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What is a Soil Auger?

By A. Leverkuhn
Updated May 16, 2024
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A soil auger is a tool for boring round holes into soil. It is often used in various home and commercial projects. Soil auger tools come in many shapes and sizes, from simple manual tools to full-size, high powered machines that require no manual power.

A hand auger is derived from a traditional tool with a simple design. The user turns the crank or handle, and the auger bit twists into a desired target, such as soil, displacing dirt, and boring a hole in the earth. Hand soil augers may be used for small fence posts or other soil displacement projects.

Some who are doing home projects that require soil boring might use powered soil augers. Some power soil auger tools are much like a tiller or lawnmower in design. The user walks behind the soil auger. These generally have a small gas engine that may or may not use mixed fuel.

Other powered soil augers are mounted on vehicles such as skid steer loaders or track loaders. Skid steer loaders are so called because their steering mechanisms are not a conventional steering wheel, but two levers on opposite sides of the vehicle. A track loader may include skid steer or joystick design. Soil auger tools can be attached to one of these vehicles for a mounted soil boring project.

Similar machines to soil augers are trenching machines that cut lateral trenches in the soil. Trenching machines may contain an auger, but also provide for a lateral movement to open up a linear trench for power lines or for other home or commercial projects.

Some manufacturers also sell products to fit a soil auger. One of the most common ones is auger flighting. The flighting is the metal portion of the auger that turns in the earth. Wide, flat flighting carries a large amount of soil to the surface of the ground and deposits it there. Different kinds of weather resistant flighting are popular choices for replacing parts on a soil auger machine.

Some kinds of auger machines are similar to soil augers but work on ice. Strikemaster ice auger machines are desirable for ice fishing and other projects. In an ice-bound northern environment, an ice auger can provide many of the same uses that a soil auger provides for someone in a temperate environment.

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