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Rock Hill, SC 29730

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Rock Hill, SC 29730


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Hand vs. Machine: Digging a Trench

Posted by: Erika Green on December 7, 2016


Raise your hand if you’ve ever used a screwdriver as a hammer because you didn’t want to bother searching the whole basement for the right tool. Or maybe you’ve used a garbage can as a stepstool to avoid getting the ladder down. We’ve all done it – used the wrong tools for the job to try and save time or money. And while it may work occasionally work in your favor, more often than not, we’re stuck with a final product that didn’t turn out as planned. When you have the right tools, the job becomes much easier, safer, and much more fun.

Take digging a trench, for example. You can dig a trench by hand using a shovel or you can use a trencher. While doing it by hand may cost less, how much money are you really saving? Let’s take a look.

Using Hand Tools

If you’re going to tackle this job by hand, make sure you have a shovel (or even better, a Trenching Shovel). Also, depending on how large of a trench you need, you may also want to call up a few friends. Don’t forget most yards aren’t filled with fine topsoil. Many can resemble rock quarries underneath the top layer so you may also need a pickaxe, for extra help breaking up the soil and rock that lies beneath.

You’re going to be outside most of the day so don’t forget food and drinks for you and your buddies too.

Trenching Shovel from The Home Depot: $36.75                      Pickaxe from The Home Depot: $34.99

Product image from The Home Depot                                       Product image from The Home Depot

  Trenching Shovel from The Home DepotPickaxe from The Home Depot

Approximate costs: $100

Time spent: 8 hours

Collateral damage: Back spasms, strained shoulder, four blisters.

Using a Trencher

The alternative is to use heavy equipment for the job. Trenches are best dug using…well, a trencher. From Boxer to Toro, Compact Power Equipment Rental has your back. You can rent and run the equipment yourself. You don’t have to call in any favors. You don’t even have to leave the house. We’ll deliver it right to your driveway if you don’t have a truck available. Once it arrives, spend 30 minutes learning the basic operation, and then get right to work. With the power of the trencher, you’ll be able to finish the job in a couple of hours and still have enough daylight to install your sprinkler system, French drain, or invisible dog fence.



Approximate costs: $165 (based on 4-hour rental + delivery)

Time spent: 2 hours

Collateral damage: More free time means you may have to take on another job that day!

Sure you could save a few bucks doing it by hand, but when you factor in your time and the toll on your body, are you really saving at all?

We give you permission to avoid digging out that rusty shovel and stay seated on your couch for a bit longer. Just do us a favor and make sure you dial 8-1-1 (Call Before You Dig) before you attempt to dig anywhere in your yard.

Tags: DIY, Boxer, Toro, Trencher, Building a trench