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If you’re planning a winter fishing trip to the far north, an ice auger should be at the top of your packing list. You’ll use it to drill holes through the ice, giving you access to the pike, walleye, lake trout or burbot living in the frigid depths below. There are many different ice augers to choose from. Will a hand auger be sufficient for your needs, or is it worth splashing out on a power auger? If you opt for the latter, you’ll need to decide between gas, propane and electric models to find the best fit for you. In this article, we look at some of the best ice augers to buy, ranging from budget-friendly starter models to four-stroke powerhouses.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: StrikeMaster Honda-Lite Power Auger
For serious ice fishermen, the StrikeMaster Honda-Lite Power Auger is a top-of-the-range option that stands out for its Honda™ 35cc Four-Stroke OHC engine. Four-stroke engines are quieter and cleaner than the two-stroke engines used by many other ice auger brands. Best of all, you don’t have to mix your fuel with oil, giving you one less thing to think about while preparing for your next ice fishing expedition. This auger’s engine is emission certified and carries a limited two-year warranty.
Reviewers love the supreme efficiency of the StrikeMaster drill, with its twin serrated stainless steel laser blades. The 10" blade is designed to cut through thick ice, creating a big hole perfect for targeting larger species (such as pike or lake trout). Long-filament handles reduce the impact on your wrists and shoulders, while polymer gear casting keeps the auger as lightweight as possible. Nevertheless, this machine measures 42.8” x 17” x 11.5” and weighs in at 26 pounds - which could be a drawback for those who need to pack light.
Best Budget: Eskimo Hand Ice Auger
A wallet-friendly option for those that don’t have hundreds of dollars to spare on a power auger, the Eskimo Hand Ice Auger comes in 6”, 7” or 8” blade sizes. Its entry-level design is simple; but Amazon reviewers are consistently impressed with its performance, especially during the early season when ice is at its thinnest.
The comfortable pommel handle allows you to drill through the ice without getting too tired, while the dual-flat blades are designed for a clean cut. An included blade protector ensures that your blades stay sharp for longer, giving you even better value for money. The auger has an adjustable 49” - 58” length and can be broken down into two pieces for easy transport. The largest blade size (8”) weighs in at 7.5 pounds.
Best Two-Stroke: Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger
In addition to a cheaper price tag, two-stroke engines have a simpler design, making them easier to fix yourself. The Eskimo Mako 43cc Quantum Ice Auger boasts a primer button for quick starting and an extra large recoil handle that allows you to start it without removing your gloves. Other highlights include the fingertip throttle control and anti-vibration foam-grip handlebars; while the transparent gas tank makes it easy for you to check the fuel level out on the ice.
According to reviewers, the auger is incredibly efficient and requires surprisingly little fuel to drill multiple holes over the course of an extended fishing trip. Precision transmission pairs with Quantum™ dual stainless steel blades to give you maximum cutting power, while the included blade protector extends blade life. Choose yours with an 8” or 10” blade, depending on your fishing requirements. The 8” model weighs 31 pounds, while the 10” tips the scale at 33 pounds.
Best Hand Auger: StrikeMaster Lazer Hand Auger
The StrikeMaster Lazer Hand Auger uses chrome-alloy stainless steel laser blades to cut through the ice up to two times faster than the competition. It’s the ideal solution for those that need to pack light (perhaps for a charter flight to a remote destination, or for a hike to your favorite lake). Available with 5”, 6”, 7” or 8” blades, this auger weighs just 5.5 - 8.5 pounds, depending on the size, and breaks down into two pieces for extra portability.
Reviewers love the fact that you don’t need to carry fuel or worry about an engine breaking down out on the ice. Powder-coated paint reduces ice build-up on the blades, while soft rubber grips and an ergonomic handle system reduce fatigue so you have the energy to dig multiple holes. The auger handle adjusts from 48” to 57” to suit a range of different ice thicknesses and/or angler heights.
Best Propane: Jiffy 44PRO Propane Auger
Propane ice augers offer a quiet-running, clean-burning alternative to traditional gas-powered augers. Because they generate significantly less smoke, they are perfect for use inside an ice shack. In addition, propane augers are also more reliable, generally starting on the first or second pull without choking or flooding. The Jiffy 44PRO Propane Auger uses a propane-powered 38cc 4-stroke OHV engine and features an aluminum tank holder and transmission.
Its large starter handle is designed for use with your gloves on, while the comfort-grip handles allow for a wide stance and maximum cutting power. The stainless steel drill bit features 8” blades, with a blade protector for extra longevity. There are other blade sizes available for this ice auger model, which weighs 23 - 26 pounds, depending on the size you choose.
Best Electric: Ion 40V Electric Ice Auger
Although electric ice augers aren’t as effective for thick ice, they do have some major benefits. They’re the lightest and quietest power auger option, and you don’t have to worry about spilled gas or fumes. The 22-pound Ion 40V Electric Ice Auger features a 40V lithium-ion battery and can drill through up to 1,000 inches of ice on a single charge (that’s up to 50 holes through 20” ice).
It includes a battery charger and re-charges in just a few hours. Bicycle-style handlebars allow for comfortable drilling, while special blades engineered for a super-smooth cut mean that there’s no jagged ice at the bottom of your hole. Consequently, your line is less likely to fray and break while landing a big catch. Use the reverse button to flush the slush from your newly-drilled hole.
Best Combo: Nordic Legend Power Ice Auger and Portable Two Man Shelter
The Nordic Legend Ice Auger and Two Man Shelter combo is a great option for those looking to get two ice fishing essentials with a single purchase. The auger features a 33cc two-stroke engine and 8” precision steel cutting blades. Its heat-treated gears allow you to cut fast without becoming bogged down, while the portable two-man shelter protects you from the elements out on the ice. It boasts sturdy 300-denier fabric with a blackout coating to keep the light out and heavy-duty fiberglass rods made to flex and withstand high winds. The combo includes six ice anchors and a convenient carry bag for the shelter.