Whether you need to motivate your livestock to move when they are being stubborn or protect yourself from wild animals, the best cattle prod has numerous uses. That said, not all cattle prods are made to be used in every kind of situation. That is why we have prepared our list of the 3 best cattle prods while also highlighting which is best at what. We also provide a helpful buyer’s guide. We rated the Miller DuraProd DX36 as our Editor’s Choice, but it may not be the best prod for your purposes.
Best Cattle Prods in 2020
|4 C Batteries|
|Magrath #22||4 C Batteries|
|Hot Shot HSR48||6 C Batteries|
1. Miller Duraprod DX36 – Best Cattle Prod
The Miller Manufacturing Company not only has more than 70 years of experience, but they have also focused on livestock since day one. All of this experience allowed the company to rise to the top of its market and dominate to the point that there really is not any competition. Granted, there are plenty of other respectable cattle prods on the market – some of which might even be better than the Miller Duraprod DX36. However, most of those brands are actually owned by the Miller Mfg Co. Still, the company does show pride by ensuring that their particular brand of cattle prod is the best all-around performing product in the market as well as our Editor’s Choice.
One thing you need to understand about the cattle prod market these days is that they are quite often sold as interchangeable, separate pieces. A big part of this has to do with the fact that the same company makes the top brands which forces the true competition to follow suit. As such, it is far more likely that you will find a Miller component connected to a competitor’s product as opposed to the other way around.
How to Use a Hot Shot
2. Magrath Livestock Prod – Best Budget Cattle Prod
Springer Magrath may not be the oldest company on our list, but it has been focused exclusively on providing products for animal care with particular attention on commercial and agricultural markets for over half a century. This allowed the company to rise through the ranks, but it is one of many that was acquired by the Miller Mfg Co. That said, Miller has a sterling reputation and even longer history, and Magrath products have not seen a drop off since then. In fact, Magrath products might actually be better than they were while being able to keep the costs lower than ever. As such, we rate this our best budget cattle prod, though this is likely not the best cattle prod for new ranchers.
Careful with That
It might seem a bit unusual, but the Magrath cattle prod is likely one of the better options for experienced users. This is because the Magrath has the shortest shaft, and the shaft is also a flexible type. As such, anyone using this cattle prod will necessarily have to get closer to the animal to use it – something that should not be a problem for experienced ranchers.
Close EncountersOf course, if you are comfortable being in close proximity to an irate animal, the Magrath does offer the most powerful shock we saw at 5500 kV. Also, while this particular model is not rechargeable, the included handle does have a rechargeable add-on accessory – though this will somewhat temper the budget-friendly total cost. Still, the handle itself is insulated and features a rubber trigger to help prevent any accidental shocks.
3. Hot Shot HSR48 HS2000 – Strongest Cattle Prod
Our final product comes from yet again another brand that has recently been purchased by the Miller Mfg Co, and yet again the brand may actually be better off for it. Granted, Hot Shot was already known for being one of the top-tier brands used by professional ranchers anyway. That said, this particular model is the cream of the crop and comes with a fair number of extra features that you do not see on other cattle prods. In fact, one of its best features is what pushed it onto our short list in the first place as the best rechargeable cattle prod. Of course, you get what you pay for, and the Hot Shot HS2000 is by far the most expensive product that we reviewed.
The Hot Shot HS2000, as its name might imply, is noted for providing an incredibly powerful jolt to animals.
That said, a fair bit of this has to do with the shaft used which comes in at a whopping 48” while also being made of stiff fiberglass. While that is great for providing some safe distance between you and the animal, the Hot Shot HS2000 also makes sure that you are protected from the cattle prod itself as well.
Specifically, the Hot Shot HS2000 has a safety clip that sits over the trigger to prevent any accidental shocks. On top of that, both the motor and the handle are permanently sealed to prevent any mess or debris from getting inside. Of course, the included rechargeable battery pack ensures that you do not have to keep paying for new batteries – though it does take about 9 hours to recharge.
Considering that the overwhelming majority of cattle prod products and components have been monopolized by a single manufacturer, the differences between the models are generally less than for other types of products. That said, you can still figure out which cattle prod will provide the better experience for your needs. One of the best ways of figuring out which is the better cattle prod for you is by identifying the materials used. While the materials will rarely limit a cattle prod in any meaningful way, it may provide some insight into how it is best used.
Despite its name, fiberglass is actually far more similar to plastic than it is to glass, though that may be because it contains both materials. Basically, fiberglass uses an industrial-grade plastic base that will have glass fibers woven through it in some way – and it can be woven in a number of different arrangements. This composition allows fiberglass to remain stiff while still providing a modicum of flexibility so that it will not easily snap if it touches the animal wrong. That said, fiberglass is not really that durable of a material, especially when used in colder weather – an atmosphere that ranchers are liable to experience before too long.
At first blush, this might seem like the best material that can be used in a cattle prod, but it is actually used in an unexpected way. Instead of used for the leads because of its conductivity or as part of the frame considering it is the strongest material commonly used in cattle prods, steel is actually used to help reinforce the shaft of flexible cattle prods. Though not the same manufacturing process, steel is used in a similar way as glass is when woven into plastic to form fiberglass. While it may seem a bit surprising, steel is actually more flexible than glass due to its molecular structure which makes it a great material to be threaded for additional durability and flexibility.
Yet again, rubber makes a second material that makes plenty of sense to be used with a cattle prod, but it is used in a way that you might not expect. The primary use of rubber with cattle prods is actually to serve as an insulator to protect the user from accidentally getting shocked. That said, rubber is also often used in cattle prod shafts where it is blended with steel threads to provide excellent flexibility while still being durable enough to stick onto your livestock. One thing to keep in mind about rubber is that it is technically an organic material, despite what it may feel like. This means that if you do not protect the rubber and maintain it, especially after it gets wet, the rubber is liable to start rotting.
This is another kind of plastic used for cattle prods, but this is actually the material that most cattle prods use for the housing to their handle. This actually makes this one of the most important materials used in the construction of the cattle prod’s handle. Keep in mind, ABS is a significantly better plastic than what you generally think when you hear the word “plastic.” In fact, ABS plastic is the same material used in Lego building blocks and is also used by NASA. This type of plastic is incredibly durable and it does not seem to matter what else you throw at it. ABS plastic is waterproof and mostly unreactive to various chemicals and is not affected by hot or cold temperatures.
Copper is easily the least used material in a cattle prod, but it is pretty much included in every brand. The singular reason and purpose that copper is included in a cattle prod has to with the fact that it is one of the most conductive metals in the world. In fact, the conductivity of copper extends well beyond the simple wiring that transfers the charge and is used for the prod’s contact. Keep in mind, less reputable cattle prods will occasionally use a copper alloyed with another metal or even just a copper-plated contact. This can lead to the contact point wearing out quicker from the electrical charge or not providing a solid contact, nullifying the prod’s intended effect.
The rod is generally seen as the most important part of the cattle prod primarily because it is what allows you to safely motivate your livestock when it is being stubborn. Remember, the contact may be what delivers the shock, but the rod enables you to do so without having to literally stand right next to the animal. As any experienced rancher will tell you, an animal not moving is already irritated let alone adding an electric shock into the mix. That said, there is a fairly sharp divide between the those who prefer a stiff rod and those who prefer a flexible one. Both have their advantages and disadvantages, so which one you use will likely depend on how ornery your animals are.
Stiff vs Flexible
This consideration really comes down to how well you trust yourself and your livestock – as well as a bit of bargain hunting to along with it. Basically, a flexible shaft will present a mental impediment to the animal, much like how an elephant trained with a stake from birth will assume its strength holds even once the creature is full grown. If you time the shock properly, you can convince an animal that the shock occurs once a certain pressure is reached. This will often convince an animal to move, or stop if desired, just on sight. Flexible shafts, on the other hand, do not really present this nuanced training option, but it is significantly less likely to break. On top of that, flexible shafts are also less expensive due to them generally being made of rubber as opposed to the fiberglass that stiffer shafts use.
Much like the stiffness of the shaft, the best length of the staff will similarly be dependent on how comfortable you are trying to motivate an agitated animal. If you are fairly confident of your ability to control your livestock, you do not need to worry springing for the expense of an extra-long shaft and can settle for a shaft that is 2’ in length or less. That said, it is important to understand the physical limitations of the materials involved in regards to how long a shaft can support its own weight.
While shafts of lengths between 3’ and 3 ½’ are common, once you start to get longer than 4’ you begin to run the risk of the shaft collapsing under its own weight. For a stiffer shaft, this can lead to the shaft being significantly more susceptible to snapping under its own weight if too long. For more flexible shafts, too much length will generally result in a product that never really stands up, though these are usually cheap clones.
When figuring out which cattle prod is right for you, there really is not a bad option on our list – though that might have a bit to do with the fact that a single company manufactures all of the major brands. That said, the different products do each offer a unique solution depending on what your particular needs are. It is hard to go wrong with Miller’s flagship cattle prod, the Duraprod DX36 since it uses both the best handle as well as the best shaft. On top of that, it provides a nice balance in price compared to the budget option or the top of the line model.
On the other hand, if you need a budget option, the Magrath Livestock Prod does provide a solid product, even if it does have the least impressive rod that we saw. Counter to that, if you do not mind spending a little bit more, the Hot Shot HS2000 easily provides one of the best options for newer livestock owners.