Most folks are familiar with a post hole digger, but what do you do to remove a post that is already set? Many fence posts are anchored in concrete. Digging that sort of post out of the ground could literally be hours of back-breaking work. Even with the concrete exposed, it still takes a great deal of effort to remove the post from the ground. To make a tedious task easier, try using a post puller.
What Is a Post Puller?
A post puller uses simple mechanics to do the work of pulling a fence post straight out of the ground. Some post pullers use a pneumatic jack. Others rely on a manual ratcheting system. There are several designs for a post puller, but all involve simply looping a chain around the post you are removing, and then the use of mechanical power to lift the post straight from the earth. Because models vary in size, shape, and method for producing force, they also differ in quality, efficiency, and safety.
Manual Hydraulic/Ratchet vs. Pneumatic
There are two types of manual post pullers. One uses a manual hydraulic pump to provide the mechanical force. The manual post puller relies on a ratcheting lever. Both produce a tremendous amount of force by levering the chain against the fence post, and ultimately drawing it from the ground with over 3,000 tons of force. The pneumatic post puller operates identically to those that rely on manual power, with the exception that compressed air now provides the mechanical force for the levering.
Three Post Puller Models
Searco Post-Haste post and plug puller: Basically a post puller that utilizes a two-wheeler dolly as its frame, with a jack connected to an arm that levers the fence post out of the ground. The Searco Post-Hate puller can be fitted wtih a manual or pneumatic jack. The greatest advantage for this model is perhaps the ability to wheel the fence post away once its is free from the ground.
Rhino MP-3 post puller: This model relies on a manual ratcheting system to provide the mechanical leverage. It consists of a large ratchet mounted atop a footed column. Again, a chain is wrapped around the desired post and the ratcheting force draws the post out of the earth.
Rhino PL-3 Hydraulic post puller: The smallest post puller of the three models described here, this puller uses a hydraulic jack to provide the mechanical force. Because it is the smallest of the three models, this puller can be used in tighter spaces in the event that the post is set amidst shrubs or some other feature that might interfere with the manual puller's operation. However, this puller's convenience comes with a higher price than other models.
Prices vary greatly among models. There are models available for as little as $40 to as much as $995. Please refer to the References section of this article for further information. There are many post puller patents. It is best to shop around and find the puller that meets your needs.
Of course, you could try to remove your fence post the old fashioned way. The original fence post removal tool is the shovel. After a few hours of digging around the fence post and reaching its base, you could dig a hole about twice as large as the fence post and, using manual labor, free your fence post from the ground.