Mechanical vs. Hydraulic Earth Drills

Within the earth drilling industry, there are two main styles of drills, mechanical and hydraulic. Both machines help to eliminate the stress and labor needed to dig multiple or large holes. However, each of these earth drills has unique features that make them better for certain types of digs compared to the other.

It can sometimes be confusing to know what the correct style of earth drill is needed for the job you are wanting to take on. Thankfully, we have broken down each of the machine’s key benefits and limitations so you are able to make an informed decision on which one is right for your digging needs.


Mechanical earth drills are lightweight and efficient machines that are designed for digging smaller-diameter holes at high speeds. Due to their lighter build and fast pace, these drills thrive in soils that are softer, like sand, silt, and loam. Mechanical earth drills are ideal for digging holes for fence posts, deck supports, landscaping, sign installation, small soil sampling, and horizontal boring.

Key Features:

  • Lightweight
  • Digs small to medium diameter holes
  • Fast paced
  • Works well in softer soil


Hydraulic earth drills are heavy-duty, bulky machines that are designed for digging through rough soil as well as producing larger diameter holes. This style of drill works best in rocky, dense, and frozen terrain. Its sturdy build makes it difficult to maneuver quickly from spot to spot, so it is commonly used for jobs that do not need to move that far or often. Hydraulic earth drills are great for digging holes for mobile home anchoring, industrial fencing, soil sampling, foundation support, utility anchoring, and groundwater monitoring.

Key Features:

  • Heavy-duty
  • Digs large, deep holes
  • High torque
  • Works well in dense soil

Hopefully, this has helped in knowing the difference between mechanical and hydraulic earth drills. If you are still unsure about which drill will work best for your application, please get in touch with us. One of our dedicated sales associates would be happy to answer any of your questions.

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