What exactly are the differences between ceramic and porcelain insulators? At first glance, they appear to be the same baked clay material, but they are not. In reality, there are some major variations between the two, which include cost of production, the temperature at which these materials are produced and their ultimate durability in the field.
CERAMIC VS. PORCELAIN ELECTRIC FENCE INSULATORS: AT A GLANCE
Ceramic is made of red, brown or white porous clay. Once it’s shaped, it is fired between 2,100° to 2,300° Fahrenheit. Ceramic is less expensive to produce than porcelain.
If the ceramic is glazed, the glaze is only baked into the top layer.
Ceramic insulators will see a long life of use on your electric fence. While they are tough, they may break easier and may become brittle in extreme cold weather.
Porcelain is made from a refined, white clay called kaolin and is fired at temperatures as high as 2,600° Fahrenheit. It is sometimes referred to as “China,” because the manufacturing process was developed centuries ago in that country, as rich insulators are.
Porcelain also has a solid color throughout, usually white. Porcelain is denser and less absorbent than ceramic, so it can easily withstand moisture and harsher weather conditions. Because of the cost of materials and an intensive manufacturing process, porcelain is more expensive to produce.
To most people, the term porcelain often signifies high-quality ceramics.
Porcelain insulators are ideal for use on fences that see a lot of stress and strain, such as those that face extreme cold temperatures or pressure from aggressive animals. More porcelain insulator are ideal for use on electric power system.
A ceramic insulator with a mult-groove spacer clip attached shows how it secures the line to the fence post.
ATTACHING ELECTRIC FENCING TO GROOVED INSULATORS
When attaching fence line to insulators that only have grooves (rather than built-in clips or loops), you will also need a supply of Multi-Groove Spacer Clips. These clips hook over one side of your fence line, wrap around the insulator on the opposite side of the line and are then secured back on the line with the 3-Hole Wire Twisting Tool.
With the spacer clips installed, the fence line is held firmly against the insulator, while still having the capability to shift as needed. The clips allow the fence line to withstand contraction and expansion pressure brought on by temperature changes, as well as occasional stress from intrusion by animals or other objects.
A ceramic lag screw insulator with wire running through it.
BENEFITS OF CERAMIC AND PORCELAIN INSULATORS
Ceramic and porcelain insulators are designed to hold electrified wire near fence posts without losing energy through the post. They also have higher insulating properties than plastic insulators and will not break down due to sun damage. When properly installed, these insulators will support your fence for years. Available for in line and corner posts, porcelain and ceramic insulators can handle any size fence wire including high tensile wire, polywire and polyrope.
Several of the insulators also have built-in lag screws that allow you to quickly install them on your existing wood fence posts. Once they’re screwed into place, just thread your line through their loops for a secure hold.