Fishing during the winter season is a fulfilling activity for many fishermen. You simply walk across the sheet of ice to your area of choice and – voila! – you start fishing.
However, you have to deal with drilling through the ice to get to the fish. This is why you need the right tools such as an ice fishing drill, also called an ice auger. If you are looking for how to drill through ice in no time, we have reviewed five of the best gas augers available on the market. We also put together a concise buying guide to ensure you make the best choice.
Deciding on which gas ice fishing auger to buy can be a tricky proposition for some. Hopefully, by the time you are done reading these reviews, you’ll be sure of which fits your requirements.
Top 5 Gas Powered Ice Fishing Augers
- Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum
- Strike Master Honda-Lite Power 10-inch
- Strikemaster Lazer Mag
- ThunderBay 33cc 8″ Power Ice Auger
- Trophy Strike Ice Auger
With all that said, let’s get into the reviews of the 5 best gas-powered ice augers on the market.
Eskimo has been building reliable gas ice augers for over 60 years now. With its durable blades that stay sharp for long periods, it’s not surprising that their Mako 43cc model is a favorite among fishers. The blades are also easily replaceable.
The engine can hit speeds of 9000 RPM, providing it with the extra power needed to slice through the ice quickly. The best part about Eskimo’s auger is the industry-leading 5-year warranty.
- Easy to start – On/off toggle switch for quick response start.
- 43cc Viper two-cycle engine with high torque – 9000 RPM.
- Symmetrically serrated Quantum blades.
- Unique centering ring makes it ideal for re-drilling holes.
- Has a blade protector that extends the lifetime of your blades.
- 5-year industry leading warranty.
- Handlebars absorb vibration.
- Muffler guard protects your hands from the heat of the machine.
- High compression ratio.
- Quick start through toggle switch.
- Sturdy blades.
- Foam-grip comfortable hand bars.
- Solid and durable.
- Fast and fuel efficient.
- You need to mix oil and gasoline.
The Mako is a strong, fast ice fishing auger that starts easily. While its weight can be a problem for some ice fishers, this machine is easily one of the best investments you’ll make for ice fishing gear.
Strike Master Honda-Lite Power 10-inch
Efficient, noiseless, and reliable, the Strike Master Honda 35cc 4-stroke ice auger drill was built for discerning fishers. Its 10″ blades come in handy when fishing for species of game fish, as they cut big enough holes for you to easily hook bigger fish like muskies or pike. You can also use them to cut up larger areas for you and your fellow fishers, so you all can catch your favorite species together.
Its relatively low-smoke, has serrated blades and a steel drilling bit. With a full tank you can drill tons of holes. At 26 pounds, it is one of the lighter 10-inch augers that you can find out there.
- Twin serrated stainless steel laser blades.
- Emission certified.
- Limited 2-year warranty.
- Honda 35cc 4-Stroke OHC engine.
- Steel drilling bit.
- Polymer gear casting.
- Long filament high impact handles.
- Quiet but powerful.
- Burns less fuel.
- Environmentally friendly engine.
- Filament handles reduce the impact of vibrations to your wrists.
- More expensive than some other models.
- Can be heavy for fishers who prefer to pack light.
Quiet and clean, this gas ice auger is a must-have for any environmentally conscious fisher.
Strike Master Lazer Mag
The Strike Master Lazer Mag is a must for any ice fisher. It is designed to be an easy to move powerhouse, ready to easily get through ice once you get it going. It has a well primed 42cc 2-cycle engine.
The combination of a great engine and its twin serrated steel lazer blades guarantees you maximum performance and quick and easy, precision drilling. Its handles are ergonomically designed, making it easy to control when drilling through blocks of ice.
- 2.5 Horsepower 42cc 2-cycle motor.
- Electronic ignition for quick and easy starting.
- Twin serrated stainless steel blades.
- 24-ounce gas tank.
- A Tufflite DuPont handle system.
- Heat treated gears.
- Fluted diffusion gas removal system.
- Powerful and fast ice auger.
- Large cutting diameters.
- Twin serrated blades.
- Improved waste emission system.
- Quick and easy start.
- Engine primer and compression check.
- 2-year warranty on motor.
- Blades get dull quickly.
- Engine is louder than some other augers.
Built with ice-fishers who want to quickly get in and out, the Strike Master Lazer Mag Power Ice Auger is an efficient machine.
ThunderBay 33cc 8″
What stands out about the ThunderBay 8″ auger is its ease of use. It comes packed with extra torque to cut through up to 14 inches of thick ice. Its “Cold Shot” technology and 33cc engine provide you with the ability to quickly start fishing.
- Weighs 36 pounds.
- Comes with a blade protector.
- Proprietary and advanced “Cold Shot” technology for quick start.
- 8-inch blades.
- 33cc 2-cycle engine.
- Powerful engine.
- Easy to use.
- Quick start – engine starts smoothly in extremely cold weather.
- Blades stay sharp even after long use.
- Cuts through ice quickly
- Messy process of mixing gas and oil.
- Heavy and can be difficult to carry if you are moving around a lot.
The ThunderBay is a great option for any fisherman who loves to use the best tools available. It gets the job done in no time and is a great substitute for propane ice augers.
Designed for the serious ice-fisher, the Trophy Strike ice auger is a powerful 52cc 2-cycle engine that can drill through any block of ice, no matter how thick. Its blades can cut 8-inches wide and 31.5 inches deep, making it a great option when you plan to go after larger game fish such as pike.
The engine’s direct drive transmission allows you to shift gears faster, making for better performance in the heat of drilling. Its comfortable glove-friendly throttle keeps away frostbite. The handlebars also carry the throttle “On/Off” and “Idle Lock” switch, which makes it easier to operate than most ice augers out there.
- 2-cycle 52cc gas engine.
- 12-inch blade extension.
- Speeds of 110-280 rpm.
- Glove friendly controls.
- Weighs 33 pounds.
- Powerful engine.
- Replaceable blades.
- Keeps your hands warm.
- More affordable than most gas powered ice augers.
- Messy gas and oil mixing process.
- No blade cover to protect the blades.
Built for the ice-fisher who plans to cut through walls of ice, this is one powerful auger. It’s a great investment due to its price to performance ratio.
Choosing the Right Gas Powered Ice Auger for You
If you are a serious ice fisher, you need to understand the importance of choosing the right ice auger. To make the right choice, there are a number of factors you must consider before settling on a particular ice auger fishing drill model.
The blades of an auger are everything. Without them, the auger is a decorative stick to hang your flag while fishing. Most manufacturers produce blade sizes ranging from 4.5 inches to 10 inches. Blades can also be single or in groups of twos or fours. The more blades on your ice auger, the faster it cuts open the ice.
Your choice of blades depends on the size of the fish and the thickness of the ice sheets. On average, most ice fishers use the 8-inch blades. But if you are fishing for giants such as trout, you best get a 10-inch blade to cut a hole large enough to drag that giant out of the icy water.
Unless you are the 2020 Bodybuilder of the year, no one likes to carry around heavy equipment. Especially when you are out on a fun fishing trip with friends or family, in the biting cold. Portability is important when thinking of an ice auger.
You want something you can carry around for extended periods of time without slowing the fishing party down. Gas powered augers are usually heavy, so make sure to check that the actual size of the machine is manageable and you can carry it around easily before you buy.
Blade Form and Durability
You want an auger with blades that won’t go dull on you after 10 holes. Your blades should cut through the ice like a knife through butter. They should be tough enough to cut through ice repeatedly without getting dull or cracking.
You can either get a standard blade or a serrated blade. Standard blades have smooth sharp edges while serrated blades have toothed or saw-like edges. Most ice fishers believe that blades featuring serrated blades cut through ice faster due to their toothed edges, which literally chew through the ice.
Ice augers with adjustable drill bits are a blessing, especially if you are a tall individual. They also come in handy if the sheet of ice is thicker than estimated. So always be on the lookout for an extension or adjustable height knob when shopping for your gas powered ice auger.
Ease of Use
A quick start feature is a must for your ice auger. You don’t want to be struggling to get the engine going in inclement weather. This is just one of the features you have to consider when thinking of an easy to use auger. It should be easily adjustable and stable while you operate.
It should also have ergonomic handles that make it easy to control or handle the auger while drilling. You probably also want handles that keep your hands warm and safe from frostbite. If you can keep your ice fishing gloves on, that’s even better. Best of all, it should be lightweight.
You want ice augers with blades that are renowned for being super-sharp right out of the box. Sharp blades means drilling speeds are fast enough to keep up with the fish as they move around in the water below. You want to spend the least amount of time drilling as possible, and sharpness speeds up the process.
When looking at the various models, also check if they have accessories such as the blade guard, an extension for adjusting the height, and an auger haul for carrying your auger around. While these accessories are not a must, they help extend the life of your ice auger.
The blade guard or cover and auger haul can almost essential must-haves though, especially if you fish in areas with thick icy shards.
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s an Auger?
A: An auger is a mechanical tool or drill used to bore open a sheet of ice on a frozen lake or river. You can cut open circular holes or a larger surface area depending on the sort of fish you plan to catch or the number of people fishing. The original ice augers were hand-powered.
Why Do I Need An Auger For Ice Fishing?
A: The surface of every body of water becomes completely frozen during the winter season. With the fish buried underneath a sheet of ice, you need to drill holes in the ice to access the fish. An ice auger is used in situations like this to bore holes in the ice, which gives you access to trout, muskies, pike and every other species of fish underneath the ice. Ice thickness usually depends on the severity of the cold, so be sure to get an auger to suit your needs.
How Many Holes Can a Gas Powered Ice Auger Drill Before the Gas Runs Out?
This largely depends on the fuel efficiency of the model you buy. Models such as the Strike Master Honda Lite can drill as many as 100 holes before running out of gas. However, the average gas powered ice auger will drill 30 – 40 holes through 12 inches of ice before sputtering to a stop. The thickness of the ice, blade size, sharpness and form also play a part in the number of holes you can get out of the auger.
Are Gas Powered Ice Augers Safe For Use?
Gas powered ice augers are some of the safest ice fishing equipment out there, as long as you follow the safety recommendations of the manufacturer and ice fishing safety rules. You should also only venture out with your auger on areas of the ice thick enough to carry both the weight of the auger and yourself. Also ensure that you can easily transport the auger across the ice safely.
How Deep can an Auger Drill?
Augers can drill holes as deep as 3 feet or less. With an extension they can go an additional 1 foot. You usually need to dig that deep to get to the water in very cold climates.
The auger, invented by Greek mathematician Archimedes in 250 B.C., has evolved over the years from hand-held augers to gas-powered models. In recent years, propane augers and lithium-ion battery-powered electric ice augers are available as well.
By now, we hope you have a general idea of the sort of ice auger you need to buy, and various other considerations you need to have in mind to get the best out of your auger. No matter your ice fishing needs, the best gas powered ice auger to get is one that is durable, reliable and cuts through the ice quickly. You don’t want to stand out in the cold for too long because your ice auger is taking forever to bore a hole. You may also consider an electric ice auger.
You can consider getting a shelter for fishing, but that’s an additional cost you have to plan for, and can be a problem if you are planning for ice fishing season with a limited budget.
Other things you need to consider are how often you plan to sharpen your blades, and how to maintain them to ensure they stay in shape for a long while. You also need to find out how long the engine of your gas powered ice auger needs to run before the blades start operating at their optimum. Some ice augers need their engines to idle for a while before they kick in at 100%.
So, in closing, a reliable and efficient gas powered ice auger is the best thing you can buy to ensure you have an enjoyable ice fishing season. Otherwise, protective winter wear is essential. Nothing ruins a trip quicker than frostbitten hands and toes, so throw out your 10-year old boots and stock up on a new pair!