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How to Use an Ice Auger to Dig Dirt

Mikhail Polenin

An auger simplifies the process of drilling and moving materials by lifting up material from the bottom and bringing it up to the top. This process allows for more precise and deeper digging than if you use a spade to dig into the dirt. Ice augers have much more torque than conventional dirt augers, so you'll have no problem using it on dirt. Like with any digging project, you must first ensure that you won't hit any underground cables.

Augers dig by lifting up material from below to the surface.
  1. Contact utility companies providing cabled and piped services to ask if they have any underground cabling or piping under the spot where you plan to dig.

  2. Dig a small hole with a shovel as a guide for your auger. If you have experience drilling other materials, it's much like making a pilot hole so the drill doesn't slip.

  3. Start your auger's engine. If you have a gas auger, look for a cord somewhere around the device and tug on it firmly until the engine starts. For an electric auger, look for a switch either behind the machine or on its side. Make sure to plug an electrical auger into an outdoor electrical outlet with its power off before attempting to switch it on.

  4. Position your auger on the pilot hole you made with a shovel and pull the trigger once ready. Push down gently without applying too much pressure on the device. Overwhelming the device with pressure causes the motor to overheat. Once you reach the depth you want, release the auger's trigger and lift it vertically out of the hole.