With so many options on the market, choosing the right auger drive for your machine can seem overwhelming at times. Here are 5 pro-tips for making the right purchase every time – no matter the machine or the application.
1. Know your machines auxiliary hydraulic flow and PSI
Knowing your machines auxiliary hydraulic flow and PSI will narrow down your options for the auger drives that will perform well with your machine. The more hydraulic flow you have, the greater the RPM’s you can achieve and the more PSI you have, the greater the torque you can achieve. Most mini skid steer and excavators run at 10-20 gallons per minute (GPM) and 3,000 PSI max pressure. When choosing the best auger drive for your machine, it is important to note that not all of them will perform the same on your machine as they will all have different gear ratios and motor sizes to allow for peak performance on different makes and models. It is always best to look at the specifications of the different auger drives to see how they will perform based on your machine’s hydraulic specifications. If you are ever in doubt, always be sure to ask a knowledgeable salesperson and they will be able to narrow down your options based on the machine you have and its auxiliary hydraulic flow and PSI.
2. Know the ground conditions you will be operating in
The ground conditions you will be operating in are a crucial deciding factor as post hole diggers/auger drives are built with different flow and pressure specifications to suit different ground conditions. For example, hard ground and rocky conditions will require a higher torque, lower speed (higher PSI, lower flow) model whereas soft soil conditions would require a higher speed, lower torque (high flow, low PSI) model.
3. Know what mounting options are available and what will work best for you
With all these different auger drives, the mounting options can seem endless sometimes but there are a few critical things to note when selecting the best auger drive mount for you. Firstly, you need to know what machine you will be using the auger drive on. Secondly, you will need to consider how much control and adaptability you will need. Thirdly, you should look at how much reach you will need, especially if you will be using extensions for applications such as shoring.
There are excavator mounts, backhoe mounts, telehandler mounts, skid steer mounts, and truck crane mounts. Excavator and backhoe mounts are very similar – there are quick attach or direct pin-on options available for both. The quick attach options will allow you to remove the auger faster and switch between other attachments without removing pins while the pin-on option will be fastened directly to the stick of the machine and require more work to remove. The pin-on options are usually cheaper, but the conveniences of a quick attach should be considered. The skid steer mounts come in various configurations to accommodate mini and full size models. The mini skids steers most commonly come with a gimble mount and full size skid steers typically use a 4-way swing mount with a cradle. Along with these options, there are extension and side shift mounts to allow for more flexibility. Telehandler mounts come in a variety of configurations and are very similar to the skid steer mounts however the telescopic mount is usually not necessary as that can be done using the boom of the telehandler. There is also a variety of truck crane auger mounts available with 2-way swing, 4-way swing and cradles. The common piece in all of these mounts is the swing direction – 2-way swing will only allow for forward and backward movement however the 4-way swing/Gimble mount will allow for movement in 4 directions which is ideal for drilling on uneven ground.
You must consider your application to find a solution that will allow you the most flexibility while being conscious of how each option differs in price. Consult a dealer or manufacturer to ensure you are aware of each mounting solution and potential custom options available if you would require it.
4. Choose the correct auger bits
Auger bits can be selected based on the diameter and depth you will be drilling along with the ground conditions you will most frequently be dealing with. The four most common auger bit types include, earth augers, earth/rock combo augers, dedicated rock augers, and tree planter augers. These types are all available in a variety of diameters to best suit your application, but the size of your auger drive must also be taken into account. For example, mini skid steer auger drives for machines such as a Toro Dingo, will not perform well with auger bits above 24” because the torque required for drilling with that diameter of auger bit exceeds the auger drive torque specifications. The main difference in the earth, earth/rock combo, and dedicated rock augers is the pilot and teeth. The teeth are what will take the most wear and therefore must be carefully selected to avoid unnecessary downtime and repairs to your auger bits.
Whether you are drilling fence post holes in soft soil or drilling through harsh rocky soils for shoring, there is an auger drive that will achieve optimal performance in your specific application. The soil type you will most commonly be drilling in will determine the torque required from the auger drive as well as the types of auger bits you will use, given your machines specifications. For example, if you are drilling fence post holes in a soft soil type, your best choice would be a low torque model which will increase your drilling speed and job completion time. The amount of use your auger drive will get is another thing to consider as there are heavy-duty and light-duty gearboxes in auger drives that will perform better over different lengths of time. For day-in day-out commercial use, we strongly recommend choosing a heavy-duty auger drive with good torque to be able to withstand a variety of working conditions without breaking down. Consult your local dealer if you are ever in doubt about what option will work best for your specific needs.
With these 5 points in mind, you will be able to make a more informed decision on what auger drive you can use and what option will give you the trouble-free drilling experience you need. A good quality attachment can add enormous value to your machine and boost your productivity on the jobsite – allowing you to save time and money in labour. With a few of our tips and tricks, along with a bit of research on your machine, you can go into the season confident in your equipment and its capabilities to get the job done on time every time.