Placing posts on your property can be a physically demanding task, but using a reliable and effective post hole digger can help get the job done quickly and efficiently. These diggers come in two different styles, both of which do essentially the same task. Traditional handheld models use two blades to manually cut and scoop out dirt, while automatic versions use a rotating auger to displace and pull dirt out of the hole. Although their primary job is digging holes for posts, post hole diggers are also useful for other landscaping projects, like tilling soil, creating planting holes for bushes and trees, and some automatic versions can even drill holes for ice fishing.
What to Consider
You should take the time to consider exactly what you’re going to be using your post hole digger for, otherwise you could end up with an expensive tool that may not be as useful as it could be. If you’re only going to be digging a couple holes at a time, you should probably go with a simple manual option. Anything more than that we would probably recommend going with a gas, electric, or battery-powered model. Keep in mind, if you’re going to be securing your posts in place with concrete, the general rule of thumb is to dig holes three times as wide as the post.
How We Selected
We’ve used both manual and automatic post hole diggers in our career, and used this experience to curate our list of options. We stuck to higher-end diggers when it comes to manual models, which may cost a bit more, but after snapping handles on cheaper models in the past, we think it’s definitely worth the investment. We also made sure to include a range of power supply options for our automatic diggers, including battery, corded electric, and gasoline powered machines. Since users will have a range of fuel preferences and limitations to consider, we wanted to make sure our list included at least one option for everyone.
Best Low-Budget Manual Option
AMES 2701600 Post Hole Digger
If you just need to create one or two post holes, and want a reliable, manual option, this Ames model could be the perfect fit. The cushioned rubber handles make for a comfortable, stable grip, and the sturdy hardwood handles provide a nice solid feel as you work.
Our favorite feature of this digger is the measurement markings on the handles themselves, making it easy to precisely hit your desired hole depth without having to go find a yardstick or measuring tape. Plus, the steel blades are strong and durable enough to stand up the occasional rock and roots you may run into.
- Affordable price
- 9-inch blades
Best Gas-Powered Unit
TAZZ 35365 Post Hole Digger
We love the raw power that comes from this 43 cc gas-powered digger, making it well-suited for those who have large fencing or digging projects in their future. A convenient clutch keeps you in control if the auger catches on any roots or large rocks, which otherwise could result in dangerous torque transfers to your hands and arms.
A large spring welded to the auger absorbs vibrations and — along with the sturdy steel handlebars — contributes to a comfortable operation with minimum user effort. It can effectively drill holes up to 36 inches deep, which should be sufficient for the majority of residential tasks.
- High-visibility green color
- Textured handlebars
Best Corded Electric Option
Hiltex 10525 Electric Post Hole Digger
We’re fans of extra safety features, which is one of the reasons why we added this Hiltex option, and its trigger lock, to our list. This lock prevents anyone from accidentally engaging the auger by just bumping against the trigger, a scenario that is more likely with electric diggers.
It also packs a lot of power into its small size, with a 1,200-watt motor and a 200 RPM max speed. The corded power supply does make it less mobile than gas or battery-powered machines, but since it can afford to be significantly lighter, that might be worth the trade-off.
- Comfortable rubber handles
- 4 x 30-inch auger
- Lacks a clutch for handling torque transfer
- Requires extension cord
Most durable manual option
Razorback 33-Inch Post Hole Digger
Our favorite feature of this model is its X-shaped design, which not only makes it easier to use, but also prevents your knuckles from smacking together — a frequent problem with manual diggers. It’s heavier than you may be used to — 16 pounds — but if you have the strength to use it, this weight can be a benefit, making it easier to sink it deep into the soil with each plunge.
Another perk of this design is that its head fully closes, unlike most manual models, so you shouldn’t have to deal with that frustrating pile of loose dirt at the bottom of your hole.
- Sharp blades
- Heavy-duty construction
Best battery-powered option
Landworks Earth Auger
The 6-inch wide auger of this digger is wide enough for larger posts, and with a wide-set pair of handlebars, designed to be comfortable to operate.
Although the limited runtime of a battery-powered model could be a liability for some, keep in mind that this digger and its 2.0Ah battery can complete about 30 holes on a single charge. So unless you’re going to be tackling some serious digging projects, this model should still be convenient for most homeowners.
If you do think you’ll be needing more runtime, a 4.0Ah battery can be purchased separately.
- LED lights allow for late afternoon digging
- Safety stop on trigger
Most versatile option
ECO LLC Post Hole Digger
Our favorite part of this Eco digger is its versatility, with four different auger sizes to choose from, 6 to 12 inches in width, as well as the tools and hardware needed to easily switch them out. It also includes three extension rods, allowing you to precisely adjust the depth of your holes.
This is also a relatively powerful machine, with a robust 63cc 2-stroke gasoline engine, allowing it to power through holes quickly, back-to-back. We would’ve liked a 4-inch auger for smaller posts, but if you’re only interested in larger holes, that shouldn’t be a dealbreaker.
- Alloy steel blades
- Ideal for rocky and rough soil
- Not practical for smaller posts
Best Heavy-Duty Corded Option
XtremepowerUS Industrial Electric Post Hole Digger
With a wide, 6-inch auger and a heavy-duty 1500 Watt motor, this corded digger would be a great choice for anyone who needs to dig a lot of holes, and doesn’t want to worry about stopping to recharge batteries or refill fuel tanks. It’s also designed to be comfortable to use, and its rubberized handles give the user a nice solid grip, and also allow them to harness the leverage they need to operate it safely. The safety lock on its trigger is also a great perk, preventing users from accidentally activating the auger.
- Rust-resistant blade
- Anti-vibration handle
- You’re limited by length of extension cord
Best affordable gas-powered option
Southland SEA438 Auger
Southland Outdoor Power Equipment
$224.71 (25% off)
Another gas-powered model, this Southland machine features a powerful 43 cc engine, and a 8-inch wide auger bit with a fishtail point. Its butterfly-style handlebars allow for maximum control, and the convenient throttle trigger lets you maintain a solid grip while you work. These handlebars are also easy to detach, which makes this digger convenient to store, and a good choice for those who may be tight on space. At 40 pounds, it is heavier than every other option on our list though, so keep that in mind if you’d prefer something a bit lighter.
- EPA certified
- 6-inch bit can be purchased separately
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