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Electric Fencing - The Basics: Electric Fencing Dilemma...Tape or Rope?

Taped up or roped in?

Electric ropeCornerTape

Which should I use for my set up? ... Electric Tape or Rope?

This is a question we get asked regularly....sometimes it is really just a preference and what you are used to... but please see the information below so that you can make an informed choice and get the right product for your animals and your system.

The primary concern when trying to contain animals with electric fencing is visibility.  For many animals an electric fence acts as a psychological barrier and they have to be able to see it to avoid it.  This is also a consideration when considering colour - so a green tape may be more aesthetically pleasing to us humans but it will be harder for the horse to see!

Products which have a greater contrast with the surrounding environment are more likely to be more effective. Tape offers the greater range of visibility as it is available up to 40mm in width and as such is often used as an alternative to traditional post and rail fencing.  However as tape has a wide and flat profile it is can catch the wind which over time can break down the conductors making it less effective (constant moving and re-erecting can also break conductors down).  Many tapes have thick polyurethane webbing with extra thick edging to extend the lifespan of the tape.  Generally rope is a very good alternative to tape and what is lost on visibility is made up in durability.

When assessing tape or rope the most important criteria's to be considered are the products conductivity, its mechanical strength and particularly for horses, its visibility.  Narrow tapes offer the possibility for simple rolling up and easy storage combined with low weight and higher flexibility.  However broad tapes give optimum visibility for more permanent post and electric rail fences.  Which ever you choose - tape or rope - for optimum longevity and resistance to wind and weather both will require to be installed and tensioned correctly.

In bullet point form:

Tape - pros and cons

  • tape is best for dividing paddocks so if a horse gets spooked and decides to run through it will break and not cause harm to the animal as it has a lower breaking strain than rope
  • tape is very visual especially if you use the larger size of 40mm in white
  • tape comes in different thicknesses
  • the more expensive tape has a UV protection
  • check for conductivity, strength and visibility when comparing tape and rope (and also when comparing different types of tape)
  • tape is more likely to catch in the wind - this can start to break down the conductors

Rope - pros and cons

  • rope best for permanent fence and boundary fencing doesn't catch the wind so easy
  • rope has a higher breaking strain
  • rope will will last longer and is more durable than tape
  • rope is visual to the animal but not as visual as 40mm tape
  • Check for conductivity, strength and visibility when comparing tape and rope (and also when comparing different types of rope)

Tape and Rope are available in our online shop (discounted prices in our sale section on One Shock products until stocks last).  If you have any questions please ask… we’d be happy to help:

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Meriel Younger

About Meriel Younger

Farmers daughter (my mother was the farmer!) with many years experience of farming, equestrian and electric fencing. Living the 'good life' and forever trying to find the perfect work/life balance!
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