By Jayden Mark
Everyone will have their own idea of what makes for the best earth auger. Whatever your preference may be, using an auger to dig holes for posts, trees, or anything really, sure beats using a shovel.
When you set out to buy a good post hole digger for your needs, there are three basic distinctions to be made. A manual auger is going to cost you the least (to buy, maintain, and operate). You’re going to be saving a lot of cash, but you’ll have to put in a fair deal of manual labor and time. Because we can never match the kind of power that you get from an engine or electric motor, you'll never achieve the same depth or diameter with a manual earth auger, when compared to a mechanical one. If you don’t have the patience (or energy) for a manual earth auger, then you’ll want some mechanical assistance. This will be in the form of an electric or gas powered earth auger.
Gas post hole diggers are usually the preferred choice for farmers and commercial landscapers. Apart from the extra power that you’ll usually get from a gas auger, they can also be used far from an electrical outlet. An electric earth auger is cheaper than a gas-powered machine and will cost less to maintain and run. An electric post hole digger is also quieter, lighter, and you don’t have to keep a supply of gas all the time. Not to mention, there are no gas fumes to contend with, or the hassles of starting a gas engine on a cold day. Homeowners, who generally work close to an electric socket, should find an electric earth auger to be the best.
Because there’s no one size fits all earth auger, we’re going to review a number of options. These will be manual, gas and electric earth augers.
Gas Powered Post Hole Diggers
1. Southland SEA438 One Man Earth Auger
A one-person earth auger is always going to be a smaller option with a slightly limited capacity. In this context, the Southland SEA438 outperforms most in its class. It’s easy to see why so many rank this model as being one of the best one-man post hole diggers and it’s not at all expensive. This is especially true, when we look at the quality engineering and materials used. Even though this is a 1-man earth auger, the really large (26”), removable butterfly handle, allows for two people to operate it. The extra width and perfect balance that the handles provide, make it an easy machine for one person to operate.
At 40-pounds, some may feel this is a heavy machine – especially if you compare it to manual or electric post hole diggers with the same capacity. Though, in the realm of heavy-duty gas earth augers, this weight is quite acceptable. A spring damper at the top of the auger and generous padding on the handles, make it a comfortable and easy tool to use. The trigger is conveniently placed on the handle for good speed control and safety.
Power is supplied by a 2-stroke, 436cc engine providing 316 RPM auger speed and 1.3 pound-feet of torque. This engine is both EPA and CARB certified. If you’re using the standard 8” auger that’s supplied with the machine, you can expect a depth of around 2.5 feet. Of course, this will depend on the soil type. Because this is a 2-stroke post hole digger, you need to premix your 2-stroke oil with the gas at a 1:50 ratio. The gas tank is always in your line of sight and is transparent, so you can keep an eye on the fuel level as you work.
Going by the customer reviews that I’ve read, the Southland SEA438 starts easily and runs smoothly. That’s the good news. When it comes to rocks, tree roots, and heavily compacted soil, this is not the best earth auger. Then again, this is something I’d expect from a machine of this size. It’s not all that powerful and you may want something bigger for more hardcore digging. The auger may also become dull if you use it for harder conditions than what it has been designed for.
If we take into account that this is not a particularly large post hole digger and, therefore, not all that powerful, the Southland SEA438 is great. Use it for its intended purpose, and you certainly won’t be disappointed. With a 2-year warranty from a brand with a good reputation, you can’t really go wrong.
2. PROYAMA 54CC 2 Stroke Post Hole Digger One Man Auger
You can expect to pay a little extra for the Proyama one man earth auger. But if you look at all that you’re getting for your money, it’s quite impressive. Not only does this earth auger have a bigger engine than most 8” gas augers, it comes with a bunch of extra items that add a lot of value.
The Proyama comes complete with 3 augers (4”; 6” & 8”), as well as an extension for greater depth. Then you get all the necessary PTFE – ear protection, eye protection, and leather gloves, plus a tool kit and a gas can. Once you add all these items together, the Proyama becomes an excellent deal.
The 54cc 2-stroke engine has loads of power, 2.4 HP, to be exact. With a lot of extra torque, this auger churns through some pretty tough soil without requiring too much speed. The auger rotates at 180 RPM. The rubber-clad motorcycle style handles are perfectly comfortable and allow for good control. The trigger control is also very convenient and easy to use. All of this is made so much more manageable by an extremely lightweight design – only 24.25 pounds.
The gas tank is clear, allowing you to observe the contents at a glance. You’ll be mixing the gas and oil at a 1:25 ratio. The extra gas can that’s supplied with the auger makes things so much easier when premixing and storing extra gas.
Existing customers seem, for the most part, to have nothing but praise for the Proyama 54cc post hole digger. I read one complaint about a badly welded extension. This doesn’t seem to be a common issue and should certainly be covered by the warranty. Any product can have quality control mishaps and this is why we rely on our warranty when something is defective. While the 1-year warranty is pretty standard, the auger itself is up there with the best high-end brands.
3. XtremepowerUS V-Type 55CC 2 Stroke Gas Post Hole Digger One Man Auger
There are a quite a few plus points to the Xtremepower 55cc auger. Fuel consumption is great, thanks to the advanced “V” engine. If we’re looking purely at low gas costs with exceptional power, this could prove to be the best gas post hole digger in its class. You can buy the Xtremepower with basically any size auger from 4” up to 12”. You can choose to take 1 bit with your purchase, a combination of various sizes, or just take the 55cc Auger head.
They also have an ice auger as an option. All this provides great versatility, but I wouldn’t think that an auger greater than 8” would perform that well with a machine of this size and power. If you intend using the 10” or 12” auger bit, don’t expect it to cope with heavy roots or seriously compacted soil.
The most remarkable aspect to the Xtremepower V-Type has to be its engine. The 2-stroke, 55cc engine starts and runs like a dream, using a fuel ratio of 1:30. I’m surprised to see how many have used this smaller auger to dig up tree roots, small rocks. For this size auger, it has some heavy-duty capabilities. Though it seems that the auger bits that are supplied with the machine aren’t quite matched to the extra power that the engine provides.
Use this is you would most other small gas augers, and you should be fine. Though since you have that extra power, you’re like to push the auger to its limit. I’ve read about some auger bits sheering off under extreme conditions. Generally, you should reach a depth of around 2.5 Ft without a hassle.
When compared to other post hole diggers in this price range, the 55cc Xtremepower is a real performer – top notch. It’s superbly light at 25-pounds, but the rather stark handles don’t provide much user comfort. The wide butterfly handles are great in their design, but the thin rubber coating doesn’t do much to reduce vibration. Like most of the best gas augers, there’s a trigger switch on the handle, right where you want it. The fuel tank is translucent for a quick reference as to how much gas in the tank and you get a gas can for premixing your gas and oil.
For a very capable, powerful, and economical gas auger, the Xtremepower V-Type 55cc is a fantastic machine at a very reasonable price. Some aspects may not be the best in its class, I’d prefer padded handles. Though these minor issues are trivial when take the price that you’re paying for one of the best gas augers in terms performance.
4. BEAMNOVA Post Hole Auger, 52CC 2 Stroke Gas Powered
My first reaction to the Beamnova 52cc Auger was wow! It looks pretty much like any of the top post hole diggers in this review, but there’s a real sense of heavy-duty quality to the machine. By the customer reviews that I’ve read, it appears as though the majority of users agree with this opinion. It may cost a little more than the others. But the price difference isn’t big and those extra few dollars are well-spent if you want a gas auger that’s going go the extra mile. The general robust quality of this auger is abundantly apparent.
The 52cc, 2-stroke engine used to power the Beamnova is on a par with any of the top rated earth augers in this class. With 2.5 horsepower, it packs quite a punch. Power delivery is plentiful and smooth, providing a bit speed of 170 – 200 RPM. It’s supplied with a range of auger bits from 6” up to 12” with a variety of combination deals. To my mind the 6”; 10” and shock absorber deal is the best. Mostly because of the shock absorber. Since this auger doesn’t have padded handles, I think the additional shock absorber will make the world of difference if you’re going to be using the post hole digger for lengthy periods of time. The large butterfly handles are sturdy and well-designed.
The reasonably large fuel tank at the top of the machine is made from translucent plastic, so you can observe the fuel level. The 1:25 fuel and oil ratio is boldly displayed on the gas tank, there’s no chance of making a mistake. It’s supplied with a premixing gas bottle and tool kit.
The heavier weight of 58-pounds is certainly above average for an earth auger of this size. Though this weight is a clear indication of the heavier, more durable metal components. In terms of rugged build quality, I feel that the Beamnova is the best gas-powered post hole digger of the models that we’re reviewing here.
Although, the 1-year warranty that you get on this auger is fairly standard, the design and quality are top grade. It’s certainly worth paying a little extra for this remarkable earth auger.
Electric Powered Post Hole Diggers
1. Landworks Heavy Duty Eco-Friendly Electric Power Cordless Earth Auger
I think that calling this a heavy-duty earth auger is bit of an overstatement. I’m not saying this because I feel that it’s inferior quality. I’m referring to power that it provides. The wattage from the motor translates 2.01 HP. While this is excellent for a battery-powered earth auger, it can never compare to heavy-duty gas-powered machines. Where the Landworks really shines as being one of the top earth augers is in its battery-powered brushless motor and excellent planetary gear transmission. This allows for an excellent power delivery that maximizes the 320 RPM for the best torque under varying conditions. When it comes down to it, this is a superb automatic post hole digger for its power to weight ratio, ease of use, and exquisite design.
Easy-grip handles and a weight of only 22-pounds make this a remarkably easy machine to use. It’s very capable, easily one of the best battery-powered post hole diggers. I’d say that the power is matched well to light-duty gas augers. The transmission makes full use of this power and an overload protection, prevents the motor from sustaining any damage when conditions become too tough. The carbon coated steel augers are quite durable and are available in 4”; 6” or 8” diameter, all with a 30” length. An ice auger is also available.
The auger is supplied with a 48V, 2AH lithium-ion battery. A 4AH battery is available as an optional extra and will double the working time that you’ll get. They claim that you’ll be able drill about 30 holes on a single charge using the 2AH battery. Though I’d think that would have to be in really soft soil. In reality, expect this to be more like 20 holes.
I like that this auger has a reverse action, activated easily by a switch on the handle. Another feature than many will like, is the LED light for working in poor lighting conditions.
There’s a lot to love about the Landworks 48V auger. Battery power is a huge convenience, even though you’re paying extra for this.
2. Goplus 1200W Electric Post Hole Digger
We don’t usually expect the same type of power from an electric post hole digger as we’d get from a gas-powered machine. In that respect, the Goplus 1200W has exceeded my expectations with an incredible 1.6 horse-power. Of course a 110V earth auger with this kind of power means that you need to take care as to what gauge extension cord you use, especially as the length increases. Your extension cord needs a minimum rating of 11A, so you’ll probably be using a 15A extension cord.
Before I begin telling you how great this earth auger is, it’s only fair to point out that I’ve read a number of consumer complaints mentioning that the electric motor burnt out. One can never be too sure if this isn’t because people have pushed the auger beyond its limits. Though I’d expect the manufacturers to fit a current limiter to the motor to prevent this from happening. The good news is that customers who have experienced issues within the warranty period seem to have had no problems getting the auger replaced. One always has to remember than an electric auger has its limitations and, if used with this in mind, you shouldn’t experience a burnt out motor. The majority of customers have given the Goplus rave reviews and I feel it’s deserving of its spot among the top performing automatic post hole diggers.
The really tough manganese steel 4” auger that is supplied with the machine is fantastic, easily one of the best, especially in this price range. This auger has a really great 30” length, giving you a hole depth up to 22”. While you can fit larger diameter augers to the electric auger head, this is where you need to take care as to what type of conditions you’re working in. Using a large auger bit with the Goplus to dig holes in very compact soil or tough tree roots, could put too much strain on the electric motor.
The handles are amongst the best I’ve seen. You have multiple, comfortable gripping positions and a large, easy to use trigger switch. The Goplus weighs 26.8 LBS. This must be one of the most convenient electricpost hole diggers when looking at hassle-free and easy operation.
Without spending too much of your hard earned cash, the Goplus 1200W earth auger has a lot to offer. It’s a pretty tough machine, if you take into account that an electric auger is going to have power limitations. For 4” post holes, it should handle any conditions. Step up to 6”, and you need to be more observant as to where you’re working. For its intended purposes, this is certainly one of the best earth augers and extremely good value for money.
Manual Post Hole Diggers
1. Seymour 21306 AU-S6 Iwan Auger
As a high quality, US made product, many consider this to be the best earth auger, when looking at the options for manual digging. It has a hardwood T-shape handle and a strong steel shaft. The yoke is iron and the steel blade has a 6” point spread.
The Seymour 21306 is certainly as tough as any of the best earth augers. So, naturally, it’s going to cost a little more. Though, in my opinion, indestructible quality is worth paying for.
2. Fiskars 60 Inch Steel Posthole Digger
For a more affordable manual earth auger, the Fiskars 60” is certainly worth looking at. It is designed specifically for deeper holes. The 6.5 inch spread is pretty much what one would expect from a good post hole digger.
Robust quality is clearly visible in the 14-gauge steel blades and 16-gauge steel shafts. Although not very expensive, this is certainly a tough earth auger.