At Skid Steers Direct you’ll find some of the most popular and trusted skid steer post driver brands in America, namely Blue Diamond and Haugen Post Drivers. These drivers are much loved by contractors, farmers, and rental companies for their high-quality build and ease of use.
Today we’ll be taking a look at several different hydraulic post drivers. Haugen Attachments line of "Dakota" skid steer post drivers, as well as Blue Diamond's vibratory hydraulic post driver.
Dakota Driver - Haugen Attachments
You may not have heard of the Dakota Driver, but it is an essential attachment for many fencing and rental companies alike. Despite there being little online marketing for it, it continues to sell in huge numbers every year.
The Dakota Driver is manufactured by Haugen Industries in North Dakota, and each driver comes built on a universal skid steer mount with a ¾” thick frame. A great feature of the Dakota driver is the domed head which helps to keep posts centred without having to purchase different size adapters.
This is a a hight quality skid steer post driver, and comes with a post puller chain, depth gauges and plumb bobs, as well as all the hoses and couplers you’ll need.
PD-1450 - Perfect For Small Posts
The PD-1450 by Haugen Attachments is the smallest in it's line up of skid steer post drivers. But given that it can still drive 4.5" posts with 400 to 700 blows per minute, this is still a very powerful post pounder.
The PD-1450 comes standard with a manual tilt function, an option that is not ordinarily seen on other brands of post drivers. The tilt option is manually controlled with a pin on the outside of the post driver and requires an outside helper. This is a great option to help keep fence posts straight when working in hilly areas.
The PD-1450 can be outfitted with a height extension to give your skid steer a bit of extra reach when working with longer fence posts or oil pipe.
PD-1450 | 4.5" Post Diameter Max
Dakota Post Driver PD-1450 by Haugen Attachments
PD-1600 - When More Power Is Needed
The PD-1600 is the next size up in the Dakota Driver line up. The PD-1600 drives up to 7.125” diameter wood or steel posts, while delivering 500 to 900 blows per minute. This attachment averages 877 foot pounds of pounding force while only weighing 1150 pounds!
The PD-1600 also offers a few optional features that can make this attachment very versatile. This includes optional hydraulic tilt, planetary auger drives, and height extensions. The PD-1600 can be purchased with a 3 point tractor mount or blank excavator mount.
Additionally, concrete chisel and moil point tools can be purchased with the PD-1600 to break up rock and concrete when you are not pounding fence.
PD-1600 | 7.125" Post Diameter Max
Dakota Post Driver PD-1600 by Haugen Attachments
PD-1850 - Most Popular Skid Steer Post Driver
The most popular "Dakota Driver" is the PD-1850. With the PD-1850, you can drive up to 8.25” diameter wood or steel posts and can deliver 400 to 800 average blows per minute. Naturally, the PD-1850 is a heavier attachment with a weight of 1325 lbs.
Similar to the PD-1600, the PD-1850 offers optional tilt features, height extensions, auger drill, concrete chisel tools, as well as excavator mounts and 3 point mounts.
However, because the PD-1850 is a larger post pounder, you can purchase an optional 12" dome tool or 12" flat head tool. This is a great option for customers who occasionally need to hammer larger fence post.
For customers who need to consistently drive larger posts, we would suggest that they move up to the PD-2000
PD-1850 | 8.25" Post Diameter Max
Dakota Post Driver PD-1850 by Haugen Attachments
PD-2000 - The Largest Dakota Driver
If you are looking for a hydraulic post driver that can pound the 9" posts all day long, the PD-2000 is right for you. This massive skid steer post driver hits with 1400 pounds of force at an average of 400 to 800 blows per minute. The PD-2000 tips the scales at 1700 pounds.
Naturally, the PD-2000 has all the options of the other Dakota Post Drivers, with the optional tilt, height extension, auger bit, 3 point mount, excavator mount, concrete and moil point tools. The 12" domed cup is a popular option for this post driver because of its ability to easily drive large posts home.
PD-2000 | 12" Post Diameter Max
Dakota Post Driver PD-2000 by Haugen Attachments
Additional Notes on the Dakota Skid Steer Post Drivers
Ready To Use
All Dakota post driver is delivered to customers ready to hook up to your skid steer and use right away. It comes with 1/2 inch flat face hydraulic couplers and a universal skid steer quick attach mount.
Once the post driver is safely attached to the skid steer and your hydraulics are running, applying pressure on the domed cup activates the post driver. When the post driver is lifted off the post and pressure comes off the domed cup, the post driver will stop hammering.
Hydraulic Flow Requirements
All models of Dakota post driver are compatible with skid steers with standard flow hydraulics - there is no need for high flow hydraulics.
Changing post driver tools is accomplished easily with just one large bolt. The post driver tools have a small slot machined into the side of them which aligns with a large bolt to hold the tool in place.
Removing this bolt will allow you to remove the current post driver tool and switch to another.
For customers working primarily in rocky soil we recommend purchasing a rock spike with your Dakota Driver. Smaller rocks and roots will often get pushed out of the way fairly easily while driving posts, however, if you come across a large rock it may need to be crushed in order to get your fence post sent home.
The rock spike is meant to be used quickly and easily in the field, without the need to change tools. It is designed to fit into the end of the domed head tool, and once pressure is applied to the spike, the hydraulics activate and begin to hammer the rock below.
Nitrogen Top Ups
As with most post drivers, the Dakota driver uses nitrogen to supply back pressure on the hydraulics. From time to time the nitrogen has to be topped up to keep the maximum amount of hitting force.
Most customers will find that this only needs to be done once per year, however, heavier users may need to top up nitrogen more often.
Blue Diamond Vibratory Post Drivers
Blue Diamond makes a hydraulic post driver for skid steers that many customers find to be of impressive quality as well. While their vibrating post driver accomplishes the same tasks as the Dakota Driver, it does it as a much more compact attachment.
The Blue Diamond vibratory post driver weighs 265 pounds without the skid steer mount, and comes in at just under 400 pounds with the skid steer mount.
You can drive posts with the Blue Diamond vibratory post driver with any skid steer that has 7.4 to 26 gallons per minute of hydraulic flow. Blue Diamond also states that the hydraulic pressure range should be 2400 to 3000 PSI.
Blue Diamond Vibratory Post Adapters
One significant difference you'll notice between Blue Diamond post drivers and the Dakota driver is the use of fence post adapters.
As you'll recall, the Dakota Driver uses domed cups to keep fence posts centred while pounding posts into the ground. The Blue Diamond vibratory post driver uses different size fence post adapters to accomplish this.
The round fence post adapters come in 4", 6", 9", 10", and 12" models. Once you have the correct diameter adapter, you bolt it to the front of the post driver and you are ready to get to work.
The design of this system works quite well, however, it does require you to purchase additional equipment when changing fence post diameters.
Does The Blue Diamond Post Driver Have Tilt?
Blue Diamond offers tilt on their post drivers as an additional feature. At the time of writing, the tilt model cost an additional $2,000 and requires that you purchase an electrical harness which can vary in price by model of skid steer. A Bobcat 7-pin harness could cost as much as $900.
Mounting Options For Mini Skid Steers & Excavators
Mini Skid Steer Mounts
The light weight design of Blue Diamond's Vibrating post driver allows you to purchase it with a mini universal or mini Bobcat mount for customers who would like to pound posts with their mini track loader.
Of course, customers using a smaller machine should carefully consider not only the weight, but also the lift height of their mini track loader to ensure they will be able to get on top of the fence post.
Mini Excavator Mount
Mini excavators make an excellent host machine for hydraulic post drivers because of their excellent reach. Blue Diamond sells mini excavator mounts for many of the most common models of excavator. Your excavator will require a case drain however.
Can You Use Blue Diamond's Post Driver as a Hydraulic Hammer?
Unlike the Dakota Driver, Blue Diamond's vibrating post driver does not have the option of adding a chisel or moil point tool to be used like a concrete breaker.
So Which Is The Best Hydraulic Post Driver?
Both the Dakota Driver and Blue Diamond Vibratory Post Driver offer customers a huge amount of value for the money. Both are built by American manufacturers and offer excellent customer service and come with an industry leading warranty.
Some customers may prefer a light weight post driver, specifically when being used with mini skid skid steers and excavators if the boom is going to be fully extended. Other customers will prefer a heavier post driver to pound posts faster.
So what do we recommend? We suggest the Dakota Post Driver for the lower cost and heavier weight. Specifically if you might need tilt occasionally, the PD-1450 is excellent value. And we recommend the PD-1600 and PD-1850 if you may occasionally want to use your post driver as a concrete breaker. The PD-2000 is the obvious choice if you are planning jobs with 12" posts.
We suggest the Blue Diamond vibratory post driver for customers who need to save weight for fencing jobs with equipment other than a skid steer, or when needing to get into hard to reach places.
If you need help deciding on what hydraulic post driver is best for you, we are always here to help! Don't forget to check out our collection of skid steer post drivers!