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6 Best Manual Post Hole Diggers 2020 – Top Picks & Reviews

person using Razorback 1712000 Post Hole Digger

A post hole digger is a must-have tool for any homeowner who does regular DIY work. It comes in handy in digging projects that require you to make right-sized holes quickly and without much hassle, such as setting up a mailbox, planting trees, installing a fence, and more.

Post hole diggers can be either manual, gas-powered, or electric-powered. Out of the three, manual post hole diggers are arguably the most ideal for home use because they are much cheaper than the other two. Moreover, unless you are digging holes regularly, buying a gas or electric digger would be overkill.

Nonetheless, manual diggers differ in the quality of their construction. Therefore, you must do your research before you purchase one to ensure that you get a reliable tool. To save you the hassle, we have compared the various products on the market to bring you these reviews of the best manual post hole diggers on the market today.

A Quick Comparison of Our Favorites

Image Product Details
Best Overall
Winner
Union Tools Carbon Steel Post Hole Digger Union Tools Carbon Steel Post Hole Digger
  • Durable construction
  • Can handle a wide variety of soil types
  • Easy to use
  • Best Value
    Second place
    Emsco Group Post Hole Digger Emsco Group Post Hole Digger
  • Ergonomic handle for comfort
  • Durable steel construction
  • Fiberglass handle
  • Premium Choice
    Third place
    Seymour Structron Hercules Post Hole Digger Seymour Structron Hercules Post Hole Digger
  • Designed for heavy-duty use
  • Sharp, strong blades penetrate hard surfaces
  • Can be used for commercial projects
  • Razorback 1712000 Post Hole Digger Razorback 1712000 Post Hole Digger
  • Sturdy design
  • Durable
  • Comfortable to use
  • Roughneck Auger Type Post Hole Digger Roughneck Auger Type Post Hole Digger
  • Extremely easy to use
  • Soft grip for comfort
  • Ideal for a wide variety of soils
  • The 6 Best Manual Post Hole Diggers – Reviews 2020

    1. Union Tools 78002 Carbon Steel Post Hole Digger – Best Overall

    Union Tools 78002 Carbon Steel Post Hole Digger

    This manual digger by Union Tools is one of the best manual pole diggers for homeowners out there today. In addition to boasting a high-quality construction, this digger is incredibly versatile, able to work on a wide variety of soil types, terrains, and weather conditions. As a result, it has your back in all types of projects and comes at an appealing price point.

    Weighing in at slightly over 6 pounds, the Union Tools 78002 is remarkably light to allow you to use it for longer periods without tiring. Additionally, it is quite easy to use, as all you need to do is simply turn it while pushing down, and it penetrates the ground almost effortlessly.

    The 78002 comes with a carbon blade that makes easy work of even the toughest of surfaces. The steel construction also adds to the digger’s durability. With its 5.5-inch spread, this blade is suitable for most applications.

    This manual pole digger comes with a hardwood shaft to enhance its ruggedness. This allows you to put the 78002 to heavy-duty use without worrying about bends. Thanks to the handle’s ergonomic design, this digger is quite comfortable to use.

    Nonetheless, while the auger is quite effective at clearing up smaller rocks and debris, it might have a hard time clearing larger objects.

    Pros
    • Durable construction
    • Can handle a wide variety of soil types
    • Easy to use
    • Ergonomic design for comfort
    • Can dig deep holes
    • Reliable
    Cons
    • Not ideal for rocky soils

    2. Emsco Group 1225-48 Post Hole Digger – Best Value

    Emsco Group 1225-48 Post Hole Digger

    If you are working on a budget, the Emsco Group steel post hole shovel is one of the best manual post hole diggers for the money. This unit is especially adept at making deep holes. Thanks to its long shaft, it allows a relatively tall person to work without getting on their knees or breaking their back.

    The Emsco Group 1225-48 pole digger features a heavy-duty steel blade for enhanced durability. Nonetheless, despite its sturdy construction, this digger is incredibly light, thus making it easy to maneuver. Thanks to these two attributes, this unit gives you the ultimate blend of toughness and maneuverability.

    This digger also comes with an ergonomic handle featuring fiberglass construction and rubberized caps. As a result, you are able to take on projects that require deeper holes without straining yourself.

    For digging, this digger comes with 16-gauge steel blades to ensure that you can penetrate through most types of soils easily. The shaft, on the other hand, is made from hardwood to prevent bending when you exert force.

    While this digger is great, it is essentially a shovel. As such, it might not be as effective as specialized diggers for some jobs.

    Pros
    • Ergonomic handle for comfort
    • Durable steel construction
    • Fiberglass handle
    • Sturdy design for stability
    • Great value for money
    Cons
    • Shovel design might limit its versatility

    3. Seymour Structron Hercules Post Hole Digger PD48 – Premium Choice

    Seymour Structron Hercules Post Hole Digger PD48

    The Seymour PD48 Structron Hercules is the go-to posthole digger for professionals when they want a manual unit. The PD48 is designed for heavy-duty use and, therefore, is ideal for people looking for a reliable manual digger for extensive use.

    Weighing in at 10 pounds, the PD48 features a sturdy construction to allow it to take a beating. This digger also features a 4.5-inch fiberglass handle with a core insert that reinforces the bond with its head. The core features a fiberglass construction as well.

    Despite its incredibly rugged construction, the PD48 is remarkably user-friendly. It comes with an ergonomic handle featuring a cushioned grip to enhance your comfort while taking on strenuous projects.

    The blade on this digger features a 6 ¼-inch point spread to allow you to make good-sized holes with relative ease.

    This pole hole digger is recommended for people looking for a reliable unit for heavy-duty use. Nonetheless, due to its premium construction, it is one of the pricier diggers on the market today.

    Pros
    • Designed for heavy-duty use
    • Can be used for commercial projects
    • Sharp, strong blades penetrate hard surfaces
    • Fiberglass handle for increased strength and durability
    • Cushioned grip for comfort
    Cons
    • Pricey

    4. Razorback 1712000 Post Hole Digger

    Razorback 1712000 Post Hole Digger

    The 1712000 by Razorback comes with a unique scissor design that makes your work incredibly stress-free. This is because it eliminates the collision of knuckles that makes working with most other post hole diggers a pain. Moreover, it also significantly reduces the amount of force you have to generate.

    This digger features pointed blades with a 7-inch point spread, thus allowing you to make relatively large holes without a lot of hassle. Moreover, the head’s design facilitates the fast and easy removal of dirt as you work, thereby reducing the overall dig time.

    The Razorback 1712000’s head features a carbon steel construction that not only allows you to penetrate hard surfaces easily but also assures you reliability thanks to its durability. The handles feature a fiberglass construction for overall durability. Additionally, the come with serrated ends to promote dirt transfer.

    However, at 16 pounds, it is quite hefty. This means that it might not be ideal for everybody. Nonetheless, the Razorback 1712000 would make a good companion for someone who digs regularly.

    Pros
    • Ideal for heavy-duty use
    • Sturdy design
    • Durable
    • Comfortable to use
    Cons
    • Heavy

    5. Roughneck ROU68260 Auger Type Post Hole Digger

    Roughneck ROU68260 Auger Type Post Hole Digger

    If you are looking for an easy-to-use digger for your domestic needs, you can hardly go wrong with the Roughneck ROU68260 Auger Type Post Hole Digger.

    This tool is a T-handle digger, meaning that all you need to do to create a hole is simply turn it once you position the tip on the area you want to dig. The ROU68260 makes 6-inch diameter holes, thus making it ideal for making holes for fence posts.

    Thanks to being an auger-type digger, the ROU68260’s design makes it comfortable to use while ensuring that you do not apply a lot of effort when creating holes. The soft grip handles on this digger also add to that comfort. However, you might have to wear gloves for heavy-duty use.

    Nonetheless, the Roughneck ROU68260 is not suitable for loose soils or those that have a lot of gravel in them.

    Pros
    • Extremely easy to use
    • Soft grip for comfort
    • Ideal for a wide variety of soils
    Cons
    • Pricey for a manual digger
    • Not suitable for soils that are extremely loose

    6. True Temper 2704200 Fiberglass Handle Post Hole Digger

    True Temper 2704200 Fiberglass Handle Post Hole Digger

    The True Temper 2704200 post hole digger is designed with ease of use in mind. For starters, the shaft comes with depth meter marking to allow you to know how far you have dug easily. To add to that, this digger comes with 29-inch ergonomic handles made from fiberglass. That design also enhances its comfort and durability.

    The 2704200’s blades also feature a unique design that allows them to close tightly, thus moving soil faster. Moreover, thanks to the resulting 40% decrease in handle travel, the amount of effort that you have to apply is greatly reduced.

    The blade is made from 14-gauge steel and features a 7.5-inch point spread. This means that you should be able to make good-sized holes regularly without worrying about the blade failing on you.

    While the True Temper 2704200 is a reliable post hole digger, it might not be ideal for commercial use.

    Pros
    • Comes with depth measurements on the side to facilitate ease of use
    • Comfortable handle and grip
    • Innovative design to reduce the amount of effort used
    • Durable construction
    Cons
    • Not ideal for commercial use

    Buyer’s Guide

    Manual post hole diggers are not created equal. They come with significant differences in shape, size, build material, blade type, weight, and price. As a result, no one digger is ideal for everybody. The ideal tool for you is one that meets your needs effectively.

    Therefore, to identify your ideal digger, you must first establish certain parameters, with the most important ones being purpose, frequency of use, soil type, and budget. Once you have set these parameters, comparing the various manual diggers on the market becomes much easier, as you will have reduced the selection pool quite significantly.

    To assist you in that regard, the following are the most important considerations when looking for your ideal manual post hole digger.

    Soil Type and Frequency of Use

    These two will arguably have the most influence on your decision.

    Different soils have different textures, compositions, drainage capacities, and shades. Consequently, a soil’s attributes determine how soft or tough it is. As you can imagine, a manual digger is best suited for soft soils. If you are dealing with rocky soil, you should consider getting a motorized digger.

    You should also consider how frequent you are going to be using the digger. If it is occasionally, then a durable manual unit will do the job. However, if you are looking to create holes frequently, you will be better off with a motorized digger. Digging manually can take a toll on the body.

    Hole Depth

    Consider the maximum depth of the holes that you are looking to bore. This will help you narrow down your choice of manual diggers, as they come with different depth ratings. This means that some diggers are designed to go deeper than others.

    Of you are not sure about how deep you might need to go, consider purchasing a unit that can dig deeper than your current requirements. This will allow you to take on a wider variety of projects.

    Type

    There are different types of manual post hole diggers, with each spotting a unique design. The main ones include:

    Traditional

    With their simple design and limited parts, traditional diggers are best suited for simple tasks, such as gardening.

    Split-handled/Scissor-action

    These diggers spot a design that mimics a pair of scissors. Thanks to that design, their blades are far less likely to detach during strenuous work, thereby making them ideal for tough soils.

    Double-Pivot

    As the name suggests, these manual diggers come with two pivot points. This allows you to have a firmer grip on the surface, thus allowing you to work harder with less effort.

    Offset

    This digger comes with straight handles that move in opposite directions when working. This offset design reduces the amount of force that you need to generate. They are ideal for narrow holes.

    Universal

    Universal manual post hole diggers feature a long handle, as well as a shorter one that is operated by a lever. This unique design allows you to take on a wider array of projects.

    man using Roughneck ROU68260 Auger Type Post Hole Digger

    Weight

    Considering that manual digging is a remarkably arduous activity, the weight of your tool becomes an extremely important factor to consider.

    Thanks to their sturdy design, a heavy manual digger will allow you to dig through rocky and other types of soils faster.

    Nonetheless, while heavier manual diggers tend to be sturdier, their weight also causes fatigue to set in sooner, thus compromising your effectiveness. Moreover, even if you decide to work through the fatigue, you risk developing neck, shoulder, and back problems in the long run.

    Therefore, heavy units are best suited for infrequent heavy-duty use. If your project requires you to use a powerful digger over an extensive period, you will be better off with a motorized unit.

    For most DIY jobs at home, a lighter digger weighing between 8 and 10 pounds should suffice.

    Regardless of a digger’s weight, ensure that it comes with an ergonomic handle with padded grips to enhance your comfort while working.

    Build Material

    Build material determines the durability of a manual post hole digger. For a long time, diggers used to feature a steelhead and a wooden handle. However, as technology continues to evolve, manufacturers are coming up with materials that are more durable.

    Nonetheless, for ordinary users, light manual diggers featuring a steel construction will be appropriate. Unlike diggers with wooden and cheap metal parts, steel units are more durable and reliable. Consequently, they also tend to cost more.

    Diggers featuring a fiberglass construction are worth considering, too, as fiberglass is extremely strong and durable, thus allowing you to take on tougher projects.

    Handle Design

    Since you will be using the handle to operate the digger, you want it to be as comfortable to use as possible. In addition to padded grips, look for a manual digger whose design prevents your knuckles from colliding. Knuckle collision is a prevalent problem in traditional manual diggers, making them a pain to work with.

    Another important consideration is the handle’s length. As a rule of thumb, the longer a handle is, the better it is. This is because longer handles give you more leverage, thus reducing the overall effort you need to apply. Additionally, longer handles allow you to dig deeper without straining your back.

    For most people, a handle length of between 47 and 60 inches should be fine.

    Blade Design

    For starters, diggers with larger blades tend to have better performance. This is because they are stronger and sturdier. However, if you are looking to make smaller holes, you should consider a digger with small blades.

    When it comes to design, pointed blades are preferable, as their pointed ends allow them to dig through tough soils without a lot of hassle. These blades, however, are not ideal for softer soils. Rounded blades, on the other hand, are more suited for soft soils.

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    Conclusion

    The ideal manual post hole digger varies among individuals. The best one for you will be dependent upon your specific needs. Therefore, as mentioned, it is important that you first identify your needs so that you can know what to look for in a digger.

    Once you have identified a couple of prospects, go through user reviews to see other people’s experiences with the diggers. This will allow you to make an informed decision when it comes to making your final choice.

    While every product here is great, our number 1 pick is the Union Tools 78002 manual digger. It is lightweight, easy to use, comes with an ergonomic handle for comfort, and a carbon steel blade that can penetrate most types of soil with ease. It is also one of the most affordable manual post hole diggers on the market today. That said, the Emsco Group 1225-48 Post Hole Digger is a versatile tool that also works as a shovel, which is why it gets our recommendation for the best value on the list.

    Featured Image Credit: Amazon

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