SpotOn vs Invisible Fence®: Comparing Cost, Setup, Features, and More


When shopping for a dog fence, in-ground fences are a popular choice as it has been available for over 30 years. However, technology has evolved and today there are many alternatives that may better align with your needs and challenges containing your dog.

How Invisible Fence® Works

Invisible Fence® was invented more than 30 years ago and it uses radio frequencies, rather than GPS like SpotOn -  key difference between the two options.. A professional installation company comes to your house and digs a trench to install a buried wire around the perimeter of your yard. Your dog wears an the collar and you place a base station in your home. The wire communicates the boundary via the base station to the collar and the collar communicates its location to the base station. If the base station determines your dog is crossing the boundary, it can signal the collar to emit a static correction. It will emit this correction both leaving and coming back into containment; however, the system does not notify you if your dog escapes and you cannot use the product to track your dog to their location.

How Much Does it Cost?

A traditional in-ground fence is only available through installation by one of their approved installers, which makes it expensive. Prices will vary based on your region and the installation company. Also, the larger your property, the higher the cost, since pricing is based on the amount of wire used and the installation time. Use our cost comparison calculator to see how much this sort of solution will cost on average for your acreage, and how much you can save when you choose a SpotOn Fence. Remember: SpotOn is the same price no matter the size of your property and it can be used at an infinite number of properties.

How Does Installation Work?

All buried wire dog fence systems require extensive installation. A trench must be dug around the perimeter of the property and a wire buried there. So, either you are spending hours or weekends digging or you have to hire someone to do it. For SpotOn Fence, you just draw a fence on a smartphone App, and you are all set.

How is SpotOn different: What are the gaps?

From your dog’s point of view, there isn’t much of a difference between SpotOn Fence vs a buried wire fence. However, SpotOn uses the latest wireless technology providing many advantages. Along with the extensive installation and high cost of buried wire, here’s where the system falls short when compared to SpotOn:

Difficult to Set Up

The main disadvantage of in-ground fence options versus SpotOn Fence is installation. It is difficult to set up and can take days, weeks or months to get started depending on your installer’s schedule. SpotOn Fence can be set up in minutes by drawing a fence on your smartphone. Conversely, a professional installer needs to dig a trench to bury the wire for an in-ground solution. Then, they must set up the system itself and make sure the collar, base station, and wire are communicating.

Lack of Portability

Once installed, a buried wire fence is attached to that property. It would cost more to remove an underground fence and install it on a new property than it would to just install a second one. SpotOn’s technology, however, is all contained on the dog collar so you can set up fences at your second home or at your new home when you move. If you go to places where you cannot build a fence because it’s not your property, like your mom’s house or a vacation rental, you can instantly create fences and contain your dog there. This is something you cannot do with the buried wire fence. 

No Tracking

Unlike SpotOn Fence, buried wire fences do not offer tracking if your dog escapes. With the SpotOn App, if your dog escapes containment, you will receive instant notifications on your phone and be able to track your dog to their location. You can also view your dog’s location within the fence on your smartphone at any time. For example, if you are in the kitchen and you wonder where your dog is on your farm, you just check the App to see their precise location.

Expensive Repair Bills

Buried wire fences are notorious for needing ongoing maintenance and repairs each year. These bills can often total up to the original installation. A common problem is that the wire comes to the surface and homeowners run over it with a lawnmower. SpotOn Fence in contrast is just the collar and the collar is covered by a 1-year warranty, so you don’t have to worry about these expenses.

Limited Dog Determent Tools

In-ground fencing only offers static correction as a way to deter your dog from leaving the containment area and there are only 4 levels to choose from. With SpotOn Fence, you can use tones as well as choose from vibration, static correction, or both. The static correction has 30 levels so you can get the right level for your dog without over-correcting them. SpotOn Fence also NEVER corrects your dog from coming back into containment.

TheTop Alternatives

In addition to the SpotOn Fence, there are many alternatives, including physical fences, base station fences, and geofences. Each choice depends on your needs and your dog’s needs.

1. Physical fences. A physical fence made out of wood, vinyl, or chain link is great if you have the time and money to build one. However, the cost of a fence for a large property can be exorbitant and if you install it yourself it could take days, weeks, or months. The advantage of a physical fence over in-ground fences is that it’s more reliable and less likely to break. Buried wires often come to the surface and break, and sometimes the repair services can total more than the original installation.

2. Base station fences. These are systems that create a circular fence around a base station that needs to be plugged in. Base station fences are one of the portable alternatives since you can set up the base station and project a fence anywhere. The disadvantage is that the shape of the fence is only circular, which might not fit the area where you want your dog to run. In addition, the system must be plugged in so it cannot be used in outdoor spaces like woods, beaches, or parks. Another disadvantage is that the circular size only works for yards 1/3 acre or less.

3. Geofences. There are a number of products that boast having geofences. However, alternatives that use geofences do NOT contain your dog. They are simply a set of GPS coordinates you designate as your property perimeter. The systems will alert you if your dog leaves the geofence, but the system has no way to deter your dog, so the system does not contain your dog. You have to chase after them if they leave.

4. Dog GPS Fences. These systems, such as the SpotOn Fence, are higher-tech alternatives to traditional buried wire containment system. GPS fences are more effective and easier to install – the SpotOn Fence can be installed by simply drawing a fence on SpotOn’s smartphone app, whereas in-ground fence installation is a long and extensive process of digging a physical trench for the wires to be buried. Another winning feature to consider is that SpotOn containment areas can be edited and modified at any time in just seconds. Once you install the buried wires, it would cost you about the same as the original installation to dig it up and change its shape or position.

Why Bury Wires When There's a Better Way?

Consider the top alternative to an in-ground solution! Bring home SpotOn Fence today and your dog can be running free in two weeks!

Author Bio:
Jennifer Joyce is the President of SpotOn Fence and one of the people entrusted to serve French Bulldogs, Lucy & Henry. She grew up on a farm in Oregon with Golden Retriever, Butch, and black cat, Lucky. Their lifestyle of running free on the farm inspired her to join SpotOn to help more dogs run free off leash. She has over 10 years of pet industry experience for brands such as Kurgo & Embark Vet. She has written about many topics related to incorporating pets into your life, such as hiking, camping, urban exploring, travel safety and international travel.

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