What is a Post Hole Auger?

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  • Written By: Anna B. Smith
  • Edited By: Michelle Arevalo
  • Last Modified Date: 15 March 2020
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A post hole auger is a piece of equipment that drills into soil to create an exact, vertical hole. This type of device is often used by landscaping professionals and general contractors. It may be used to dig holes for posts and trees, and is occasionally used to take soil samples.

This kind of tool is beneficial because it reduces the amount of strain required to dig a large hole. Holes needed for fences and housing foundation can often be several feet wide and very deep. Certain types of soil, such as clay-based soils, are hard-packed and dense. They usually call for a great amount of force to move the earth and create a hole when digging by hand.

This machine operates by turning a spiral drill-head into the soil. The drill-head is typically made of steel. The post hole auger may be manual or power-operated. Manual augers are generally used for small projects, while powered versions utilize either a mechanical or hydraulic engine to complete large jobs.

A post hole auger may require more than one person to operate it. The devices are available as one-man held, two-man held, and towable pieces. These types refer to the ways in which the machine can be transported and operated. Towable augers may be attached to the back of a tractor and pulled. There are a variety of auger bit sizes available, depending on the size of hole needed and the depth to which drilling will occur.


Very large holes reaching 35 feet (about 10 meters) in depth and more may require a tripod attachment for the auger. This is a three-poled stand that is centered over the intended location of the hole. The auger is attached between the three supports and then operated by up to two people.

Some kinds of mechanical augers have a slight amount of torque, which causes the handle to twist and buck in the operator’s hands. This is known as kick-back. Individuals who need to complete hole-digging projects alone may wish to look for a post hole auger that guarantees a low or zero amount of torque.

These tools may be purchased from a local home improvement store or rented from some retailers. Rentals are typically priced according to the amount of time the machine will be out, and can range in duration from a half-day to an entire month. In the U.S., such fees can cost from $50 US Dollars (USD) for a half-day to $500 USD for a monthly rental.


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