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Best Ice Augers For Cutting 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 top ice augers for fishing.

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 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 electric augers on the market right now. This is part of our ice fishing gear guide series, so be sure to check them out if you haven’t.

Let’s get you cutting holes fast!

6 Best Ice Auger Reviewed

1. Nils Master UR600C Hand Auger

Best Hand Auger

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

We believe for most ice anglers out there electricity is the way to go. It delivers more torque, is easy to transport, and unless you drill 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 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

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

Sale
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 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 gas powered augers. The Eskimo gas powered 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 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 could not start.


4. jiffy 46X-Treme 10″ Ice Auger

Best Propane 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 propane ice augers.

Propane powered augers 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 your ice shanty, it’s worth looking at this propane powered ice 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.


5. ION Eskimo Standard Series Ice Auger

Best Electric Ice Auger

Sale
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 nice 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 do a lot of holes, 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 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 powered augers out there. Plus the company is responsive if you have any questions or concerns.


How to Choose the Right 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 for ice fishing that you should consider. If you’re newer to ice fishing auger 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 types of ice augers that you should be aware of, manual/hand-powered augers and motor-driven augers. 

The general rule of thumb is that if you’re going to be 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 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 Augers vs. Electric Ice Augers

Are Gas Augers Going Extinct? (Electric vs. Gas) — Ice Pros Q&A ⚡
 

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, and want it to be a little less stinky, then 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 high-torque, light-weight, quiet, and fumeless motor for relatively cheap. But with this, you also need to consider the battery life when buying.

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

One thing to note, if you’re going to drill holes with electric augers, then you’ll need to bring backup batteries. That’s where a gas-powered ice 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 thick ice (even the thickest ice), then go with a gas auger.

Portability

It’s important to be able to get your auger out to your favorite ice 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 gas-powered ice auger is going to 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. 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 thick 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 punch holes
  • Great for cutting uneven ice

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 good 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.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an auger?

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.

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 frozen ice surface. It’s an essential gear 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 battery capacity of the electric ice auger, the sharpness of the blades, and how cold the battery is. It’s probably safe to say that you can do 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. 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 and spearfishing enthusiast. He's been fishing since he was 5 years old in the backcountry of Yosemite for trout and in the surf near his home in SoCal. Over the past 4 years, he's been spearfishing up and down the coast of California. He started Cast and Spear to help inspire others to get outside and chase their dream fish. Notable catches include spearing a 65-pound white sea bass, large grouper, and yellowtail down in Baja. When he's not in the water, he's usually fishing from his Gregor Baja aluminum boat or inflatable Takacat catamaran.
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