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A ground auger is a type of drilling device that is specifically used to drill holes into earth. The holes created by the auger may be used for a variety of purposes including seed planting, posts for fences and signs, and even pilings for decks or docks. A ground auger may be operated by hand, attached to a hand drill, or be part of a piece of heavier equipment with a gas engine.
Generally, those augers operated by hand, or attached to a standard handheld drill, will be designed to dig very small holes. A hand auger is mainly used as an aid in gardening. It is especially helpful for those who have arthritis or back pain, and who cannot bend over for long periods of time. Such individuals may find using a ground auger helps them continue to enjoy their hobby when they may not otherwise be able to do so.
A small ground auger generally has a shaft 2.5 feet (76 cm) long or slightly longer. This allows the bottom of the auger to touch the ground without requiring the user to stoop or bend in an uncomfortable way. Some may even come with different extensions that allow not only for drilling holes, but removing weeds and other harmful objects from the ground easily.
A fence auger or post auger is a piece of specialized equipment that usually includes its own gasoline engine, usually between two and five horsepower, depending on the model. The engine typically sits on the top of the ground auger's shaft, but it may be detached from the shaft in some models as well. The location of the engine is usually determined by its size, with larger engines being too heavy to put on top of the unit.
If a larger engine is attached to the top, the ground auger may also be known as a two-man auger. Such models require two people to operate safely and efficiently. One person controls the speed and direction of the auger while the other person is simply responsible for keeping the equipment steady and helping to lift it back out of the hole when the desired depth is reached.
Larger ground augers can also be attached to skid steer loaders and other pieces of construction equipment. Often, the auger must be purchased separately from the machine controlling it, and supplying its power. Such augers are especially useful when drilling footings for buildings or bridges. Holes for such applications often need to be deep and narrow, and augers are ideally suited for such work.