Buyer's Guides Pole Hole Diggers

Best Post Hole Digger for Rocky Soil: 2021 Buyer’s Guide & Top 6 Models

If you want to install a new fence, deck, or mailbox, or you want to plant a tree, then you need to use the best post hole digger for rocky soil. The best post hole diggers are perfect for a wide range of burrowing applications and are designed to create perfectly sized holes so you can quickly complete your projects.

If you’ve never purchased an auger before and you don’t know much about their features, power options, and the different types of augers available, then you’ve come to the right place. I’ve put together an in-depth buyer’s guide on augers that includes all the information you need to know to choose an auger that will be perfect for your next digging project. I’ve also tried out several of the best models, narrowing it down to six augers that are up to the challenge. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists each auger, top features, and how each post hole digger rated.

Post Hole Digger for Rocky Soil Comparison Chart

ProductTypeHandlesDepth CapacityRating
Southland SEA438
One Man Earth Auger

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Gas-PoweredButterfly2.5 Feet
XtremepowerUS V-Type
2 Stroke Gas

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Gas-PoweredStandard3 Feet
Fiskars 60 Inch Steel
Posthole Digger

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ManualOffset4 Feet
Seymour Structron Hercules
Post Hole Digger

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ManualStandard4 Feet
SuperHandy Earth

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Battery-PoweredStandard1 Foot
XtremepowerUS Industrial
Electric Post Hole Digger

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ElectricStandard2 Feet

Top Pick-Southland SEA438 One Man Earth Auger

Our Rating: (5/5)

This gas-powered post hole digger has a manual recoil for easier start up and a more efficient fuel delivery system. The auger has wide detachable butterfly handles that make the post hole digger easier to store, while improving balance and leverage as you dig post holes. The digger’s maximum depth comes in at 2.5 feet, when using the 8-inch bit. The auger has ergonomic handles that make it easier to control and promotes user comfort, which is essential for those bigger, longer jobs. This auger is covered by a 2-year limited warranty and is CARB and EPA certified.


  • Includes 8-inch auger bit
  • Ergonomic butterfly handle design
  • 5 feet depth capacity
  • Translucent gas tank
  • Easy to use


  • Difficult to start in cold conditions


This auger made it to the number one spot on my list of the best post hole diggers for a variety of reasons. With this Southland Sea438 post hole digger, you won’t have to waste time digging holes manually. The digger is equipped with a 43CC engine, featuring a bit speed of 316 rotations per minute. The digger’s translucent fuel tank will allow you to keep a close eye on the fuel level during a big job, ensuring you never run out while you work. This auger does an excellent job of simplifying your workload, and is the best option if you need an auger for on the job use. This model is designed for a faster, more efficient post hole digging process that you can get done in a fraction of the time, compared to using a manual post hole digger.

Best Post Hole Digger for Ice Fishing-XtremepowerUS Post Hole Digger

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This is another popular gas powered auger that made it onto my top six list. What makes this the best post hole digger for ice fishing is the inclusion of an ice auger bit, which, like the name implies, is perfect for use on ice. Those of you who live in a colder part of the country and enjoy a little fishing in the winter time will get even more use out of this tough  gas powered digger that can easily tear through the ice. This auger has a 55CC 2-cycle engine that offers 2.3 HPs, for some serious power. It also comes with a manual recoil start, 10-inch  bit set, and an easy to grip finger throttle with switch controls located directly on the handle bar.


  • Powerful motor
  • Includes ice drill bit
  • Heavy duty design
  • Can handle a variety of digging tasks
  • One man operation
  • Gas powered


  • Price
  • Difficult to start


This post hole auger is perfect for jobs around the yard or on the ice. It includes an ice auger bit that allows you to easily tear through the thickest ice for a day of fishing in the winter. The digger’s air-cooled single cylinder engine is packing some serious power, so you won’t have to worry about this tool overheating or taking on a job it can’t handle. This is definitely an earth auger you’ll want with you on the ice, or for those important post hole digging jobs around the yard. Built tough, offering one-man operation, and bringing all the power you need to tear through rocky soil or thick ice, this model by Xtremepower delivers.

Best Manual Post Hole- Digger-Fiskars 60 Inch Steel Posthole Digger

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

The Fiskars 60 inch steel posthole digger is perfect for digging deep holes for fence posts, mailboxes, and more. It features offset handles that allow you to dig a hole up to one foot deeper compared to traditional models. The handle design will also protect the knuckles as you dig. This earth auger features 16-gauge steel shafts and 14-gauge steel blades that provide ultimate durability, making this manual post hole digger a great choice if you’re dealing with rocky soil and other types of tough terrain.


  • Covered by a lifetime warranty
  • Easily penetrates tough soil
  • Heavy duty design
  • High quality
  • Perfect for planting trees


  • Requires a lot of muscle for tough soils


The Fiskar 60 inch post hole digger features a welded steel design that makes this tool more durable compared to models that come equipped with fiberglass or wooden handles. The hole digger’s welded steel pivot joint prevents bolts and nuts from loosening up, while the sharpened blades will make penetrating hardened dirt clods or tough soils a cinch. The tool is also covered by a lifetime warranty, so it’s clear that the manufacturer stands behind its products.

Best Value-Seymour Structron Hercules Post Hole Digger PD48

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This manual post hole digger is perfect for planting trees, installing a fence, or mailbox post, and features the type of solid design that you need in a tool that can tear through rocky terrain. This particular model is designed for heavy duty use and comes equipped with a point spread 4-foot fiberglass handle with a core insert also made out of fiberglass for improved strength. On the handles, you’ll also find a cushioned grip for greater control and comfort.


  • High quality
  • Built tough
  • 4-foot fiberglass handles
  • Cushioned grip
  • Can easily handle rocky soil
  • Low price


  • Heavy


The Seymour PD48 Structron Hercules manual post hole digger will definitely require some muscle strength to use, especially if you’re working with rocky soil, however, it features the type of durable, heavy-duty design you need when you’re working with challenging terrain. This manual post hole digger is a great buy for work around the yard or commercial use and features the type of rugged design that you’ll only find in the best post hole digger.

Best Battery-Powered Post Hole Digger-SuperHandy Earth Auger

Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This electric model by SuperHandy is a more eco-friendly choice, unlike gas powered models. This earth auger is quiet running and includes a 2-amp hour lithium ion battery and charger. This battery-powered earth auger features a brushless motor that promotes a smooth and effortless digging process. The anti-vibration design makes hole digging a cinch, even when you’re dealing with clay soil or rocky soil. You can use this model for root removal digging holes for seedlings, bulbs, or digging post holes for a new fence.

This tool is designed with ergonomic silicone grip handles for improved balance. For fast stops during use, you can take advantage of the quick safety release and overload protector. You’ll also find an LED light that’s designed to brightly illuminate your work, which is perfect for people who plan on using this tool in low light conditions.


  • LED light
  • Includes auger drill bit
  • Powerful motor
  • Will cut down on the amount of time you work in the yard


  • Short battery life


This  lightweight battery-powered post hole digger is quiet-running,  easy to use, comes equipped with a powerful motor, and can cut down on the amount of time you spend working in the yard, thanks to its efficient digging performance. Weighing just 22 pounds, this power tool is surprisingly tough and can dig holes easily, in any type of terrain.

Best Electric Post Hole Digger-XtremepowerUS 1500W Industrial Electric Post Hole Digger

Our Rating: (4/5)

If you’re looking for electric powered post hole diggers that are packing some serious power, this is one of the best post hole diggers on the market. This electric post hole digger features a 1500 watt motor with 10.9 amps of power and 2,700 RPMs. Its auger drill bit is made out of manganese steel and designed to easily withstand extrusion, impact, and other types of challenging working conditions. It also features ergonomic handles with an anti-vibration, anti-skid design. The auger’s powerhead features a safety lock that will prevent accidental starts. This is a must-have safety feature that not many electric models come with. Due to the powerful motor and fast rotation speed, you may want to wear eye protection when you operate one of these augers, to prevent any flying debris from getting in your eyes. If you’re looking for a more eco-friendly option, then electric models are a great choice and still come packing the type of power you need to dig deep holes, in a wide variety of soil types.


  • Best eco-friendly option
  • Can effortlessly dig holes in a matter of minutes
  • Beginner friendly
  • Safety lock
  • 1500 watt motor


  • High price
  • Can be uncomfortable to use for long periods of time


These electric powered post hole diggers offer maximum stability and leverage as you dig holes, so you can easily get the job done. Of course, if you have a larger property, you’ll want to take into account that this auger has a cord, so you’ll need to purchase a compatible extension cord.

This is an auger that’s quiet-running, beginner friendly, able to easily tear through clay or rocky soil and it comes equipped with ergonomic handles that are supportive and comfortable to hold. These electric post hole diggers can easily dig a fence post in a matter of seconds.

Post Hole Digger for Rocky Soil Buyer’s Guide

The post hole digger features a solid metal head with a couple of blades which penetrate the soil, loosen it up and make the holes needed to erect mailbox posts or fence posts. Below, I’ll go over the different types of post hole diggers available, and what their pros and cons are, so you can determine which type will work the best for your unique needs, projects, and environment.

Types of Post Hole Diggers for Rocky Soil

You’ll come across a few types of post hole diggers:

  • Manual post hole diggers
  • Gas post hole diggers
  • Electric post hole diggers

Manual Post Hole Diggers

Manual post hole diggers are often a better choice if you have softer soil, but certain types can come in handy when you’re dealing with hard rocky soil.

There are a total of five types of manual post hole diggers to choose from:

  • Offset
  • Double divot
  • Universal
  • Split handle
  • Traditional


This type of post hole digger features the most basic design. The hole digger has a mechanical apparatus that  consists of a couple of steel blades that are rounded and facing each other. The blades are connected at the pivot point and fastened to the handles with the use of bolts. With this tool, all you have to do is pierce the ground as the handles are held together, then pull the handles apart to lift and collect any loose dirt.

Split Handle

Split handle post hole diggers are also referred to as a scissor action post hole digger because they look a lot like a pair of scissors. This type of post hole digger features handles that cross over, just like a pair of scissors. Unlike other types of post hole diggers, this style features blades that have been welded to steel tubes. The tubes cap the end of both handles. Each handle is inserted into the tubing, then bolted into place. This helps to increase the overall strength of the digger.

This style is what makes it more suitable for use in rocky soil since there’s less risk of the blades breaking away from the ends of the handles.


This style of post hole digger looks very different compared to other types of post hole diggers because it comes equipped with a couple of handles that are not the same shape and size. One of the handles is straight and long. The other handle is lever-operated and bends out to the side. It’s also much shorter than the other handle. This style also works differently than other types of diggers. One of the blades pierces the ground, with a goal of dislodging the dirt before the other blade is hinged down by the lever handle. This works to collect and get rid of loose soil.

Double Pivot

Double pivot post hole diggers come with a couple of pivot points. The extra pivot means that the tool will work in the opposite way compared to a traditional post hole digger. Once the blades are in the ground, the handles can be pushed together to clamp the dirt, instead of being pulled apart. The placement of the extra pivot between the handles prevents them from opening up too wide when opening the blades. This will allow the tool to dig holes that are very narrow and deeper, since the handles aren’t obstructed.


These post hole diggers have offset handles that are placed close together. This design counteracts at the top by bending in opposite directions. The hole digger design requires less force when closing the blades since the handles have more leverage. This design allows the tool to dig narrower deeper holes, without the handles impacting the hole’s shape.


Many pros claim that gas-powered models are the best post hole diggers when you’re working with rocky soil. However, you’ll have to take into account the ongoing fuel costs. Additionally, this type of auger isn’t every eco-friendly and its noise level can prevent you from getting to work early in the morning, if you want to avoid waking your family and your neighbors. The main reason a buyer will choose this style over manual is the type of raw power it offers. With a gas-powered model you’ll be able to bore a hole easily, in any type of terrain.


Electric post hole diggers are smaller than gas-powered diggers. While they’re not quite as tough as gas-powered diggers, you also won’t have to deal with the smell of gas fumes or the high cost of gas.

The only real issue with this type of auger, aside from the lower level of power it offers, is the cord. Obviously, if outlets are sparse, you’ll need to use one or several extension cords.

Other Important Features

To find the best post hole digger for your needs, you’ll need to consider some features, based on the type of terrain you’ll be working on, your budget, and the size of a project.

Handle Material

One of the most important considerations when you’re shopping for post hole diggers is its handles. Manual augers often come with hardwood handles, which can be prone to wear and tear over time. Fiberglass handles are more durable and longer lasting. This type of handle is perfect if you’re working with rocky soil.

Handle Length

The length of the handles also matters. The longer the handles the more leverage you’ll have. Additionally, longer handles will allow you to dig deeper holes.

Engine Power

If you’ve decided to use a gas-powered post hole digger, then you’ll need to look for a model that offers at least 2 HPs.


A lightweight post hole digger is perfect for small jobs around the yard. A heavier, gas or electric powered auger may require two people to operate it.


An electric powered post hole digger should offer around 1200 watts. Lower-powered models may not have what it takes to break through rocky soil. Like a gas-powered tool, you’ll need to choose an electric digger that offers at least 1200 watts of motor power.

Read Post Hole Digger Reviews

Just because an item you’re interested in has a lack of availability doesn’t mean the augers work as well as the manufacturers claim they do. In some cases, models will sell out quickly, simply because it’s available at a lower price. If you’re not sure an auger offers the type of powerful performance and durability you’re looking for, then reading customer reviews can be the best way to get a realistic look at how the leading augers perform and the type of quality they offer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Size Hole Does a Post Hole Digger Make?

A post hole should be around three times the width of a post. The hole’s depth should be approximately 1/3 to ½ the post height above ground.

Do Post Hole Diggers Work?

Yes. This type of tool whether you use a manual or automatic model can be used to loosen and remove soil so you can install a new fence, a mailbox, or complete other types of projects around the yard or on the job.

How Long Does it Take for Concrete to Dry in a Post Hole?

After four hours, you can apply some weight to a post, however, you should wait at least 24 hours before you commence fence construction. A standard concrete mix will take around two hours to set and must cure for a period of 24-48 hours before any force can be applied to the post.

Final Thoughts

The best post hole digger for rocky soil will help you plant several trees or dig a new fence around your property. The models that landed on my list each have what it takes to help you break up even the toughest terrain. Together, this buyer’s guide and my list of top-rated models will help you choose the perfect power tool that can meet your needs and help you complete any project around the yard or at work, in a fraction of the time.