Are you looking for the best hand auger? Today I will explain how to choose it and list the reviews of the most interesting manual post driver models.
The manual auger is a tool that is as simple as it is useful, as well as inexpensive. It is a tool designed to give you the ability to drill large holes in the ground, with the utmost simplicity. All you have to do is plant the blade (auger) of the tool in the ground, turn the shaft using the horizontal handle, extract the blade, free it from the accumulated earth and start over. I often use it to make holes for fences in the vineyard or for fences, and I assure you that it can save you hours and hours of work and effort.
How the post auger is made
First, know that you can use this tool for an avalanche of different operations. In addition to poles, in fact, I use this tool to make holes in the ground even when I have to plant shrubs. To give you a concrete example, I recently used it to plant a poplar, with results that I would define extraordinary, and to create water reserves for irrigation.
But what is it exactly? It is soon said. We are faced with a steel pole with a helical blade at the tip, known in jargon as a cochlea, while at the beginning of the shaft we find a horizontal handle.
In other models of hand augers the handle can be assembled or disassembled at will, since it is enough to insert it in the appropriate hole at the beginning of the pole. In that case, to store it, you can remove the cap at the top of the shaft and insert it inside, so that it takes up less space when storing your hand drill.
Of course, the tip of this tool for drilling holes in the earth can have different sizes. The wider the spiral blade, the larger the holes in the ground will be. As for the materials, the components of this product are almost always in stainless steel and very resistant.
Finally, know that there are those who even use it as manual aerator.
How do you use the manual auger?
As I anticipated, this is an operation that I would call nonsense, due to its extreme simplicity. The first thing you need to do is plant the tip of the post, which houses the auger blade, into the ground.
Now you have to give the rod a slight pressure, to make the tip penetrate into the earth, and then start rotating the tool by turning the special handle clockwise (a couple of turns are enough). At that point you have to move the stick a little, extract the tip and get rid of the dirt accumulated on the blade, perhaps helping you with your foot or making it swing.
Afterwards, all you have to do is repeat this operation, until you have reached the desired depth. Consider that in a minute of work, depending on the hardness of the soil, I can dig holes with a depth of about half a meter, but it always depends on your goals.
The advantages are numerous: first of all, even if you make a little effort, the effort spent will not be remotely comparable to an excavation done with other hand tools. Secondly, you won’t waste electricity or fuel like using one powered auger. Finally, thanks to the helical auger you will pull all the earth out of the hole, so you will avoid having to do it later with other tools.
Best hand augers
1. Fiskars Quikdrill 20 CM Manual Auger
This pile auger is undoubtedly one of the best on the market today, and the above-average price proves it. It is a tool for making holes in the earth with a maximum diameter of 20 centimeters, therefore ideal for planting plants and for palisades. Handle and blade are made of steel, so the robustness of the product is not in question.
- Durable steel materials
- Maximum diameter: 20 centimeters
- You can replace the blade at any time
- Plastic and fiberglass handle
- Length: 110cm
- Weight: 2.4 kilograms
- Graduated scale on the handle
The structure ensures great comfort during use, due to the height and working position. The handle, in fact, is quite long and adapts to any purpose, without ever straining the back. Among other things, on the stick there is a graduated scale, perfect for knowing exactly the level of depth reached. This is an extra that I have not found in any other manual post driver.
The ergonomic elastomer handle increases comfort even more in use, as this tool can be held securely even with sweaty hands. Furthermore, you can replace the blades when, for example, you need to make holes with a smaller diameter (10 or 15 centimeters). The accessory blades, however, are not included in the package. Finally, the ability to penetrate is optimal, and does not fear the presence of roots or stones.
- You can change the blades
- High diameter (20 cm)
- Ergonomic and non-slip handle
- Excellent strength and excavation yield
- It also works in the presence of small stones
- Graduated scale on the stick
- The blades pull out little soil
2. Roughneck 68260 Ditcher Propeller Drill
If you are looking for a real quality manual auger then I recommend this model from Roughneck. In fact, it can boast a hardened steel structure, really resistant, and a very comfortable and ergonomic T-handle. In addition, this tool for drilling holes in the ground can reach a depth of 106 centimeters, but has a weight above average.
- Length: 106cm
- Ergonomic T-handle
- Hardened steel structure
- Weight: 3.7 kilograms
- It also works on clay soils
The blades are wide and “bad”, with a diameter of 15 centimeters, and can also drill certain medium-difficult soils, such as clayey and dry ones. The hardened steel structure, then, guarantees a record durability of the blades, therefore an excellent precision during drilling. Of course, the weight is higher than other products, but it is a limitation due to the use of a solid material such as steel.
The ergonomic handle facilitates the use of this tool, so as to be able to dig over obstacles such as roots and pebbles. Extraction from the earth is a little more complex, but only when it gets stuck on some root, or when the soil is very hard and compact. The performances are however brilliant, and the excavation yield is optimal both for the planting of the seedlings and for the poles. Unfortunately, however, it comes at a rather expensive price, but you pay for the quality.
- Excellent excavation yield
- Made of hardened steel
- Great for both plants and posts
- It can dig on medium hard soils
- Ergonomic handle
- It reaches a good depth
- Price above average
- Sometimes it’s hard to get it out
3. Ribimex PRTARMAN Auger Diameter 10 cm
The Ribimex is an economical hand auger designed for small holes, with a maximum diameter of 10 centimeters. I have tried it both for planting seedlings and for poles, and I consider it very efficient considering the low price. It has a height of 1 meter and is very comfortable to reach a maximum depth of about 50 centimeters.
- Blade diameter: 10 cm
- Total height: 1 meter
- Suitable for excavations up to approx. 50 cm
- Non-slip handle
- Weight: 2 kilograms
The 10 centimeter diameter becomes a limit only if you have to plant very large poles, while it is perfect for planting seedlings and small shrubs. The tool is very light, and this allows you to work without straining your back, but it is not suitable for stony, clayey and gravelly soils. The non-slip grip adds another comfortable element, as it prevents the grip from slipping when you press on the ground.
All in all, the maximum digging depth is good. I pushed this post drill up to 50 centimeters, but if you want you can try to go down even more, although it can increase the difficulties. Consider that it is really difficult to find such a cheap and effective product, even if it is not perfect: the handle, for example, tends to dance a little during use. Finally, since the blade is not very resistant, it is better to wet the ground before use it.
- Super cheap price
- Non-slip handle
- Depth up to 50 cm
- Lightweight and easy to use
- Good yield on soft ground
- Better to wet the earth before use
- The neck is a bit of a dancer
4. Berger & Schröter 9 Cm with Breaker
I chose to review this product because of the particular shape of the auger which, in addition to the blades, also houses some very useful clod breakers. This factor improves the rotation of the blade and therefore facilitates penetration into slightly harder soils than average. However, it is always advisable to wet the earth a little before using it.
- Blade with side breakers
- 9cm diameter
- Length from about 1 meter
- Durable metal frame
- Handles with wooden ends
- Practical and quick to use
Of course you will not be able to use it on stony or particularly hard soils, but the side clods breakers make life a lot easier. Among the mid-range hand augers, this can be considered as one of the best, precisely because of its efficiency during excavation. The diameter is slightly smaller than average, but it is still perfect for digging holes for plants, small shrubs and stakes.
The choice of wooden handles leaves me a little perplexed, as they are more delicate and fragile than totally metal structures. When you use it, therefore, I advise you to avoid forcing your hand too much, because you could break them. However, overall this tool is particularly easy to use, as well as practical and fast. It is not very heavy, so it is not able to penetrate too hard or clayey soils, but by wetting the earth above-average results can be obtained.
- There are the side breakers
- More than good excavation yield
- Optimal diameter for plants and stakes
- Penetrates slightly harder soils
- Delicate wooden handles
- Not suitable for gravelly or stony soils
How to choose the hand auger
Simple metal or steel? Personally, I would always opt for the second option, due to the strength of this alloy, and also for its greater weight, which allows you to apply more force when drilling. Even simple metal, however, can become a good alternative, especially if you do not pretend to drill particularly hard or clayey soils.
2. Twist drill
The twist drill is… the heart of a post auger or drill for planting shrubs, tomatoes and fences. Here, too, the same speech I said before is valid: steel is to be preferred to simple metal, while I would reject the untreated iron options a priori, since they could rust in a short time.
In summary, when you buy a manual auger, you have to think in perspective: the best tool, in fact, is the one that lasts the longest. Know that in the economic models the blade cannot be replaced, so you will not be able to mount one new auger bit, as is the case with drills. A problem that does not arise with high-end manual drills.
That’s why I advise you to be very careful, since a damaged or “nibbled” blade also ruins the quality of the work, and the precision of the diameter of the holes. In addition to going less in depth.
3. Dimensions of the blade
When I talk to you about the dimensions of the blade of the manual post driver, I refer to two distinct values: on the one hand the actual length of the tip, on the other the diameter (therefore the width) of the blades of the auger.
- Tip length (depth): a long tip allows you to make deeper holes with a single insertion into the ground. Usually, however, the longer it is, the less the diameter of the blade is, so the tip is “leaner” and the holes narrower.
- Blade width (diameter): The models of hand augers with large auger are excellent for drilling holes with a very large diameter, therefore larger. However, due to the weight, augers with a larger diameter generally have a shorter tip.
To summarize the matter a bit, there is no tool for drilling holes in the ground that is better than another, in terms of size. This always depends on your goals, and the purpose of the hole you make in the ground. It is clear, however, that to plant very wide poles (such as those with a rectangular section) you will want to opt for a model with a large auger.
4. Type of terrain
Unfortunately, any hand drill has its limitations, linked to the fact that the use of such a tool on very hard ground can become really tiring. Personally, if I have to drill through complex terrain, I prefer to use one earth auger to burst, because in this way I have less effort and above all I can drill even the dry clayey soils in a very short time.
However, in most cases, a simple manual drill is enough to do this, especially if the earth is sandy, soft or of medium hardness. If you notice that you have no problem reaching about 30 centimeters in depth, then you can be sure. Conversely, if you feel the ground immediately resist when you rotate the pole, in all likelihood that case requires a different tool.
5. Comfort of the tool
In the meantime, I advise you to use this tool to make holes in the earth wearing a pair of garden gloves, because this will prevent continuous rubbing and blistering. Having said that, if you have to use it without gloves, it is better to opt for a model with an ergonomic and anti-slip handle, also to facilitate the grip and therefore the precision of the work.
The ergonomic handle, in fact, allows you to better control the handle when you turn it, thus applying greater force to the tool. I assure you that if you have to drill dozens of holes to mount any fence for a fence, you will thank her in the end.