Winter poses all kinds of problems for anglers – but that’s not to say we can’t all still enjoy the sport.
And the number one tool in your fight to keep fishing – is the ice auger.
In these conditions, it’s probably more valuable than your rod.
You can cut through a thick sheet of ice in no time – and create access to your favorite fishing spots.
In this particular article, we’re going to take a look at the best electric ice augers for 2023.
And don’t forget to pick up a quality fish finder for winter use and maximize your chances of success.
Let’s get drilling!
Table of Contents
- Electric Ice Augers – A Quick Guide & TOP 3 Picks for 2023
- The 8 Best Electric Ice Augers for 2023
- How to Choose the Best Electric Ice Auger – A Buyer’s Guide
- What is the best electric ice auger?
- Electric vs Manual ice auger – which is the best?
- How long do ION ice auger batteries last?
- What size ice auger should I buy?
- Do electric ice augers work?
- How well do hand ice augers work?
- What do I need for ice fishing?
- Which is better, electric or gas powered ice augers?
Disclosure: At BonfireBob, we recommend products based on unbiased research, however, BonfireBob.com is reader-supported and as an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases if you shop through the links on this page. For more information, see disclosure here.
Electric Ice Augers – A Quick Guide & TOP 3 Picks for 2023
If you’re unfamiliar with ice augers, or you’re simply in need of a refresher, here’s a quick guide to the features and factors you need to be looking out for while reading through the reviews.
- Type of auger – for the purposes of this article, we’ll be looking at battery-powered augers only.
- Size and weight – for ease of use and transportation purposes.
- Type of blade – important for the hole diameter, as well as cutting ability.
- Cutting depth – does your ice auger need an extension for thick ice in your part of the world?
- Type of battery – how many inches of the hard water can it cut through on a single charge?
- Cost – the latest models can be on the pricey side – try to stay under budget, in relation to how much you’re going to use it.
- Extra features – does your chosen ice auger have any extra tricks that you might find useful? LED lights perhaps?
A full buyer’s guide and FAQ section will follow the reviews to explore these points in more detail, but to get you started, here’s a selection of my top ice auger picks.
First up, it’s hard to see past the new ION Alpha Plus – which is probably the most powerful, yet lightest electric ice auger ever made. Sure, the price point reflects the technology, but if you’re a keen ice angler out there any chance you get – then this could well be the tool for you.
The Strikemaster Lazer isn’t too far behind – and it will certainly save you a cent or two on the price compared with the ION. A long battery life, fast charge, and ability to punch 100 holes in a foot of ice when fully juiced up should be more than enough to keep most ice anglers happy.
Finally, in my top three, I’ve gone for the Jiffy Lightning – because it’s hard not to include an option from the company that invented the ice auger in the first place. With a high torque brushless motor, intuitive controls, and a special Ripper blade, the Lightning is keeping the company’s legacy alive for punching through the ice “in a jiffy.”
Do you agree with my picks?
Let’s dig into the reviews, and you can find out!
The 8 Best Electric Ice Augers for 2023
How to Choose the Best Electric Ice Auger – A Buyer’s Guide
In case you’ve never bought an ice auger before – or you simply need a refresher – check out the tips and advice below on what to look out for when you’re shopping.
What is an Ice Auger?
Ice augers are devices that are designed to drill a hole through a sheet of ice to gain access to the water below.
This could be for any number of reasons – but we’re specifically talking about fishing needs.
They’re different from earth augers, which are generally heavier with rounded blades to break down soil and rocks. The two machines should only be used for their intended purposes – ice augers for ice, earth augers for earth. Simple.
Make sure you understand that when researching ice augers. Some review websites will have you believe that an earth auger is the same – when it certainly is not.
Gas Versus Electric Versus Manual
Ice augers (and all other types of auger for that matter) are available with three different power sources.
One of the first decisions you’ll have to make upon deciding you need to purchase an ice auger – is what the power source will be.
Let’s briefly outline the pros and cons of each below – without going into too much detail.
Manual ice augers are by far the cheapest – you can pick one up for under $50. They’re also the simplest to use, the lightest, and require zero maintenance. Except to give them a sharpen every once in a while.
I won’t labor you with their biggest disadvantage though. Let’s get on to the heavy-duty stuff.
Of which, gas is the most powerful. And a decent gas-powered ice auger will have a much longer run time than any other type.
However, they also require the most maintenance, messy fuel and oil to run, and are the least environmentally-friendly option out there. While that might be negligible, try operating a gas-powered ice auger under an enclosed tent and see how you like it.
Not to mention how damn loud they are, and often difficult to even start.
Good battery-powered (electric) ice augers are much quieter than gas. They don’t give off any fumes or foul-smelling emissions, and they’re generally lighter and more maneuverable.
Additionally, they don’t require nearly as much maintenance, and you save a bunch on refueling costs because they don’t exist. They also get going at the push of a button – which is a massive plus point.
However, at this moment of time, the best electric ice fishing augers are still super expensive. That’s the trade-off, I’m afraid.
And they do still have run-time limitations. The battery doesn’t last forever, however good it is.
Still, many fishing people (including myself) have been making the switch and viewing battery-powered ice augers as a long-term investment. And they’re not wrong.
Size and Weight
Auger blades come in a variety of different sizes, the most common of which will be six, eight, and ten inches.
Your choice of blade size will likely depend on what species you’ll be fishing for. For the likes of panfish and walleye, you don’t really need anything larger than five-inches.
Another factor might be how many holes you want to drill – as smaller machines will be much more maneuverable and able to punch through double or even triple that of a larger, heavier machine.
And not to be overlooked – is how much stuff can actually fall through larger holes. If safety is a concern – especially if you’re fishing with young children or pets around, then bigger isn’t always better.
However, for fishing more and drilling less, as well as the option of hunting the bigger prey, then larger auger blades are the way to go. If you’re after pike or lake trout, for example, this is what you need.
Types of Blade
Ice augers are designed to have sharpened blades to cut through that ice sheet in next to no time – but there are a few things you need to consider when it comes to the edges themselves.
- Shaving blades are razor-sharp, smooth tools that are best used for cutting through fresh ice fast.
- Chipping blades have built-in teeth for handling packed ice that may contain debris. They’re slower, but tougher and more durable.
Chipping blades are also more suitable for re-cutting existing holes, or anywhere other material might have frozen into the ice.
The type of blade is important, and different companies will offer their own take on it. Some blades are better quality than others.
Unfortunately, such is the rivalry between brands, they generally make it difficult to use cross-brand parts, and switch out blades with other makes or models.
Bear that in mind when choosing your ice auger – there’s a strong chance you’ll be stuck with that brand and their parts for life (or at least, the life of the auger).
For most people, you’ll want an auger that is capable of cutting through a foot of ice at the very least.
Unless you’re experiencing a particularly brutal freeze, this is all you’ll need.
Thankfully, then, most ice augers offer a maximum cutting depth of around two feet, some might offer more. The choice of ice auger length is negligible, with most options having a difference of an inch or two.
The depth of cut isn’t as important as the width, but it’s still worth mentioning to anyone buying an ice auger for the first time.
If you’re concerned with the depth, then consider purchasing an extension pole (providing the machine is compatible with one), or picking up an auger that already has it as part of the kit.
If someone could invent a never-ending battery that would be great, thanks. Not only would they become a billionaire overnight, we’d solve the world’s energy problems.
Or at least, the problem of battery-powered machines running out of juice.
That said, the best battery-powered ice augers are designed to offer you solid run time – so you can be sure to drill the holes you need to during your session.
Still, it’s important to bear this in mind, as different machines will offer different performance levels when it comes to power and longevity.
The more powerful the battery, the higher the cost.
And that brings us nicely onto our next point when it comes to finding the right ice auger for you.
Granted, these babies aren’t cheap – at least at the time of writing. As technology advances, hopefully, the price will come down.
But you can still find some good stuff out there that won’t break the bank, and the best electric ice auger for the money awaits.
As I mentioned earlier – see it as an investment. When ice anglers make the switch to electric – they rarely look back.
Good ice augers will likely come with some additional features to help make life a little easier out there.
LED lights are perhaps the most notable of these extras – something that gas-powered versions certainly do not provide, and they can help keep you fishing or preparing to fish in low light conditions.
USB charging ports are handy for keeping your machine juiced.
Safety features such as dead-man switches and motor locks are a nice addition to any potentially lethal power tool.
And don’t overlook the handles, grips, and any anti-vibration systems that an auger offers. You want as much control and comfort as possible when you’re powering a sharp blade through a thick sheet of frozen water.
What is the best electric ice auger?
That’s a tough question to answer, but if I had to choose I’d say it’s a toss-up between the first three entries in this review – the ION, the Strikemaster, and the Jiffy.
Check out this handy video that pits the three side by side.
Having said that, there are plenty of budget-friendly options out there as these three choices aren’t that pleasant on the bank balance.
Electric vs Manual ice auger – which is the best?
Both have their advantages. A manual ice auger is lighter, cheaper, safer, and more maneuverable. But if you’re not physically fit – it’s going to really take it out of you.
Heck, even if you’re the Hulk, manually drilling ice holes all day is going to seriously take it out of you.
Personally, I think an electric wins hands down. Bite the bullet for this one-time purchase and save your back years of pain.
How long do ION ice auger batteries last?
I don’t know about ION specifically, but most electric ice augers will give you somewhere between 40-100 holes depending on ice thickness and the size of the auger blade.
For the battery’s total longevity – again, depending on the make – expect somewhere between 600-800 recharges before you will notice a drop in performance levels.
What size ice auger should I buy?
It depends on how many holes you want to punch through, and the type of fish you’re angling for.
Smaller augers will cover more ground and produce more holes, larger blades are better for landing the bigger fish – and for more stuff to accidentally fall through.
Depending on what you’re using it for – or if you specifically need a larger auger – I’d suggest going with a middle-of-the-road eight-inch option to cover as many bases as possible.
Do electric ice augers work?
Very well, in fact. So much so that once an ice angler has made the switch to an electric model, they won’t go back to gas or manual.
Pro anglers regularly sing the praises of electric ice augers – so don’t get left behind. They work, they’re awesome, they’ll change your ice fishing game for the better.
And these comfy ice fishing boots will also assist in improving your winter fishing experience all round – regardless of which auger you choose.
How well do hand ice augers work?
Meh, they’re okay. Manual augers are a decent option if you’re only drilling a couple of holes a season, or if the ice isn’t that thick.
They’re also a good option to save money, require very little maintenance, and are near silent in operation with only the user providing the power source.
They do the job, but if you want something a lot more efficient and powerful, then choose electric or gas.
What do I need for ice fishing?
A very good question. Apart from a rod, ice fishing reel and an auger, I would strongly suggest one of these excellent fishing flashers – otherwise, your day or night on the ice is going to be 99% guesswork.
Watch the video below for more information and an example of one keen ice fisherman’s set up.
Which is better, electric or gas powered ice augers?
The answer to this is covered in more detail in the buyer’s guide above. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, it will just come down to personal preference.
But for me, it’s electric all the way, dude.
Ice fishing is a fun challenge that keeps you angling even in the colder months, and the freezer stocked with supplies for the family.
But if you don’t have a decent auger – you might as well not bother venturing out.
The best electric ice augers for 2023 will soon remedy that problem. Let me know which one you’ve gone for and why, or just any memorable experiences you’ve had through the winter.
Stay warm out there, and happy ice fishing.