How to Get a Post Hole Digger Unstuck

How to get a post hole digger unstuck is something you should know before you get started drilling holes.

In this article, we will explore some of the best methods for getting a post hole digger unstuck.

how to get a post hole auger unstuck
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How to Get a Post Hole Digger Unstuck

How to unstick your post hole auger from the ground requires a lot of patience and smart thinking. Using force to remove an auger might damage the blades. Work smarter, not harder when removing an auger stuck in the ground. Here are our Pro tips to get your auger out of the ground:

  • Wiggle the auger back and forth clockwise then counter-clockwise (usually this is enough to get it unstuck)
  • Dampen the soil 
  • Remove surface soil and any extra soil inside the hole itself
  • Remove any rocks and roots in the hole
  • Use a digging or crow bar 
  • Avoid force 
  • Use two people
  • After removing your auger inspect it for damage before you start drilling again and clear out the obstruction that caused your auger to get stuck in the first place.

What do I do if the post hole digger is stuck in rocky soil?

If the post hole digger is stuck in rocky soil, try using a digging bar or long-handled shovel to release it. You may need to use a little more force than usual to release the digger. You can also try tapping the digging bar or shovel blade with a hammer to loosen the soil around the blade. Be careful to not damage the blade on your auger.

Can I use a lubricant to get the post hole digger unstuck?

Yes, a penetrating oil such as WD-40 can help to loosen debris and rust buildup on the blade of the post hole digger, making it easier to remove. Simply spray the oil onto the blade and allow it to sit for several minutes before attempting to remove the digger.

How do you Prevent a Post Hole Auger from Getting Stuck?

What exactly causes a post digger auger to get stuck? There are many ways it can get stuck including:

  • Blades are not sharp
  • Roots
  • Rocks
  • Tough soil conditions like clay
  • Auger isn’t powerful enough for the soil conditions
  • Using the Wrong type of auger
  • Too much soil in the hole (You didn’t remove extra soil as you dug the hole)

Prevent your auger from getting stuck by making sure you’re using the right type of auger for the soil conditions, you remove rocks and roots with the extra tools listed below, and you dig out the soil from the hole as you drill it.

What Tools do You Need to Remove a Stuck Auger?

There are a few tools you can use to remove a stuck auger:

Our favorite? A digging bar:

Digging Bar (Landscape Bar) 


digging bar is an essential tool here.  In our opinion, it’s the best tool for getting a post hole auger unstuck from the ground.

How Does a Post Hole Auger Work?

Here are the steps to get your DIY drilling done. First, choose the right post hole digger for your needs. Post hole diggers come in different sizes and designs, so select one that matches the size of the hole you need to dig and the type of soil you’ll be working with.

  1. Mark off your utility lines so you know where they are   
  2. Check your auger to make sure all the parts are in good working order   
  3. Predig a small pilot hole with a shovel in each spot where you want to drill a hole   
  4. Start your auger and place it in the center of your pre-dug starting hole at a 90 degree angle to your pilot hole  
  5. Brace your left side against the auger and hold fast against the clockwise torque 
  6. Drill down a bit at a time and reverse the auger out of the hole and remove any soil.  Too much soil in the hole and your auger might get stuck  
  7. Do this a few times and your hole will be finished! 


How Hard is it to Use a Post Hole Auger?

Using an auger can be physically demanding, depending on the type of soil and the size of the hole you are digging. It’s always good to watch a few videos and maybe have a friend around when you use it for the first time.

Overall, using a post hole digger requires some physical effort and proper technique, but it can be an effective tool for digging holes quickly and efficiently. Be sure to follow safety precautions, such as wearing gloves and eye protection, and take breaks as needed to avoid overexertion.

Post Hole Auger Safety Tips: Call Before You Dig! 

You never know what is underneath your top soil.  You could have gas and water lines, power, just about anything.  Don’t take any risks.   

Always give yourself enough time to find out what is underneath the areas you are planning on digging and call 811 to connect with your local utilities services for full details. 

Make sure that you have all your safety gear on hand which includes glasses, hearing protection, gloves and steel toed boots. Also wear tight fitting clothing to avoid having your clothes get caught up in the auger. Yikes.

Do Post Hole Augers have a Reverse Function?

99% of post hole augers do not have a reverse function. That might even be 100%, but we don’t know every auger brands capabilities: there are too many different brands. Ice augers typically come with a reverse function to get them out of ice holes.

This means you will have to manually get your post hole auger out of the hole with elbow grease if it gets stuck.

How to Get a Post Hole Digger Unstuck Conclusion

In conclusion, getting a post hole digger unstuck can be a frustrating and challenging task, but there are several steps you can take to make the process easier. First, assess the situation and determine the cause of the digger being stuck. From there, you can try various methods such as using a pry bar, lubricant, or digging around the digger to release it.

It is important to remember to take caution when attempting to remove the digger and to avoid using excessive force or tools that could damage the digger or cause injury. If you are unsure about the best course of action, it may be best to seek professional assistance.

By following these steps and taking a patient and methodical approach, you can successfully remove a stuck post hole digger and continue with your project.

FAQs How to Get a Post Hole Digger Unstuck

Can I use a shovel to dig around the post hole digger to release it?

Yes, using a shovel to dig around the post hole digger can help to release it from the ground. Be sure to dig carefully to avoid damaging the blade or other parts of the post hole digger. You can also try using a garden fork to loosen the soil around the blade.