coated barbed wire. This barbed wire is one of the only ones that holds up well underwater, and it is extremely durable.

Main Features

  • Durable
  • High tensile steel barbed wire
  • Less rust
  • Galvanized

PVC-coated barbed wire is galvanized, meaning it is coated in zinc to protect against corrosion. This barbed wire has two points, and it is also a member of class one barbed wire.

Primary Use

PVC-coated barbed wire has many purposes. One of these purposes is to surround livestock, making it nearly impossible for the animals to escape from the enclosure. Because of the PVC coating, it can also be used in the water. PVC-coated barbed wire is oftentimes used in the ocean whenever barbed wire is necessary. PVC-coated barbed wire does not corrode easily, which is why it can be commonly used in wet or underwater conditions.


PVC-coated barbed wire can be bought from Tractor Supply Company. For 56 pounds of this barbed wire, it costs $109.99.

3. High Tensile Barbed Wire

The third kind of barbed wire is high tensile barbed wire. This is a very common type of barbed wire which wil last for a long time. High tensile barbed wire is convenient and should be heavily considered by anyone who is looking at their options.

Main Features

  • Coil diameter of 1,000 mm
  • Light in weight
  • The length of the barbs is 13-20 mm
  • Easy to install
  • Has longevity

High tensile barbed wire is covered in zinc to protect it from corrosion. Because of the layer of zinc, it can last longer than many other types of barbed wire. High tensile barbed wire has four points and it is a member of class three barbed wire.

Primary Use

High tensile barbed wire is primarily used in agricultural areas. Livestock is surrounded by this kind of barbed wire so that way, they are unable to escape. Cattle need to be secured by strong wire, which is why high tensile is used.


High tensile barbed wire can be bought from Amazon in a 320-foot roll.

4. Concertina Barbed Wire

The fourth kind of barbed wire is concertina barbed wire (a razor wire). It is a combination of barbed and razor wire and is most commonly used by militaries and government facilities.

Main Features

  • Made up of barbed wire and razor wire
  • High tensile steel wire
  • Barbed wire spikes made of iron wire
  • Galvanized

To prevent corrosion, concertina wire uses a couple of different methods. The first way of preventing corrosion is galvanizing the wire, aka covering it in zinc. The second way of preventing corrosion is by coating it in PVC. Both of these options will successfully resist corrosion.

Primary Use

Concertina barbed wire is commonly used by the government and the military. When there is an area where access is highly restricted, then concertina wire is used to block off that area. This combination of barbed and razor wire is highly intimidating, which is why it gets used by government installations.


Concertina barbed wire can be bought from Amazon. This one comes in a 1,614-foot roll.

5. Standard Barbed Wire

The fifth kind of barbed wire is called standard barbed wire. The most standard barbed wire consists of two wires that are twisted around each other. This is the type most people think of when they hear about barbed wire.

Main Features

  • Two wires twisted around each other
  • Galvanized
  • Low price
  • Easy to maintain

Standard barbed wire is galvanized in order to protect it from corrosion. Standard barbed wire also has four points, and it is a member of class one barbed wire. However, it can also be a member of class three barbed wire.

Primary Use

Standard barbed wire is commonly used to fence a property. Standard barbed wire can be used to restrict access to anywhere you want. This type of barbed wire has the most uses because it can be generalized for many different purposes.


Standard barbed wire can be bought from Amazon. This one is inexpensive partially because it’s sold in a 20-foot roll. Although longer rolls are also available on Amazon.

6. Single Twist Barbed Wire

The sixth kind of barbed wire is called single twist barbed wire. This barbed wire is common and is typically used by many different kinds of buildings.

Main Features

  • PVC coated
  • Galvanized

Single twist barbed wire typically has three points but it can sometimes contain four. For corrosion resistance, single twist barbed wire can either be galvanized or it can be PVC coated. Either way, it will not corrode easily.

Primary Use

Single twist barbed wire is most commonly used by private buildings. The single twist is just enough to warn anybody attempting to intrude to stay away.


Single twist barbed wire can be bought from Home Depot. For 1,320 feet of this barbed wire, it costs $41.35

7. Leather Barbed Wire

The seventh kind of barbed wire is leather barbed wire. This barbed wire is not like any of the other kinds. It does not have sharp edges and it is used for decor and accessories.

Main Features

  • Looks exactly like barbed wire
  • Is not sharp like regular barbed wire
  • Made of leather rather than wire

Leather barbed wire stands out amongst all the other kinds of barbed wire. It is the least common of all the barbed wires, and many do not even know it exists. That is because it has an entirely different purpose. Leather barbed wire is meant to be worn as an accessory or to be placed around your home as a decoration.

Primary Use

The primary use of leather barbed wire is to be worn as an accessory. Leather barbed wire mimics the look of other kinds of barbed wire while being completely unique. It is not meant to block off areas and restrict access like the other types of barbed wire are. Instead, it is meant to be aesthetic and appealing to those using it.


Leather barbed wire can be bought from Amazon relatively inexpensively.

Classes of Barbed Wire

Above, the class of each barbed wire has been mentioned. However, many do not know exactly what this means. If you want to learn more about the different classes of barbed wire, then you will want to continue reading below. Understanding the difference between each class might help you make your decision.

Class One

Class one is the most basic of galvanized barbed wire. It lasts the shortest amount of time and it is the easiest to find. It is characterized by having a thin layer of zinc surrounding the wire that minimally protects it from corrosion.

Class one is the least effective of the different classes, but it is also the most common. Class one barbed wire is inexpensive and will last a maximum of eleven years. However, it typically has a shorter lifespan than other types.

Class Three

Class three is the more advanced type of galvanized barbed wire. A thicker layer of zinc is used to protect the wire, which gives it a longer lifespan. Class three barbed wire can last up to thirty years and is much more effective than class one. Although it is more expensive, class three is a better overall investment for your barbed wire.

Class three barbed wire typically lasts three times longer than class one. The zinc covering that layers the barbed wire is heavy-duty and thick, which is the reason it works better. If you need a barbed wire that is strong and durable, then this is the class that you will want.

Class Forty

Class forty barbed wire has an incredibly long lifespan. It can last for fifty years, which is unheard of in classes one and three. The class forty barbed wire is a combination of zinc and aluminum which makes corrosion nearly impossible. If a barbed wire fence is listed as class forty, then it will last a lifetime and you will never see any signs of corrosion. It is one of the most impressive classes! No matter the weather, it will continue to last. You will not have to worry about the elements if you have class forty barbed wire.

Galvanizing and Paint

Adding paint to your galvanized barbed wire enhances its class. Do not paint it without galvanizing the wire first, however, as it will not have the same impact. Once the barbed wire has been galvanized, paint over the wire with black polymer paint. According to LouisPage, this will make the barbed wire last longer than class three. 

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