If you’ve ever gone ice fishing, you know that an ice auger is an essential piece of gear. Without an ice auger to drill through the ice, you’ll have a hard time catching fish.
An ice auger is a drill that carves a hole in a thick layer of ice so that ice anglers can fish through the frozen lake. There are various kinds of ice augers to choose from: electric augers, hand powered ice augers, gas ice augers, propane augers, and power drill conversion augers to name a few.
Whether you prefer electric, hand, or gas augers, we’ve compiled the best ice fishing drills available in 2020. These ice augers are top-rated for their efficiency when cutting through the ice, so you can kick back and enjoy your day of fishing.
Top Ice Fishing Augers
Check out the best ice augers available on the market today. These augers will help you effortlessly cut through the ice, and were chosen based on performance, customer reviews, and quality of the products.
- Best Hand Auger: Strike Master Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger
- Best Electric Auger: ION X29250 High-Performance Electric Ice Auger
- Best Gas Auger: Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger
- Best Propane Auger: Eskimo Propane Auger Series, 8-10 Inch
- Best Drill Conversion Kit: Clam Drill Auger Conversion Kit
Best Hand Auger
The Strike Master Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger is made with high alloy carbon steel blades, so it’s strong and sharp enough to cut through tough ice. The handle is ergonomically designed, so it’s easy to manually carve a hole in the ice. Rubber grips also improve the comfort and performance of this hand auger, making it one of the best hand augers. It comes in sizes of 6 inch, 7 inch, and 8 inch, so you can choose the hole size that best fits your needs.
- High Alloy Carbon Steel Blades
- Powder Coated Paint to Reduce Ice Build-up
- Soft Rubber Grips
- Ergonomic Designed Handle System
- Adjustable Handle: Adjusts from 48" - 57"
ION X29250 High-Performance Electric Ice Auger
Best Electric Auger
ION is the go-to brand for electric ice augers, and an ion electric auger is a solid investment. The new ION X augers have a better battery and improved performance. The 5 hour-amp 40V battery has 60% more battery capacity than former models. The ION X29250 auger also has a new cast-bottom for smoother cutting. This auger cuts 8 inch holes.
- The new ION X bolsters all of the quality, reliability and ease of the original ION with the latest cutting edge ice auger technology
- 5 amp-hour 40V battery: offers 60% higher storage capacity than the original ION battery. Allows up to 1600 inches of ice in ideal ice conditions on a single charge
- Aluminum cast bottom: ION X's new cast bottom results in a smoother, more even cut when drilling or Redrilling holes. We've taken the legendary smooth cut of the ION and made it even more precise
- Re-designed handlebars: by bringing the handles closer to the powerhead, drilling next to walls of your shack and shelters is easier than ever
- Two LED lights: positioned under the powerhead, two bright LED lights illuminate the ice surface making the ION x ideal for night operation and drilling inside shelters
Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger
Best Gas Auger
The Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger is the best gas powered option due to it’s peak performance and extra features. It is cold-weather tested, and has mitten-grip recoil so you can use it easily with gloves on. This auger is fairly lightweight compared to other gas-powered auger models. It is also easy to start, powerful, and comes with a 5-year warranty. The Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger cuts 8-inch holes and has a length of 42 inches.
- 33CC VIPER 2-CYCLE ENGINE: Cold-weather tested
- QUANTUM AUGER: Ideal for re-drilling holes with its unique centering ring
- PRECISION, STAINLESS STEEL BLADES: Blades last longer and hold their edge in dirty ice. Blade protector included to help further extend the life of your blades
- STAINLESS CENTERING POINT: Keeps the auger stable on uneven ice, or when re-drilling old holes
- ALL-METAL TRANSMISSION: Offers optimum gearing
Eskimo Propane Auger Series, 8-10 Inch
Best Propane Auger
This propane auger from Eskimo utilizes a 40cc 4-cycle engine to cut swiftly through the ice. It has an auto-prime fuel system, so you don’t have to prime the engine before you start drilling. The Eskimo Propane Auger is easy to use, and refilling the pre-filled propane tanks is simple and mess-free. This auger comes with an Eskimo 5-year warranty, and it is available in an 8 or 10 inch model.
- 40CC, HIGH-COMPRESSION 4-CYCLE ENGINE: Specially designed for high-compression, with enough power to turn either an 8" or 10" auger bit with ease and minimal weight added to the unit
- QUANTUM AUGER: Ideal for re-drilling holes with its unique centering ring
- QUICK-RELEASE BOTTLE HOLDER: Holds readily available 1 lb. propane cylinder and easily connects and disconnects for convenient replacement
- NO PRIME FUEL SYSTEM: No more need to prime the engine before startup, just open the valve and pull the recoil to begin drilling
- LOW MAINTENANCE: No gummed up carburetors
Clam Drill Auger Conversion Kit
Best Power Drill Auger Converter
Use the Clam Drill Auger Conversion Kit with most 18V 1/2 inch cordless drills for a powerful alternative to buying a power auger. This kit includes the auger blade and drill plate, but does not include a handle to use the auger manually. The Clam Drill Auger Converter uses ball bearings to absorb the load from the auger, so the drill can spin without supporting the auger’s torque. This auger kit drills 6 inch holes.
- The leader in the ice-fishing industry offering a full line of hardwater fishing supplies
- Durable to withstand any element
- Reliable quality
What is an Ice Auger?
An ice auger is a drill of sorts that cuts through thick layers of ice. Ice augers are an essential piece of ice fishing gear, because without them it would be difficult to impossible to cut through the ice.
With an auger, anglers can quickly cut a concise hole through a frozen lake. Then, they can drop their line through the hole and wait for a bite!
Ice augers typically consist of a blade attached to some equipment to turn the blade. The top of the auger depends on what type of auger you choose to use.
Types of Ice Augers
There are multiple types of ice augers, including electric, hand, gas, propane, and drill auger conversion kits. The hand auger is the original and typically the least expensive, but it also requires the most elbow grease. Learn about the different types of ice augers to find the best one for you!
Hand, or manual ice augers, are the original ice auger used by old-school anglers. The obvious disadvantage to hand powered augers is that you have to put in the work to carve a hole in the ice. When ice is at its thickest, this can be difficult; it’s also not ideal if you plan to cut multiple holes – expect sore arms.
Despite the labor involved, hand augers have many benefits. They are the lightest in weight, so you can easily carry them around the lake. They are also the quietest to use. Hand augers are also the least expensive since there isn’t any costly technology involved. Since they’re hand operated, they also won’t fail to work when you’re out on the ice, making them a more reliable pick.
For ice fishermen who only go out occasionally, a hand auger will do the trick. They’re reliable, easy enough to operate, lightweight, and inexpensive.
Electric ice augers run on batteries (usually large, rechargeable ones). The benefits of an electric auger include the ease of use, quick hole-cutting times, and their lighter weight compared to gas augers. Electric augers are often better for those cutting fewer, smaller holes.
They aren’t quite as powerful or efficient as a gas powered ice auger, but electric augers are still more efficient than a hand-powered auger. With an electric auger, there are no emissions released, so they’re safe to use inside an ice fishing shelter or tent.
If you choose an electric auger, be sure to pick one of the best; cheaper models often fail, which could ruin a good day of ice fishing. The batteries need to be kept warm when they aren’t in use, so plan for how you’ll store an electric auger. You’ll also have to remember to keep batteries charged before trips, or buy a spare battery to use as a back-up.
Gas powered augers are probably the best pick for a serious ice angler. These augers are the most powerful, so they can cut through the thickest ice with the most ease. They are more durable than electric augers, which are more prone to technical issues. Often, gas augers have longer blades, which is good for drilling through thicker ice.
There are some downsides to gas augers, however. The main one is that you have to carry liquid fuel. This not only adds to the weight of your ice fishing gear, but also can result in spills that harm your other items. A gas spill can also harm the environment, and will likely scare off fish. Another downside to gas augers is their weight and noise – they are the heaviest and the loudest option. The noise from a gas auger may scare off skittish fish.
For those who are serious about ice fishing, need to cut multiple holes, or cut a larger hole or through thicker ice, a gas auger is the right choice. These models are durable, powerful, and the best option for cutting through many layers of ice.
Propane ice augers are one of the newer innovations in augers. These are generally slightly less powerful than gas augers, but more powerful than hand or electric augers. Propane augers often have four-stroke engines.
There are various benefits to using a propane auger. Propane is safer to store than gas, and it’s easier to refuel a propane auger. Typically, you just replace the propane with a prefilled tank, so you don’t have to worry about the mess of refilling a gas auger. They are also lighter to carry. Propane is also a cleaner fuel to use, so they’re better for the environment and some can even be used indoors.
Propane ice augers have grown in popularity in recent years. They don’t have quite the same power as gas augers, but they’re a close second and have other benefits.
Ice Auger Power Drill Conversion Kits
An alternative to buying a full ice auger is to buy drill conversion adapter. With this method, anglers can use what is essentially an auger blade connected to their cordless drill. Since many people already have a drill in their toolbox, this is a lightweight and cost effective solution to drilling holes in the ice.
Using a cordless drill and an auger conversion kit has the benefit of being lightweight, easier to transport, and cheaper if you already have a strong drill. This method is best for drilling smaller holes. If you’re drilling through super thick ice, your drill might not hold up. Keep in mind that your drill needs to be pretty strong to get through the ice!
If you already have a powerful drill and don’t see it as worthwhile to invest in an expensive ice auger, this method is less expensive than others and requires less muscle than a standard hand auger.
How To Choose an Ice Auger
With all the different types of augers, brands, and features, it can be hard to decide which is the right auger for you. We’ll break down what factors you should consider before purchasing an ice auger.
Hand, Electric, Gas, Propane, or Drill Adapters
The first decision you should make is what style of ice auger you need. With the right products, all of these augers will work well. Tailoring your choice of auger to your needs will help you make the best choice for your style of ice fishing, price range, and other considerations.
For those who are only occasional ice fishers, those who don’t want to shell out much money, or anyone only carving few, smaller holes, a hand auger is probably your best bet. If you’re physically capable of manually using a hand auger, these are reliable and easy to use.
If you don’t want to put in the elbow grease required for a hand auger, an electric auger is the next step up. These are pricier than hand augers, but typically not as expensive as gas augers. They are stronger than a manual auger, so they can carve holes faster and easier. For those only carving a few smaller holes, an electric auger will do the job well.
Serious ice anglers should opt for a gas powered auger. These have their drawbacks too, of course, but they are the best option for carving large holes, multiple holes, and carving through thicker ice.
Propane augers work well for serious anglers as well, although they don’t pack quite the same punch as gas augers. Still, these are a powerful option with better performance than most electric augers, and they’re easier, lighter, and less messy than gas.
Drill conversion augers work great if you already have a powerful drill at home. These are also lightweight, and they work fast. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money on an auger, but don’t want to put in the effort for a hand auger, drill auger adaptors work well.
Ice Auger Blades
Another important factor to consider is the blade on your ice auger. Many auger brands have their own auger blades that must be used for their augers, so be sure to research blade compatibility before buying any separate or replacement pieces.
Factors to consider for your blade include it’s size, length, and the materials used.
Blade size is one of the most important considerations. Ice auger blades usually come in 6 inch, 8 inch, or 10 inch options. This will be the diameter of the hole cut in the ice. Larger blades are often more expensive, but the price difference is usually a nominal.
When choosing your blade size, consider what fish you’re targeting. If it’s a smaller panfish species you’re targeting, 6” should be fine. If you’re hoping to catch big northern pike or trout, you may want to opt for an 8 or 10 inch blade.
The length of the blade needs to be long enough to cut all the way through the ice. If the ice is 10 inches thick, your blade needs to be at least that long to cut all the way through and hit the water.
Consider your location and the time of year that you plan on fishing. Research the lakes you want to visit to learn how thick the ice is usually so that you’re fully prepared. Some lakes in the continental U.S. will only be about a foot thick, while lakes in colder Northern climates may have ice that is several feet thick.
Weight and Mobility
The weight of your ice auger may be an important factor when choosing which one to buy. You’ll have to carry this around all day, so unless you have an ice fishing sled on hand, a heavy auger can be cumbersome.
Hand augers are the lightest, with gas augers coming in as the heaviest models. Weight might not be a deciding factor for every angler, but if the mobility of your auger is important to you, keep this in mind while shopping.
Drill Through Ice With the Best Ice Auger
Choose one of our top five ice augers, or find the best electric augers, hand augers, gas augers, and more on Fishmasters! Whatever your preferred ice auger, you’re sure to find the ice fishing gear you’ll need. Don’t forget to pack your ice scoop and hole cover to keep your freshly carved hole clear of snow!