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Ice Augers At-a-Glance
Like purchasing any tool, you should first understand the features and factors that sets each product apart, so you can make an informed decision on what’s right for your needs.
The same goes for ice augers, so keep in mind the following points as you read through the reviews.
Type of auger – how is the tool powered? Gas, battery, propane, manual, or cordless drill?
Blade design and hole diameter – check the size and configuration of the blades.
Handle design – is it comfortable to hold and practical to use?
Weight – for portability purposes, and when you’re actually using the tool. Too light and it might not be effective. Too heavy and it will be a challenge to hold and transport.
Extra features – does the unit include any additional tricks you might find useful?
Cost – ice augers can vary wildly in price, so buy the best you can afford but stay under budget.
Once you’ve figured out what’s going to work best for you, choosing the right model should be a breeze.
The striking green livery of the Ion range of ice augers is unmistakable, as they’re one of the most popular and effective options on the market. And I should know – because this is the model I own!
Super lightweight at just under 17 lbs, it makes short work of the ice as it delivers cutting speeds of up to 2.2 inches per second. Powered by a fully rechargeable 40 Volt battery, it will destroy 1200 inches of ice on a single charge.
This model also boasts a new cutting system that effortlessly bores new holes, and easily re-drills existing holes that have frozen over. And with a 10-inch blade diameter, you should be landing monsters in no time.
Popular and highly rated.
Quiet, efficient operation.
This is an awesome battery powered ice auger that should last you many seasons to come. Powerful and effective, I, for one, am happy I ditched my old gas sucker for this.
When you have a company that exclusively makes ice drills, and invented the technology in the first place, then they should, by rights, be included in a review of the best ice augers on the market.
A man named Marvin Feldman put together the first powered ice drill back in 1948 to punch through ice “in a jiffy.” Years later, they’re still making quality ice augers, and the 56 E6 Lightning model is one such example.
The auger blade is eight inches in diameter, and the high torque motor easily cuts through ice, backed by a 40 Volt battery.
The handles offer a grippy wide stance, so you’re always in control, and the special Ripper blade is serrated to ensure it’s more effective and lasts longer than most other auger blades out there.
The company that started it all.
Integrated USB charging port.
A little heavier than other options – depending on the drill size, of course.
Another quality product in a very long line of ice drills from the tool’s inventors, Jiffy’s Lightening lives up to its name.
Now, I must admit, I was a little hesitant to include a cordless drill powered ice auger blade.
How can my basic DeWalt have the torque to provide enough power for this large auger to bore through solid ice?! Oh, but it does!
And after watching a few videos and reading about how many ice anglers are making the switch, you can color me impressed.
This is Nordic Legend’s version, a heavy duty but lightweight auger that is made from durable synthetic nylon blades with an aluminum shaft.
The steel cutting blades at the business end are razor sharp, and the whole tool efficiently transfers power from your cordless drill to the cutting head. I’m starting to wish that this was around when I purchased my first gas powered auger years ago!
Excellent price point.
Replaceable steel blades.
Blade guard included.
Ideal for beginners.
You need a good cordless drill.
Still not as powerful as a dedicated ice auger.
Wow! This is not a test! Repeat – this is not a test! We just might be looking at the future of ice fishing. I’m going out on a limb here and saying every other machine is going to be obsolete in a few years – especially as the technology improves.
You heard it here first. And if you want to check out more of Nordic Legend’s products, read this article on the best ice shelters available.
This electrically powered auger offers rock-solid performance and reliability. By the time you have depleted the battery, you’ll have more holes than you will ice.
What do I mean?
The manufacturer claims that for a single charge you’ll be able to chew a big hole through 16” of ice around 100 times.
Let’s do the math…
That’s 1600 inches of ice, or if you did it all in one go, 53 feet! There are parts of the world where that would put you beneath the earth’s crust! That’s one hell of a journey!
An ice augers efficiency isn’t just dictated by the power of its motor. You wouldn’t want to dig with a motor-powered spoon, would you? The blades and efficiency of the auger itself do quite a lot of legwork. Fortunately, the stainless steel Lazer blades make light work of even the densest ice.
Here’s the clever bit…
This auger has a reverse function, so once you are done cutting, flip the switch and it will pull the slush and ice out of the hole so you have a clear fishing space. Neat huh? This auger is feature-packed and is a really great solution.
How great? Well take a look at it here, it’ll take you two minutes.
I really like the ability to take ice out of my fishing hole at the flick of a switch.
The use you get from a two-hour charge is astounding.
The auger weighs around 25lb. This isn’t the lightest in our line-up.
For a high-quality electric ice auger that performs, this makes for a great choice.
For a no-nonsense and traditionally powered solution the Eskimo Quantum is ideal. It’s powerful. Really powerful. The 33cc two stroke engine will motor through anything that you put in its way.
The stainless-steel blades are custom engineered for durability, which you are going to need if you meet any small rocks, grit, or fauna on your journey through the ice. The steel handlebars are covered in a soft yet hardwearing foam. Which you are going to need. When this thing is in full swing, the vibration can be quite powerful (but it might get the blood back into your hands at least).
Is it reliable?
Starting gas engines in cold weather can sometimes be hard work, but Eskimo have thought of that. An easy to reach primer button gets your cylinders injected and ready to go before you pull the ripcord.
You won’t need a separate can of gas as the tank is transparent, giving you the ability to see if you need a quick top up before heading out onto the ice.
A heavy-duty ice auger. It will do the job, no if’s or buts.
I really like the Mitten grip pull start, you won’t have to take your gloves off to fire it up.
The noise and vibration are a good reason to consider other augers.
This is a solid performer overall. Eskimo are a quality brand who have 50 years in the game, so I trust them. If you really want a gas auger then this is one of the best there is.
If either reliability or weight saving is on your mind then go back to basics.
What do I mean?
I mean an auger that is absolutely fail-safe. It runs on a special kind of fuel called… Elbow grease. It’s entirely man made and 100% reliable. Otherwise known as the power of your arms.
Hand augers can take longer, but I actually really love using them.
Do you know why?
Because if I’ve been walking for half a mile across a frozen lake, I can get a little chilly. 5 minutes of cranking this thing round and I’m like an oven. This is a man’s solution, make no mistake.
The blades of this auger are powder-coated, reducing ice build-up, which will otherwise increase your effort level. The chunky rubber grips will give you a firm hold whether you are wearing gloves or being a real tough guy and going barehanded.
It’s portable, lightweight and pretty easy to use actually. The carbon steel blades are as effective as our previous suggestions in cutting the ice. It just takes a little longer. This is proof that if you choose the best manual ice auger, you can still get the job done without too much effort.
This is 100% failsafe. If you have the muscle and the will, you will always get a hole in the ice.
It is light enough to carry a long way.
Compared to a powered auger, it’s really hard work.
If you use it with bare hands, you will get a blister.
It’s a simple and effective solution. There’s no luxury involved, but then why would you expect there to be? It does the job. Period.
This auger is a budget offering that offers battery-powered ice cutting at a slightly lower price point. At 22lb it is a lot lighter than our previous offerings so might be handy if you are going to go a long way out onto the ice.
And the features?
The chunky handholds make the auger easy to grip and put a bit of force into when the going gets a little tough. The LED panel display tells you how much battery you have got left so you don’t need to worry about ‘running low on juice’ before you start your session.
This auger gives less vibration than gas-powered models, so the only thing making your hands numb will be the cold.
You’ll be able to cut an 8” hole with this little beauty.
Is that it?
No, not quite. If you take longer trips or are planning a bit of an expedition then you can consider the option of a larger battery. Obviously, this will add to the weight of the auger, but not significantly.
As electronic augers go, this one offers good value.
Relatively light weight design that should deal with most situations.
I’m not quite sure it’s as reliable as the Strike Master. For a budget solution, however, it is a good ice auger for the money.
This auger represents an affordable entry-level solution if you want something powered. It is quiet and will cut a hole in a short amount of time.
I’ve already shown you one quality auger from Eskimo. Well, here is another. Granted it will be a little more work, but with such good build quality, you should make light work of the ice.
What makes it good?
What, aside from 50 years of producing ice fishing augers? Well…
A pommel handle will ensure a consistent hole. Just put your leading hand on top, press down and wind until you break through. Going through thick ice can be a tedious and often difficult task with a hand auger. The twin stainless steel blades will stay sharp ensuring optimum ice cutting in the shortest possible time
Is it heavy?
No, not at all. The weight of the auger is just a fraction over 7lb. You can hang it from a backpack or sled, for easy transport as the handle is removable.
The blades stay sharp for a long time, so you don’t lose efficiency.
I liked the additional blade cover, keeping the cutting edge in top condition when I wasn’t using it.
The cross bolt system on the handle could potentially slip whilst drilling, and sometimes you do require a bit of force to make your way through the ice.
There’s only so much technology can go into a hand auger, and it’s more about build quality than anything. I’m pleased to say this is pretty well built.
Eskimo are that confident that they have produced two models of the F1 Rocket. The 8” and the 10” version. This auger is certainly eye-catching. It looks built for speed and is really easy to use.
What makes it easy?
The throttle is controlled with your fingertips so you can nail the ideal cutting speed without ever stopping work. The speed from the engine is transmitted directly to the cutting surface with an all-metal bearing, meaning no loss in power or ‘play’ in the blades.
It looks thin, is it?
You bet, but in a good way. The majority of the Rocket auger is made from durable and corrosion-resistant aluminum. Provided that you look after it. It should last you a good while.
And the best bit, it is super light. Weighing in at only 22lb.
The rocket auger shares some other key characteristics with Quantum. One thing you may notice is the presence of a muffler guard. When you burn fuel in an engine, it can become hot, very hot in fact. If you happen to touch the wrong spot, you can end up with a nasty burn. A muffler prevents this. And gives you a great place to warm your fishing gloves.
The Rocket weighs less than some electronic augers, that alone makes it worth the money.
It shares many features with the quantum series.
It is slightly cumbersome to carry.
For a powered auger that competes on weight with electronic equivalents, this could represent the best of both worlds. For the money possibly the best electric ice auger on our list!
Gas powered augers still have their place, especially if they’re powerful earth augers that can also be used to punch holes in ice.
That’s what you can do with this model from power tool stalwarts Echo. Perhaps more synonymous with their chainsaws, this auger nonetheless features Echo’s trademark power and reliability, capable of handling a variety of digging jobs with ease.
That’s because the 42.7 CC engine has you covered, while the heavy-duty handle and frame has been designed to reduce vibration, for a more comfortable operation.
Name to trust in power tools.
Versatile use – earth and ice.
Compatible with a variety of blades.
Pricey for a gas powered auger…
…especially considering the blades are sold separately.
If you need a versatile auger for year-round work and play – including ice fishing – then this might be the best choice for you. Just remember you will need the right ice auger blade attachment, otherwise you’ll wonder why you’re getting nowhere with such a powerful machine.
The K-Drill ice auger is another cordless drill powered offering that weighs just five pounds. But aside from the lightweight and highly portable design, what sets this apart is the unique three blade system with high carbon steel chipper blades.
There’s a clever thermal wrap on the aluminum shaft to keep your hands protected and warm when guiding the auger into the ice, and there’s even a foam float should your drill chuck ever lose its grip.
You don’t have to fear this auger disappearing into the dark, chilly depths of your freshly dug ice hole.
Efficient blade design.
Easy to hold and control.
Again, still not as efficient as a dedicated auger.
“Join the revolution” encourages K-Drill’s slogan. With this kind of innovation and quality in cordless drill ice augers – I just might, and maybe you should too!
How to Choose the Best Ice Auger (Buyers Guide)
If you have never bought an auger before or have struggled for years and are looking to make this right choice this time round, I’ve got the answers.
We’re going to look at the features that go into the best ice fishing auger.
Read on to learn all that you need to know…
Types of Ice Augers
There are no less than five types of ice auger currently available on the market, and until someone invents a laser for punching through the hard stuff, this is what we’re left with.
All of them use the spinning blades of the auger to drill a hole through the ice and gain access to the chilly depths – and hopefully your next Friday night fish fry.
But what makes them different?
Manual Ice Augers
Manual ice augers are a simple mechanical device that you manually turn by hand to rotate the blades into the ice.
They can be hard work and time-consuming, (especially through very thick ice) but they require virtually no maintenance, are the most budget-friendly option, the lightest augers available, and are very effective at what they do.
Battery Powered Ice Augers
Battery powered ice augers are arguably the most popular and efficient option, utilizing a rechargeable battery that rotates the auger blades.
Lightweight and powerful, they are, however, the most expensive of any auger type thanks to the battery pack. And I recommend owning more than one battery if you’re drilling a lot of holes, so it can get pricey up front.
Gas Powered Ice Augers
Gas powered ice augers aren’t as common as they once were, as people steadily make the long-term cost-effective and environmentally-friendly switch to other power sources.
They’re still highly effective and powerful, but they’re loud, smelly, give off nasty fumes, and require fuel to run. Not to mention maintenance time and cost through the years.
And you certainly don’t want to be firing one of these things up in your ice shelter.
Propane Powered Ice Augers
Propane powered ice augers are not as readily available as gas or battery versions, but they’re still out there.
Lighter than gas augers, they don’t give off fumes, and are very fuel efficient. But they still require the purchase and storage of propane tanks, as well as proper canister disposal when the tanks are empty.
Cordless Drill Ice Augers
Cordless drill ice augers are fast becoming all the rage with ice anglers. All you need is a good cordless drill from your tool box, and you’re good to go.
Efficient and affordable, the only maintenance they ever need is to sharpen the auger blades every once in a while (which is what you should be doing with every type of auger, anyway).
So, which is the right type for you?
It will likely come down to the following factors:
How often you go ice fishing.
How many holes you like to drill.
The thickness of the ice in your region.
Your physical fitness.
How much money you want to throw into the ice hole you’ve just drilled.
The choice is yours!
Consider Hole Size
Depending on the species and your style of fishing you need a big enough hole to fish through. The smallest size you will need should be around 6”, and with our selection you’ll be able to cut up to 10” depending on your choice of auger.
Whilst we are talking holes…
A nice feature is the ability to clear the hole of slush and snow deposits. If you are able to reverse the direction of the auger you can use it to unwind any debris out of the hole at a touch of the button.
Look at Handle Size and Position
If you are using the auger a lot… (Hint. you will be) then you are going to want something that is easy on the arms and the hands. With a hand ice fishing auger, you are kind of limited. With the powered versions look for handles that are angled or covered in softer material in order to ensure that you get maximum comfort.
Padding isn’t too necessary if you are going to be wearing gloves, but you still want a grippy covering. If you are worried about grip, I’ve got some great suggestions for gloves that offer both grip and warmth over here, check it out.
Think About Weight
If you have a fishing sled, then weight might not be a big issue. A few pounds here and there isn’t going to make a difference.
If you prefer to be a bit speedy and mobile, go for an ice auger that weighs less.
An ideal compromise between power and weight is in the 22lb mark.
While We are on the Subject of Portability…
Try and find an auger that comes with blade guards or covers. It only takes one careless drop or bang and you have a chip in your blade.
What’s the big deal?
Whilst it doesn’t sound oh so serious, don’t forget an auger cuts using rotary motion. A chip or imperfection in the blade might just lead to a nice sharp ‘thread’ or ‘lip’ all the way around your ice holes, which will cut your line whenever you hook a fish.
This can be avoided, if you’ve decided to invest in the best ice fishing auger you can afford, then you’ll want to look after it. Why not check out this video showing you how to maintain your ice auger. These tips work for both powered and hand augers!
Depending on the type of auger you purchase, it may or may not come with extra features that you may or may not find useful.
Such extras might include:
The ability to use a variety of auger blades.
Night lights for when it gets dark.
Foam floats to prevent sinking blades.
Extra hand grips/wraps for control and to keep your hands warm.
Blade guards/covers for protection when not in use.
USB charging ports.
Again, it depends on the type of auger you choose, but always be sure to examine and consider any extra features it has – especially if you think it would be beneficial to your ice fishing style.
The price of ice augers can range from under $50 to close to $1000. The more “cutting edge” the technology, the more expensive the tool is likely to be.
As I always say, buy the best you can afford, related to how much you’re actually going to use it.
If you’re only punching a couple of holes a year for some tip ups, it’s unlikely that you need a top-of-the-line ice destroyer.
Likewise, if you’re addicted to the sport and out at the meets every chance you get punching more holes in the lake than Swiss cheese, a manual device is probably not the most efficient choice for you.
What size ice auger is best?
It isn’t always the case when fishing but, in this case, bigger is better. A bigger hole lets you fish without restriction, you don’t have to think about catching your line quite so much and it will allow you to fish for a variety of species.
You asked what size, so here’s the answer…
If in doubt, go for a 10” auger. You are probably going to need a powered auger to cut a hole that big, but once you see the difference you will probably find it hard to go back to smaller, hand-dug holes.
Do hand ice augers work?
Of course, they do! But full disclosure, they work better at certain times of the year.
Well because the ice thickness varies over the winter. For thinner ice a hand auger is quite a good tool. However, if you are anything like me you are going to be moving around looking for the fish.
That means cutting a new hole, often. With thicker ice this is going to take a lot longer, and those extra 15 minutes soon start adding up. Unless the ice is thinner (and I mean less than 12”) or you only want to drill one hole, powered will be the way to go.
How do you use a hand auger for ice fishing?
So you’ve had your heart set on being a true mountain man in the wild, and you arrive on the lake with your best hand ice auger…
You want to know how to use it right?
Don’t worry I’ve got you covered. To avoid you wasting energy and valuable fishing time here’s a really quick video on how to use a hand auger.
How do you make an ice fishing hole without an auger?
With difficulty. It can be done, but isn’t optimum. An axe or crowbar will work. It will also be counterproductive, as by the time you’ve made a big enough hole the fish will be scared witless.
Want to see how much hard work it is? Watch this video and you’ll be begging for a trusty hand auger.
Our recommendations are all pretty good and shouldn’t let you down. It truly does depend on how much you are going to be using it, how far you are going to travel and your style of fishing.
But if I had to commit…
I really liked the Eskimo rocket. It had plenty of cutting power and was packed with clever features which meant that I rarely had to take my gloves off, even when using it.
How far apart should ice fishing holes be?
You want a minimum distance of 4 feet. When fishing in open water, if you tangle lines with a fellow angler you just both reel in and sort it out on the bank. With ice fishing, well, you’ve got an ice sheet in your way. To avoid snags and tangles, keep a decent distance apart. A more optimum distance will be 6 feet. If you can afford to spread out do so.
I know there may be a temptation if your buddy is catching, to try and ‘muscle in’ on a spot that works. However, by being smart you might actually find a better area.
Regardless of what you choose, it pays to remember your end goal. You aren’t there to drill holes all day. You are there to catch fish.
Any on my list of the best ice augers in 2023 will all enable you to do that with ease… It just depends on what your definition of ‘easy’ is? Have you had a good or bad experience with an ice auger? Or want to share a top tip. Put it in the comments below and I’ll add it to the list.