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Multi-hop structure and broadcast channel of wireless sensor networks necessitate error control schemes to achieve reliable data transmission. The energy efficiency of error control schemes should be considered because of the strict energy constraints of wireless sensor networks. Wireless sensor networks require simple and facile error control schemes because of the low complexity request of sensor nodes. Automatic repeat request (ARQ) and forward error correction (FEC) are the key error control strategies in wireless sensor networks. In this paper, we discuss these error control schemes using energy efficiency analysis. We prove that energy efficiency of ARQ technique is independent of retransmission attempts and is unchangeable with the number of retransmission. The result of our analysis reveals that there is an optimum FEC scheme with the maximal energy efficiency for a target communication distance and packet size. The optimum FEC scheme is presented in this paper. In addition, ARQ is compared with FEC in terms of energy efficiency based on different communication distances and packet lengths.