Auger Buyer’s Guide – How to Find the Right Earth Auger (for Homeowners and Professionals)

February 28, 2017

There are many different types of augers on the market. From handheld plant augers to engine-powered post hole diggers, you can find an auger to drill through almost any material you wish – from soil, to wood, to ice, and more.

Here we’re going to discuss how homeowners and professional landscapers can go about finding the right earth auger to satisfy their specific needs.

Part of the trick is to keep in mind what exactly you need the auger for. Are you planting flower bulbs in your yard for spring? Are you running a landscaping business? Do you need to drill holes for fence posts? The answers to each of these questions will lead you to down a different path toward an auger that’s specialized for the job at hand.

Picking an auger means knowing what size you need to get the job done right. Since there are so many different diameters and lengths of augers available, you’ll want to do some research to see what size will work best for what you’re planning to do.

Start with choosing a diameter, which will determine the size of the holes you’re digging, and then find the length that works best for your project.

The rest will depend on whether you’re a professional landscaper or a home gardening guru. Keep reading to learn more.

How to Buy an Earth Auger – For Homeowners

If you are a homeowner or you’re into do-it-yourself projects (or maybe both), we recommend smaller diameter augers. Those who are simply planting annuals – and who are not looking for a large diameter auger – will do well to check out two- or three-inch diameter earth and plant augers.

But what about the length? Good question.

The auger length you choose may depend on a number of factors. For example – how tall are you? People over six-feet tall may prefer a longer length auger to reduce bending and prevent backaches.

Another example – what type of drill do you plan to use? It’s key to keep your drill’s power in mind when choosing an auger. Many homeowners have cordless or electric drills lying around their garages or storage areas, and these are great to use to power smaller diameter and smaller length augers. Just make sure you don’t pick an auger that your drill can’t power!

For homeowners who want to do some soil mixing or tilling, a longer length auger – like this DIY Guru Auger – can be a big win. It’ll save you time and energy not only when you’re planting, but for countless other jobs around the house, too.

How Professionals Can Pick the Right Auger

Many earth augers marketed to professionals lean towards being post hole diggers. That’s all fine and dandy, but what about landscapers who need to plant a great deal of plants?

Professional landscapers should choose an auger based on how often they intend to use it, what type of soil conditions they will run into, and how tough the job(s) will be overall. Some auger manufacturers provide different length options as well as options to optimize your auger’s performance by choosing a specialized drive and tip.

Here are some examples of options for your auger’s drive and tip:
  • 3/8-inch Hex Drive – This is the best choice for homeowners as it fits most drills with standard drill chucks.
  • 1/2-inch Hex Drive – This provides the most surface area and gripping surface for a 1/2-inch professional-grade drill. The 1/2-inch hex drive prevents slippage when augers encounter harder soils, rockier soils, and soil with small roots.
  • 1/2-inch Hex Drive with Heavy Duty Tip – This is designed for professional landscapers and grounds maintenance contractors who are likely to encounter less-than-ideal soil conditions on a regular basis. The heavy duty tips provide longer-lasting power for the auger.
  • Adaptable Tube Drive – Recommended for professional landscapers and maintenance crews, adaptable tube drives allow one auger to fit multiple drills or powerheads easily by using an auger adapter. This protects your equipment in the event a landscaper hits something hard with the auger and strips out the hex.
  • Adaptable Tube Drive with Heavy Duty Tip – These augers combine the versatility of the adaptable tube drive (see above) with the durability of heavy duty tips. They give you the ability to conquer many different soil conditions and tackle bigger, tougher landscaping projects.

Adaptable tube drive augers are your best bet by far if you’re a professional landscaper. These have the ability to fit more than one drill or powerhead – and that’s what makes this type of auger really versatile and handy.

Professional-grade augers aren’t cheap, and adaptable tube drive augers allow you to protect your equipment as well as keep it well-maintained for a relatively low price.

Simply use an auger adapter with the tube drive, and if anything happens to the auger – you can replace just the adapter instead of the entire auger. When compared to how much it would cost to replace your entire auger bit, an auger adapter is well worth the small investment.

Compare Auger Sizes

Some augers are taller than they seem. Use our helpful auger size reference page to help compare auger sizes.

Earth Auger Size Comparison Chart

We hope you found this Auger Buyer’s Guide for homeowners and professionals helpful. Check out our FAQs section to learn more about tube drive augers and auger adapters.