Rolled Wire: The Difference Between Chicken Wire and Hardware Cloth

Learn the difference between chicken wire and hardware cloth so you can use more in your garden projects or around the home!


We'd like to introduce the Swiss army knife of all garden projects and really the most versatile thing we use in the garden and that is rolled wire. Chicken wire and hardware cloth are the top two rolled products we use (also popular is welded wire and cage wire) and we use them so much we thought we'd explain the difference if you're wondering how you can use them in your garden.


Chicken wire and hardware cloth are both wire mesh products that look very similar at first glance but contain certain characteristics that warrant different applications and uses. Chicken wire (also referred to as hex netting or poultry netting) is for light-duty projects while hardware cloth is intended for more heavy-duty applications.

Chicken Wire

chicken wire

Chicken wire is very flexible and easy to work with. The wire mesh is typically available in 1/2in, 1inch or 2 in openings and various roll lengths so you can cater to your project size.

The wire undergoes a process called galvanization which is a where the steel wire is dipped in a zinc coating before welding. This process aids in rust prevention and provides a durable, long-lasting product.

Chicken wire has a large variety of uses including animal and pet pends, chicken coup, garden fence, crafts (ex. Chicken wire frame) and many more. Chicken wire is also more economical given the lightweight construction and design process. Many people choose to use it in conjunction with hardware cloth when building their chicken coups to offset the costs. Tip: chicken wire is normally used on the walls of the coop or other areas while hardware cloth is used on the bottom of the coop because it's easier for the chicken's feet to walk on.


Hardware Cloth

hardware cloth

Hardware cloth is a more tightly woven wire mesh and is intended for heavy-duty application. The wire cloth is available in 1/8in, 1/4in, 1/2in openings and various roll lengths.

Hardware cloth is galvanized after welding, giving it a sturdy construction and making the wire mesh not as flexible as chicken wire. Hardware cloth, like chicken wire, has a large variety of uses including: gutter guards, chicken coups, crawl space guards, sifters, and crafts.


Where to purchase:

Chicken Wire: ACE, Lowes, Menards, TSC, Walmart

Hardware Cloth: ACE, Lowes, Menards, TSC, Walmart

For more ideas on how to use chicken wire and hardware cloth, visit our Pinterest board!