Our recommendation for the best post hole digger is XtremepowerUS Gas Posthole Digger for a power tool and the Fiskars Posthole Digger for a manual tool. Digging post holes is strenuous work. There’s no getting around that. It makes sense to use a post hole digger that will get the job done while making it easier on you. Continue reading for our recommendations for a post hole digger along with some tips about using one.
4 of the Best Post Hole Diggers
Using a Post Hole Digger
A post hole digger is a specialized tool for one job—digging holes whether it’s for fence posts or for planting trees or for even planting bulbs. What makes it such a great tool is how well it performs at this task. Using a shovel or spade wouldn’t deliver the precision and ease of a post hole digger. Its design is to make quick work of the tough task. Therefore, the features that point to a high-quality tool are those that will make this job easier.
Post hole diggers come in two basic types, mechanized and manual. As you might guess, the two vary widely in price and features. The type you choose will depend upon your budget, the anticipated workload, and frequency of use. Even if it is a one-time job, it’s a smart idea to invest in a post hole digger that will work efficiently without straining your back.
Choosing a Mechanized Model
A mechanized model or auger provides the necessary elbow grease to dig deep into the soil for setting your posts. They vary in size from one-man devices to larger ones requiring two operators. They run on gas with a manual recoil starting mechanism. These models run on the heavier side, so it will take some effort to use them.
Weight will be an important consideration when choosing one, especially if you’re doing the job on your own. One-man augers run about 40 pounds. Another thing to look at is the handles. Cushioned handles will absorb the vibration of the running motor and make it easier to operate. Because it’s a power tool, you will need to take extra safety measures.
Choosing a Manual Post Hole Digger
If you have a small job, a manual post hole digger may be all that you need. These models work on the same principle, not unlike a spade. You plunge the digger into the ground, twist it, and remove a plug of soil. They run a lot lighter than augers, so they’re easier to use. The difference between the two is how the work is being distributed.
An auger takes on the heavy lifting of boring holes into the ground while you bear the weight of the machine. With a manual post hole digger, you are the muscle behind the boring, but the weight of the digger is much lighter at around 10-15 pounds. While digging can be strenuous, you can make it easier by boring holes into the moist ground. Sharp blades are also a lifesaver when it comes to manual post hole digging.
This video from Four Season Lawn Care shows how easy it is to use a manual-style post hole digger.
Care and Maintenance for Your Post Hole Digger
An auger requires more maintenance than a manual post hole digger. And it’s important not to skimp on tasks such as changing the oil considering the investment you have to make in buying one. If you aren’t using it frequently, you’ll need to oil the recoil starter. Also, you’ll need to replace the spark plug and air filter periodically.
That means an auger will have additional costs down the road. If you plan on using it frequently, it can be a wise investment. You can bore many holes in a shorter amount of time than a manual post hole digger. However, the latter has it beat when it comes to care and maintenance.
The primary tasks for a manual post hole digger involve keeping it clean and sharp. The latter is especially important since it easier for the diggers to cut through the soil and any roots. Oiling the blades occasionally will also keep it working well for you. Between the two types, the old school digger is much less work when it comes to routine maintenance.
Our Recommendation: XtremepowerUS Posthole Digger & the Fiskars 60-Inch Steel Digger
While not a frequent job typically, post hole digging is one of the most strenuous of gardening tasks. It involves a lot of upper body work. To make your job easier, you should choose a post hole that has features to make the job quick and efficient while making it easier on your back.
The XtremepowerUS Posthole Digger is a powerful machine that makes short work of post hole digging. It can dig holes up to three feet deep for those larger jobs. And if you ice fish, you can use it on the lake as well for boring holes in the ice. It also includes features like foam handles to reduce fatigue.
For a manual solution, the Fiskars 60-Inch Steel Digger is a sturdy tool of welded steel construction. Despite its diminutive appearance, it can dig holes up to four feet deep, something to consider if you live in an area with a low frost line.
A post hole digger comes in handy when you want to build a new fence or plant trees in your yard. It’ll help you dig holes deeper and more efficiently than using a shovel or spade. Whether you need the power of an auger or just a manual device for a small project, a post hole digger gets the job done right.