The Best Chain Link Fence Panels for Privacy and Security
Popular Mechanics; Courtesy Deacero
When you're considering different fencing options for your property, it's easy to get overwhelmed by the plethora of choices on the market. However, one type of fencing stands above the rest when it comes to affordability, versatility, and longevity: chain link fence panels. Whether you want to add a layer of security or privacy around your property, make a dog kennel, or create a barrier around your garden beds, chain link fence panels can be quickly and easily installed and will last for decades with virtually zero maintenance.
To help you select the best chain link fence panels for your property, we consulted fencing expert Justin Noss about what to look for when shopping for chain link fence panels, and he offered his insights on how to install and maintain them.
From there, we scoured the market to find the best chain link fencing in a variety of different categories so you can find the type that best suits your specific needs.
Best Chain Link Fence Panels
The Expert: Justin Noss is the owner of All American Fence Erectors, a family-run company located in southern California. For over 30 years, the business has served the High Desert area by completing both residential and commercial jobs. Voted "Best in the Desert" by Victorville Daily Press for six years in a row, the company specializes in new chain link, chain link privacy, and ranch-style vinyl fence installations and repair work.
Finding the Best Chain Link Fence Panels for You
Before purchasing chain link fence panels for your property, it's important to keep in mind what purpose the fence will serve.
Chain link fence panels come in a range of heights, typically between 3 to 12 feet. Taller panels are usually best for adding privacy and security to your property, whereas shorter panels are typically used for things like demarcating barriers and borders around front yards and garden beds. Depending on its material, height, and any included extras (like gates or privacy barriers), chain link fences can range in price from £5 to £50 per linear foot.
Chain link fencing can either be purchased in a complete kit or in rolls of bare fencing.
A complete kit includes:
- A roll of chain link fencing, usually around 50-feet long
- Span wire that runs horizontally between posts, across the top and bottom, and to which the mesh fencing attaches
- Wire tensioner for tightening up the fence
- Binding wire to attach the fencing mesh to the span wires
- Post spikes for anchoring the posts into the ground without having to dig post holes and set the posts in concrete. Some kits don't include these.
Although kits are usually the most convenient option, they're more expensive than bare rolls. If you can find the additional installation components and hardware more affordably elsewhere or already have them on hand, buying a bare roll can considerably reduce your initial expense.
Along with the fencing, you might also have to install a gate to either walk or drive through.
In either case, gates are available in the same standard heights as chain link fencing, so you should be able to find one that matches the height of the fencing you plan to install.
Regardless of the type of chain link fencing you purchase, the base material will be galvanized steel. Galvanized steel is coated with zinc to prevent rust and corrosion, and some chain link fence panels have an additional vinyl coating to provide an extra layer of protection while also making the fence more visually appealing. As opposed to the grayish silver color of plain galvanized steel, vinyl-coated fences are available in multiple colors to let you customize the look of your fence.
Finally, if you want to add more privacy to your chain link fence, you will need to install a privacy screen or privacy slats.
Privacy screens consist of fabric rolls that are hung across the length of the fence, whereas privacy slats are thin and narrow strips of plastic or metal that are slid vertically through the chain link fence's diamond mesh. Both are usually made out of a durable HDPE plastic and sometimes coated with a UV barrier to prevent color fading and prolong their longevity. In addition to privacy, they offer protection from the wind, create shade, and can improve the overall appearance of the fence.
Screens are easier and quicker to install but offer less privacy and wind protection than slats, which are a more permanent solution that take much longer to install and are generally more expensive.
How We Evaluated These Chain Link Fence Panels
When evaluating the chain link fence panels on the market today, we considered a wide range of applications to accommodate practically any need and budget. Below you will find complete kits, tall and short fence panels, fences made out of plain galvanized steel and vinyl-coated varieties, and more. For each product category, we took into account user reviews from many of the major retail distributors of chain link fence panels, including Amazon, Home Depot, Lowe's, and Walmart.
Among our recommendations, you should be able to find the best chain link fencing for your needs. Best OverallMaboto Chain Link Fence with Posts and Spikes
Best Budget OptionAbody Chain Link Fence Steel Green
Best for Small BarriersMixfeer Chain Link Fence with Posts
Best for Privacy & SecurityDeacero Range Master 10661 Knuckle Weave Chain Link Fence
Best for PetsMidwest Homes for Pets K9 KennelMidWest Homes for Pets
Best Drive-Through GateMerchant Metals Drive-Thru Chain Link Fence Gate with MeshMerchant Metals
Best Walk-Through GateEverbilt Expandable Galvanized Chain Link Gate Kit
Best Privacy ScreenSunnyglade Privacy ScreenSunnyglade
Now 20% off Best Privacy SlatsFenceSource Wave SlatFenceSource
Now 23% off
How to Install and Maintain Chain Link Fence Panels, According to Expert Justin Noss PM: What advice do you have for someone who is installing their own chain link fence panels?
J.N: First, make sure to call 811--the national call-before-you-dig phone number--a few days before you do any digging, and request for any buried utilities to be marked to ensure that you are not going to dig on top of any underground utilities. Getting the posts at the correct height and in line with each other, as well as making sure the posts are level, are all key requirements.
PM: How can someone ensure their chain link fence panels are safely secured?
J.N: To ensure that chain link fence panels are safely secured, set all your posts in concrete. A good rule of thumb is to dig the post hole three times the diameter of the post and to a depth of 18 to 24 inches for a standard residential chain link fence. PM: What's the typical lifespan of chain link fence panels?
J.N: All chain link fence material should be galvanized, and it can last anywhere from 10 to 40 years, depending on the moisture of your area.
PM: How can readers extend the life of their chain link fence panels?
J.N: Without getting into a lot of chemistry, even though water has a neutral pH, it contributes to the corrosion of iron-based metals. You can extend the life of your chain link fence panels by ensuring that they aren't constantly getting hit with water sprinklers or sitting in moist areas. PM: What type of maintenance or repairs are typically required?
J.N: Chain link fence is basically maintenance-free, which is why it's such a great fence.
If you have chain link gates, they may need adjustment from time to time depending on how much use or abuse the gate takes.
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