There are a few important things that you need to take with you when you go ice fishing. At the very top of this list are the best augers for ice fishing that you can afford.
After all, your endeavors will be quite pointless without this in hand.
- The Best Ice Augers We Reviewed
- The Top Ice Augers We Recommend
Whether you are a novice or an expert, deciding on the right type, model, and size for you can be a tricky thing. This is largely because there are quite so many options available to you.
How are you supposed to pick the best one?
With this in mind, I have laid out some information that you should know about ice augers:
The Best Ice Augers We Reviewed
- Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger – Best Electric Ice Auger
- StrikeMaster Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger
- ION 19150 Electric Auger
- ThunderBay 33cc Power Ice Auger
- Jiffy 44PRO Auger
- XtremepowerUS V-Type Ice Auger
Types of Ice Augers
There are two main types of ice augers to choose from – manual (or hand) and power augers. In this section, I will discuss the strengths and weaknesses associated with the different options.
The manual auger is a hand-powered device. Now, while this may seem like a rather old-fashioned way to tackle things, there are many ice fishing experts that continue to rely on manual augers. First and foremost, they are a great deal easier to take around with you. These devices are often lightweight and more compact, making them simple to transport. They also tend to cost a great deal less than the gas or electric options.
What most people don’t realize, however, is that hand augers also have the advantage of making very little noise while you are drilling with them. As a result, the fish aren’t scared away by the time that you are done.
That being said, there are limitations to what you can do with a hand auger. This type of auger works best in the early parts of the ice fishing season when the ice is relatively thin. As long as the ice is less than twelve to fourteen inches thick, you shouldn’t have too much trouble with a hand auger. Over time, though, the ice will get deeper and you will require something more effective on hand.
Power augers are often preferred by anglers who wish to drill precise holes quite quickly. These devices also allow you to dig multiple holes in a short period of time. These types of augers are typically brought out once the ice has gotten thicker, during the middle and end of the ice fishing season. Power augers can be further split up into two categories: gas and electric.
Now, there is no denying that there are a few downsides to using power augers. One of the main complaints is that these machines are big and heavy, which means it is no fun to lug these across the ice. They also require a great deal of maintenance and to top it off, can cost quite a bit more than manual augers.
Gas Powered Augers
Gas is currently the more popular of the two types of power augers. For the longest time, people had to make do with two-stroke augers which required a delicate mix of balance and oil. Although they got the job done, they did require a lot of regular maintenance.
Fortunately, four-stroke augers are now quite common in the market and don’t need as much work since you don’t have to mix the gas and oil. For anglers that are looking for an auger that is even more low-maintenance, there are propane powered models as well. These augers tend to burn cleaner as well. As you can imagine, though, four-stroke and propane run augers have a higher price attached to them which is something that you will need to take into consideration during your search.
Electric Powered Augers
If you are looking for a clean, eco-friendly way to cut through the ice that also grants you a serious amount of power, then electric augers are for you. Not only do these augers pack a serious punch, they are also surprisingly light and portable. In fact, this is their main advantage over gas augers.
The reason that electric augers are not nearly as popular as they should be is due to the battery. Once this runs out, you are stranded with no other option. Even taking an additional battery may not help to power you through a day of fishing, depending on your progress. Also, as the battery drops lower, the performance of the auger is also often negatively impacted.
All about Bits and Blades
Now, there is little sense in discussing augers if you aren’t going to talk about the bits and blades. With auger bits, you can decide on either one blade, two blades, or four, depending on the cutting speed that you are looking for. Another thing that you will come across are blades that are either standard, serrated, or a combination of both. While this does tend to be a bit of a personal choice, most people find that serrated blades get through the ice faster and more cleanly.
Size Really Does Matter
Perhaps what is most important about blades is the size. Typically, each manufacturer offers various sizes for the bits and blades that they sell. This can cause some confusion when it comes to deciding on the best size. More often than not, though, you will find that six-inch, eight-inch, and ten-inch blades are more widely used.
So, when should you stick with the smaller blades and when should upgrade to the larger option? If you are looking for smaller fish such as panfish then the six-inch blade will be most useful. For something slightly bigger like wall-eye, an eight-inch would suffice. In these situations, a hole that is too large can allow the fish to escape before you can grab it.
If you are after larger prey though, you are going to need a wider hole. So, if you are looking for pike or something similar in size, then a ten-inch will come in useful. This gives the fish enough space to swim up.
The other thing that will determine blade size is how you like to fish. Are you someone that prefers to go looking for your prey rather than sitting around? If you like to partake in ‘ice trolling’, then you are going to need to drill numerous holes during the day. To cut down on how much energy and effort you expend, an eight-inch should be your choice. On the other hand, if you are willing to sit tight and fish rather than drill, the ten-inch is your go-to blade size.
If you are looking for some tips on ice auger blades, check out this video here:
The Top Ice Augers We Recommend
Here are my top picks for ice augers:
What stands out most about the Eskimo Mako is its cutting ability — the combination of the powerful engine along with the Quantum blades allows you to get through ice a lot faster.
So, if you want to head out in the middle of ice fishing season when the ice is seriously deep, this is the auger to turn to. The other thing that is notable about this ice auger is how quickly it starts working, even when the temperatures are frigid. With just a pull or two, it is raring to go.
Once you do start drilling with the Eskimo auger, you will begin to notice just how smooth the operation is. The controls respond to the lightest touch, making the whole thing quite responsive.
Also, it isn’t very jarring to use the auger.
The vibrations are kept to a minimum and the foam handles go a long way in dampening even this. Another important aspect of an auger is durability so while the blades themselves are quite durable, there are few parts that are less reliable. You may want to watch out for the pull cord and be a bit gentle with it.
All in all, when it comes to value for money, you will find it quite difficult to find a better option than the Eskimo Mako.
If you have decided to go the way of the hand auger, then you are going to need something quite efficient to help you match up to a powered performance.
Well, this is exactly what the StrikeMaster Lazer offers. Despite its manual powered limitations, this auger has the spectacular ability to make each revolution count, getting you more inches than many of its competitors on the market.
If you are looking to drill through thin to medium depth ice, then this hand auger will make the process a lot faster. Not to mention, you won’t need to use up nearly as much energy as with other hand augers. At the same time, this can be quite tiring to use for numerous holes.
You also get a great deal of variation with this model. For instance, you can choose augers ranging from five inches to eight inches in length. Furthermore, the handle is adjustable as well, which makes it easy for different people to work with it. The ergonomic hand grip adds a level of comfort to the process as well.
In case you are looking for the drilling to be even easier, you should note that the blades are dipped in powder coated paint. This reduces the amount of ice buildup that you have to deal with as you drill.
This is an extremely well-designed and built electric auger.
The drilling action with this auger is quite impressive and since it is practically entirely constructed from steel, there is very little that can stand in the way of this auger. It will be able to easily clear out an eight-inch diameter even through the thickest of ice.
On top of this, because of the way the blades are positioned, you can expect a precise cut.
What makes this auger a favorite among experts and novices alike, though is its weight. It weighs in at an incredibly light 21 pounds, which is an absolute dream for powered augers.
Now, if you have spent time out on the ice, you can attest to the fact that one of the least pleasant activities is scooping out the ice once you have drilled it. The good news is that this auger has gotten rid of this by providing you with a slush-flushing reverse feature. The machine now handles this by itself.
One of the biggest concerns with electric augers is how long the battery lasts. Well, with this one, you can drill about forty holes before it gives out!
If there were to be one complaint about this auger it would be that the battery doesn’t function too well when the temperature drops past a certain icy point.
This ThunderBay auger is the answer for anyone who is looking for a gas-powered ice auger that is actually easy to use. Sure, you have to deal with the typical, precise mixing of the oil and gas. However, this is where the hardship ends.
This auger has been built to make drilling holes as easy as possible.
First and foremost, it uses Cold Shot technology so that even when the temperature drops below a certain point, you will not have to struggle with trying to get it started. It will immediately spring to life.
When using the ice auger, you will come across one of its few weaknesses and this is the weight. While this is to be expected from a gas-powered auger, it doesn’t make it any easier to contend with. So, if you don’t have a lot of upper body strength, you may struggle with this auger.
On the bright side, it does provide you with enough power to cut through thick ice in a very short period of time.
Also, this auger comes equipped with everything that you might need, including a blade protector.
If you are quite partial to your gas augers but want something that is a little simpler to use, then the Jiffy auger is what you need.
First up, it is powered by propane so you don’t have to fiddle around with getting the right mix of gas and oil.
Secondly, this boasts a four-stroke engine. So, if you want to cut through thick ice faster than you did before, you now can.
This Jiffy auger is an incredibly powerful machine but it is also quite easy to manage. This is because it has been designed to be a user-friendly model that is complete with features such as a large grip handle starter that can be used with mittens as well.
Also, for a gas powered auger, it isn’t all that heavy either. So, you will be able to transport the auger in a vehicle and out on the ice with very little trouble at all. This auger also has everything that you need to help it last longer, including a blade protector.
The unfortunate thing is that none of this really comes cheap. While the auger is one of the more expensive options on the list, it doesn’t compare well with others in the same price range.
This auger is a middle-of-the-line option that performs incredibly well for what you have paid for it.
To start with, it isn’t only meant for ice fishing — The auger has simply been fitted with a bit to allow it to do that.
When ice fishing season is over, you can simply substitute the bit for one that will allow you to dig into the soil! So, as you can see, this auger offers excellent value for money. This is especially considering that it offers up a top-notch performance as well.
Now, when digging in ice, a small flaw shows up with this auger. This is the fact that it can be a bit difficult to start it up. So, you will need to put in some effort, particularly when it is really cold.
However, once the auger kicks into action, you will be impressed at just how much power it offers up. It is able to cut through the thickest ice without even pausing.
While the auger isn’t exactly lightweight, you won’t wear yourself out too much while using it. This will allow you to drill more holes within a shorter space of time.
After reviewing all of the augers in the market, I have found that the Eskimo Mako ice auger is the best option you can buy.
- 8 inch diameter auger
- 42 inch auger length
- 30:1 gear ratio
- Foam-grip handlebars with fingertip throttle control
- High-performance, 8000 RPM Viper engine
Despite being a gas-powered auger, it is actually really easy to use once you get past the oil-gas ratio.
Even novices will find it simple, particularly since the vibrations are reduced and you will find it more comfortable to hold onto the auger.
To top things off, it provides a powerful output, allowing you to drill through the thickest ice that will come your way. Regardless of where you are ice fishing, this auger will certainly not let you down.
This brings the conversation on ice augers to a close.
You should now be able to understand all of the intricacies involved in this type of device and also know what the best options are.
Last update on 2018-07-22 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API