The 5 Best Post Hole Diggers [Ranked]

Post Hole Digger

In this post we examine five of the best-selling post-hole diggers. First we'll examine whether to buy a manual or a powered option, then compare five of the more popular digging tools on the market.

If you are planning to put up something like a mailbox, you are going to need a way to dig a hole to keep it in place. This is where a post hole digger comes in. These digging tools help to create an initial hole in the ground to install a fence, mailbox, and more.

The Two Types Of Diggers: Manual vs Powered

Generally, there are 2 types of post hole diggers. Manual diggers are the right choice when it comes to soft soil. You operate these models by hand and create the post hole yourself (Source).

There is also the choice of an automatic post hole digger. These models refer to both electric and gas-powered post hole diggers. For these models, the operator is generally working with harder ground, such as clay (Source).

To determine what kind you will be using, it is best to test the soil in the area of the desired hole. You can also choose to buy one of these devices or use a rental post hole digger. If you are using this as a one-time or rare job, renting is fine. If you use one of these often, though, you might want to consider buying instead (Source).

Post Hole Diggers Compared

How Do The Post Diggers Compare


How do the options we are looking at here differ, though? First, only one of these options isn't manual- the Southland Auger is a gas-powered post hole digger, making it the best choice for tough ground.

Next, though, the main difference was the design of each option. Choices such as the Jackson Dig EZ and the Fiskars options were fan favorites. This is because their ergonomic design allowed users to suffer bruised knuckles less.

What each of these options had in common, though, is durability. While not every option is professional grade, it worked for customers whose needs it fit. Most important, it did so without breaking, saving customers money on unnecessary replacements.

Customers have had a lot to say about the post hole diggers we are looking at today. Particularly, they noted that there's a significant difference between casual and professional use. If you plan to use your post hole digger a lot, many suggest you invest in a professional-grade choice.

Best Post Hole Diggers For 2017

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

The The AMES Companies, Inc Jackson Dig post hole digger is a solid option for both professionals and general consumers. Users like the value/price of this tool, but do complain about the less than professional quality.

This tool is ideal for installing a fence, post, mailbox, or basketball hoop without bending over or straining your back.  It features one-piece high-carbon steel blades and hardwood handles for strength and durability. This item could be a useful tool for digging perfect, deep holes below the frost line.

In general, users have a favorable opinion of the The AMES Companies, Inc Jackson Dig Union Tools Post Hole Digger.They agree that, though not of industrial strength, it is satisfactory for light-weight digging. Users like that it gets the job done at a moderate price for the average person.

However, many buyers complain about the quality, e.g. the hinges which seem weak and unstable and the metal which is thin. Users conclude that it is not heavy enough for professional use.

Pros

  • Satisfactory for light-weight digging
  • Gets the job done at a moderate price for the average person

Cons

  • Many buyers complain about the quality
  • Complaint – not heavy enough for professional use

How To Use A Post Hole Digger


  1. Take a look at the type of soil you are about to dig in. Not only is this important to know if it is firm enough but it will affect the type of post hole digger you use.
  2. Measure the area you are working with and mark where you are working to make it easier.
  3. The weight of the post hole digger is ideal for getting into the ground and you can open its jaws to dig deeper. If you wait until the soil is moist, you are more likely to have an easier time with this.
  4. Lift the dirt out of the hole with the post hole digger
  5. Deepen the hole as needed and flat-pack the soil to give the hole a flat base.
  6. Place the object the hole was dug for in the hole and pack dirt around it.

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

If you are looking for a posthole digger that makes it easy to dig extra deep post holes in tough soil, you might want to consider this one offered by Fiskars. Users like the construction of this barrel, but do complain about the cheap quality.

This product features welded 14-gauge steel blades and 16-gauge steel shafts which provide great durability.It includes a welded steel pivot joint so there are no loose nuts or bolts. Its sharpened blades cut into dense soil easily. This post hole digger might be a solid choice if you want to dig postholes up to 12-inch deeper than traditional models while keeping your knuckles safe from smashing.

In general, users have a favorable opinion of the Fiskars 60 Inch Steel Posthole Digger and they agree that itis lightweight, easy to use, sturdy and efficient. They suggest it for planting shrubs and small trees.

However, some buyers complain about it being cheaply made. One dissatisfied buyer shares that the handles bent the first time he used the tool. Another one states that the item has no strength whatsoever, adding that the thin walled aluminum doesn’t hold up when digging holes.

Fiskars Demonstration

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Easy to use
  • Sturdy
  • Efficient
  • Great for planting shrubs and small trees

Cons

  • Some buyers complain about it being cheaply made
  • Complaint – bends easily and has no strength whatsoever

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

The Southland Outdoor Power Equipment Post Hole Digger is a solid option if you are looking for a tool that will dig even through the toughest soil. Users love the performance of this tool, but some do complain about the lack of power.

This product features manual recoil easy start fuel delivery system.It is light weight, powerful, easy to assemble and use. The auger features a 43cc engine with a speed up to 316 RPM for quick and efficient drilling. This item could be a good choice for digging holes for fence posts and plants.

In general, buyers are pleased with the Southland Outdoor Power Equipment Full Crankshaft Engine. They appreciate its great power and performance. Users agree that it is easy to use, as well as that the auger is great for the price.

However, many buyers say that it is a little under powered in dense soils. Several users complain about the fragile engine.

Southland Demonstration

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Great auger for the price
  • Great power and performance

Cons

  • Many buyers say that it is a little underpowered
  • Several users complain about the fragile engine

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

The Seymour Post Hole Digger is a solid option if you are looking for a post hole digger which provides maximum strength for the most demanding industrial and commercial digging applications.Users like the construction of this tool, but do complain about receiving the heaviness.

This product is designed for frequent, heavy-duty, professional use. Its fiberglass handle with fiberglass core insert allows for added strength. If you are looking for a post hole digger which has a cushioned grip for better grip and greater comfort, this might be a solid option.

The general user consensus concerning the Seymour Hercules Post Hole Digger is that it is well made, heavy duty, as well as that it cuts through roots easily. Users agree that the tool is well worth the money.

However, some buyers complain about the poor quality. One users state that the steel broke where its riveted together after only 6 months of use. Some complain that the unit is too heavy.

Pros

  • Great construction
  • Heavy duty
  • Cuts through roots easily
  • Worth the money

Cons

  • Some buyers complain about the quality
  • Some users complain of the heaviness

5. The Jackson Dig EZ Post Hole Digger

Effectiveness

Price

Ease of Use

If you are looking for a top-rated post hole digger, you might want to consider the The AMES Companies, Inc model. Users love the ergonomics of the tool, but some do complain about its heaviness.

This product features shaped fiberglass handles which provide ultimate core strength and durability. Other features include a beveled steel carbon head with a 6.21’’ spread and pointed and tempered blades for maximum soil penetration with less effort. Thanks to its innovative handle design it eliminates knuckle collision. The travel distance is 40% less than that of standard post hole diggers.This item seems like a good choice for digging post holes for mailboxes, fences, and flowers.

In general, users are happy with the The AMES Companies, Inc Jackson Dig. They state that it is well made. Users appreciate its good ergonomics and great grip.

However, some buyers complain that the unit is too heavy.

Pros

  • Well made
  • Good ergonomics
  • Great grip

Cons

  • Some buyers complain of the heaviness

How to Use a Post Hole Digger

When it comes to properly operating one of these post hole diggers, we thought it made sense to dive into some more specifics on how to handle these digging tools.

Referring to one of our favorite websites doityourself.com, they recommend that before you even begin working that you first make sure you have on hand a tape measure, chalk line, garden staples, sand and fine gravel, eye protection, pencil and paper, fabric marker tags, the manual or power post hole digger, hardhat, and safety footwear.

Once you have all of those items assembled, to ensure secure and straight fencing you'll want to learn how to properly operate your tool. One of the more important considerations is to get a soil analysis conducted before you start any work. This will help you determine whether you'll be using a manual or a powered post hole digger. If you have heavy clay soils you'll need to opt for an earth auger or a powered digger.

The next thing you want to do is to mark and measure the fence post hole locations with your fabric marker so that everything is exactly aligned. The best time to start digging your post holes is after some rain- the moist soil means that the dirt is dampened and easier to penetrate. Then you'll want to plunge the digger to create a hole in the ground, dropping it with its metal jaws open so that the soil is punctured.

You'll then begin to define the perimeter edges of the hole by dropping the digger in and out- it's best to do this until you've created a 1-foot diameter wide hole before starting to dig deeper.

As you begin to dig deeper, it's recommended that if you have a 4 inch round or square post that is 4 feet tall, the post hole itself will have to be 1 foot deep. Make sure that you flat-packed the hole by using one of your posts with a flat bottom to pack down the dirt that's at the bottom of the hole you dug.

Indeed, whether you are installing a fence around the perimeter of your property to protect against predators, erecting a flagpole, or building a birdhouse perched on top of a tall pole, these digging tools will help you create the submerged foundation to keep your post standing upright for the long-term.

You can even use concrete to strengthen the fence post anchors- wikihow.com says that you should use the smallest amount of water possible when you mix the concrete to ensure the greatest strength of the cement pour. Let us know in the comments section below if you've installed a post hole digger with one of the tools we've examined.

What Are Buyers Saying?


 Where To Buy

In the event that you happen to be exploring for the very best deal, You can get them at retail stores like Target, Lowes, Home Depot, Menards, Ace Hardware, Walmart, Harbor Freight, Walgreens, and possibly even Costco.

  • One buyer we spoke with told us that he had a large farmyard property- he used his post hole digger to generate 32" holes, with some ranging up to almost 50 inches deep to facilitate gravel drainage.
  • Another homeowner tells us that he was looking to erect some stockade fence- it took him around three days to dig 40 post holes in both hard and soft packed dirt.
  • Another homeowner cautions that using a manual post hole digger is the trick for when there are buried utility and power lines.
  • Some buyers prefer a manual post hole digger compared to a gas-powered option because it was easier to control. It's important to purchase a heavy duty model, reviewers say, because when you drop it in the hole, then expand it, you'll want to pull out an abundant dirt load every single time.
  • Other buyers prioritized ergonomic design- saying that while these are traditionally pretty heavy work tools, the blades will cut deep into all types of rocky, sandy soil and even red clay.
  • Other reviewers opted for modern steel post hole diggers over traditional clamshell style post hole diggers because of the improved design and functionality.
  • An unexpected feature, the diggers we examined were capable of cutting small roots and even up turning smaller-sized rocks without too much trouble.
  • Another homeowner had inherited an ancient digger from his grandfather- it was only when he upgraded to a modern design that he discovered how much easier it was to work with hard clay.
  • Indeed, another backyard gardener tells us they purchased one with fiberglass handles because they wanted to protect their knuckles from getting scraped.
  • Other reviewers found that modern designs effectively minimize handle movement- discovering that if you really focused on providing top to bottom force you to dig deep into even tough ground surfaces.
  • Yet another reviewer, one who lives in the deep South that is notorious for red clay found that using a digger with bent handles enabled more forceful leverage, and wasn't that far off in terms of effectiveness from a gas-powered option.
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