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Articles » Gear Reviews » Accessories » Best Ice Augers for Fishing: Cut Through the Ice Fast

Best Ice Augers for Fishing: Cut Through the Ice Fast

If you’re ready for a step up from your hand chisel and want something that can put more holes in the ice faster, then it’s time to grab one of the best ice augers for fishing.

Ice augers come in a few styles from hand-powered manual versions to motor-powered ice cutting monsters.

Top Ice Fishing Augers

best ice auger for fishing
A gas-powered auger getting the job done. Source: nugefishes

Deciding which one is right for you comes down to a few factors:

  • How often do you ice fish?
  • How many holes do you drill per session?
  • What motor style do you gravitate to?

With that in mind, we’ve picked out what we consider the best ice augers on the market right now. This is part of our ice fishing gear guide series, so be sure to check the out if you haven’t.

Let’s get you cutting holes fast!

Best Ice Augers for Fishing Reviewed

Best Hand Auger

Nils Master UR600C

Nils master UR600C Cordless drill auger
  • Nils Master UR600C auger Assembly
  • Importing from Finland the best ice fishing and...
  • We are proud to offer the highest quality products...

The reason we like the Nils Ice Auger is because of its versatility for switching between a manual mode and a cordless drill setup.

We believe for most anglers out there electric is the way to go. It delivers more torque, is easy to transport, and unless you drilling a bunch of holes or super deep holes, they can stand up to the task.

The Nils ice auger comes from Finland and can cut serious ice. It’ll cut down past 18 inches fast even by hand.

If you want to make fishing your ice rod easy, go with this auger and buy yourself a power drill. It’s hard to beat drilling augers nowadays.


Best Budget Manual Auger

Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger

Sale
Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger, 8-Inch
  • Chrome-alloy Stainless Steel Blades
  • Powder Coated Paint to Reduce Ice Build-up
  • Soft Rubber Grips

If you don’t want to spend money on the Nils and will only be using your hands, this is a solid ice auger to get you through the ice.

Many anglers say this auger cuts through the ice like butter. The blades are sharp and if you take care of them they’ll last your years. It’ll cut through 20 inches of ice in under two minutes. Not bad for a hand auger!

Another good option if you like manual augers is to check out a spud bar.


Best Gas Ice Auger

Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch

Sale
Eskimo S33Q8 Sting Ray 33cc with 8-Inch Quantum Ice Auger
  • 8 inch diameter auger and 42 inch auger length....
  • Cold-weather tested 33cc Viper 2-Cycle Engine....
  • Lightweight and powerful. Foam covered steel...

Now if you’re going to be cutting a serious amount of holes per day or don’t have a good way to charge batteries, then you’re going to want to go with a gas ice auger. The Eskimo ice auger has been making a solid one for years and anglers couldn’t be happier.

You’re going to need to put your back muscles to the test with the pull start, but they made a large grip handle to make it easier.

If you’re sight fishing then go with the 8 or 10-inch blade. Plus it comes with a nice blade protector.

One thing to note, if you lay the Eskimo ice auger it on its side and don’t open the gas cap for a second to breathe, it could not start.


Best Propane Ice Auger

jiffy 46X-Treme 10″ Ice Auger

Sometimes gas-powered augers are just dirty. If you have access to reliable propane and can travel with it, then it’s worth considering a propane ice auger.

They tend to not be as stinky, they burn cleaner, can require less maintenance, and most importantly can be run inside your ice hut.

If you’re going to cut a lot of holes or want something robust for cutting inside a closed space, it’s worth looking at this auger. Jiffy is a popular brand so if you need any jiffy ice auger parts in the future, they shouldn’t be hard to find.


Best Electric Auger

ION Eskimo Standard Series Ice Auger

ION 19150 40V 3 amp-hour Electric 8-Inch Ice Auger, with Reverse
  • ION Reverse. Reverse eliminates the need for an...
  • Smooth cuts every time. The ION No Catch Cutting...
  • Lightweight. Easy to Carry. At only 22 pounds, ION...

Corless drill augers are nice for their easy transport…but what if you want the benefits of batteries with increased manliness?

This ION auger is the big daddy to cordless augers.

You’ll get 66 holes through two feet of ice on a single charge. That’s impressive!

We still think most people should get a cordless based on ease, but if you need to do a lot of holes, want an auger that still relatively light, and zero stinks…check this one out.


Best Cordless Drill Ice Auger

K-Drill IDRL08 + Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless

Sale
K-Drill IDRL08, 8" Auger Only
  • The lightweight aluminum shaft with lightweight...
  • 8 inch K-Drill Ice drill assembly features an easy...

It’s hard to beat the K-Drill auger. It’s lightweight, cuts like butter, and when paired up with a powerful cordless drill, cutting holes is actually enjoyable. They are joined together by an ice auger drill adaptor that comes with the kit.

It’s made in the USA. Paired with the right auger drill and you’re in business better than most of the top gas augers out there. Plus the company is responsive if you have any questions or concerns.

Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2 in. Impact Wrench with Friction Ring Kit with One 5.0Ah Batteries
  • Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless...
  • Kit includes: hard case, 1/2" impact wrench, (1)...

How to Choose the Best Ice Auger for You

gas auger getting ready to cut through the ice
Getting ready for an awesome day of ice fishing! Source: Travis

Above we covered what we consider to be the tried and true augers that you should consider. If you’re newer to ice augers and want a little more background on how they work, the different things to consider, or just all-around curious, then read below.

Types

There are two main categories of ice augers that you should be aware of, manual/hand-powered and motor-driven. 

The general rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be drilling a few holes during your session, then go with a manual auger. It shouldn’t take you more than a few minutes to get your hole cut and you don’t have to lug around a heavy motor with you for a quick job.

However, if you’re going to be drilling three or more holes during your outing, then it’s better to look into a motor-driven auger. You don’t want to build up a heavy sweat while you’re in the cold weather. Hypothermia is a real concern out while ice fishing and conditions can change quickly, so it’s best to let the motor handle the grunt work so you can focus on fishing.

Gas vs. Electric Augers

 

It might be safe to say that gas and propane style augers are going extinct. First, if you’re still interested in picking between gasoline or propane-powered motor, it comes down to fuel availability.

If you have access to gasoline and don’t mind the extra fumes, then it’ll work fine for your needs. Yet, if you have access to propane, want it to be a little less stinky, then that’ll work for you as well.

But why are so many anglers switching to battery-powered augers? It comes down to the new lithium-powered technologies being developed. You can get a high-torque, light-weight, quiet, and fumeless motor for relatively cheap. 

With the press of a button, you can get your hole cut quick and even do it inside your ice hut without needing to vent! Take that pull-starts, your time has come.

One thing to note, if you’re going to be drilling a lot of holes, then you’ll need to bring backup batteries. That’s where a gas-powered auger still shines in the fact that you can bring as much fuel as you need to make as many cuts as necessary. Or if you’re in Canada and need to drill through feet of ice, then go with a gas auger.

Portability

It’s important to be able to get your auger out to your favorite fishing spot without breaking your back. 

If we had to rank portability we’d break it down like this:

  • Manual augers are the most portable since they are just the blade and handle.
  • Battery-powered drill augers are second because they are similar to the manual style but just have a cordless drill powering them.
  • Any style of the gas-powered auger is going to weight considerably more due to the larger motor and gas tank.

With that in mind, if you’re going to lug an auger by hand I’d stick to either manual or cordless drill styles. If you have a sled or tow vehicle you can use whichever makes sense for your situation.

Blades

Sharp blades are a must for cutting through the ice. It doesn’t matter which motor you slap on top of it, if the blades are dull then it’s going to be more work to cut down and you risk damaging your setup.

Chipper Blades vs Laser Blades

Each blade style has its own advantages and disadvantages. 

The Chipper Blades:

  • More durable
  • Slower cutting speed
  • Better for dirty ice
  • Will put up against the slow dulling from each hole cut
  • Better for hard-side ice houses to repunch holes

The Laser Blades:

  • Less durable
  • Fast cutting speed
  • Great if your cutting 50-200 holes per day
  • Less body fatigue

What Diameter Auger is Best?

This comes down to personal preference. If you’re going to do more sight fishing then it’s important to go with an 8-inch blade or larger. If you’re not concerned about that then go with the hold small enough to fit your needs.

Height

The height of your auger will be dependent on how deep of ice you need to punch through. Make sure you don’t buy a blade that is too short otherwise you risk drilling holes that won’t give you access to the fish. 

Use an ice auger extender if you need to cut past your blade length.

Ease of Use

If we had to pick a style of ice auger that fits 90% of most ice fisherman’s needs then we’d go with a battery-powered cordless drill style auger. It’s powerful, lightweight, and is easy to transport. If you need to cut a bunch of holes go with the laser blades and you’re off to the races.

Accessories

  • Auger extensions: If you need to get through deeper ice than your auger blade allows by itself.
  • Safeties: These are metal rods that attach to the base of your auger that is larger than the hole being cut. If for whatever reason your auger falls off your motor, at least it’ll rest on the ice instead of at the bottom of the lake.
  • Ice Auger Drill Adaptors: These allow you to attach your auger blades to your cordless drill.

FAQ

Q: What is an Auger?

A: An auger is a tool that rotates and moves material up the axis. For an ice auger that means once the blades cut the ice, the auger transports the ice shavings up the shaft and out of the hole. This clears the blade to go deeper and not get jammed.

Q: Why do I need an auger for ice fishing?

A: You need an ice auger to allow yourself access to the fish that are beneath the froze ice surface.

Q: How many holes can an electric auger drill before the battery runs out?

A: It depends on the capacity of the battery, sharpness of blades, and how cold the battery is. It’s probably safe to say that you can do 10-20 holes before needing another charge.

Q: Are ice augers safe to use?

A: With any tool, make sure you’re safe around them. That means don’t touch the blades especially while moving. Don’t use them on thin ice. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and your judgment when using it.


The Anglers Behind This Article:

Jon Stenstrom
Founder

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