How to Determine Wire Gauge in Fencing

How to Determine Wire Gauge in Fencing

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If you are shopping for a wire mesh fence in North America, chances are you’re going to be given at least some of the information about your fence as gauge. Many parts of the world use diameter in millimeters or even inches in some places, but in North American fencing, gauge is quite common.

This means you might be wondering how to determine wire gauge in fencing at some point. Here’s what you need to know.

First, Measure the Diameter

If you want to learn how to determine wire gauge in fencing, the first thing you need to know how to do is to measure the diameter of the wire.


Wire gauges correspond directly to specific wire diameters, so once you know the wire diameter, you can usually look them up on a wire gauge chart like the one below.

The only exception is if you are looking up wire from somewhere other than North America. In some parts of the world, instead of using specific wire gauges, they use specific diameters, like 2.5mm and 3.15mm, usually in countries that use the metric system.

The easiest way to measure wire diameter is to use a vernier caliper, like the one pictured to the right. These make it very easy to measure the thickness or diameter of any kind of wire or even steel pipe wall thicknesses.



Buy a vernier caliper on Amazon

Look It Up On a Wire Gauge Chart

Once you know the diameter of the wire you have, you can look it up on a wire gauge chart like this one, which includes most of the more popular wire gauges in North America.

Diameter in Inches        
Diameter in MM
6 0.192 4.877
9 0.1483 3.767
11 0.1205 3.061
12 0.1055 2.68


Use a Wire Gauge Tool

If you don’t want to measure and look up wire gauge every time you need to figure it out, you can also invest in a wire gauge measurement tool.

These are often sold with sheet thickness measuring tools, and they are both very simple to use. Simply slip them over the wire or sheet you want to measure until you get a perfect fit, and then read off the gauge or thickness.

It’s a quick, easy and cheap addition to your toolbox that ensures you always know what gauge wire you’re working with.



Buy a wire gauge measuring tool on Amazon


When In Doubt, Size Up

As you can see from this fencing wire gauge chart, wire sizes from elsewhere in the world, don’t quite match the wire gauges commonly used in North America.

Whenever there is a discrepancy between the size of an item you have and want to use and a specification provided, the safest option is always to size up. You can always offer an option for the wire size immediately below the gauge as well as above, but if you have any doubts about any specifications, playing it safe and sizing up is always a safe choice.

Ideally, however, you should try to buy any wire or mesh for your fence project locally, simply because different countries do use different sizes. Even within North America, there are slight differences between Canadian and American fence specifications, so they’re not always completely interchangeable.

A reputable local fence supplier should be able to help you find the right products for your project, though, so you might not even need to know how to determine wire gauge in fencing.

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