Since I can remember, I’ve had a passion for the wilderness and adventure. I’ve learned my trade everywhere, from the rock faces of the Himalaya to the wilds of South America and Europe. My vision is simple, to connect more people to the awesome power of the great outdoors.
John is an avid traveler, hiker, and RVer. Moreover, it seems like he knows everything when it comes to fishing and hunting: his father started sharing all the tips and tricks he knew when John was a kid. No wonder we trust his opinion every time a new article is being created.
Last updated: November 23, 2021
Outdoorsly is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
If you are a serious angler, you will know that ice has the potential to impede your efforts to reach fish beneath it. As such, an ice auger is one of the critical tools you carry around with you in addition to your fishing gear since it allows you to drill holes in the ice.
You no doubt want to own one of the best ice augers in the market, and having reviewed over 30 products, we can help you with that. The Eskimo Hc40 Propane Auger Series editor’s choice product, for instance, is excellent because it has an auto-prime fuel system, is propane powered, made of durable materials, and possesses a few other benefits. This is not to downplay the other nine products that feature in the table below since they are incredible listings as well.
Our team spent a lot of hours researching the products in the table below, whereby we looked into cutting diameter and auger length. This is because you need the auger to be able to cut through even the thickest blocks of ice. As well, the type of drill, whether electric or otherwise in addition to the handlebar and other features helped rank devices in terms of usability. Our efforts culminated in the article below which consists of a table, in detail reviews of all ten products mentioned, and a buying guide. As such, it shouldn’t be problematic for you to choose the best ice auger from among the options provided.
The Eskimo Hc40 Propane Auger Series is our editor’s choice for the day and for good reason. Among the positives, you find that this tool has an engine that is propane powered. While this may not seem significant to some, you would do well to note some of the benefits that accrue from using this option over gas. One of them is the fact that there are less exhaust fumes from the device. In addition to that, there are no leaks and spills from propane tanks, which make it easier to transport in your vehicle. Also, 1 lb. propane tanks are quite light, and that is all you need to power the engine.
You should also take into account the weight of the whole device, and it can range from 32-34 lb. One can only assume this weight difference is attributed to the cutting diameter since there are the 8” and 10” options as well. Handlebars as well will likely be durable due to their steel construction and allow for easier handling of the device.
Another thing to note is the quick release bottle holder. This is the mechanism that holds your propane bottles in place, and if need be, it is quite easy to remove empty propane cans and replace them with new ones. The 40cc four-cycle viper engine is also something to write home about. This, in conjunction with the auger, is capable of drilling holes in almost any block of ice. Also, as compared to other devices on the list, the length of the drill is as well impressive.
A blade protector is included for storing your device when you are not using it. If you want, you can also get the carrying bag for easier transportation of the auger.
Why did it make our list?
No spillages from propane tanks
Comes with a blade protector
Also comes with a carrying bag
What is not ideal about it?
This is the most cumbersome device on the list
A few users have noted that the pulled cord if released incorrectly can break some of the plastic elements of the device
Also top on the impressive ice augers list is the Strikemaster Lithium 40v Electric Power Auger. This is an electric-powered option, so you will likely be protecting the environment more by choosing this tool over fuel-powered ones. Similar to the editor’s choice, you have two options to pick from with regards to the cutting diameter. Of course, you will go with the 10” option if you expect to be catching larger fish.
The battery is a 40V lithium-ion option that should be enough to drill a few holes while you are on your fishing trip. This is as long as you remember to charge it to full beforehand. Also, it takes about 2½ hours to fully charge the battery using the rapid charge charging station that comes with your purchase.
You should also take note of the planetary gear system. It is durable, lightweight, and produces enough power to cut through both thin and thick blocks of ice. This is one of the reasons why the device only weighs a maximum of 27lbs. There are as well forward and reverse modes while using this tool. The forward motion will help cut and break down the ice while drilling. On the other hand, back motion is useful in removing slush from the hole, and this makes drilling even easier.
As to the handlebar, you get the impact-resistant long filament option for comfortable drilling. There is also the inclusion of safety features in the form of a deadman switch. Add that to the LED lights and two-year warranty, and you will realize why this device has such high standing on our list.
Here we have another electric auger to feature on our list. Just like the premium pick, this tool features a 40V engine with the difference being this one is a 3 amp hour model while its predecessor is a 5 amp hour device. There are claims that a single charge can help the machine run through 1000 inches of ice. This is a pleasant surprise as it means you can drill more than 50 holes on a single trip, and this makes it easier to find the ideal spot for fishing.
As to the cutting diameter, you only have the 8” option. This is coupled with the 34” auger length. You will also find that the auger is made mostly of durable steel components. This is crucial in breaking down the ice, all while ensuring that no damage comes to the device. Another construction component is in the making of the handlebars that feature aluminum bodies.
At only 22 pounds, this tool will likely be one of the easier ones to carry around. You will also expend less energy during the drilling process. Another thing to note is the ION reverse options that serve to remove slush so you can keep drilling without much resistance. If you hate the sound of engines running while cutting through the ice, this tool is also for you. As long as you are using this tool, the most prominent sound will be that of the blades cutting through the ice. You may as well appreciate the inclusion of a three-year warranty.
Why are we impressed?
Long battery life
Durable steel auger
Quiet in operation
What negatives must you be aware of?
Only the 8” cutting diameter is available
More suitable for use in a heated shack than in the cold outdoors
Another device you should consider taking on is the Eskimo Sting Ray 33c 8-in. Quantum Gas Auger. Just like the name suggests, this tool’s engine is powered by gas. However, you will have to gauge how much gas to put in the device since the manufacturer doesn’t offer details on the same pre-purchase. An element of the tool that might help in this regard is the see-through gas tank. Another benefit of the same is that you will be acutely aware when comes the time for you to refuel the device.
The structure involves an 8-inch diameter, which also indicates the size of the holes you will be drilling as well as a 42” length. As a result, you will likely find most blocks of ice a breeze to go through. All the components of the device, including the engine, auger, blades, and handle, combine to weigh about 28 lbs. All things considered, this is still a lightweight machine. Speaking of the handle, the tool features foam-covered steel handlebars. These boast of both durability and comfort in handling.
Also, if you are looking to re-drill old holes, the device features a unique centering ring and point. This way, even if the ice is uneven, it won’t end up affecting the final result. There is also the fact of a mitten grip recoil. This feature allows you to start the engine without having to remove your mittens. You are going to use this tool in the winter, and this helps keep you warm even as you brave the cold weather outside.
Why are we impressed?
Long, durable auger
See-through gas tank
Comes with a blade protector
What negatives must you be aware of?
Might leak from time to time during transportation
Other features: an overload protector, a 3-Planetary Gear Mechanism, safety release, 60 holes on a single 2Ah fully charged battery, easy connection & fitting, Reverse Torque Control& High-Intensity LED Surface Light
This tool is another eco-friendly electric option that is less noisy than fuel-burning augers as well. While fully charged, the device is capable of drilling up to 60 holes. This should be enough for a significant haul of fish, even if the first few spots you try aren’t all that promising. Also, the manufacturer saw it fit to include a battery indicator on the side of the device, so you know when it’s almost time to pack up and go home. Just like most other electric devices the tool will remain the same weight, whether fully charged or not, and stands at 22 lbs.
Also, if you happen to head out early in the morning for your fishing trip, you will probably appreciate the high-density light that will serve to illuminate your drilling spot. One impressive aspect of the tool is the overload protector. As long as this component of the machine is working, it is unlikely that your engine will get damaged.
Another thing to write home about is the reverse torque control. The best time to make use of this feature is right before breaking through the bottom of the ice. This way, the slush does not get in your way as you are trying to catch the fish beneath.
What makes it stand out?
Ergonomic grip on handlebars
Reverse torque for removing slush from the hole
Relatively long battery life
Overload protector included in engine
Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?
The device may struggle a bit breaking through the last few inches of ice if you fail to make use of the reverse mode to remove slosh
The manufacturer does not give details on the construction of the handlebar. Nevertheless, you can still find lots of positives to attribute to this tool. Among them, you see the auger length to be 42”. You would be hard-pressed to find longer augers, and even then, this is enough for most people’s needs. With this tool, there is also no 10” cutting diameter, so you will have to settle for the 8” the device has to offer.
Once you have the tool out in the ice, it should prove relatively easy to start due to the enlarged pull-start mechanism present. After turning it on, the device’s controls are within fingertip reach, and you can hit the safety switch as soon as you feel the need to. This is in addition to the handlebar being well-balanced, so your handling of the machine can be more comfortable. After all, you do need to conserve your energy for the fishing part of the day.
Given that this tool uses a fuel-burning engine, it might get loud and scare the fish away. Having foreseen this, the manufacturer saw it fit to include a muffler for noise reduction. You could also take note of the carbon steel double blades, which are meant to withstand friction and loads of use without deteriorating in quality and usefulness. Additional protection for the blades is also included in the form of a blade cover specifically for use while transporting or storing the device. It is also worth noting that the tank is see-through so you can adequately plan for refueling.
Why are we impressed?
Protective muffler guard
Comes with a heavy-duty blade cover
Easily accessible safety switch
What negatives must you be aware of?
Not as environment-friendly as electric options
Falls a bit on the heavier side as compared to a few other options
You may notice from the picture provided above that this device does not come with an auger head. As such, you may need to purchase an 18V or higher auger head to go with the device. As to the cutting diameter, you have to pick between the 6” and the 8”. Included in the tool is a heavy-duty steel hex shaft that will be able to take on any project the auger encounters without risk of breakages. This is in addition to the reinforced T connection that will serve to attach this device to the auger head.
The chrome alloy steel Lazer blades are also among the top features of the device designed to cut through both thin and thick ice. Also, you get a power-point that serves to keep the tip in place while drilling. This ensures even holes, even where the ice is uneven. The one-year warranty may also come in handy should any damage occur to the device.
Another aspect of the device is the synthetic resin molded flighting. This runs most of the length of the auger and is useful in the drilling process. It is as well-engineered to last quite a while, even with maximum use.
What do we love it for?
Comes with a reinforced T connection
What were we disappointed with?
You will need to buy a separate auger head which leads to higher costs
Here we have an auger attachment that you can order from Amazon for slightly over $200. On its own, the device weighs almost 7 lbs, and this is bound to increase in weight once you attach it to a drill. To that end, the manufacturer has made this tool compatible with most rechargeable drills that feature a 1/2” chuck. However, the drive pin is not a permanent fixture in the design of the device. Should you find that you already own a gas powerhead with clockwise rotation, you can switch out the pin for the 7/8” model. This will allow you to attach it to and use it with the powerhead you already own. With this purchase, you as well have heat-treated blades that you can remove and re-attach after you have sharpened them.
Once you have started using the device, you will as well likely be impressed by the minimum torque displayed while cutting through ice. The flighting on this device also deserves mention. It is made of high-quality plastic and has a smooth surface. This should prevent ice from freezing over on top of it. Also, should this component ever fall off the auger, it floats and thus should be easy to get back.
Another thing to note is that the tip of the device helps to control the speed of rotations by the auger. This is in addition to the blades making even cuts on both ends. You can thus use the device to quickly re-open closed holes.
What are our favorite features?
The device comes with removable cutting blades that can be re-sharpened
Chuck fits most rechargeable drill heads
The device can also work with gas powerheads
What could be better?
If you factor in all the extra accessories, you may need to purchase to make this tool work it becomes an expensive affair
You may as well want to choose a hand auger that puts you in full control of the holes you drill. You have to respect the fact that there are ergonomically designed handles with these types of tools, and this one delivers on that front. There is also the fact that the handlebar has a rubber grip to make it easier on the user while operating the device.
Another thing to note about the handle is that it is adjustable between 48” and 57”. Of course, this is meant to cater to people of different sizes. Additionally, you can break down the tool into two pieces, and this makes it easier to transport from home to your fishing destination.
You would also want to pay attention to the blade on this device. Its carbon steel body is alloyed to improve durability, and that is precisely what you get with the purchase. As such, if sharpened well, it should be able to make slight work of even thick blocks of ice.
This is the fourth and last item by the same manufacturer to feature on our list. It as well will boast a myriad of benefits to any would-be owners. Among them is the comfortable rubber grip given that this is a hand auger. Like its predecessor, this tool also comes with an adjustable handle. As such, depending on your height and length of your arms, you can decide to customize the handle to fit your needs.
Nevertheless, this tool is only available with a 6” cutting diameter, which may be restricting to some. Also, the blades on this tool are similar in construction to the ones on its predecessor on our list. You are thus assured of quality and durability. This is in addition to the powder coating. As a result, you will experience less ice buildup on the tool as you take it to task on the ice.
What stands out?
What cons did we manage to find?
Only available with a 6” cutting diameter
Things to Consider
As you can see from the options mentioned above, there are way too many ice augers to pick from, and you can easily make a mistake in your purchase choice. However, if you read through the buying guide below, it is unlikely that you will.
What is an ice auger?
An ice auger is a device used mainly by ice anglers that enables them to make a hole in the ice and access the fishing spots beneath it. There are a few different variations, including hand augers, gas augers, electric augers, and even propane ones.
Features to consider when choosing an ice auger
Of course, any tool you purchase is defined by its ability to do its job and do it well. Features on an ice auger will likely increase functionality. However, while you may want some features in your auger, others may not bring you any benefits. You should thus familiarize yourself with the features we have highlighted below to ensure you can pick which ones are the best match for your needs.
Electric augers come with batteries as well as charging units. You can power it up in your home on the night before your ice fishing trip.
These devices should be able to sustain enough power to drill multiple holes. You can even find devices that drill up to 100 holes on a single charge. They are as well powerful enough to compete with propane and gas augers. Another positive characteristic is that they are often noiseless.
You can as well choose a gas machine instead. The ThunderBay 33cc 8″ Power Ice Auger is one such example. These are known for their power and engines. While you may plan and fuel in advance, you can as well carry an extra can of gas in your car for refilling the device if need be. The downsides to these devices are that they often emit fumes and, if positioned incorrectly, can lead to leakages. They also tend to be louder than most of their counterparts.
A propane model like the Eskimo Hc40 Propane Auger Series is more or less like a gas auger only that it uses a propane tank to provide the fuel for the engine instead. Unlike their gas counterparts, these devices don’t spill fuel, and they produce less emissions.
If you already have a drill head, you can opt to buy the drill adapter augers as an attachment. This will significantly reduce the costs of purchasing the auger. Finally, there are the manual augers, and just as the name suggests, these need operating by hand. They thus don’t come with engines or chucks to attach them to other devices.
There are as well different types of blades that come with different augers. Among the differences are the component materials making up the blades. Of course, the more durable the blade, the better. The sharpness of the blades also matters since the sharper the blades, the easier it will be for them to cut through ice. Another variation is in the cutting blades diameter. You want wider holes if you are catching big fish, but if not, you can go for smaller drilling diameters.
Another thing you should want is a long auger, especially if you encounter thick ice on your fishing trips. However, you can do even better than that if you find a device with adjustable height.
Handlebars as well are a crucial consideration in your purchase choice. First and foremost, these should be durable enough to handle the vibrations of the device without breaking. Another thing you should look at is whether they incorporate comfort features into the design that makes it easier on your hands to hold the equipment. You can as well check the proximity of the handlebars to the controls.
Weight and mobility
As you can see from the devices mentioned above, weight varies from model to model. As a rule of thumb, you want as light a machine as possible. This is because you will likely have to transport it to and from your fishing spot. If it is too heavy, this may present a problem. Also, more substantial devices tend to be more challenging to handle.
Maintenance and repair
Here even factors like the warranty come into play. At best, you want a more extended warranty that covers more repairs. In this regard, the Eskimo Sting Ray 33c 8-in. Quantum Gas Auger has performed up to par. However, not every little breakage needs you to claim the warranty. Some of them are easy enough to repair. In this sense, the availability of spares also needs to be considered.
You as well will see a few extra features once you start to look at your options. One of them is reverse torque. While some devices will be able to power through blocks of ice, others need you to remove the slush so you can go back and drill deeper. A tool with reverse torque helps you efficiently do that. You may also find some devices with extra accessories. A blade protector, for instance, is not a necessity. However, you find a few machines offering it up in addition to a carry bag.
As long as you know how to use the device, it should be safe. Nevertheless, you may experience accidents with some of the tools that come with engines. However, some manufacturers have realized this and included safety switches in some of them. The resulting machines should be safer to use and a way to mitigate damage caused by accidents. That said. Accidents involving augers are very rare.
As shown by our editor’s choice, propane-powered augers can be on par and even perform better than some of their electric and gas counterparts. This implies that they are powerful enough to cut through even thick blocks of ice.
The Eskimo Hc40 Propane Auger Series is a top-quality choice and, as such, is an attractive prospect for many people. Its engine can be considered on par or even better than some of its gas counterparts. As mentioned, it requires a propane tank to fuel the engine. In that regard, the 1-pound propane tank is more than enough. As a result, you get optimum productivity with less fumes and fewer leaks. It also comes with a blade protector so that these critical parts of your device remain in pristine condition.
The next option is one that requires you to part with a significant amount of money. Nevertheless, it may be worth every penny. The Strikemaster Lithium 40v Electric Power Auger uses battery power to run its systems and is rather efficient at it. As such, it performs in rivalry to fuel burners such as the editor’s choice and other options on the list. The LED lights that come with the device may save the day if visibility seems to be an issue. As well you get a deadman safety switch that may serve to set your mind at ease as you are using the device.
Another tool you may want to put in your priorities list is the ION 33405 8″ Electric Ice Auger. It is as well electric with reverse motion and an engine that, although it is slightly less powerful than its predecessor’s, gets the job done.
The ice auger to take on your next fishing trip is a few clicks away. With all the information provided above, it would be hard to make the wrong choice after reading this write-up. Feel free to re-read the article for extra clarity if you need to.