If you want to install a fence in your garden, then you’ll need to the right equipment to do it. As well as the fence posts and panels for the fence itself, you’ll also need to dig holes to bury the posts.
Although you might think you can use a simple garden shovel to create these holes, it’s much better to use a digger that’s specifically designed for creating post holes.
Some of the most important things to consider when buying a post hole digger are the size of the holes it makes, the materials used and how it operates.
We’ve rated some of the UK’s best post hole diggers, looking at their key features as well as covering their pros and cons. Once you’ve read through the reviews below, you should ready to make an informed purchase.
Last update on 2020-10-29 / Affiliate links / Images / Pricing from Amazon Product Advertising API
Let’s start by looking at our best pick, the Roughneck ROU68260…
Easy-to-use and does the job well
The Roughneck ROU68260 is our best pick and is a very easy-to-use digger that’s perfect for domestic use.
It is a T-handle digger, which means you simply turn it into the ground to create the holes. It creates holes that are 6 inches in diameter, which is plenty for most types of fence posts.
The design makes it very comfortable to use and you don’t have to exude too much effort to create holes. It’s suitable for use with most soils, including clay soils.
The soft-grip handles make it comfortable to use, although it’s still recommended that you use gloves with it, especially if you need to make a lot of holes.
Overall, this is a very capable digger and would be suitable for use in most circumstances.
- Very easy to use
- Soft grip handles make it comfortable to use
- Can be used with the majority of soils
- T-handle design means you can create holes without the need to exert a lot of energy
- It’s quite expensive for what it is
Gets the job done at a great price
The Neilsen 1200mm Digger is our value pick and makes the job of creating post holes in your garden that much simpler.
Operating this digger is very easy. You simply push the handles together to open the scoops at the end, dig downwards and then pull the handles apart to collect the dirt and scoop it out.
Although it may sound like this requires more effort than a t-handle digger, it’s still considerably easier than trying to dig a hole using a regular shovel and gives you more consistency with the size of the holes it creates.
The handle is made from stainless steel, so you don’t have to worry about rusting when you’re using it outdoors. The handles are plenty long and it weighs just 3.2kg, making it very comfortable to use.
Overall, this would make a great choice for creating fence post holes in your garden. It’s not only very reasonably priced, but also does a great job of creating post holes with minimal effort required.
- Very simple to use
- Incredibly affordable
- The handle is made from stainless steel, so you don’t need to worry about rusting
- At just 3.2kg, it’s very lightweight and comfortable to use
- Not quite as sturdy as some other post hole diggers
- Some people might find a T-handle digger easier to use
Robust and simple to use post hole digger
The Draper FPA/1 Fence Post Auger is another t-handle fence post digger that’s very sturdy and comfortable to use.
It’s made from tubular steel and has a total length of 1050mm, with the handle being 500mm long. This is very easy to use, simply being a case of twisting it into the ground to create the hole. There’s also a spike at the bottom to help dig into the ground initially.
T-handle post diggers are particularly good for digging into ground that’s hard or otherwise difficult to dig into using a shovel or another type of post digger. Therefore, this digger would make a good choice, particularly when you’re working with soil that’s less than ideal.
It comes in blue and you have the option to purchase more than one handle, which is worth considering if you have a lot of post holes to dig and you have somebody to help you.
- Is very simple to use
- Creates holes efficiently without the need to exert too much effort
- Great for use with soil that’s heavy or difficult
- Allows you to create holes deep enough for most types of fence posts
- Rust can be an issue
- There are cheaper t-handle post hole diggers available
Effective and comfortable to use
The Spear & Jackson Landscaping Digger is next up and is well worth considering if you want to create post holes more easily in your garden.
It operates in the same way as the Neilsen digger i.e. you push it into the ground and pull the handles apart to scoop out the soil. A lot of people prefer this type of digger as opposed to a T-handle model, but it comes down to personal preference as both do a good job.
The handles are made from ash wood and the blades are made from hardened steel, making them excellent for creating holes and removing soil.
You can purchase this as either the digger on its own or as part of a bundle that includes the digger as well as a Silverline post level. The bundle is only marginally more expensive, and both come options come with the free delivery for Prime members.
- Both the handle and blades are made from high-quality materials and are very durable
- It’s very easy to operate and helps take out a lot of the work of digging post holes
- You can purchase a bundle that also includes a post level to help you ensure your posts are as straight as possible
- Soil escaping from the bottom of the handles can be an issue, particularly when the ground is dry
Effective and comfortable to use
Lastly, is the Oypla 150mm Manual Digger. This is a T-handle digger and is made from high-grade steel, so it’s strong enough to deal with most types of soil.
The handles have rubber grips, making it comfortable to use and it creates holes that are 150mm in diameter, which is plenty for most fence posts.
It’s very easy to use and would be suitable for digging holes for larger shrubs and plants as well as for creating fence post holes.
Overall, this is a high-quality digger that would be perfect for most domestic gardeners. It’s sturdy enough to dig holes into different kinds of soil and is much easier than using a regular shovel.
- Creates holes that are very consistent
- Is very easy to use
- The rubber grips on the handles make it comfortable to use, even if you’re not wearing gloves
- Is suitable for use with most types of soil
- The handle can wobble a bit during use due to being screwed onto the frame
Things to Consider When Buying a Post Hole Digger
Posthole diggers are not complicated pieces of equipment and are generally very simple to use. However, you still want to know the things to look out for when buying one, so you make the right choice. Below are a few of the main things to consider.
Type of digger
The two main types of diggers are T-handle, which you operate by screwing into the ground; and diggers with scoops that are much like a traditional shovel, except you can remove the dirt as you dig.
Which is best will come down to personal preference. A lot of people find that t-handle diggers are better for them since they require less effort.
The materials used are important when choosing a digger too. Diggers are usually made from steel, wood or a combination of the two. You want to ensure that a digger will be strong enough to dig holes well and is comfortable to use.
Diameter of holes
Post hole diggers will generally be able to create holes that are large enough to accommodate most fence post sizes. That being said – you should still check that any diggers you’re considering will create holes that will be suitable for your fence posts.
How To Put In Fence Posts
Installing fence posts is something that doesn’t require too much prior knowledge and is a project most people should be able to tackle.
Below are the main steps involved –
Picking the right spot
The first thing you need to do is pick the right spot to install your fence posts. You’ll likely already know where you want to install them, but it’s important that you know for certain that there aren’t any cables or wiring present. If you’re not sure about this, then you can get a detector.
Another important thing to know when choosing a spot for fence posts is that you won’t be encroaching on your neighbours’ property. This can easily lead to disputes and potentially even legal issues, so you need to be certain about this before you begin.
Digging the holes
The next step is to start digging the holes where your posts will be placed. Start by outlining where your fence will go by using a piece of string. Then start digging the holes for your posts using your digger. You need to make sure that the holes you dig are spaced out correctly. To do this, you should measure one of your fence panels and then mark the spots for each hole accordingly.
Make sure you make the holes deep enough to accommodate the posts. How deep you need to dig the holes will depend on the length of your posts (more on this below).
Installing the posts
Once the holes have been dug, you can then start installing the posts. Depending on how dense your soil is, you may be able to get away with installing your posts using only soil or gravel. However, it’s usually better to use concrete since it will make your posts much more stable.
The first step is to add some gravel to the base of your holes. This will help to improve drainage and will also keep the posts in place. Once you’ve added a decent amount of gravel, you should then place the post into the centre of the hole.
At this point, it’s useful to have another person helping to keep the post in place while you pour the concrete in the hole. If you’re working alone, then you can use wooden stakes and attach them to either side of the post to hold it in place.
When you’re happy with the position of the post, you can then pour in the concrete. Pour in enough so it comes just above ground level and then remove the excess.
Concrete takes a long time to set completely, so you should wait at least a few days before adding your panels or putting any kind of strain on the posts. If you’re using wooden posts, then it’s highly recommended that you seal the gap between the post and the concrete. This will help to prevent water from getting into it, which will cause rot.
How Deep Should Your Fence Posts Be?
In order to provide proper stability, it’s important that you bury your fence posts deep enough. Harsh winds are not uncommon during the winter in the UK, so your posts need to be able to withstand this.
A good rule of thumb to adhere to is burying roughly one-third of the post height into the ground. For example, if you have 8ft posts, then you’ll need to bury just over 2.5 feet of them.