Do you want to keep your pet safely contained in the yard without spending a fortune on new fencing? Then the best invisible fence system may be right up your alley. This type of system will allow your dog to run free around the yard without the high cost that comes with installing a traditional fence. These invisible fence systems have come a long way over the past five years.
Several years ago these fences came with a very steep price tag that made them unaffordable for most dog owners on a tight budget. These days, wired and wireless systems are more affordable than ever. The goals of these systems are the same, and that’s to keep your pet safely contained in your yard. However, the technology used for both types of systems is very different. Yet, both technologies are not as equally reliable or as affordable. I’ll go over how each system works and what you can expect in terms of setup, pricing, reliability, and ease-of-use.
If you’re searching for a better, more affordable alternative to paying hundreds of dollars for a new chain link fence for your property, then these innovative fencing packages are worth a closer look. These days, top-rated systems are more reliable and affordable than ever.
I’ve reviewed many of the top-selling models on the market, but only five have made it onto my list. These models are affordable, versatile, expandable, and offer some great customization options. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart, which will show you some of the similarities and differences between each of these sets.
Best Invisible Dog Fences Comparison Chart
|Extreme Dog Fence||Wired||1||$$|
|PetSafe Wireless Dog System||Wireless||1||$$|
|SportDOG Brand System||Wired||1||$$|
|PetSafe YardMax Dog Fence||Wired||1||$$$|
|PetSafe Basic Dog Fence||Wired||1||$|
Best Invisible Fence – Extreme Dog Fence – Second Generation -2019- Standard Grade
This is a great, expandable set by Extreme Dog fence and it comes with five hundred feet of wire, a receiver collar, transmitter, training flags, and a guide that will walk you through the set up and training process. This model has a reputation for reliability and ease of use. It features solid copper core wire that’s incredibly durable, so you won’t have to worry about needing to replace the wire later down the line. The collar can work for dogs of all temperaments, sizes, and breeds, adding to this system’s versatility. The included collar also features eight static correction levels, including a tone alert, which will warn your dog prior to the static correction. This system is easy to maintain and is a perfect choice for pet owners with plenty of land to cover.
Best Wireless Dog Fence – PetSafe Wireless Dog and Cat Containment System
This wireless system by Petsafe is highly portable, incredibly easy to set up, and comes with a receiver collar, training flags, and a transmitter. It’s perfect for smaller yards, or it can be used for traveling. The wireless design means you won’t have to deal with digging up the yard like you do when installing a wired invisible fence. However, it’s not recommended for pet owners that have a hilly yard or a sloping yard, since both can interfere with the transmitter’s radio signal. In terms of static correction, the collar offers a total of five levels to choose from. The set itself can cover up to half an acre of land, so this set is a great choice for smaller yards. It also offers the popular static-free reentry, which will encourage your pet to come back onto your property, since the collar will not emit an additional correction when your pet returns home and passes the invisible barrier back into your yard. This system is a great buy for pet owners with a flat, small yard, and it’s one of the most reliable wireless systems on the market.
Best Electric Dog Fence – SportDOG Brand In-Ground Fence Systems
If you’re looking for a reliable, safe invisible fence, then this system by SportDog delivers. This system has a range of 1 1/3 acres and comes with a battery-powered receiver collar, transmitter, and training flags. It can be used for dogs ten pounds and up and comes with four static correction levels, and a low battery light indicator that will alert you when the battery needs to be changed. The receiver collar is one hundred percent waterproof and incredibly durable. The collar has a battery life of six to twelve months, depending on how often your pet sets off the static correction alert. The transmitter features a wide range of controls including stimulation mode, range adjuster, range switch, and more. This highly adjustable system is very reliable and works to keep your pet safely confined in your yard.
In-Ground Best Dog Fence – PetSafe YardMax Rechargeable In-Ground Dog and Cat Fence
The YardMax is a best-selling system for a variety of reasons. To start, it comes with the popular static-free reentry feature, which will not send an additional static correction if your pet has escaped the yard and is attempting to return. It can cover 1/3 of an acre, so it’s a great option for dog owners with a smaller yard. The collar is rechargeable, which is a huge selling point for any dog owner. It should be recharged once a month and has a fast recharging time of two to three hours. The collar itself works for dogs five pounds and up and will fit neck sizes ranging from six inches up to twenty-eight inches. The collar also comes with a low battery life indicator, which will alert you immediately once the battery begins running low. When placed in the YardMax mode, the system will give your dog more space to roam. Most systems will send a static correction as soon as the dog comes within two to three feet of the barrier. In YardMax mode, the system allows your dog to go right up to the barrier before it sends a static correction. This will give your pet more room to run around and play.
Best for Dogs and Cats – PetSafe Basic In-Ground Dog and Cat Fence
The Basic system by PetSafe can cover up to 1/3 of an acre and is highly expandable, so you can purchase more wire later down the line if you want to give your dog more space to roam. The receiver collar features a total of four static correction settings, which you can choose based on your dog’s temperament and size. The collar has a low battery life indicator light that will alert you once the battery needs to be replaced.
The collar itself is very comfortable and adjustable and will work for dogs and cats eight pounds and up. It will fit neck sizes that range from six inches up to twenty-eight inches. This system is reliable, durable, and it’s also one of the most affordable systems currently offered by PetSafe. So, if you need a reliable fence system that won’t hit your wallet too hard, this system is definitely worth a closer look.
Best Wireless Dog Fences Buyer’s Guide
So how do these wireless invisible fences work?
There are a couple of different technologies to choose from, but both types will consist of a collar and a transmitter.
With this type of setup, your pet will wear a receiver collar that is wirelessly connected to a transmitter. This will allow your dog to run freely around the yard without the use of fencing. Should your dog wander too close to the perimeter of your yard where the range has been set, the transmitter will send a signal to the collar that will start beeping to warn your pet that they’re dangerously close to the perimeter. Should your pet ignore this warning and decide to keep going forward towards the boundary, then the contact points on the collar will deliver a static correction, which involves a mild electric stimulation. Static correction is designed to cause discomfort but will not cause pain. In fact, most animals will simply become startled by the sensation and immediately turn around and head for home.
This type of correction will remind your pets that they’re in an area they shouldn’t be in and we’ll encourage them to turn around and head back to the safer areas of the yard.
Is a Wireless Dog Fence a Better Alternative?
These systems are very easy to set up and will allow you to have a wireless system up and running in an hour or less. They’re also very low maintenance since there are no wires to bury or expensive fencing to put up. Some of these systems are also very portable which means you can take them wherever you go whether you’re camping, visiting friends, or on a cross-country trip.
Limitations of Wireless Dog Fence
However, despite the many benefits of using one of these systems they do have some limitations. There are situations in which this type of fence would not be a good option.
Keep in mind, that this setup only provides a type of circular shaped boundary. This means that if you have a yard that’s very narrow or oddly shaped then this style of boundary design may not work well. Additionally, the boundaries tend to fluctuate, and just like with your cell phone, you may have issues with signal reception.
They also don’t work well in hilly or sloping yards, or yards that have a lot of trees. Instead, this type of setup works best in a wide flat open space where there isn’t a variety of the obstructions that can block the signal transmission between the receiver collar and the transmitter.
These fences also have issues with transmitting through metal. This means if you have a metal shed on your property or your home has metal siding, then this can cause issues with the fence and its ability to transmit a signal.
Another issue that some dog owners don’t consider is the fact that while yes, the fence will keep your dog contained in the yard, it will not prevent a stray dog from entering your yard. If you have a dog that has issues with dog aggression, or you simply want to keep your dog safe from strays, then this fence system isn’t a great option.
The Benefits of Dog Fence
Aside from the limitations that I mentioned above, most people choose this type of wireless setup because they’re so easy to use and maintain. Some pet owners may need to get a wireless system if the homeowners association doesn’t allow fences. Additionally, if you can’t afford a high-priced fence then you’re better off getting a wireless system instead of a metal fence or wooden fence, both of which can be eyesores.
Some dog owners will use a traditional fence and a wireless fence together to keep their pets safe. As an example, if you have a low picket fence that borders your property, yet your dog is a notorious digger, then a wireless fence will prevent them from escaping the yard. They’re also dogs that are escape artists such as Huskies. These dogs can be difficult to contain, so this extra level of protection is crucial.
GPS Fences for Dog
Some wireless systems can rely on GPS which uses satellites that will map out the boundary of your yard. This is a great alternative to using a fixed radio signal and burying the wire. However, cellular technology is used for the mapping of the fence boundary. The receiver is connected to a GPS program that will transmit alerts to the collar once the pet has approached the boundary and will then correct the pet using a warning tone or static correction.
The biggest concern of a wireless system is the inconsistent boundary. A wired system that consists of an underground wire offers a more consistent boundary that will not change unless you move the wire. While wireless GPS systems do not provide the same type of consistency. Unfortunately, the GPS coordinates can move and are often prone to changes in signal strength and interference. This type of inconsistent boundary can make training your dog to stay within the yard’s boundaries more difficult. This is because your pet needs to become familiar with the exact boundaries of your yard and should be able to recognize and understand the containment areas within their boundaries. If the boundary isn’t consistent this can easily confuse your pet and make training difficult and less effective.
Wired Fence Systems
Most models come with a buried wire, while others are completely portable and feature the wireless design. However, models that come equipped with wires are said to be more effective and you won’t have to worry about poor reception or transmission signals. For a wired setup, the wire is connected to a transmitter which is placed in the garage or the home.
The transmitter will send the radio signal through the wire that’s surrounding your property. The pet will wear the receiver collar that’s designed to detect the signal. Just like with wireless setups, once your pet wanders too close to the perimeter of your yard or the underground wire, the radio signal will cause the collar to start beeping. This is a warning for your pet that they’re coming too close to the property line.
Fortunately, most systems come with a simple training program that you can use to train your dog to make them fully aware of their new setup and the wireless or wired systems. Usually, the simple training programs will rely on flags that will mark the perimeter of the yard where your pet is allowed to play. Your pet will quickly learn how to recognize where they can go and where they can’t with the use of these simple flags that work as visual reminders.
In order to reinforce the training, the collar will deliver a warning tone and/or static correction, briefly. Most dogs will quickly learn that this type of correction is uncomfortable which will cause them to avoid certain areas in the yard. Over time, you can slowly reduce the number of flags in the yard once your dog becomes used to the system.
Installing a Wired Fence System for Your Dog
Unlike a wireless system, setting up a wired system is a little trickier. You’ll have to dig up their perimeter of your yard in order to bury the wire. The areas where the wire is buried will be the boundary. How deep you have to bury the wire will depend on the make and model of the system you buy. Typically, most systems will recommend burying it one to three feet deep. This can depend on whether you have destructive dogs, dogs that are prone to digging, or if you live in a part of the country that experiences harsh winters, or brutally hot summers.
While a wireless system is highly portable and can be taken anywhere, obviously you won’t enjoy the same type of portability with this style. However, many dog owners believe that the wired systems are more reliable and safer since you don’t have to rely on a radio signal or worry about signal reception. The last thing you want is for your dog to escape the yard due to a system failure.
Using Your New Fence System for Your Dog
As I mentioned earlier, setting up one of these systems is fairly simple. To start, the transmitter will plug into an outlet. Place the collar around your dog’s neck and switch on the receiver. The transmitter will send out a variety of radio signals which can be adjusted based on your desired boundary. Make sure you have the training flags in place and have your dog on a leash during the training period.
Some systems will send a static correction when your dog is two to three feet away from the yard’s boundary line, while other systems will send a static correction should your dog step foot over the perimeter.
Keep in mind that some collars have been known to cause skin irritation. Because of this, you should clean the collar’s contact points and check your pet’s neck frequently, during the first two weeks of use. In most cases, a dog will learn how to identify the invisible boundary lines in a matter of days. Once your dog is trained, you can remove the flags and cease using the leash.
Battery Life of Electric Dog Fence
When it comes to invisible dog fences, battery life really matters. When a battery dies this means the collar will stop emitting static corrections and audible alerts, which will allow your dog to run through the boundary. Most types of wired pet fences will come equipped with a replaceable receiver battery that offers a life span of six months up to 24 months. Wireless models usually come equipped with a rechargeable battery. Most rechargeable collars will only need to be recharged once or twice a month and offer a reasonably fast charge time.
Cost for a Wireless Dog Fence
In terms of price, you’ll find that wired models are much more affordable compared to their wireless counterparts. Wireless systems can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on the type of range you’re looking for. Additionally, some of these wireless systems will require you to pay an ongoing monthly fee in order to use cellular networks and/or GPS.
So, if you’re on a tight budget then a wired system is definitely the way to go. However, if you’re looking for a highly portable system than a wireless model may be a better option.
Final Thoughts on Invisible Dog Fence
I hope my buyer’s guide and my in-depth reviews on the best invisible dogs fences have given you a clearer idea of how these systems work and which type of system will work best for you. The wired systems are more reliable compared to their wireless counterparts and can ensure that your pet will not leave the yard.
Whereas the portable wireless systems are not quite as reliable and can be prone to signal loss if you do not have a flat, wide-open yard. Because of this, the type of system you purchase should be based on the size and shape of your yard, whether or not you have trees and other obstacles in your yard, and your budget. Once you’ve determined which type of system will work best for you and your pets I’m confident that you’ll find the perfect model in my top 5 lineup. Each of these systems has something special to offer in terms of versatility, reliability, safety, and affordable pricing.