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Containment Systems go...
20 gauge v. 18 gauge wire  

Is 18 gauge superior to 20 gauge wire in pet containment systems? Some retailers claim a significant difference, and post dramatic illustrations to that effect. Mike Duncan, owner of, is an Electrical Engineer by trade. He developed the following chart to illustrate the differences between 18 and 20 gauge wire.

Actual Size
AWG Size
8 thousandths
of an inch

In any containment system, the boundary wire simply serves as an antenna, and does not carry weight or stress. The gauge would make a difference if it were carrying electrical current, but the negligible difference in breaking force (lbf) is what is called into question. However, common fence mishaps with lawn mowers, edgers, or garden tools would easily break either wire. It is more important to be sure that the wire jacket (coating) is direct burial rated. A direct burial wire is designed for the moist conditions underground, and will not degrade over time once the wire has been installed. The 20 gauge boundary wire PetSafe recommends is direct burial rated, and covered under the original equipment warranty.

The following statement is quoted from the Innotek retailer agreement:

"...All products must be sold to the consumer in sealed unaltered condition...There are to be no modifications made to the gauge of wire included with an INNOTEK® containment system. Extensive performance evaluations show no increase in performance or durability of heavier gauge wire to the 20 gauge included with the system."

The following is excerpted from the PetSafe website:

"Can I use a larger or smaller wire than what was supplied in my kit?
The Radio Fence® transmitters were designed to operate on the surface area that is available on an #20 AWG wire. However, we have found that they work just as well with larger wires, but only up to a certain size. The largest you may use is a #14 AWG." 

At Securepets, we stock only brand name equipment, shipped to us directly from PetSafe, Innotek, Dogtra, DogWalk, and other fine manufacturers. You can be assured of competitive pricing, excellent service, and a fair return policy. In the unlikely event that your system fails to perform to your expectations, you can simply return it within our "30-day Money Back" period to receive a full refund of your purchase price (less actual shipping costs--no additional handling or restocking charges apply). No restocking fee, no wire deductions....period! At Securepets, integrity is our foremost product.

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