Humane Contain HC-8000 Review

Humane Contain HC-8000Pros

  • Very cheap, system with two collars under $100
  • Interoperable accessories

Cons

  • Poor reliability and after sales support
  • Ugly
  • No rechargeable battery, poor battery life

Review

Humane Contain Products are made by High Tech Pet and the price is sensational.  You can get a system with two collars for about $100.  Unfortunately, the HC-8000 has a couple of problems.

First, there have been lots of complaints about reliability, most notably at consumer affairs.  We have seen a few dead ones in the field.  And there are a lot of negative review online.  We are quick to discount most online review about DIY systems that complain the dog was not contained.  (For containment, the training is much more important than the system, bad reviews usually mean that the owner did not put in the time to train the dog properly – Humane Contain does not have a training DVD so just makes this problem worse for itself)  But the Humane Contain HC-8000 has complaints about system reliability, which is highly unusual.  Usually, once installed, systems last pretty much forever and most manufacturers are very good about fixing the occasional glitch, many having some flavor of life time warranties.  So we have been surprised to hear to so many complaints about the HC-8000 system reliability.

The second problem with the product is that the collars are extraordinarily ugly.  In general dog fence  systems seem to have been designed by engineers.  They are clunky and ugly.  But the Humane Contain collar is a particularly ugly duckling.  They are too big, multicolored and have buttons on them.  The band is made of plastic.  When we first saw them on a customer’s dog, we thought they must have been purchased in the former USSR.  They have that very 80’s big era electronics look.  They look particularly bad on small and light colored dogs.  It is definitely time for an overhaul of the design.  The button on the collar is completely unnecessary as are the colored logo, multiple lights and speaker grille.  The control unit is not quite as bad but also has a very Soviet feel, but this is not such a big deal given that most people keep them in their garage.

The third problem is the poor battery life.  The Humane Contain system use a proprietary non-rechargeable battery.  The battery lasts only a month and cost about five dollars each, putting it in Invisible Fence territory in terms of the ongoing expense.  There have been reports of very poor battery life, particularly in the training phase, but we have not had that experience.  There was a version with a rechargeable collar (HC-350RC), but it does not seem to be available any longer.  There is presently a version with a rechargeable backup battery on the transmitter unit (HC-8001), this is a good idea we would like to see more manufacturers adopt, it is standard on most alarm systems, but is not as important as a rechargeable collar since for most people the power does not go out very often so these batteries rarely need replacing.

Humane Contain does have two redeeming features, the price and the optional extras.

The system is cheap if you go through Sam’s Club or WalMart.  You can get a basic system with TWO collars for under one hundred dollars through Sam’s Club.  (although the price is much higher through other other online outlets and the manufacturer so buy yourself a Sam’s Club membership)  It is a shame that the battery is not rechargeable and has such a short life.  Paying out five dollars a month for their proprietary batteries quickly erodes any price advantage they have.

Humane Contain also offers a range of interoperative products.  They are the only manufacturer with an automatic dog door, and a scat mat (but unfortunately no wireless indoor pods) that work with the dog fence collar.  This means you can avoid having multiple collars on your dog if you want to use these additional accessories.

The Humane Contain systems have an above average 90 day money back guarantee (including shipping) and a below average one year warranty(most manufacturer have a limited lifetime warranty) when bought through the manufacturer.  But, given the problems reported by people trying to make claims on the warranty, we would not rely too heavily on that.  If you were to buy the Humane Contain system, I would recommend doing so through your local Sam’s Club or WalMart.  Sam’s Club in particular has a great return policy, if something goes wrong it should be much easier to go through them than to go through the manufacturer.

At this price point we could forgive the ugly design, but the reliability problems and high battery costs kill the deal.  We hope they can sort this out, because at this price Humane Contain they should have a winner.  If you are on a budget, the SD-2000 is at a similar price point or if you can spend a little more, get the rechargable IUC-4100.

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