A power earth auger is the best tool to drill holes into compacted soil. If you’re built like a rock, you can use a manually-powered auger, but for most professionals and even DIY-enthusiasts who treasure their time and muscles, a power earth auger is the way to go. Earth augers can be powered by batteries, electricity, or gasoline, but for the most heavy-duty jobs, a gas-powered auger can do the trick.
This time around, we’re going to take a look at two one-man augers that have swept away the competition – the XtremepowerUS X1096 and the Southland SEA438. These two models are gas-powered augers that offer enough power to drill through soil and ice, and they only require a single person to operate. This, however, means you’re limited to how deep and wide the resulting holes are, but for most home and commercial projects, a one-man auger is more than enough. Let’s get right to it.
The XtremepowerUS comes with a 55 cc 2-stroke air-cooled gas engine. The engine delivers up to 210 RPM with plenty of torque for digging applications. This unit works flawless on earth and ice, though some users have complained that medium-sized rocks and roots can put a halt on your whole operation.
The Southland features a 43 cc 2-stroke gas engine that delivers a bit speed of up to 316 RPM. Like the XtremepowerUS, this model works well on both soil and ice. However, unlike the XtremepowerUS, this unit can tear through small- and medium-sized roots like warm butter, but it does sputter when facing rocks troublesome rocks.
The power you get from the Southland is superior to that of the XtremepowerUS in almost every regard. It has a slightly smaller tank so you’ll need to refuel the device more often, but in terms of engine power, the XtremepowerUS can’t compete.
This unit comes with a 6-inch wide, 2.5-foot long drill bit. Granted, you’re not going to be able to drill extremely deep holes with this bit, but it’s more than enough for posting fences on your lawn and even cutting through ice when going ice fishing. You can also fit 4-, 8-, and 12-inch drill bits in this unit if you need wider holes for planting trees.
The drill bit included in the Southland pack is an 8-inch wide, 2.5-foot long drill bit. From the get-go, you get a wide auger bit drilling large holes for numerous applications. However, the range of bit sizes accepted by this model is only 6 and 8 inches wide. For larger 12-inch holes, you’re out of luck.
Between these two models, we prefer the XtremeproUS’ versatility in accepting 6- to 12-inch drill bits for all sorts of tasks. However, if your line of work or home projects calls for simple 6- to 8-inch holes, then the Southland could also be a worthy choice to go with.
We mentioned earlier that the engine may sputter when tangled with roots, and the drill bit may come to a complete stop when crashing into medium-sized rocks, but when working on smooth soil, this tool is perfect. Many customers have praised the XtremepowerUS for its ability to dig more holes in a short amount of time. However, it’s not exactly the most gas-efficient model that exists.
The Southland can cut through roots with little to no resistance, but it does tend to jam when rock find their way in the drill bit. However, just like the XtremepowerUS, this unit works well on compacted soil with no underground obstacles. In addition, this unit has been commended for its fuel-efficiency, and customers have commented on their ability to drill more than a day’s worth of holes on less than a full tank of gas.
Both units work perfectly in ideal situations, but when obstacles like rocks and roots come into play, the Southland is the obvious tool to go with. It’s also more gas-efficient to boot so you’ll up spending less on fuel than you would with the XtremepowerUS.
When working with large-sized tools such as a power earth auger, the total weight of the unit plays an important role. In most cases, lightweight models are easier to control, and they take up less floor or mounting space in a shed. The XtremepowerUS weighs a super-light 25 pounds (dry weight). This unit has a relatively compact design, making it easy to store and taking up very little space.
The Southland, on the other hand, is a little bit heavier. Without gas and oil, this unit weighs roughly 40 pounds (including drill bit), but this doesn’t necessarily make it hard to control. This model is also relatively compact and won’t take up too much room in your garage or shed, though users warn others of being careful when storing the unit since leaving it sideways or even slightly tilted can cause problems in the future.
In terms of overall storage space and weight, the XtremepowerUS is slightly better than the Southland. First of all, it’s 15 pounds lighter, making it easier to control and less fatigue-inducing than the Southland. In addition, its durable design makes storage a simple task since you don’t need to exercise extreme caution when leaving it in your garage, though we suggest standing or mounting it upright.
XtremepowerUS X1096 vs Southland SEA438: Bottom Line
Both of these models perform similarly, so it’s a little bit of a stalemate there. However, looking at every other regard, it’s justified to say that the XtremepowerUS X1096 is slightly better than the Southland SEA438. First of all, you get more choices in terms of drill bit sizes – the XtremepowerUS can use drill bits as narrow as 4 inches and as wide as 12 inches, whereas the Southland only gives you two options: 6- and 8-inch wide bits.
As for the weight of each model, it’s surprising that the beefier 55 cc XtremepowerUS weighs roughly 15 pounds less than the 40-pound Southland, making it easy to pull out of the ground.