How Long Barbed Wire Lasts: Life Expectancy Reference Chart

Barbed wire should last many years depending on the specific type of wire you buy. The material is flexible so that it can be placed along fences, but it is also very durable and strong.

Class I barbed wire should last 7-10 years, Class III barbed wire should last 20-30 years, and barbed wire with protective coatings like zinc or aluminum should last up to 50 years. Barbed wire is made out of metal and it should last for many years unless it’s broken and needs to be replaced.

Barbed wire can have a shorter lifespan depending on the weather in the area too. When it is exposed to a lot of rain, harsh sun, and heavy wind, you can expect to see it rust or break more quickly than the life expectancy might lead you to believe. Let’s learn more about the lifespan of barbed wire so you can understand how long it will be useful.

Lifespan of Barbed Wire

Barbed wire will last for several years. Depending on the brand, the local weather, the metal, and the type of barbed wire, it may last for multiple decades. Because this material is used in natural environments, it can rust and become less durable due to the weather conditions it is exposed to.

Type of Barbed WireLife Expectancy
Class I Barbed Wire7-10 years
Class III Barbed Wire20-30 years
Razor Wire by RAZOR10-15+ years
The 50 Year Fence by SASCO50 years
Types of Barbed Wire and How Long They Last

As you can see from the chart above, barbed and razor wire should last at least 10 years and when used properly, it can last much longer than that. The main thing that can wear down your wire is the weather. But if you maintain it well or if you live in a place that has good weather, then your wire will probably last for a long time.

Types of Barbed Wire

Different types of barbed wire are used for different reasons. The barbed wire you need depends on whether you are keeping intruders out of a secure gated property, or whether you are just keeping animals out of a specific area.

Barbed wire was originally made in the 1800s for people to protect their land and to prevent their farm animals from getting out. That is still one huge reason why people continue to purchase barbed wire today. But in addition to those purposes, there are other reasons for buying barbed wire.

Today, barbed wire is mainly used to line the top of fences at secure locations, such as along the perimeters and buildings of military bases. When servicemen go to other countries and set up temporary bases, they use chain link fences to build walls around them for protection. Overtop of these fences, you will see that they tend to use barbed wire. But with these different uses of barbed wire, how do you know which type to get to fulfill your needs?

To start, you need to know that there are 2 main types of barbed wire that companies have their own versions of. Firstly, there is barbed wire and secondly, there is razor wire.

  • Barbed Wire – Barbed wire is the classic type of fencing you think of when you imagine barbed wire. It consists of one or two strands or wire with small pointed lengths or wire wrapped around every foot or so that has sharp points sticking out.
  • Razor Wire – Razor wire looks like it has double-sided razors sticking out on the wire and it is designed to be more dangerous than barbed wire.

People choose to get barbed wire for fencing in their cattle and other animals. This wire is preferred because it will only poke and prick the animals through their tough skin and fur. On the other hand, razor wire can cut deep into the skin and can potentially cause serious injuries. Farmers do not want to injure their cattle, so they usually keep them in the enclosed space by using barbed wire. That way there are no major injuries, and cattle learn that the fence hurts and they should not go to it.

The razor wire is usually used to keep people out of secure locations because they know ways to get over chain-linked fences and they know how to get over the barbed wire without getting hurt. So razor wire prevents people from being able to climb over fences because they will get hurt.

There are also many different coatings and sub-types of barbed wire available. Learn about all the different barbed wire options here: All the Types of Barbed Wire: A Quick Reference.

What Wears Down Barbed Wire?

Barbed wire is used outside, so it is easy to assume that bad weather is the main thing that can wear down barbed wire. Natural elements and forces can weaken metal over time, so the weather where you live can make your barbed wire last longer or shorter than the expected timeline.

If you live in a hot and dry place, then your barbed wire will probably wear down at the rate that the company projected for your wire. If you live in more humid places or in places with salty air, then your wire can rust faster than others. This is simply due to the weather and not from any damage to the barbed wire itself.

If your barbed wire has more brittle parts where the metal has become weak or broken, then it is time to replace your barbed wire. It should be many years old by the time it reaches this point, but regardless, you shouldn’t leave rusty barbed wire unattended.

Every time the barbed wire is bent and moved, it gets a little more worn down. This wear and tear won’t really affect the wire until it has been used for years. Once it starts to show signs of age, you will notice it is becoming dull or rusty and it needs to be replaced.

Barbed wire can be coated in zinc or aluminum to help protect it from the weather and make it last longer. When this treatment is done to barbed wire, the wire can last up to 50 years. So for those who use a lot of barbed wire and do not want to worry about replacing it very often, this is a great option for you.

The coated barbed wire is also a great choice for those who live in areas that experience wet weather where exposed metal rusts quickly. A zinc/aluminum coating will protect the barbed wire from rusting and wearing down too fast.

Where to Get Barbed Wire

Many manufacturers sell barbed wire and razor wire. You can buy from them directly or you can buy from a third-party vendor or store. However you get it, make sure that you like the product you are getting and that it will suit your needs.

No one likes to overpay for products, and for those looking to get barbed wire, it is the same. Barbed wire and razor wire can be expensive, especially if you are buying enough to cover a large perimeter. So when you are ordering some wire for your own land, you should look at multiple options so that you can get the best product for the best price.

If you are looking into getting either barbed wire or razor wire, then it is likely that you already know which kind of wire you want. Each wire is used for different purposes, so depending on why you need the wire you will know which kind to get. The next step is looking at the options sold by the manufacturers. Here are some companies and their products:


This SASCO company sells low carbon and high tensile wire. Low carbon wire is made out of low carbon steel. Because of this, the wire can stretch 11-14% without breaking. With more elasticity, the wire can stretch and sag over time. So depending on how sturdy you need your wire to be, this can be a great fit for you.

The high tensile wire will stretch 4% before breaking and it does not sag or stretch like the low carbon wire. It is stronger and has a higher breaking strength, so it will last longer.

This company also sells a variety of barbed wires. They sell the 50 Year Fence, Texas Classic, Low Carbon Barbed Wire, Cattleman 14G Barbed Wire, Gaucho 15.5G Barbed Wire, and the Twisted Cable. Each of these barbed wires is built for specific reasons. The Twisted Cable does not have any barbs on it, so you can keep your animals inside a fence without hurting them.

If you like the options this company has on their site, then look in-depth at the reasons they sell certain wires for certain purposes. It may help you get the right barbed wire for your specific needs instead of just getting any type of barbed wire.


Razor sells great quality razor wire. They offer installation services that you can purchase and they will install the sharp wire for you. This is a great service because razor wire is incredibly sharp and is made to cause bigger and deeper wounds than simple barbed wire. So instead of you running the risk of seriously injuring yourself, they do it themselves because they are trained to professionally put the wire up without injuring themselves.

This company is proud to be the leading supplier of razor fencing for the U.S. and they have lots of pictures on their site of military bases using their wire. If the U.S. military trusts and loves this brand of razor wire, then clearly it must be of great quality. This company does not sell classic barbed wire. If you are looking for barbed wire and have no need for razor wire, then this product is not right for you. But, if you need razor wire, then this is a great option.

Puma Barbed Tape Co.

The Puma Barbed Tape Co. sells different types of barbed and razor wire as well. They sell Galvanized Barbed Wire, Galvanized Welded Razor Barbed Wire, Razor Ribbon Barbed Wire, Concertina Barbed Tape, and Flat Barbed Wire Coils. They export some of these to specific locations only. For instance, the Flat Barbed Wire Coils are exported to Africa, and the Concertina Barbed Wire Tape is exported to the UK.


This company sells a variety of products as well. HB Jinshi sells razor wire fences, galvanized barbed wire, mobile security barrier, welded razor wire mesh, spiral razor wire, and galvanized chain-linked fences. They have wires for all types of needs.

The security barrier is a huge razor wire spiral that can be set out to be a fence or closed up for moving to a new or different location. This is a great product for putting up strong fencing at a secure location so that while you’re waiting for real fencing to be built, you can have something to stand up in the meantime.

Where to Use Barbed Wire

Barbed wire and razor wire are mainly used on top of fences that surround a specific location. It is meant to keep what is inside the location in, or to keep what is outside the location out. There are more specific locations where barbed wire is often used that you can read more about below.

In cities and towns, you will see tall metal telephone poles or utility poles that look like the Eiffel Tower, and at the base of them, there is a chain-linked fence with barbed wire on top. This is a great everyday example of where you can see barbed wire being used.

Barbed and razor wire are also used to line the top of fences at prisons too. This is a very common place where you can see barbed wire being used. Prisons and other secure facilities use chain-linked fences and barbed wire to keep people in and out. It is used often at military bases to keep specific buildings more secure.

Another common place for barbed wire is also farms. Farmers use barbed wire in between posts around their yard as a fence to keep their cattle in. Some brands make barbed wire specifically for horses, cows, and other animals to keep them inside their property. Animals learn quickly to not touch or try to escape the barbed wire fences because they can get poked. This helps keep them inside the land their owner has for them. 

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