Placing posts on your property can be physically demanding, 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 curved blades to manually cut, scoop, and lift out dirt, while automatic—either electric or gas-powered—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. For any jobs that are more intensive, you'd probably be wise to go with a gas, electric, or battery-powered model. If you do go automatic, gas-powered machines are going to be the most powerful, but keep in mind that you’ll be dealing with potentially messy fuel mixes and harmful exhaust fumes.
Also, 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
I’ve used both manual and automatic post hole diggers in my past as a residential landscaper, and used this experience to curate this list of options. This list primarily includes 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, it’s definitely worth the extra investment.
63CC Gas Post Hole Digger 2 Stroke Earth Auger Powerhead with 4"/6"/ 8"/ 12" Bit
Alloy steel blades
Ideal for rocky and rough soil
The best thing about this DC HOUSE digger is its versatility: it comes with four different auger sizes to choose from, ranging 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.