Best Ice Augers: 9 Top Hand, Gas and Electric Models Reviewed

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Best Ice Augers: 9 Top Hand, Gas and Electric Models Reviewed

Tackle Village is reader supported. If you buy a product through links on the site we may make a small commission

Updated on:

Ice augers are an essential piece of ice fishing equipment, and without this modern convenience ice fishing would consist of angler using ice chipper blades/spuds, or hand augers to drill holes through a foot or more of ice.

There are some great ice augers on the market today, and in this post we will take a look at our best ice auger drill picks.

Best Ice Fishing Augers: Quick Picks

Best Hand Auger
Strikemaster Lazer Hand Auger
Strikemaster Lazer Hand Auger
9.7

Strikemaster knows ice fishing equipment, and the Strikemaster hand auger is in our opinion the best out there in the hand auger category. The blades are excellent, and for hand augers, this is the most important component.

Best Electric Auger
Strikemaster Lithium
Strikemaster Lithium
9.7

Why is this our pick for the best electric auger? Simple, it can drill 100 holes at 16 inches in thickness on a single charge, that’s tough to beat in the electric augers category, and as a result, it is our #1 pick.

Best Gas or Propane-Powered Auger
Eskimo Quantum
Eskimo Quantum
9.6

We picked a gas-operated auger over a propane auger for our top pick and you might be asking why?

The biggest reason is that propane augers are so heavy, and while the gas augers aren’t light, they are lighter than a propane auger, and for the cost, we just can’t justify a propane auger for the few benefits it provides over a gas-operated one.

If properly maintained, a gas-powered auger will serve you just as well as a propane auger will, while giving you more power.

Best Ice Fishing Augers: Full Reviews

Nils Master UR600C (Hand)
Nils Master UR600C (Hand)
Nils Master UR600C (Hand)
Our Score

The Nils Master UR600C is a convenient and budget-friendly hand/power auger drill that works well in the early and late ice seasons if you want to drill by hand through thin ice, or all year long if you attach a handheld drill.

Being compatible with a 1/2 inch drill you can drill as many holes as your cordless drill battery will allow for, and with a higher-end 1/2 impact drill this thing can really cut through the ice quickly.

The UR600C utilizes a unique blade design made from chromium and it retains its edge far better than stainless steel blades or standard steel blades.

This thing is very lightweight and is great when hauling in gear with a vehicle or ATV isn’t an option.

  • Drill compatible
  • Affordable
  • Very lightweight
Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch (Gas)
Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch (Gas)
Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch (Gas)
Our Score

The Eskimo Quantum features a 43CC Viper 2-stroke engine, This engine is cold weather tested and will fire up with no issue in bitterly cold weather if it is properly maintained.

The auger has a unique centering ring near the blades. This centering ring helps guide the auger to make for easy hole re-drilling, a necessity when fishing from the same holes in a permanent ice shack.

This thing is built to last and features high-quality metals used in transmission gearing.

Other great features include wide-wing tubular handles for ultimate control when drilling, precision cut stainless steel blades, mitten grips so you don’t need gloves to start it, and a fingertip throttle trigger.

  • Fingertip throttle control
  • Stainless steel blades
  • Centering ring
Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch (Gas)
Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch (Gas)
Eskimo Quantum Auger Series, 8 Inch (Gas)
Our Score

The Eskimo Quantum features a 43CC Viper 2-stroke engine, This engine is cold weather tested and will fire up with no issue in bitterly cold weather if it is properly maintained.

The auger has a unique centering ring near the blades. This centering ring helps guide the auger to make for easy hole re-drilling, a necessity when fishing from the same holes in a permanent ice shack.

This thing is built to last and features high-quality metals used in transmission gearing.

Other great features include wide-wing tubular handles for ultimate control when drilling, precision cut stainless steel blades, mitten grips so you don’t need gloves to start it, and a fingertip throttle trigger.

  • Fingertip throttle control
  • Stainless steel blades
  • Centering ring
Jiffy 46X-Treme 10″ Ice Auger (Propane)
Jiffy 46X-Treme 10″ Ice Auger (Propane)
Jiffy 46X-Treme 10″ Ice Auger (Propane)
Our Score

Most of us grew up using a Jiffy ice auger, and they are still one of the top ice auger manufacturers out there.

The 46X-Treme is Jiffys’ propane ice auger offering, and it claims to be the most powerful propane ice auger on the market today.

 Jiffy has made efforts to keep this auger light in weight, as most propane ice augers definitely weigh more than the newer gas engine and battery-operated ice augers. To keep things like Jiffy uses aluminum gearing along with other components like the tank holder.

For blades, Jiffy uses their Stealth STX serrated ripper blades. These blades last 2 to 3 times longer than conventional blades, and they also cut 25% faster than other blade designs on the market.

You can choose from several auger blade diameter sizes with the 46X-Treme from 6, 8, 9, and 10-inch options.

Due to being fueled by propane, the auger will start up right away on the first or second pull, and there is no fuel mixing required, along with no need to choke a carburetor, prime a carburetor, and now flooding issues.

  • STX serrated blades
  • Four diameter options
  • No priming, fuel mixing, or choking.
Eskimo HC40Q10 High Compression 40cc (Propane)
Eskimo HC40Q10 High Compression 40cc (Propane)
Eskimo HC40Q10 High Compression 40cc (Propane)
Our Score

The 40CC engine on the Eskimo propane ice auger is specially made to have high compression, as a result, it can easily power an 8 or 10-inch blade easily at the cost of only a slight weight increase.

This propane ice auger also uses the same great Quantum auger used on the Quantum auger design we discussed earlier in this post.

The Eskimo features an all-metal transmission, though they don’t clarify what type of metal, it’s safe to assume either steel or aluminum.

The handles are the same great design as the Quantum with the wide-wing tubular handles for ultimate control when drilling holes, along with the centering ring for hole re-drilling.

To top it off, the Eskimo propane auger also features a quick attach and release bottle holder to easily and quickly swap out propane bottles.

  • Quick swap bottle holder
  • Wide-wing tubular handles
  • All-metal transmission
ION Eskimo Standard Series Ice Auger (Electric)
ION Eskimo Standard Series Ice Auger (Electric)
ION Eskimo Standard Series Ice Auger (Electric)
Our Score

The ION is an electric auger that cuts just like a gas-powered auger, with no need for gas, oil, or any of the hassles associated with gas-powered augers.

The ION brand is a part of the Eskimo company, and as a result, these augers feature the same great no-catch cutting system and centering ring to create vertical holes with very little angling.

The battery is not permanently built-in and is swappable, so if extra batteries you can drill a ton of holes in a day.

The ION also weighs nearly 40% less than gas-powered augers and has a very ergonomic handle design for easy and comfortable drilling.

  • Ergonomic
  • Detachable Batteries
  • Lightweight
K-Drill IDRL08 + Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless (Electric)
K-Drill IDRL08 + Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless (Electric)
K-Drill IDRL08 + Milwaukee M18 FUEL 18-Volt Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless (Electric)
Our Score

The K-drill is quite possibly the best auger to couple with a cordless drill, and the Milwaukee M18 is one of the best drills to use as an electric auger power pack.

The K-drill have high carbon steel chipper blades, and the auger design is made specifically for re-drilling old ice fishing holes.

The drill is the perfect answer for permanent fish houses and The unique centering pin greatly reduces blade jump and allows for a quick and clean hole every time you re-drill.

The composite auger flute design is made to clean holes, but not to throw the chipped ice all over your ice shack, keeping the floor clean and dry.

Coupled with the M18 FUEL drill and you have a great package, the option to put the drill in reverse after drilling a hole means that you can flush all the slush and ice chippings down the hole, and eliminates the need for an ice scooper.

You can put about 20 holes through a whopping two feet of ice with this drill, and in most cases the ice is half as thick, meaning you can drill well over 20 holes.

  • Great battery life
  • Composite auger flute for clean holes
  • High carbon steel chipper blades
StrikeMaster Lithium 40-Volt Electric Ice Auger (Electric)
StrikeMaster Lithium 40-Volt Electric Ice Auger (Electric)
StrikeMaster Lithium 40-Volt Electric Ice Auger (Electric)
Our Score

The Strikemaster Lithium auger has some serious endurance and can cut up to 100 holes in ice as thick as 16 inches.

The blades are a part of its’ cutting efficiency with two stainless steel serrated Lazer blades as found on other Strikemaster augers.

 It features an internal battery management system, which helps to greatly increase the life of a battery, and comes with a separate charger battery as well.

To top it off, this ice auger comes with a 2-year warranty on the motor, battery, and charger.

  • 2-year warranty
  • Stainless steel Lazer blades
  • Can drill 100 holes at 16 inches in thickness

How to Choose the Best Ice Auger for You

Types

Convertible Or Drill-driven Augers

These types of augers are all the rage these days, and it’s common sense that many ice anglers are taking this route.

Many anglers also own impact drills or cordless drills, and simply buying an auger that can augment a drill is a cost-efficient route, and they get the job done on the ice.

These drills are also very lightweight and compact when compared to other ice auger types, and for these reasons, the number of ice anglers using them is increasing rapidly.

If you are mobile on the ice, don’t use an ATV or truck to haul all your gear, or just wanna keep things light and minimal, this is the choice for you.

Gas or Propane Ice Augers

Gas augers have been the standard for decades, and they are pretty reliable, until they aren’t as is the case with gas engines and carburetors. Still, they get the job done and you can drill a ton of holes on a single tank.

The main downsides of gas augers are the need to mix oil in the gas for the two-stroke engine and the weight, which is quite heavy compared to drill augers or electric augers.

Gas augers will last a long time if properly maintained, I have a 30-year-old gas-operated ice auger to this day, and I know people that have inherited augers that are still running that are even older.

Propane augers are very reliable, and they always start up on a couple pulls at most, but they do have one major downside.

Weight, propane augers are very heavy, and in many cases weigh more than a gas auger of comparable size. Propane augers typically weight around 30-35 pounds.

If you have a truck or ATV on the ice and aren’t moving around on foot often, the weight might not be an issue, but for the foot mobile angler carrying a sled, you will get worn out quickly lugging a propane auger around the lake.

Electric Ice Augers

Electric augers are very popular with modern ice anglers, and for good reason.

Electric augers are fairly light, portable, and compact compared to gas-powered augers and propane augers, making them great if you’re highly mobile on the ice.

With the battery technology available today, you can drill quite a few holes with one battery charge, and some augers have the option to swap out batteries on the ice.

Portability

We have already mentioned a bit about portability in the different ice auger designs, but that is because it is one of the most critical considerations when choosing an ice auger.

Every ice angler is different, some choose to sit in the comfort of a permanent ice shack and rarely move, meaning that portability is less of a concern, while others are highly mobile and it’s not unusual to drill 50-100 holes in a day of fishing in search of fish.

Whatever type of angler you are, consider if mobility is high on your list of requirements, and this will help narrow down what auger is best suited to you.

Blade quality and type

Most auger blades are similar in design, and most are made with high-quality metals to ensure the blades stay sharp for longer periods of time.

Some blades are better than others, and some designs are different, but at the end of the day, they will all get the job done easily and quickly if properly maintained.

Stainless steel blades are almost a necessity, as they prevent rusting in the off season, and blades that are made with materials like chromium can mean you have to sharpen the blades less.

Diameter and Length

The diameter of the auger isn’t as crucial as one might think if you are fishing for common freshwater species in North America, and an 8-inch diameter auger will work fine for any species from panfish, bass, and pike in most cases.

If you are targeting large fish a 10-inch diameter might be the safe bet, but in most cases, it is definitely overkill.

For small fish like panfish, a 6-inch diameter auger can and will work just fine.

Ease of Use

Most ice augers today are easy to use with efficiency and safety in mind.

The only type of ice auger that may give you issues are gas-operated ice augers, and their reliability is definitely in a direct relationship with maintenance.

If you are thinking of getting a gas-powered auger be sure you keep up on maintaining things like the carburetor, spark plugs, and other essential small gas engine maintenance so you don’t find yourself pulling the start cord for 20 minutes trying to get it to start.

Accessories

Accessories for ice augers include things like different blades, blade covers, and more.

Many ice augers come with some necessary accessories like blade covers, but other than that any other accessories may have to be bought separately.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the fastest type of ice fishing auger?

Gas augers (get the best one here) are probably still the fastest way to drill holes in most cases, they have a ton of power and can cut holes through a foot of ice in short order when you have sharp blades.

Do hand ice augers work?

Yes, they do work, but keep in mind that they are much more laborious than a powered ice auger, and this can cause you to sweat, which also means you might get colder, faster.
If the ice is thin, a hand ice auger will be just fine if you only plan on drilling a few holes, or if you are drilling intermittently.

How do you use a hand auger for ice fishing?

To use a hand auger, you simply set the auger on the ice where you want to drill, and crank the shaft while applying downward pressure. Be sure you are not drilling at an angle or you will be making more work for yourself as you have to cut through more ice.

How do you make an ice fishing hole without an auger?

The only practical way to make an ice fishing hole without an auger is to use a spud, which is a long metal pole with a sharp chisel at the tip. This will work fine for thin ice, but will become very laborious for use over a few inches.

How far apart should ice fishing holes be?

Ice holes can be as far apart or as close together as you would like. Some anglers will drill two holes in close proximity to each other for fishing two rods at once, while in other cases you might want to spread them out and “hole hop” to find fish.

Final Thoughts On Choosing the Best Ice Auger

There you have it, our top picks for the best ice fishing augers in the electric, hand, and gas/propane categories. Be sure to take into consideration your needs and fishing style before deciding which one will suit you best.

Photo of author
AUTHOR
Shawn Chapin is an experienced fishing writer and guide based in Wisconsin, where he loves targeting muskie and a range of other species.