As the name suggests, a post hole digger is a tool specifically designed for creating narrow, deep holes in the ground. These holes are typically used for installing posts, such as fence posts or garden structures, or creating footings for decks. Post hole diggers come in several shapes and sizes, each with unique features to suit specific tasks and soil conditions.
Types of Post Hole Diggers
Manual Post Hole Diggers
The manual post hole digger, often referred to as a clamshell digger due to its design, is the simplest and most common type. It features two metal blades, joined at the top, with long handles extending downwards. Blades are driven into the ground and then the handles pull apart to grab and remove the soil. Manual diggers are perfect for smaller jobs or softer soils.
Auger-style Post Hole Diggers
Auger-style diggers, or earth augers, feature a screw-like blade that digs into the ground as you turn the handle. These diggers can be manual or powered by a motor, making them ideal for tougher soils or larger jobs where multiple holes are required.
Mechanised Post Hole Diggers
Mechanised or power post hole diggers are powered by a petrol engine, electricity, or a battery. They can dig holes quickly and with little physical effort from the user, making them ideal for larger projects or tougher ground conditions.
Key Features of Post Hole Diggers
Blade or Auger Quality
The material and quality of the blade or auger significantly impact the tool’s effectiveness and lifespan. Stainless steel and high-carbon steel are common materials used due to their durability and resistance to rust and wear.
The handle design can affect both the digger’s efficiency and the comfort of the user. Handles with ergonomic grips can help reduce user fatigue, especially during larger projects.
Depth and Width of Hole
Different post hole diggers are designed to create holes of varying depths and widths. Your choice should align with the dimensions required for your specific project.
Power Source (for mechanised diggers)
For power post hole diggers, consider the type of power source. Petrol diggers are often more powerful but require more maintenance. Electric or battery-powered models are more quiet and easier to maintain but are be less powerful and have limited run time.
Uses of Post Hole Diggers
One of the most common uses for post hole diggers is installing fence posts. These tools help ensure the posts are set at an even depth, creating a sturdy and level fence.
In gardening, post hole diggers are handy for planting larger plants or creating structures like trellises or pergolas.
When building a deck, a post hole digger is essential for creating the holes for the deck’s footings.
There are other numerous applications for post hole diggers, such as setting up signs or installing outdoor structures like clotheslines or basketball hoops.
Choosing the Right Post Hole Digger
Your choice of post hole digger should consider the nature and scale of your project, the type of soil you’ll be working with, and your physical capacity and comfort. If you’re only going to be digging a few holes in relatively soft soil, a manual post hole digger should suffice. But for larger projects or tough, rocky soil, a mechanised post hole digger might be the better alternative.
Maintenance and Safety Tips for Post Hole Diggers
Proper care and safety are key when using post hole diggers. Regularly clean your tool, check for damage or wear, and ensure its appropriately stored away. It’s important to always wear suitable personal protective equipment and follow manufacturer instructions when operating the tool.