How to Test an Electric Fence Without a Tester

If you don’t have an electric fence tester, don’t worry, we can’t still test it with cheap handy tools and easy tricks.

Other than a tester, we can use a screwdriver, a tester screwdriver, a non-contact voltage tester, a tube light, or a bulb installed in a socket.

However, these methods are helpful to know if your fence is working but don’t tells the exact voltage in the fence wires.

How to test an electric fence without a tester?

To test an electric fence without a tester:

  • First of all, inspect the energizer if it’s clicking & blinking.
  • Take a screwdriver & touch its metal part to the fence. You’ll see a clicking sound and arcing.
  • Take a tester screwdriver & put your finger on the metal head. Touch the metal shaft of the tester to the fence wire. The tester’s bulb will blink if it detects voltage in the fence.
  • A non-contact voltage is also useful for detecting voltage in the fence wires
  • If you take an AM radio and pass it very close to the fence wires. You’ll hear a buzzing sound if there is power in the fence.
  • Take a piece of glass & touch it to the fence wire. You’ll feel slight pulses of current in your fingers.
  • You can also make a homemade fence tester using a bulb, socket & wires.

Test 1: Inspect the Energizer:

The easiest way to know if an electric fence is working is to check if the energizer is clicking & the bulb is blinking.

Whenever the energizer generates a voltage pulse, it produces a clicking sound along the blinking light.

You can also verify if the energizer is generating current.


  1. Remove the wires from the energizer’s terminals.
  2. Take two screwdrivers and attach them to both terminals of the energizer.
  3. Take the sharp metal tips close to each other.
  4. If the energizer produces voltage pulses, you’ll see arcing (current jumping from one screwdriver to another).

Test 2: Test the electric fence with grass

The easiest trick to check if the electric fence wire has power is using a blade of grass. Grass has water inside its body that can conduct charges effectively.


  1. Takes a 5-10 inches long fresh(green) blade of grass.
  2. Hold the glass from one end and touch the other to the electric fence wire.
  3. If the electric fence has power, you’ll feel pulses(current) in your fingers.
  4. You’ll notice a stronger current if you touch the grass to the fence near your hand.
  5. This way, you can check all the fence strands(wires) using grass.

Test 3: Test an electric fence with a screwdriver

A tester is the most handy tool present in all homes that you can use to check your electric fence.


  1. Hold the insulated handle(rubber/plastic) of the screwdriver.
  2. Touch the screwdriver’s metal part(shank/shaft) to the electric fence wires.
  3. If there is power in the electric fence, you’ll see arcing(spark) and a clicking sound at the contact point.
  4. It’s because a high-voltage pulse jumps from the fence to the screwdriver.
  5. In this, check all the fence strands frequently after some intervals.

Test 4: Test an electric fence with a tester screwdriver

A tester screwdriver is used to check power in electrical components and is commonly available in every home. We can use it to check if the fence is working or not.


  1. Hold the tester from the insulated handle. Put one of your finger’s tip on the metal parts at the top of the tester.
  2. Now touch the metal shaft of the tester screwdriver to the fence wires. If the electric fence wire has power, the neon indicator bulb inside the tester screwdriver will glow.
  3. In this way, check all the fence wires at regular intervals. Keep your finger on the metal head at the top of the screwdriver.
  4. If the bulb in the tester doesn’t glow upon touching the fence wires, it indicates no power in the fence.

Test 5: Test electric fence with a radio:

You can use an AM radio(amplitude modulation) to check if the electric fence has power.


  1. Set the radio to a lower frequency and tune it to a station with weak or no reception.
  2. Hold the radio close to the electric fence wire while keeping the volume up.
  3. If the fence is working correctly, you should hear a distinct buzzing or crackling sound from the radio speakers.
  4. This occurs because the electric fence emits electromagnetic waves that interfere with the radio signal, resulting in audible noise.

Test 6: Non-contact voltage tester:

A non-contact voltage tester costs around 10-20$ and is an excellent tool for checking power in wires & electric components. It detects voltage without touching the conductor & provides a visual or audible indication. However, they don’t provide precise voltage measurements.


  1. Turn on the non-contact voltage tester.
  2. Take the thin pencil shape end of the non-contact voltage tester near the fence wires.
  3. If there is power in the fence wire the sensor in the tester will the electromagnetic waves of the current in the fence.
  4. The red LED bulb in the tester will glow. Some models also beep as they detect power in the wires.

Test 7: Test the electric fence with a tube light:

Similarly, you can also use a tube light to check whether the fence is working.

Hold the tube light from the center (glass). Attach the metal pins at one end of the tube light to the electric fence wires. Similarly, attach the pins from the other end to the ground. With each pulse, the tube light will glow.

Test 8: Using compass:

If you have a compass, you can also use it to test if there is power in your electric fence.

When you take the compass near the electric fence, the current in the wires produces a magnetic field, which interacts with the magnetic field of the compass.

The needles move, indicating power in the fence.

9: Homemade electric fence tester:

Using a bulb & socket or a tube light, we can make a homemade electric fence tester.


  1. Take a bulb socket having wires. Screw a bulb inside it.
  2. Identify the live & ground wires. The live wire is usually red or brown & gets connected to the central metal tab connected to the bulb’s metal base.
  3. The neutral wire is typically black or blue and is connected to the light socket’s round metal shell.
  4. Peel the ends of both wires. Attach the live wire of the bulb socket to the live fence wires.
  5. Similarly, attach the ground wire of the socket to the earth or any part of the electric fence grounding.
  6. If your electric fence is live, the bulb will glow with each voltage pulse generated by the energizer.
  7. While if the bulb doesn’t glow, it indicates the electric fence doesn’t have power.


I’ve personally applied all the methods to check if my fence is working or not. So if you don’t have a specific voltage tester, you can check if your fence is working or not by using all the methods mentioned above.

The easiest method is to use a blade of grass. However other tools such as a screwdriver, tester screwdriver, an AM radio, a compass, or a non-contact voltage tester are easily available.

If you still need any guidance, ask us in the comments.

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