Tools for digging post holes

Written by greg stone | 13/05/2017
Tools for digging post holes
Post hole digging tools help make deep, narrow holes for pole placement. (hard at work image by Pix by Marti from

You need to dig a hole for a flagpole or several holes for fence posts for a privacy fence. A standard shovel makes the job awkward, especially if you need the hole to be deep and narrow. Using the proper tools for digging post holes will get the job accomplished quickly and efficiently.

Traditional Post-hole Digger

Use this tool, also called the clamshell hand post hole digger, for one to two holes that are 4 to 6 inches wide and 1 to 2 feet deep. The tool has two handles with two narrow metal blades at the bottom. Hold one handle in each hand, and push both blades into the ground. Pull the handles apart, which causes the blades to squeeze together and pick up dirt. Pull the blades out of the ground, and release the dirt.

Erie Hole Digger

This tool, also called the "Boston Digger," features a single sharp point with a scoop attached to a separate lever. The tool works well in gravel or stony soils. It cuts tree roots and dislodges large rocks. To operate the tool you first drive the sharp point into the ground and follow by operating the separate lever to lower and pick up the loosened soil with the scooper.

Auger Hand Post Hole Digger

The auger hand post hole digger uses a short tube with a T-handle. Twist the auger section at the bottom into the ground by rotating the T-handle. Use this tool when making a deeper hole than a clam-hell can handle. You accomplish this by adding handle sections to the tool.

Power Augers

Rent or buy these tools for projects requiring several holes, such as a privacy fence. The tool comes either handheld, wheeled or attached to a tractor. Rotating blades drive quickly and evenly into the soil. The tool works much faster than a handheld post hole digger but also costs more.

Steel Bar

A long, narrow steel bar breaks up stubborn tree roots or large rocks. It works well with a clamshell post hole digger to make a narrow hole deeper.

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