Best Ice Fishing Auger: Which Auger is Hungriest for the Ice?

Drilling holes in ice is not the most enjoyable part of fishing on hard waters. You want the job to be as smooth and efficient as possible. It doesn’t matter if you prefer the lightness and simplicity of a hand auger or the power of gasoline; choosing the best ice fishing auger is crucial.

The abundance of high-quality options available and long-standing myths make it even more difficult. We want to clarify the facts about ice augers and give you our top picks.

Best Manual Augers

  • Nils USA High-Velocity Hand Auger –Our Choice!
  • StrikeMaster Mora Ice Auger

Best Convertible and Drill-Driven Augers

  • K-DrillOur Choice!
  • Nils USA Convertible Head Auger

The Best Electric Augers

  • StrikeMaster Lithium 40 Volt Electric Ice AugerOur Choice!
  • Ion 19150 40V 3-amp-hour Electric

Best Gasoline Augers

  • Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger –Our Choice!
  • StrikeMaster 10″ Ice Auger

Best Propane Augers

  • Eskimo HC40Q10 High Compression 40cc –Our Choice!
  • Eskimo HC40Q10 High Compression 40cc

The Best Ice Fishing Augers – Reviewed

Manual Augers

Nils USA High-Velocity Auger for Hands

NILS Hand ICE Auger 4.5'

Diameter4 1/2, 6″, and 8.

Length32″ for smaller sizes and 34″ for the 8-inch auger

Blade Type: Shaver

Weight:8-10 lbs.

Nils’ hand auger, also known as the “hand” auger, is a well-known performer in ice cutting. Its sharp blades and ergonomic design allow it to chew through ice much faster than you might imagine. This simple tool was designed and manufactured in Finland. These shaver blades can cut through 1 inch of ice per second for fit anglers, which is faster than any power auger.

This high-speed drilling technique is possible thanks to the offset handles. They require both arms to operate the auger. This gives the blades more power and speed, which in turn eat into the ice faster than other well-designed competitors.

This auger is lightweight, portable, and easy to use. It’s an alternative to finicky powered options, and an ideal tool to help people who are unable to walk long distances to reach the ice.

There are many sizes available, so even larger blades won’t be a problem for most people. This auger will be quickly dulled by dirty ice.

Pros

  • Easy to transport and lightweight
  • Amazingly fast
  • It is simple and virtually unbreakable
  • Usable inside your shelter
  • Silence

Cons

  • Your fitness level is key.
  • It can be tiring to drill more than one hole.

StrikeMaster Mora Ice Auger

 

StrikeMaster MD-8 Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger, 8-Inch

Diameter5″, 6″, 7, and 8″

LengthAdjustable; 48-57″

Blade Type: Shaver

Weight:6-8 lbs

Strikemaster, like Nils, hails from Scandinavia where it is a long-standing tradition to cut holes in the ice every winter. Mora, the Swedish knife manufacturer, is involved in this case. This pretty much guarantees no-nonsense quality.

Strikemaster’s auger can be controlled with one hand, while the other is cranked with the other. This means that it isn’t as hungry for ice as the Nils. The auger’s relatively flat blades are a problem as they can wander when you attempt to make a hole. You’ll also need to be careful when using shaver-style augers. Dirty ice can cause your blades to dull quickly.

This auger features an adjustable handle that allows you to choose the right length for you and your ice. This is a great feature, especially for anglers who are taller or shorter or for those who need extra length to cut deeper ice.

Pros

  • Easy to transport and lightweight
  • It is simple and virtually unbreakable
  • Usable inside your shelter
  • Silence

Cons

  • Your fitness level is key.
  • It can be tiring to drill more than one hole.
  • It’s not as fast as the Nils

Convertible and drill-driven Augers

K-DrillOur Choice!

K-Drill IDRL08, 8' Auger Only

Diameter6″ and 8″.

Length36″ blade

Type of blade: Chipper

Weight: N/A

K-Drill’s Ice Auger has been a popular choice over gas-powered models due to its effectiveness, lightweight, and ease of use.

This auger attaches to a drill through a 1/2-inch chuck. The power and speed of the drill are directly proportional to the hand tool it is connected to. K-Drill states that its chipper blades require a minimum torque of 725 inches/pounds to operate and that you will need an 18-volt battery to run the drill. To help you control and bear down on the auger, a side stabilizer arm will be necessary. This drill is too much. It won’t work as well without it.

This auger can make holes with a sufficient power drill. One fully charged battery will last for several dozen holes. The K-Drill is lighter and more efficient than other propane- or gasoline-powered augers. This drill should weigh in at around ten pounds. That’s about 1/4 the weight of large gasoline or propane auger.

We love the auger’s ultra-portability. You’ll be able to carry less weight if you have to go far to the ice, or need to make holes in a large area.

Pros

  • Easy to transport and lightweight
  • It is simple to use
  • Usable inside your shelter
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Relies on a strong drill
  • True powered augers are not as fast

Nils USA Convertible Head Auger

Nils master UR600C Cordless drill auger

Diameter4 1/2, 6 and 8

Length47″ blade

Type of blade: Shaver

Weight: N/A

The Nils convertible auger, which is basically the high-velocity hand auger, has a few modifications. The business end can be removed and a 1/2-inch chuck attached to the drill. To drive the blades into the ice like the K-Drill you will need a powerful, high-torque motor. Nils suggests that your drill should generate at least 700 inches/pounds of torque.

Nils’ blades, which are just as good as they sound, will eat the ice like it is starving. The blades can grab the ice immediately and will not require any downward pressure.

The auger can slip out of the chuck during drilling. The water below the ice is saved the auger by a flared disc above the blade. It is wider than the hole diameter so that you won’t lose your auger.

The Nils can be used so quickly by hand that it isn’t clear what benefit is gained by adding a drill. The handles are a backup for your battery or drill, at most. Expect a combined weight of around ten pounds, similar to the K-Drill system.

Pros

  • Easy to transport and lightweight
  • It is simple to use
  • Usable inside your shelter
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Rely on a powerful drill
  • Can you slip out of the chuck?

Electric Augers

StrikeMaster Lithium 40 Volt Electric Ice AugerOur Choice!

Lithium 40v 8' Ice Auger

Diameter8″ and 10″.

LengthN/A

Type of blade: Chipper

Weight:24 lbs. 26 lbs.

StrikeMaster’s electric drill is a great performer. It often outdoes its propane- or gas-powered counterparts.

This auger is available in sizes 8 and 10 and is tipped with sharp chipper knives. The pilot spike is used to help you get started. It prevents the blade from wandering and the hole is almost complete once the blade starts to bite. This battery-powered auger is at least twice as fast as any powered one we have seen. You will lose weight and mess as a result.

You need to keep your batteries warm. Batteries don’t like the cold so you can save their energy. You can simply put them in a small cooler and a couple of hand warmers. We strongly recommend this precaution. You can’t test this auger with more than a dozen holes made in thick ice.

The Strikemaster’s reverse gear, which helps to clear the hole of slush, is a great design feature. The Strikemaster, like all-electric augers, is silent and emits no emissions, so you can use it indoors.

The battery is not included in the weight, so this system isn’t the heaviest. These augers can be cut by hand. They are lighter than the gas-powered alternatives but not much.

Pros

  • They are lighter than propane and gas augers
  • Amazingly fast
  • Usable inside your shelter
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Keep your batteries warm

Ion 19150 40V 3-amp-hour Electric

ION 19150 40V 3 amp-hour Electric 8-Inch Ice Auger, with Reverse

Diameter6″, 8″, 10″

Length34″ or 46″, with extension

Type of blade: Shaver

Weight:21-25 lbs.

Ion’s electric augers are a powerful alternative to conventional fuels. These augers are powered by a 40-volt electrical engine and supplied with power by a huge lithium-ion battery. They offer a competitive performance advantage over gas-powered alternatives.

These augers can weigh between 21 and 25 pounds depending on the size of the blade. You can expect the weight to increase when you add the powerpack, but they are still half the weight of comparable propane- or gas-powered models with fuel.

The Ion performs well on ice and the shaver knives are designed to cut. Although we would like to see a spike to get the hole started, once you get it going drilling speeds are about the same as other powered systems. These augers are quiet and easy to use. They can also be used indoors because they emit no harmful gases.

The battery is the weak link in any electric auger. The battery is the weak link in any electric auger. Cold temperatures can reduce their power so it is important to keep them warm. This simple precaution will increase battery life and ensure that you have plenty of holes to fit the auger’s capacity.

Pros

  • They are lighter than propane and gas augers
  • Usable inside your shelter
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Keep your batteries warm
  • A spike is needed to ensure the blade is centered when you start a hole

Gasoline Augers

Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice AugerOur Choice!

Eskimo M43Q10 Mako 43cc with 10' Quantum Ice Auger

Diameter10″

Length42″ blade

Blade Type: Chipper

Weight:34 lbs.

The Mako from Eskimo is a beast. Its 10-inch blade is powered by a powerful 43cc engine. This auger can withstand the toughest ice with plenty of power.

An earlier generation of gasoline-powered augers had a simple choke that you used to start them. However, in freezing temperatures, they can be finicky and difficult to use. Eskimo solved this problem by using a primer. As long as you prime the auger before you choke, it shouldn’t be a problem. This reliable auger will always start the first pull or the second time you pull it.

Although powerful, the 43cc engine consumes fuel. We don’t believe you will need extra gasoline. This is a good thing, as it makes it easy to refill the ice without spilling fuel, and water contamination with oil and gasoline is not an issue.

While the Eskimo’s Chipper Blades consume ice, vibrations are minimal while running. You’ll be able to tell how important this is if you have ever drilled many holes.

This auger can be loud and cannot be used indoors because of its toxic fumes.

Pros

  • Reliable
  • It’s easy to get started
  • Powerful
  • Fuel-sipping

Cons

  • Loud
  • Heavy

StrikeMaster 10″ Ice Auger

StrikeMaster Honda-Lite Power Auger, 10-Inch

LengthN/A

Blade Type: Shaver

Weight:26 lb

StrikeMaster and Honda teamed up to supply the engine for this auger. The carmaker’s expertise is evident in the vehicle’s performance.

The 35cc Honda engine isn’t as powerful or as efficient as the Eskimo and won’t plow through the ice as well. It runs quieter and is a little smoother. It uses a primer, just like the Eskimo. You should have it up and running in no more than a few pulls.

Honda’s four-stroke engine is cleaner and more environmentally friendly than a 2-stroke engine. This saves you the effort of mixing fuel. However, you still need to maintain and check the engine oil. Problem is, the dipstick isn’t marked so it is difficult to determine the proper oil level.

The engine’s performance in cold conditions is impressive, and, remarkably, the 35cc engine can start even in snow.

Pros

  • Reliable
  • It’s easy to get started
  • Better for the environment: Four-stroke engine

Cons

  • Loud
  • Heavy
  • Not marked on the dipstick
  • Maybe a little underpowered

Propane Augers

Eskimo HC40Q10 High Compression 40ccOur Choice!

Eskimo High Compression HC40Q10 40cc Propane with 10-Inch Quantum Ice Auger

Diameter10″

Length42″ blade

Type of blade: Chipper

Weight:34 lb

The 40cc propane auger by Eskimo was specifically designed for this fuel type. Its performance is impressive, and many ice anglers have made the switch to propane.

It’s easy to use one-pound propane bottles for fuel. This engine is so efficient that a single propane bottle will provide enough power for one day of ice. You’ll be able to drill dozens or even hundreds of holes before switching to another tank.

The Eskimo uses chipper knives and eats ice with a great appetite. We don’t think this propane auger is any faster or more powerful than the 44cc gasoline one. This should eliminate any doubts that propane augers are out-gunned on ice.

We love that this auger is easy to use and reliable even in extremely cold temperatures. There’s no priming or choking, just go! You can use the auger to heat your shelter because propane emits no emissions.

Pros

  • Reliable
  • It’s easy to get started
  • It is powerful
  • Fuel-sipping
  • It is easy to refuel
  • Can be used indoors

Cons

  • Loud
  • Heavy

Eskimo HC40Q10 High Compression 40cc

jiffy 46X-Treme Ice Auger with 10

Diameter10″

LengthN/A

Type of blade: Chipper

Weight:36 lbs.

Jiffy was the first manufacturer to offer a propane-powered auger. The X-Treme is a testament to their expertise. This auger can handle anything thanks to its powerful 49cc propane engine.

The chipper blades are fast and efficient, consuming the ice with no effort. Jiffy claims that this propane auger is the best on the market. We can’t disagree with that claim! However, this product is also the heaviest of all the ones we tested. You can expect it to be loud when you turn it on!

This auger is generally not as sophisticated as the Eskimo and may require a few more pulls before it can get started.

Jiffy has wide handles that will help you better control the power of this beast. This is a nice touch and we are grateful for it. You can switch fuel canisters in no time, just like all propane augers. However, you may not need to drill many holes at once.

The Jiffy can be used in an ice shanty with clean-burning propane. This is a great option for when the weather is bad.

Pros

  • Powerful
  • Fuel-sipping
  • It is easy to refuel
  • Can be used indoors

Cons

  • Loud
  • Heavy

Our Selection Criteria for Evaluating the Best Ice Augers

Fuel type

There are five types of ice augers. Each has its strengths and weaknesses, depending on your requirements.

Manual Augers

The simplest, most reliable, and the lightest option is the manual auger. They are easy to transport and can be driven by your muscles, not fuel or batteries. This simplicity has its advantages.

They are almost silent and can be used to drill holes in the ice without worrying about disturbing nearby fish in a shallow pond. You can use them inside an ice shelter to keep out the elements and get into the ice. The best part about manual augers is their affordability. They are lightweight and can be transported from your vehicle to the frozen surface with relative ease.

A few feet of ice can be drilled through by a good manual auger. However, this is dependent on your fitness. If you aren’t strong or fit, larger augers (e.g. anything with a diameter of more than six inches) can be difficult to use. A powered option is usually the best option if you have several holes to drill.

Notice: Hand-operated augers can still be used while wearing gloves. However, make sure to have good gripping ice fishing gloves.

Video comparing Laser and Nils hand augers, and showing how they work

Convertible Or Drill-driven Augers

Convertible augers or drill-driven augers make use of a cordless drill to drive the auger through the ice. These are great options if you have a drill capable of producing more than 700 inches or more torque.

Drill-driven augers are lightweight and easy to use. It is generally cheaper than other powered options and can cut dozens of holes with a high-quality drill. This option, like manual augers, can be used inside a shelter.

It is important to remember that the weakest link in this system is the drill and battery quality. You can’t trust the auger to do its job if it isn’t powered by an engine that is strong enough.

We recommend that you keep your battery life as long as possible if you use a drill-driven auger.

Video showing drill-powered augers in action, including the K-Drill

Electric Augers

Because of their simplicity of use, electric augers are on the rise.

Electric augers are powered by large lithium-ion batteries. They don’t require spillable fuels such as gasoline. They can cut through dozens of ice cubes when fully charged. They are emission-free, so you can use them in your ice shelter.

The electric augers are easy to use and start, which is a nice feature when you have little time and the cold is gnawing at your face and hands.

Although they are lighter than manual or drill-driven augers, electric augers can prove to be cumbersome if you have a lot to walk. We recommend that you use a sled to transport these guys. When the mercury drops, the batteries can become problematic. The complexity of electric engines can also make it difficult to trust your auger.

Video of Ice pros talking about how electric augers are replacing gasoline


Head-to-head speed testing of K-Drill and Strikemaster vs Ion

Gasoline Augers

The gasoline auger is the classic standby.

These augers can be powered by a fuel tank that is attached to the motor. They are reliable and powerful. This option is great for drilling large holes since you can take as much fuel as you wish. Gas-powered augers are great for large holes.

Like all gas-powered tools, they are easy to start if they are well-maintained. If you have ever had trouble getting a string trimmer, lawnmower, or chainsaw to turn on, you will know how frustrating it can be. These augers can be difficult to start in cold weather if they don’t have a primer. The models we reviewed do.

The downside? The downside? As annoying as these drawbacks maybe, another concern is the possibility that a spillage while refueling could cause damage to the delicate ecosystems of a pond, lake, or river.

Head-to-head Jiffy 8″ and Strikemaster 10″

Propane Augers

Propane augers can be used as a replacement for gasoline-powered counterparts.

Propane augers are powered by a small propane tank, which can be quickly replaced. They offer all the advantages of gasoline but have easier fueling. These augers are powerful and reliable and can handle any number of holes you require, as long as you have fuel. Even large blades will not be a problem with the torque available. Propane cylinders are safe for the environment because they don’t leak or spill.

Many people believe propane augers lack power. However, as you’ll see, our models have the brute force necessary to cut through thick ice.

However, they are a little more difficult to start in colder weather than the gasoline-powered options. As with all powered augers, you can expect them to have a lot of weight. Although propane augers can be noisy, they are quiet and emission-free, so indoor use is possible.

To show that propane is more powerful than gasoline, we compared it to propane

Type and quality of blades

The blade is your auger’s teeth, and the engine is the heart. You can drill faster if the blade is sharper, which saves you time and fuel.

Our shortlist included only high-quality augers. However, it is important to understand the differences in blade styles.

  • Chipper blades –They are highly skilled at cutting through icy, dirty, or uneven ice.
  • Shaver blades –These are straight, flat edges that can be used to remove thin slices of ice from paper. These are best for drilling even, clean ice.

To make the best decision for you, we recommend you consider the ice on which you fish.

Auger length and diameter

The auger diameter is important. These can range from 6 inches to 10 inches. A larger diameter means a bigger hole, which will require more power to drive the big blade through the ice.

A six-inch hole will work well for smaller species, such as panfish. A ten-inch auger is required for big pike, muskies, and lake trout. Keep two things in your mind. The first is that the larger the hole, it’s easier it to drop something into it. Children will also be present. It is important to measure the holes correctly so that they don’t accidentally slip through.

The length of the auger is another important consideration. An auger must be long enough to penetrate the ice and not just to it. The models we reviewed are adequate for 24 inches of ice. Some can handle more.

Our Picks: The Nils USA High-Velocity Auger and the K-Drill, the StrikeMaster Lithium-40-Volt Electric Ice Auger.

It can be difficult to cut through ice, so you want it as smooth as possible. Our top picks are faster, more efficient, and easier to use than their rivals.

Nils’ hand auger is perhaps the most efficient in terms of performance, weight, and ease of use. This pick is lightning fast through the ice. The pick’s sharp blades make it easy to drill the holes that you need and to move the ice around.

The K-Drill is a recommended option for anyone who already has a powerful drill and wants a powered auger. This drill-driven auger is lighter than other options, more hungry for the ice and so easy to use that we aren’t sure if it would be worth the cost of the other powered options.

StrikeMaster’s 40 Volt Electric Auger is the best in battery power. It offers a powerful engine, long battery life, and lots of speed. It’s lighter and quieter than propane or gasoline alternatives. If you are tired of fuel leakage or finicky starts, this auger will impress you.

The Eskimo Mako is the most distinguished gasoline-fueled auger. This beast is powerful, fast-starting, and blisteringly fast. You can start it in just a few pulls in all weather conditions, and it is efficient enough to drill more holes than you will need for a single tank.

Eskimo is a leader in the auger industry, and their propane model is undoubtedly the best. It’s easy to transport it into your shanty and it will fire up quickly. You can also refuel it easily, use it efficiently, and appreciate the value of your drill when there are a lot more holes.

Regardless of which option you choose to use, any one of these augers will be a great fit for you.

Lewis
Lewis Mark is a vastly experienced fly fisher. His encyclopedic knowledge of fly tying has led to start blog on fishing. He also review Fishing equipment based on his knowledge and experience.