The 5 Best Post Hole Diggers [Ranked]
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
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 2024
How To Use A Post Hole Digger
- 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.
- Measure the area you are working with and mark where you are working to make it easier.
- 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.
- Lift the dirt out of the hole with the post hole digger
- Deepen the hole as needed and flat-pack the soil to give the hole a flat base.
- Place the object the hole was dug for in the hole and pack dirt around it.
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. Be careful if you have rubber mulch in your yard! 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 (Source: ComfortWorkBoots).
- 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.