Is a barbed wire fence right for me?

close-up of barbed wire

The Basics of Barbed Wire Fence Installation

A barbed wire fence installation is typically for homes and properties in rural areas. Property owners often have them installed to keep cattle and horses in and other unwanted critters and varmints out. Barbed wire fence for cattle and equine purposes doesn’t come in a kit or sections like a chain-link or wooden privacy fence. 

Instead, you have to build them with barbed wire fence materials from your local farm and ranch stores. If you’ve never done a barbed wire fence installation, you can usually find instructional online videos and barbed wire fence building guides where the materials are purchased. While it isn’t a complicated process, if the goal is to keep cattle and horses in and other critters and varmints out, you’ll want to make it stable and strong. When cattle or horses put their weight into a barbed wire fence, it can loosen the posts at the very least. 

Is barbed wire fence cheap?

Barbed wire is often assumed to be a cheap fencing cost. While it may be cheaper than some other options, the main cost consideration should come from the area you are trying to enclose.

The barbed wire itself will typically come in rolls with 1,320 feet of wiring. This is enough barbed wire to fence up to three acres. There are other components to the fencing to be purchased as well. This will determine how expensive it is to add barbed wire.

Barbed Wire

Standard barbed wire is made from galvanized metal and has barbs every four to five inches apart. The “barbs” are the spike-like things that run along the strands and are painful to push against. The barbed wire is stretched taut between metal or wooden posts and then fastened, with three to five strands from top to bottom, evenly spaced. 

Fence Posts

A barbed wire fence will have wooden corner posts with brace posts next to them for support. There are also line posts, either metal or wood, and sometimes a combination of the two. The wooden posts are typically made from pressure-treated wood. 


The barbed wire is connected to the posts by fasteners. For wooden posts, a U-shape staple is used. For metal posts, there are wire connectors to connect and fasten the barbed wire. 

Are barbed wire fences effective?

Barbed wire fencing is also often used on commercial and industrial properties to deter intruders and vandals. In these settings, there won’t be a complete barbed wire fence installation as found in rural areas. Instead, strands of barbed wire are stretched along the top of a chain-link fence. 

Either barbed wire fence installation or barbed wire stretched along the top of a fence are effective types of fencing with the following benefits.


For security purposes, barbed wire fencing is a durable and effective option. The razor-sharp barbs are a strong deterrent in keeping intruders out of commercial and industrial properties just as it is in keeping cattle and equine inside a property in rural areas. Both barbed wire and razor wire are made of metal and require special tools to cut. This metal material offers a long lifespan with minimal maintenance. 


One benefit of a barbed wire fence installation is how inexpensive it is compared to other fencings. If used in conjunction with chain link fencing on a commercial or industrial property, it is a low-cost choice with added security.  

Easy to Customize and Versatile 

Barbed wire or razor wire fencing can be easily customized. This versatility allows you to create the security measures you need and want in length or style. Barbed wire fence installation is easy and fast compared to the installation of other types of fencing, and when the fencing is no longer needed, the wiring, metal or wooden posts are recyclable.

What are the disadvantages of barbed wire?

Depending on the setting, a barbed wire fence installation can be unsightly and create a standoffish appearance. While it serves as an essential security element, it is often considered an extreme and unnecessary force that can harm innocent people and unknowing trespassers. 

Are you allowed to put barbed wire on your fence?

For residential purposes, this will depend on the fencing requirements and restrictions of the city or HOA. For rural areas, a barbed wire fence installation is standard and expected. For commercial or industrial property, again, there is local legislation to check with, but in most cases, it is allowed. 

chainlink fence topped with barbed wire

So – At the End of the Day 

You may be asking, “can I put barbed wire on my fence to stop intruders?” As we mentioned, it will depend on where your property is located and if there is any local legislation that restricts this type of fencing. If the barbed wire fence installation is within your property lines and inaccessible to passersby, then it will probably be acceptable.