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The 6 Best Ice Chisels (Ice Spuds) for 2022

If you’re heading out on a frozen lake for some ice fishing, you’ll want to bring one of the best ice chisels with you for various reasons.

This piece of ice fishing gear will, first of all, keep you safe on the ice. You can use it to probe for weak spots in the ice, especially if it is snow-covered.

Top 6 Ice Chisels & Ice Spuds

Image Product Details
sample-table__imageBest Ice ChiselJiffy Deluxe Mille Lacs Chisel
  • Two-Piece
  • Unique Cutting Edge
  • Durable
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sample-table__imageBudgetEskimo CH7
  • One-Piece
  • Simple
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sample-table__imageEskimo CH12
  • Two-Piece
  • Nice Handle
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sample-table__imageEskimo CH9
  • Hammer Style
  • 19-Inches
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sample-table__imageBest Mini Ice ChiselJiffy Mini Mille Lacs
  • One-Piece
  • Mini
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sample-table__imageCabela's Ice Chisel
  • Sharp
  • Robust
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If you’re out in the bush, it’s a helpful tool to help you gather water. Snow is more air than water, so it’s beneficial to have a tool that can help you break through the ice to collect water when necessary.

best ice chisels ice spud
A fisherman alone with the ice. So peaceful. Source: Babak Fakhamzadeh

Ice augers are handy, but they only allow you to drill one size hole. With an ice spud, you can make any size hole you need for the task at hand.

This guide will dive into what you need to think about when picking the right ice spud for your fishing needs.

Let’s get chipping!

6 Best Ice Chisels Reviewed for 2022

1. Jiffy Deluxe Mille Lacs Chisel

Best Ice Chisel

Jiffy 3542 Mille Lacs™ Chisel (3542), one Piece 52" Long
  • Rapidly chisel a hole - even in three feet of ice
  • Flare out the bottom of a drilled hole to make it easier to...
  • Shave and shape ice to suit your needs

This is a workhorse ice chisel (sic). It’s just over ten pounds and comes in two pieces for ease of transport. The heft allows you to make monster cuts with every thrust. You can expect around 3-4 inches per hit so you’ll be through the ice in no time.

I know guys who have a manual auger and a Jiffy. Most times if they need a quick hole they grab the Jiffy. It cuts so fast that it doesn’t make sense to use the auger unless you need to drill deep.

If you know you’re going to be ice fishing for the long term, get the best.


2. Eskimo Economy Chisel

Best Budget One-Piece Ice Spud

Eskimo CH7 52.5-inch Single-Action Head Design Ice Chisel
  • Durable Steel Design: Fully-welded steel construction for...
  • Proper Balance of Weight-to-Length Ratio: Delivers efficient...
  • Single-Action Chipper Head

If you’re new to winter fishing and not sure if you want to spend the big dollars on the Jiffy, pick up one of these cheap Eskimo chisels.

These are bare-bones ice fishing spud bars.

The edge is flat, making cutting a bit harder but not impossible. It doesn’t come with any anti-vibration or cushion, so if you’re making many holes, this could fatigue your body a bit.


3. Eskimo Two-Piece Ice Chisel

Best Budget Two-Piece Ice Spud

Eskimo CH12 64-inch Multi-Faceted, Triple-Action Chipper Head Design Ice Chisel
  • Durable Steel Design: Fully-welded steel construction for...
  • Proper Balance of Weight-to-Length Ratio: Delivers efficient...
  • Tether Rope Included: Keeps chisel securely tethered to your...

This is a bit longer version of the Eskimo Ice Chisel above. It’s super quick and easy to assemble. It locks together with a slip-fit and a locking spring.

It’s heavy-duty and heavy period. It’s more serious than the Jiffy, so this might be your ticket if you want a workout.


4. Eskimo Bucket Chisel

Sale
Eskimo CH9 19-inch Multi-Faceted, Dual-Action Chipper Head Design Hammer-Style Ice Chisel
  • Durable Steel Design: Fully-welded steel construction for...
  • Proper Balance of Weight-to-Length Ratio: Delivers efficient...
  • Features Hammer-Style End

If you want a lightweight and small chisel just to cut holes in a pinch, check out this bucket chisel by Eskimo.

This is more of a multi-tool with different ends that can be used for other tasks. Maybe you want to hammer away from the edge of your ice as it starts to freeze over; this will handle it with no problem. Or perhaps you want to drive in some steaks when your ice tent is about to blow away.

It’s a great tool to throw in your bucket and use as duty calls.


5. Jiffy Mini Mille Lacs

Best Mini Ice Chisel

This is similar to the Eskimo Bucket Chisel in that it’s an excellent tool to have in a pinch. This chisel shouldn’t be used as your primary hole cutter, but for little clean-up cuts or a lightweight ice checker, this will handle the job with no problem.

It’s nice and light, coming in at around three pounds, and is only 30 inches long. Throw it in your sled and have it handy for the little tasks around your ice fishing site.


6. Cabela’s Ice Chisel

Cabela’s is near and dear to many anglers, so we’d be remiss if we didn’t include their ice chisel in case you wanted to support them. They make a variety of sizes, but we like the 64 inches for getting the work done. 

They are also cheaper than the Eskimo and Jiffy, so if the price is concerned.


How to Choose the Best Ice Chisels

When it comes to picking the right ice chizzle (sic) for your needs, it’s best to keep it simple. The tool itself needs to get the job done in the least amount of effort on your body.

That means it should be:

  • Sharp enough to cut through the ice
  • Heavy enough to use gravity to your advantage
  • Robust enough to not break while you’re out in the wild
  • Easy to transport to your target location

Let’s break that down into further detail.

Keep the Blade Sharp

Generally, when cutting, a sharp blade is a safe blade. When it comes to blunt for trauma to ice, you need a blade that’s sharp to make the initial cuts, but it doesn’t need to be razor-sharp.

Pick an ice spud made of a blade material that keeps its edge. For example, don’t get an aluminum ice spud because the material is too soft for repeated bashings. Steel is an excellent material for this type of task.

Stepped Blade vs. Flat Blade

If you want more control over the size of the holes that you’re cutting, it might be worth looking into a stepped blade vs. a flat blade. The nice aspect of a step is that it has a minor entrance point to help get the cut started.

A flat-blade ice spud bar feels like it’ll take more brute force rather than finesse to get the job done.

Two-Piece vs. One-Piece

Transportation is essential when considering your ice chisel. If you have a vehicle that gets you to your spot, it doesn’t matter as much as if you had to carry it yourself.

If you’re packing a bunch of your ice fishing gear in a sled, it could be beneficial to get a spud that can break down into a more compact form. That’s where a two-piece spud would come in handy. Just make sure the joints connecting them are as sturdy as that would likely be the place it could break if a force hits that joint wrong.

Weight

The weight of the best ice chisels comes down to what you intend to use them for. If you’re looking to use your ice chisel to cut holes in the ice for ice fishing, then it’s essential to get a heavier chisel. 

If we get back to physics, force equals mass x acceleration. With the heavier mass and gravity, you’ll be able to pack more of a punch through the ice.

A lighter spud would be better for checking the quality of the ice. Since you’re looking for weak areas while crossing, you can forego the weight. The nice thing about this lightweight is that it can be used with one hand in a poking fashion. This reduces fatigue, which keeps your mind focused on finding the best path forward.

Vibration

Vibration can be a concern if your body isn’t up to the fatigue battering ice will leave you. If you are susceptible to joint or muscle fatigue, make sure you pick a chisel with a cushion in the handle.

This will help you disperse the force up the chisel and out the handle and reduce the transfer to your hands, arms, and body.

Safety

Safety is always a concern when ice fishing. Make sure you are always fishing on solid thick ice. Use your ice chisel to check the ice quality, especially if there is snow covering areas you’re crossing.

These chisels are not to be messed with. Make sure you don’t hit anyone with them or let kids use them as jousts. 

Accessories

Tether

Whatever you do, don’t drop your chisel once you break the ice. Many anglers have ice spuds resting at the bottom of the lake because the moment they broke through the ice the momentum slid the chisel through their hands.

This can be fixed by tying a piece of cord to the chisel. We recommend putting a loop and have your hand hold it. We DON’T recommend actually tying the cord to your physical body. You should be able to ditch the chisel if the ice starts breaking around you.

Homemade Ice Chisel DIY

 

We’re huge fans of building our own gear whenever possible. Usually, you can make something just as good if not better with a cheaper overall cost.

Browsing a bunch of designs, this is the one that we like the most. The modular spud bar chisel head is an excellent idea as it can be reused on different handles, depending on your needs.

We want the stepped chisel heads for the hole-making control. Would you ever try making your own? With that being said, it’s time to grab your ice rod and reel and hit the lake!

Frequently Asked Question

Who makes the best ice chisels?

We like the Jiffy Deluxe Mille Lacs Chisel. It’s heavy-duty and has been tested by plenty of ice fishermen with rave reviews.

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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Articles » Gear Reviews » Accessories » The 6 Best Ice Chisels (Ice Spuds) for 2022

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