Digging a hole to set a post is easier said than done. The easy options are not cheap, and the cheap options are not easy! Or so i thought…
The project at hand was to set two 4×4 wood posts into the ground to build a kayak rack.
So what are my options?
Big expensive equipment with hydraulic hookups or a low cost manual post hole digger. Those were the only two options I could think of and neither of them sounded good.
Well that was until I found the Predator Gas Powered Earth Auger by Harbor Freight. Advertised as a portable, one-person machine to quickly dig holes for fence posts, signs, landscaping and more.
Lets see how it did.
Predator Gas Powered Post Hole Driller (features)
The Predator Gas Powered Earth Auger (sku 56257) comes with the power-head and a 6″ diameter by 39″ long auger bit.
It includes a small bottle to help with mixing your gas & oil to the proper 25:1 specification, a pin to assemble the auger bit to the power-head and basic user instructions.
Everything was well packed in the product box and at a shipping weight of only 32.35lbs it is easy to move around by only one or two people.
• 52cc gas powered motor (requires 25:1 gas/oil mix)
• 45 ft. lbs. Torque, 320 RPM Speed (max)
• Pull To Start Recoil
• 6 inch x 31 inch long auger bit
• Link to Owners Manual
Predator Gas Powered Post Hole Digger, Many Uses!
As mentioned above, I originally purchased this product because I was building a kayak rack that required setting two 4×4 wooden posts for the frame.
Due to the placement of this build, there were a few challenges.
- Location: This was going to be installed in a wooded area on a slight hillside. Since cutting down trees or creating a roadway was not an option, big equipment was out.
- Soil: Having trees nearby meant there was going to be an issue with roots. This would make using a manual post hole digger challenging.
So when I found out about a portable gas-powered option for under $250.00 it sounded like the perfect solution. (with the Harbor Freight Coupon it came to under $200.00)
Even on sale at $200 i wouldn’t say it is “cheap” but it is definitely much cheaper vs renting a heavy piece of equipment and can be used for many other projects down the road.
Other uses for this include setting fence poles, gate posts, signs, garden fences and all kinds of projects.
The standard bit is 6″ diameter. For projects (Sono tubes) that require a larger hole, an optional 8″ auger is available. (part# 56709)
New for Summer 2020 – If you need additional length. They now make a 21″ Auger Extension shaft (part# 56919)
My overall Review of the Predator Auger (the good and the bad)
Overall I am very happy with the Predator Auger and think it is one of the easiest ways to bury a fence post, especially in areas where large equipment is not an option.
• Build quality was actually pretty decent and it had plenty of power to drill the holes I needed, even cutting through tree roots (hold on!)
• Weight and portability was excellent. Coming in at around 20lbs, you really can take this thing just about anywhere. Great for hard-to-access locations.
It is also fairly easy to disassemble the auger bit by removing one pin. Great for transport and storage.
• Cost. At around $200 this thing will easily pay for itself in only a few projects and will make the job so much easier vs using a manual post hole digger.
You can split the cost with a few buddies or even sell the machine after a few uses to recoup some of the expense.
• Odd gas to oil mixture ratio. This motor requires a mix of 25:1 gas to oil which is much different from most small engine equipment (like chainsaws and string trimmers) that use a 50:1 ratio.
While this is not a HUGE deal, you do have to be careful not to use the incorrect mix with this motor. More of an inconvenience than anything.
Since a 25:1 is Double the oil vs a 50:1 mix, you will use (1) 2.6oz bottle per 1/2 gallon of gas. For my mix I used STIHL HP Ultra Fully Synthetic 2-cycle Engine Oil.
• Starting Instructions – IMO The choke selector is confusing. On this machine the two options are Start <-> Run/Choke
Typically Choke is used to start the motor and then you would move the switch to the “Run” position once the motor has started. To have Start and Choke opposite each other does not make sense to me.
Conclusion / Final Thoughts
So far I have been very happy with this machine and expect to get alot of use out of it. Even with the minor annoyances regarding the oil mix and choke labeling, it still is a great value.
Anything from fences, pole buildings, garden posts, tree houses or even simple driveway light posts. The list of possible uses is pretty much endless.
For more great articles related to Harbor Freight Tools and Warranty Experience, check out the links below.