Post-Hole Augers vs. Post-Hole Diggers

New fence construction with lumber, hammer, and tape measure.

CatLane/Getty Images

Post-hole augers and post-hole diggers are specialized tools for fence building with which everyone may not be acquainted. There is a big difference between these two tools.

Fence Building Tools

Here's a list of some basic tools used in fence building. You should have most of these tools on-hand in your garage or shed.

  • Post-hole auger
  • Post-hole digger
  • Shovel and wheelbarrow for mixing concrete
  • Power saw
  • Hammer and punch
  • Carpenter's square, level, and mason's line

Post-Hole Augers

Post-hole augers may minimize the effort you'll have to expend on digging the holes because they are mechanized tools. Unless you have a lot of time, these power tools are almost indispensable if you're installing a long fence. Post-hole augers can often be rented from your local rental store.

But do not think of a post-hole auger as being a silver bullet or a sure-fire solution to digging holes for fence posts. There are at least two potential problems associated with using these "giant corkscrews".

  1. They are difficult to control. In fact, you may need to enlist someone else's help in operating this power equipment.
  2. They are not very effective at penetrating soils laden with clay or studded with stones.

Post-Hole Diggers

Post-hole diggers, which are sold at many large hardware stores, are used for the same purpose as augers, but that is where the similarity ends because these are manual tools employed in fence building. This tool looks like two skinny shovels joined together by a flange where the shovel heads meet the handles.