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The Best Ice Augers For Fishing In 2023 (And Safe Practices)

The secret to a successful day of ice fishing has the best ice auger at your disposal to cut through the ice. Whether you like to cut by hand or opt for the newer power augers, the key is to have sharp blades. A solid warranty will back a quality ice auger. Opt for a company that you trust. Next, you’ll want to look for ergonomic handles to keep your body safe while you’re out in harsh conditions cutting a dozen holes in search of that prized walleye.

Our Top Picks:

6 Best Ice Auger Reviewed

1. Nils Master UR600C Hand Auger

Best Hand Auger

We like the Nils Ice Hand Auger because of its versatility for switching between a manual mode and a cordless drill setup.

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

The Nils ice auger comes from Finland and can cut seriously thick 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 hand auger and buy yourself a power drill. It’s hard to beat drilling augers nowadays.


2. Strike Master Ice Auger Lazer Hand Auger

Best Budget Manual Auger

Sale
Lazer 2pc Hand Auger 8″
  • Crafted from the highest quality material
  • Perfect for outdoor and even indoor use
  • Made in China

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 thick ice. Its handle is ergonomically designed, featuring soft rubber grips.

Many anglers say this auger cuts through the thick 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.


3. Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch

Best Gas Powered Auger

Eskimo S33Q8 Sting Ray 33cc with 8″Quantum Ice Auger
  • 33CC VIPER 2-CYCLE ENGINE: Cold-weather tested
  • QUANTUM AUGER: Ideal for re-drilling holes with its unique…
  • PRECISION, STAINLESS STEEL BLADES: Blades last longer and…

Now, if you’re cutting a large number of holes daily or don’t have an excellent way to charge batteries, you will want to go with gas-powered augers. The Eskimo gas-powered auger has been making a solid one for years, and anglers couldn’t be happier.

With the pull start, you’ll need to put your back muscles to the test, but they made a large grip handle to make it easier.

If you’re sight fishing, go with the 8 or 10-inch blade. Plus, it comes with an excellent blade protector and stainless steel blades.

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


4. jiffy 46X-Treme 10″ Ice Auger

Best Propane Ice Auger

Jiffy 46-10-ALL Pro4 X-Treme Propane Powered Ice Drill with 10″ Stealth STX™ Cutting Technology
  • Heat Treated Steel Gears increase Durability and Performance
  • STX Stealth Drill Assembly is powder coated for durability…
  • Quick Connect Collar offers easy mounting and removal of the…

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

Propane-powered augers tend not to 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 your ice shanty, it’s worth looking at this propane-powered ice auger. Jiffy is a respected brand, so if you need any jiffy ice auger parts in the future, they shouldn’t be hard to find.


5. ION Eskimo Standard Series Ice Auger

Best Electric Ice Auger

Ion Ice Fishing 8″ Electric Power Ice Fishing Auger with High Performance 4Ah 40V MAX GEN 1 Lithium-Ion Battery Green/Black
  • 4 AMP HOUR, GEN 1 BATTERY: A high-performance, 4 Amp Hour,…
  • NO GAS, NO OIL, NO FUMES: With ION, all you need to do is…
  • LIGHTWEIGHT, EASY TO CARRY: At only 22 pounds, ION weighs…

Cordless drill augers are excellent for their easy transport…but what if you want the benefits of batteries with increased manliness in an electric auger?

This ION electric auger is the big daddy to cordless augers.

You’ll get 66 holes through two feet of thick 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 make a lot of holes or want an auger that is still relatively light and has zero stinks…check this one out. It’s one of the best electric augers out there.


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

Best Cordless Drill Ice Auger

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

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


If you’re ready to step up from your hand chisel and want something that can put more holes in the ice faster, then it’s time to grab an ice auger.

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

best ice auger for fishing
A gas-powered auger gets 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 the best ice augers for fishing on the market. This is part of our ice fishing gear guide series, so check them out if you haven’t.

Let’s get you cutting holes fast!

How to Choose the Right Ice Auger for You

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

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

Types

You should be aware of two main types of ice augers: manual/hand-powered augers and motor-driven augers. 

The general rule of thumb is that if you’re going to drill 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 for a quick job.

However, if you’re drilling three or more holes during your outing, it’s better to look into a motor-driven auger. You don’t want to build a heavy sweat in the cold weather. Hypothermia is a genuine concern 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 Augers vs. Electric Ice Augers

YouTube video
 

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, it’ll work fine for your needs. Yet, if you have propane access and want it to be a little less stinky, that’ll work for you as well.

But why are so many anglers switching to a battery-powered auger? It comes down to the new lithium-powered technologies being developed. You can get a relatively cheap high-torque, lightweight, quiet, and fumeless motor. But with this, you must also consider the battery life when buying.

With the press of a button, you can cut your hole quickly using electric augers and even do it inside your thick ice hut or ice shelter without needing to vent! Take that pull-start; your time has come.

One thing to note is that if you’re going to drill holes with electric augers, you’ll need to bring backup batteries. That’s where a gas-powered ice auger still shines because you can bring as much fuel as necessary to make as many cuts as possible. Or if you’re in Canada and need to drill through feet of thick ice (even the thickest ice), then go with a gas auger.

Portability

Getting your auger out to your favorite ice fishing spot without breaking your back is essential. 

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 have a cordless drill powering them.
  • Any style of gas-powered ice auger will weigh 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. You can use whichever makes sense for your situation if you have a sled or tow vehicle.

Blades

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

Chipper Blades vs. Laser Blades

Each blade style has its 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 punch holes
  • Excellent for cutting uneven ice

The Laser Blades:

  • Less durable
  • Fast cutting speed
  • Great if you cut 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 essential to go with an 8-inch blade or larger. If you’re not concerned about that, go with a hold small enough to fit your needs.

Height

Your auger’s height will depend 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 to cut past your blade length.

Ease of Use

If we had to pick a style of good ice auger that fits 90% of most ice fisherman’s needs, we’d go with a battery-powered cordless drill-style auger. It’s powerful, lightweight, and 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.
  • Safeties: These are metal rods that attach to the base of your auger that is larger than the hole being cut. If your auger falls off your motor for whatever reason, 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an auger?

An auger is a tool that rotates and moves material up the axis. For an ice auger, 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.

Why do I need an auger for ice fishing?

You need an ice auger to allow yourself access to the fish that are beneath the ice surface. It’s an essential gear for ice fishing if you’re planning to ice fish.

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

It depends on the electric ice auger’s battery capacity, the blades’ sharpness, and how cold the battery is. It’s probably safe to say that you can make 10-20 holes before needing another charge.

Are augers safe to use?

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

Jon Stenstrom
Founder & Angler
Jon Stenstrom is a fishing enthusiast. He has over 25 years of fishing experience, and 6 years of spearfishing experience, and is currently learning how to boat. Jon has his Open Water PADI Certification and FII Freediver Level 1 Certification. Jon has traveled the world to fish and dive, most notably in the Great Barrier Reef, Baja Mexico, Thailand, and Malaysia. More Articles
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Articles » Gear Reviews » The Best Ice Augers For Fishing In 2023 (And Safe Practices)