How to End an Electric Fence: A Step-by-Step Guide

The posts are pounded and the hot wire is strung, but what do you do now? Although ending an electric fence seems complicated, there are several methods that make completing the task quite simple.

No need to call the local ranch supply store or flip through various manuals. Below you will find everything you need to know about ending an electric fence. So put on some work gloves and let’s get started!

1. Identify Posts and Hot Wire Used

Electric fences come in all different shapes and sizes. Your fence could be constructed of wooden posts or metal rebar (also known as t-posts).

Additionally, electric fencing can be purchased in a variety of forms. The most common types of hot wire include poly tape, wire, and braided string.

Depending on the type of post as well as the style of electric fencing selected, certain methods of ending the fence will work better than others.

Wooden Posts

Wooden posts are made durable, look professional, and strong enough to withstand most animals pushing against them.

Although wooden posts tend to look and work better for keeping animals in a specific area, installing them is also time-consuming.

Before a post can be placed a hole must be dug deep enough that the post can support the tension of the fence.

More so, electric fencing clips can not be easily attached or removed from the posts. Rather, each insulator clip must be tightly screwed into at least every other fence post (this may depend on the spacing of your posts).


Although t-posts are not as sturdy as a wooden post, they too make excellent fencing material.

Multiple posts can be easily carried to the new fence’s location and then pounded directly into the ground, no need to dig a hole beforehand.

Pro Tip: Be sure to string a guide wire so that your t-posts are installed in a straight line. “Winging it” will ALWAYS result in a crooked fence.

The best part about using t-posts for electric fencing is the clip-on insulators. Rather than taking the time to drill a hole for an insulator to fit in and then painstakingly twisting the insulator into place, plastic insulators can be clipped directly onto the fence in a matter of seconds.

The next benefit of using a t-post is the variety of insulator clips available. There are specific clips made for both the front and top of the fence, allowing you to choose the precise height for your electric fence.


Standard hot wire comes on a large spool, usually weighing around 50 lbs (depends on the size of the spool and gauge of the wire).

This type of electric fencing can carry a stronger charge over a much further distance than other types of electric fences.

The electric wire is the first thing most people think of when they hear the words electric fence and although wire is a common material used in constructing electric fences, other more visible options.

Poly Fencing

Poly fencing also comes in various forms. The three most common are poly wire, poly tape, and poly rope (braid).

Although typically used for more temporary fences, poly fencing has become more common in use with livestock.

Each of these poly fencing types is essentially plastic stings woven around or with small, conductive wires. This fencing material is much lighter than electric wires and much easier for both animals and people to see.

Learn more about the different types of electric fencing wire in the video below.

2. Decide Where to End the Fence

At this point, you either have your main fence built or at least a plan for how you want it constructed. In those plans, you need to decide where the electric fence is going to end.

Are you going to line the entire perimeter of the pasture with electric fencing? Or will only a section where livestock has proved troublesome be covered?

If the fencing is going to span the entire perimeter of the pasture, the fence will begin and end on the same fence post. This will be easiest with the use of a “termination knot”. This method will be explained in the next section.

In the event that the fence spans the entire perimeter of the pasture, you are going to need to include a gate. This gate does not need to go in a corner and can be located anywhere along the fence so long as it is not grounding out on anything. Installing a gate in your electric fence will be explained in the following section.

3. Choose a Method

Now that you have a general plan for your electric fence–or have already started building– you can begin to end the electric fence.

As mentioned above, the termination knot is the most effective way to end an electric fence. Although some choose to just cut the wire and tie it off to an insulator, a termination knot looks more professional and will be more durable in the long run.

Termination Knot

This method is best used with hot wires on a wooden post although it could be used with poly rope fencing as well. Other poly fences or post types are best tied or clipped to an electric insulator at the end of the fence.

The termination knot could be used with a t-post fence so long as the finished product does not allow the live wire to ground out on the post.

Not only does the termination knot look and work great, but it also ensures that the wire is not grounding out on the end post.

The first thing you are going to need is a set of corner post insulators (often referred to as “donut” insulators) and crimp sleeves.

Cut 3 feet of wire for every line of hot wire. Slide a donut insulator onto each 3-foot section of wire and then crimp the ends of the wire together to form a hoop.

This hoop is then placed on the post at the end of the fence and locked in place with a fence staple at the proper height.

String your electric fence wire through the unoccupied channel of the donut insulator and twist it tight back around itself. The fence can then be tightened and power added to the line!

Watch the following video to see exactly how to complete the termination knot on your electric fence.

Pro Tip: I suggest doing the termination knot before stringing the fence wire in order to keep the line taught all the way around the perimeter.

Electric Fence Gate

Installing an electric fence gate works best with only one line of electric fencing. If you are running multiple lines of electric fencing, each will need its own gate handle.

However, you can use any type of electric fencing or posts with a gate.

There are lots of different insulators one can use to install an electric fence gate. Find one that best suits your type of fence post. As long as the clip can be hooked onto and does not conduct the current into the post it will work.

The only other piece you will need is an electric fence handle. Most of these are plastic with metal on each end and a loaded spring inside. This spring helps keep tension on the fence while also giving it enough slack to open and close.

After you have strung the entirety of your fence, wrap the electric fencing tightly around the insulator just before the gate opening (this is to prevent the whole fence from slacking when the gate is opened).

Continue the electric fencing across the length of the gate and cut it at the next post. Tie the spring handle to the end of the fence and test to see that the line is the proper length.

You do not want the line to be short or the gate will not close, nor do you want excessive line of the electric fencing could ground out.

Learn how to install a gate in your electric fence in the video below.

4. Attach the Power Bank

Once your fence is complete, the final step is to electrify it!

You are going to need a power source designed for the size of your pasture as well as the type of electric fencing used. Learn more about choosing the proper power bank for your fence from Gallagher, a popular electric fencing company.

Bury your grounding rod, attach it to the power bank, and then attach the live wire to the electric fence. The only thing left to do now is to turn the power to your fence on.

If your fence doesn’t carry a strong enough shock, your soil may be a poor conductor. String another wire of the fence and attach the ground wire to that instead of the ground post. When an animal touches both the hot wire and the ground wire, they will feel the shock.

5. Mark Your Fence as Electric

Although not a necessary step in building an electric fence, marking the fence as electric is both courteous and safe. Animals or people may not see the thin wire and run directly through it injuring themself and damaging the fence.

Protect all your hard work by typing bright ribbons or pieces of fabric onto your electric fence. These will not ground out the fence but will give animals and people the warning that the fence in front of them is electrified.

Fence Frenzy

We at Fence Frenzy absolutely love taking on the challenge of building, or even restoring, a fence. Especially elaborate and exotic fence designs that really make us scratch our heads! We're happy to share everything we've learned with you.

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