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The most famous scene in Mark Twain’s novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer centers on the titular character’s efforts to get out of the tedious task of painting a fence. It’s understandable that painting a fence is not an assignment a thrill-seeking young boy looks forward to. But it’s not hard to imagine that as an adult, Tom Sayer would approach building and painting a fence with aplomb. That’s because there’s a unique sense of pride that comes with putting up a fence around your home or yard. And the challenges that often come with that task can actually be part of the fun.
If you’ve decided that installing a fence around your yard is your next adventure, then the first thing you’ll need is a way to dig holes for posts. There are two tools you use: an auger and a digger.
The difference between an auger and a digger comes down to the shape. An auger basically looks like a giant corkscrew, and they create a hole by pushing the dirt down. Post hole diggers look like two shovels facing each other, and they create a hole by scooping and removing the dirt. Augers are typically motorized and diggers are typically manual. However, there are manual augers that use a corkscrew design and a handle. Augers, manual or otherwise, require less effort to use and create more uniform holes. However, they’re not always as effective as diggers when rocks and other obstructions are encountered.
To give you the most variety, we’ve rounded up three different kinds of digging tools. They include a manual auger, a manual post hole digger, and a motorized auger. Plus, we broke down the pros and cons to make your decision easier.
1. Seymour Iwan Auger
This option from Seymour is a manual auger. It utilizes the twisting motion of motorized auger, but you rotate the T-handle yourself. The sturdy steel shaft is designed to be able to resist repeated use. One of the major appeals of the auger-style digger is that you don’t have to pull up and put aside heavy dirt. That makes it easier to use and produces more precise results.
Pros: Combines the benefits of a manual digger with the benefits of a motorized auger. Made out of sturdy steel.
Cons: Handle could be sturdier.
2. AMES Post Hole Digger
This traditional clamshell post hole digger has a variety of features that make it well worth its already reasonable price. The top has a cushioned grip for comfortable use over extended periods. The shaft has markings, making it easy to achieve the desired depth without needing any additional tools. The manufacturer of this tool, Ames, is a trusted brand that has been around since 1774.
Pros: Affordable, comfort grip handle. Measurements on the sides make it easier to achieve desired depth.
Cons: May not be ideal for very deep holes.
3. XtremepowerUS Electric Post Hole Digger
If you’re looking for a reasonably priced motorized auger, consider this option from XtremepowerUS. This auger is unique in that it relies on electricity, rather than gas. Lack of gasoline will save you the mess and trouble of filling the tank. It has a powerful 10-amp motor that delivers 90 foot-pounds of torque. The comfort grip handle makes it easy enough for a single person to use.
Pros: Reasonably priced electric auger. Good sized bit for drilling posts. Delivers up to 90 foot-pounds of torque.
Cons: No reverse feature. Intense torque power requires holding on very tightly if you’re using it by yourself.