Cutting holes in thick ice, and recutting them after a while, is all part of the game when it comes to ice fishing. There is only one way you get your lure to the fish’s mouth down below. You have got to be able to get through the ice.
Some people use tools like axes and chainsaws. While they work just fine, the efficiency and ease that an auger affords you are far superior. An ice auger is an engine that sits atop a large drill bit that is perfectly sized to cut through the ice and open up a fishing hole.
We have gathered the very best ice fishing augers on the market today and reviewed them. We have propane-powered augers, gas-powered, and even the most advanced battery-powered ice augers that are designed to chew through inches of ice in a matter of seconds.
Our Top Picks:
Eskimo HC40 Propane Auger
Best Manual Hand Auger:
Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger
Eskimo Mako M43 Quantum Gas Auger
StrikeMaster Lithium 40V Ice Auger
1. Overall Best: Eskimo HC40 Propane Auger
A propane auger allows you to bring one fuel to the fishing hole that can do everything. You can eat, keep warm, and run your auger on 1lb propane canisters. That is one of the biggest benefits of the Eskimo HC40.
With powerful Quantum blades and a quantum auger center ring, you can drill and redrill holes very easily. Those Quantum blades operate on a 25:1 factory-sealed bearing system.
This means that the auger will run smoothly, quietly, and of course, dependably. Not to mention that propane burns much cleaner than gas.
The engine on a gas auger is 2-stroke and requires mixed gasoline. You will have to haul mixed gasoline in or you will have to bring gas and 2-cycle oil to mix on the ice. Chances are that you are already hauling propane for a camp stove or even a little buddy heater. So, why haul multiple types of fuel if you don’t need to?
I think it’s time you give a powerful propane ice fishing auger a chance.
- Exceptional Power
- Quantum Blades
- Multi Use Fuel
- Hard Start in Very Cold Weather
2. Best Manual: Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger
No matter how effective a hand auger is, you are going to have to do all the work. The manual-powered auger is one of the best ways to stay warm on the ice. The Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger is going to get you moving, but it’s effective enough to keep you from having to break a sweat and risk getting even colder.
If you aren’t concerned about doing the work by hand, then you will love this hand auger because it features a detachable handle that makes it even easier to carry.
The drill shaft extends to 24 inches, so you can cut to that depth using the shaver ice blades. There is also a fixture that you can buy if you want to use a power drill to run this manual-powered ice fishing auger.
It could turn out that you have all the vigor early in the day, but you bring the power drill out to cut those last few holes. You will need to buy that adapter separately from this hand ice fishing auger.
- Easy Stow Handle
- Shaver Blades
- 24″ Drill Shaft
- You Are The Power Source
3. Best Gasoline-Powered: Eskimo Mako M43 Gas Auger
Our number 3 pick for the best ice fishing auger is gas-powered. The Eskimo Mako M43 gas ice fishing auger runs exclusively on gasoline. Gas-powered tools bring a certain kind of power to the table that things like battery power just do not.
This ice fishing auger runs on a 43cc Viper 2-stroke engine. The engine features an all-metal transmission to increase durability and promote optimal gearing. This all drives a 42″ auger with a 30:1 gear ratio.
The stainless steel blades work well, even on dirty ice. The steel center point and the center ring will help you quickly establish holes that have started to freeze over.
Another cool feature of the Eskimo Mako is the mitten grip pull on the starter. This gives you something substantial to hold onto when starting this machine up. In the cold, with gloved hands, this goes a long way.
All of this is wrapped up in a five-year manufacturer’s warranty.
- Mitten Grip Starter Pull
- All Metal Transmission
- Steel Blades and Center Ring
- Long Warm-Up Time
4. Best Electric: StrikeMaster Lithium 40V Ice Auger
The 40v powerhead on this ice fishing auger brings plenty of power to drill through the ice and get your trip started. This Strikemaster is lighter than previous models and powered by a 40V, 5Ah lithium-ion battery.
The engine drives a Light-Flite Lazer drill unit with stainless steel blades. The ice auger also comes with a magnetic blade cover for safe and lightweight travel over the ice.
A fully charged battery gives you about 2 -2 1/2 hours of continuous charge for the full life of the battery. You can even order 2 batteries with your Strikemaster if you think that one is not going to be enough.
The impressive torque of this ice fishing auger comes from its 15.9:1 gear ratio that chews through inches of ice in a second. It is a power auger though you might not expect that from something battery-powered.
There is no gas or propane to manage. You just hang on to the comfortable handles and press a button to get started drilling. Its really that simple.
- 2 Hour In Use Battery Charge
- Blade Magnet for Safe Travel
- Massive Torque
- Very High Price Tag
5. ION Ice Auger
This is the lightest and fastest ice fishing auger on the market today. If those two features really strike a chord with you, then check out this option. The ION Ice Auger is one of the best electric ice augers on the market.
The high-speed cutting engine claims to cut 3.4 inches of ice per second. This model comes with a 4Ah rechargeable lithium-ion battery so that you always have plenty of power at your fingertips.
I like the powerful handles on the ION. They are very effective, and the on/off switch is built into the handle, too. Remember, to take advantage of all this speed and power, just simply press a button to turn the unit on.
- Fastest and Lightest Auger
- Comes with 2 Rechargeable Batteries
- Sturdy Handle with Great Grips
- Most Expensive Auger on the List
6. Landworks Ice Auger Lithium Ion Battery
Here we have another battery-powered ice fishing auger that has a 39″ bit designed to get the job done. The brushless motor operates with three planetary gears for greater efficiency.
The Landworks Ice Fishing Auger comes with a 2Ah lithium-ion battery. Most models come with 4Ah batteries. There is a 4Ah battery that you can buy separately. Both will run a powerful engine that is 320rpms. It is also a 2.0 horsepower engine.
The ice auger bit is made of alloy steel, and the blades are made of stainless steel to bite and eat away at the ice. This bit will drill up to 39 inches, and you should get around 60 holes for each full battery charge.
This ice fishing auger breaks down into two pieces for easy transport. It weighs a total of 22 lbs, too.
This ice auger is light, powerful, built to chew through inches of ice, and starts up at the press of a button. The Landworks Ice Auger might be the perfect weapon for you.
- 39″ Bit
- 320 rpm Engine
- Total Weight of 22lbs
- 2Ah Battery
Choosing the Right Auger for You
Based on our reviews, you have seen what the ice fishing auger has to offer. There are a lot of choices out there. All of the designs are effective and take advantage of the most modern tech.
There are at least three attributes you should consider when it comes to owning the best ice fishing auger for you. Let’s take a look at them and figure out which one of these augers is best for you.
Do you want to dig into that frozen lake with gas power, propane, or rechargeable battery power? They all have some benefits, and we mentioned them above. Gas power is undeniable, propane has multi-use potential, and battery power is clean and effective.
Your auger size affects all kinds of things. The weight of the auger and the depth of your ice hole. Auger size has a serious effect on leverage when applying pressure to the handles.
The goal is to easily bore through the ice. Your auger should be able to do that with ease.
Finally, you should consider mobility when it comes to your choice of ice auger. How well does your model pack up and travel? Does it carry around safely, and can you get it from your vehicle to the lake without a lot of trouble?
How to Find a Place to Cut the Ice with an Auger
Now that you have the ultimate ice fishing auger for you, where do you use it? How do you know where to use that auger? Are you going to just start cutting holes in the ice indiscriminately? I would say that is not the best idea.
There are a number of ways you can find good ice fishing spots to drill with your auger.
1. Use Charts or GPS
You are looking for drop-offs in the water. These areas hold fish in the cold weather. They will be further down the ledges in the winter. Drilling holes over top of these ledges and fishing them is a great place to start.
Be patient on these ledges and take your time at different depths. The fish move slowly in cold water, but the ledges are a sure bet.
2. Use a Flasher’s Transducer
An ice fishing flasher’s transducer is a great way to search an area for fish. This will require that you cut a single hole in the ice to drop the transducer into. Still, you will at least know that there are fish in the water below you.
The ice fishing flasher is an incredible tool, and along with a quality ice auger, you should consider bringing one along for the ride, too.
3. Roll the Dice
If you are going to spend the money on a new ice auger, then you might as well use it, right? Cut some holes in the ice and drop jigs to see if you get any bites. This can be done at random locations, but if you create some kind of pattern, you will be able to understand where the fish are in the future.
Wrapping up the Best Ice Fishing Augers in 2023
All that stands between you and those crappie, walleye, and lake trout is the inches of ice you will be standing on. Though you can use an axe or a chainsaw, the ice fishing auger is a much more effective tool.
Now, you have to decide on the attributes you need in your own ice auger. Are you looking for something with a nice long bit? Do you want a gas-powered auger, or are you ready to try out the new wave of battery-powered technology?
Each one of the ice augers we have reviewed will get the job done. For more about ice fishing in Minnesota, check out our Ice Fishing Gear posts.
- About the Author
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Born in Madelia, MN, to a now 5-generation Minnesota family, Ryan’s MN roots go deep.
A painter by day, Ryan founded Life in Minnesota in 2013 with his wife Kelly to chronicle their musings on everything Minnesota. Ryan and Kelly are raising their 7 kiddos in Maple Grove, MN.
When he’s not shuttling his kids around to hockey practice, you might find him in the shop working on his leatherwork. Undoubtedly, there will be a family trip to the Boundary Waters Canoe Area every summer, and of course weekends at Grandpa’s cabin up north in the summer.