DIY Tools

Is the Ryobi Auger a Must-Have for Digging Holes? Find Out in This Tested Review

Handheld power augers reduce the time and labor it takes to dig holes. Find out what happened when I tested a best-selling cordless model.
Glenda Taylor Avatar
The Ryobi RY40710 Cordless Earth Auger partially embedded in a field during testing.

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

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While digging holes with a quality shovel is often doable, using a power auger makes the job go faster—and it’s much easier. Recently, I tested several highly rated manual and power post hole diggers, and the Ryobi RY40710 Cordless Earth Auger took top honors.

The Ryobi RY40710 is a cordless, battery-powered auger that rivals the power of its gas-guzzling cousins. I tested this model by digging dozens of holes to determine how well it would perform in typical soil conditions, and I was pleasantly surprised by the results. 

No handheld power auger rivals the torque and power of a heavy-equipment auger, but the Ryobi auger speeds up digging projects exponentially. Keep reading to discover how the Ryobi RY40710 auger performed in my hands-on tests. 

Ryobi RY40710 Cordless Earth Auger: At a Glance

Ryobi Auger Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Rating: 4.5/5

SPECS

  • Power source: Rechargeable 40V battery
  • Bit diameter: 8 inches
  • Weight: 34 pounds

PROS

  • Cordless and battery-powered model offers convenience and versatility
  • Offers 2 speeds plus forward and reverse to make digging easier than using a manual post hole digger or a shovel
  • Tool’s controls are well placed and intuitive to use
  • Quick assembly

CONS

  • Not suitable for locations with heavy rock formations or mature tree roots
  • Requires a measure of physical strength to control and operate, presenting a challenge for some users
  • Battery charge time is quite lengthy at about 2 hours

Get the Ryobi RY40710 Cordless Earth Auger at The Home Depot for $399.

Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

What is the Ryobi auger?

The Ryobi RY40710 auger is a powerful post hole digging tool that runs on a 40-volt rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Its brushless motor provides optimal power, maximum battery runtime, and longer motor life. This auger also has a lot of torque (twisting power), which surprised me because I’m used to battery-powered tools being slightly less powerful than fuel-powered or electrical (corded) tools. 

The Ryobi RY40710 features forward and reverse options and an anti-kickback system that helps protect the user against accidents if the auger strikes a large rock or mature tree root. It also offers two speeds, so I could select the speed best suited to the soil conditions during my testing. The auger bit is 32 inches long and 8 inches in diameter, which I found to be just the right size for digging holes for fence posts or landscaping.

This power auger is well suited to digging holes in soil with a soft-to-medium consistency that is free of large rocks and tree roots. It can handle soils with smaller rocks less than about 3 inches in diameter.

Ryobi Auger Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Setup and Ease of Use

The Ryobi RY40710 auger requires simple assembly to attach the handles to the motor head. All the required hardware was included in the package, as well as a few wrenches. The wrenches were very small, so I didn’t bother with them and instead used a larger wrench I owned. In all, it took me about 15 minutes to assemble the handles and attach the auger bit. The bit attaches with a quick-connect clip that I found very handy. Some of the other models I tested required me to manually tighten a bolt when connecting the bit. 

This auger is straightforward and easy to use, but be aware that it is a spinning power tool that you’ll need to be able to control while it’s in operation. It features two sturdy widespread handles with rubber nonslip grips. With my right hand, I could start and stop the digging, select forward or reverse, or change the digging speed. The controls are intuitive, and after a few minutes, I knew where they were by feel. This allowed me to select the correct control while staying focused on the auger bit. 

Ryobi Auger Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Power and Performance

Several factors go into this auger’s performance. First, it’s extremely powerful, and the tip of the bit features sharp teeth that help the blade slice through the soil. Surprisingly, the Ryobi RY40710 appeared to deliver just as much power as some gas-powered models. The major difference is that the battery will eventually run down. 

The best method I found for digging holes was to let the tool’s weight do all the work. When I pressed the auger downward to see if I could dig the hole any faster, the tool jerked around too much because the resistance was greater. A stronger person may have been able to control it much easier, but for my purposes, letting the machine do all the work was best for my arms.

Battery Charging and Runtime

I was able to dig 19 holes on a single charge with the Ryobi auger. However, other users may have a different experience if their soil type significantly differs from the areas where I drilled the test holes. I conducted my tests in an agricultural field that had been cleared of rocks years ago, so the soil was relatively loamy and light. The number of holes you can dig will likely vary depending on whether you’re drilling in harder clay soil or well-cultivated garden soil, which is much lighter. 

After the 40-volt battery ran down, it took almost 2 hours to charge. If I was planning to dig several dozen holes at once, I’d invest in a backup battery to use while charging the other battery. 

Ryobi Auger Review
Photo: Glenda Taylor for Bob Vila

Is the Ryobi auger right for you?

The Ryobi post hole digger is ideal for users who want the convenience of a battery-powered auger for digging holes for fencing or landscaping. It isn’t limited by the length of an extension cord or the need to buy, transport, and store gasoline. 

However, this is definitely a light-to-medium-duty garden-type auger that won’t be suitable for drilling holes through mature tree roots or soil with large rocks. For those types of digging projects, a more powerful auger, such as an auger fitted on a skid steer or a 3-point tractor auger, is necessary. Handheld augers—even powerful ones like the Ryobi RY40710—aren’t meant for those tough tasks.

If your soil is free of large rocks and mature tree roots, the Ryobi RY40710 cordless auger will save time and labor compared with using a manual post hole digger. It is comparably priced to similar models at about $400. As is the case with most outdoor power equipment, you might not need a cordless auger often, but when you do, it’s handy to have around. 

Where to Buy the Ryobi RY40710 Cordless Earth Auger

Get the Ryobi RY40710 Cordless Earth Auger at The Home Depot for $399.

Meet the Tester

Glenda Taylor is a product tester and writer specializing in the construction, remodeling, and real estate industries. She and her husband own a general contracting company, and Taylor is experienced in both residential and commercial building applications. She tests a wide range of power tools, as well as other home improvement, household, and lawn-and-garden products.

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Glenda Taylor

Staff Writer

Glenda Taylor is a BobVila.com staff writer with a background in the residential remodeling, home building, and home improvement industries. She started writing for BobVila.com in 2016 and covers a range of topics, including construction methods, code compliance, tool use, and the latest news in the housing and real estate industries. 

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