How to Use an Auger to Dig a Hole

Digging fence post holes can be backbreaking work.

Use an auger when you have several post holes to dig.Use an auger when you have several post holes to dig.
If you only need one or two holes dug, traditional handheld post hole diggers would be the best way to dig. Should you need to dig several post holes for an entire fence, a gas powered auger will have the job done in less time than traditional manual labor. Augers use powerful torque to dig the holes into the ground. Be prepared for the power, hold tight to the auger and get your holes dug.

Call your local utility companies before you began digging your fence post holes. The utility companies flag underground cables and lines so you avoid hitting them while digging.

Dig a shallow pilot hole with a shovel. The hole should be approximately six inches deep to place the auger in before you start it.

Place the auger in the pilot hole for your fence post. Start the auger engine as instructed by the manufacturer.

Turn the throttle up on the auger slowly. The auger will spin and dig into the dirt. Turn the throttle up for more power, if necessary, to continue digging the fence post hole.

Dig to the desired depth or to the depth your auger will reach. Lift the auger from the ground and turn it off. If the auger gets stuck, reverse the throttle as directed by the manufacturer to remove it from the hole. Always turn the auger off between each fence post hole.

Repeat this process for each fence post hole.

Things You Will Need

  • Shovel
  • 8-inch handheld gas auger


  • When you rent the auger, make sure the rental company provides you with the proper mix for fuel.

About the Author

Cecilia Harsch has been writing professionally since 2009. She writes mainly home improvement, health and travel articles for various online publications. She has several years of experience in the home-improvement industry, focusing on gardening, and a background in group exercise instruction. Harsch received her Certified Nurses Assistant license in 2004. She attended Tarrant County College and studied English composition.