The 7 Best Ice Augers of 2022

Our top picks to get your lure beneath the ice and into the water

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Ice fishing requires a fair degree of tenacity—the ability to handle the cold for hours on end, and the patience needed to wait for the fish to strike. The one thing you don’t want to introduce into the equation is frustration from a literal barrier when it comes to getting your lure into the lake. That’s why the right ice fishing auger is essential. Hand augers need to cut through the ice without too much labor, while powered devices need to start quickly and reliably and make quick work of the thickest of ice.

From propane-fueled augers to manual devices to clever tools that combine with a cordless power drill to create a make-shift electric solution, these are the best ice augers.

Best Overall: Eskimo HC40 Propane Ice Auger

Eskimo HC40 Propane Ice Auger

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Burns clean

  • Runs quiet

  • Cuts through ice quickly

  • Those who use propane heaters can also benefit from multiple applications of the fuel canister

What We Don't Like
  • A bit heavy for longer hikes

Eskimo’s HC40 brings all the advantages of a propane-powered ice auger to bear. The fuel comes in quick-release canisters that are easy to find and avoids the messy complexity of using gas, with a quieter-than-average engine. And since it burns clean, you can also use the HC40 in a shack. The four-cylinder 40cc Viper engine kicks on reliably via the mitten-grip starter handle and is powerful enough to cut through the most stubborn and thickest ice. A centering ring also makes it easy to use for re-drilling. Plus, it weighs a manageable 28 pounds—light enough to haul it on the ice—though perhaps a bit much for a longer hike to your target fishing spot.

Blade Length: 42 inches | Diameters: 8 or 10 inches | Weight: 28 pounds | Warranty: Five years

Best Budget: StrikeMaster Mora Hand Ice Auger

StrikeMaster Mora Hand Ice Auger

Courtesy of Amazon

What We Like
  • Simple

  • Lightweight

  • Inexpensive

What We Don't Like
  • Requires physical effort to use

Simplicity reigns supreme with the Mora Hand Ice Auger from StrikeMaster. The ergonomic handles make it easy to use, with an adjustable range from 48 to 57 inches to help you get the most power transfer. And the high-alloy carbon steel Mora blades really tear into the ice. The iconic blue paint has been powder-coated to reduce ice build-up, and it breaks down into two pieces for easy transport and storage.

Blade Length: 33 inches | Diameters: 5 to 8 inches | Weight: 5 to 8 pounds | Warranty: No

Best Gas: Jiffy 4G FourStroke Gas Ice Auger

Jiffy 4G FourStroke Gas Ice Auger

Courtesy of Sportman's Guide

What We Like
  • Higher torque means it cuts through ice faster than other models

  • Blades should last longer than other models

  • No need to mix gas and oil for fueling

What We Don't Like
  • Heavier than other models

  • Two-year warranty isn't much

When it comes to cutting into the hardest, thickest ice around, the Jiffy 4G FourStroke gas-powered ice auger is the workhorse you need. The brand’s High-Torque Transmission system utilizes a heavy-duty clutch and an optimal gear ratio to transfer more engine energy, increasing the torque to the Stealth STX-Serrated Ripper Blade and Power Point to cut 25 percent faster than lesser models. The blades also last two to three times longer than most other blades, assuring seasons-long loyalty. A glove-friendly starter kicks on the 49cc four-stroke engine reliably, and unlike some gas-powered augers, you don’t have to mix gas and oil when fueling up the 4G.

Diameters: 6 to 10 inches | Weight: 32 to 35 pounds | Warranty: Two years

Best Electric: StrikeMaster Lithium 40V Electric Ice Auger

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What We Like
  • Lightweight for a powered auger

  • Easy overall operation

What We Don't Like
  • Not as powerful as fuel-burning augers

  • Pricey

Battery power and longevity continue to make exponential advances in the tech world, as witnessed in the Lithium 40v Electric Ice Auger from StrikeMaster. The 40-volt, five-amp hour lithium-ion battery can reliably cut 100 holes in the 8-inch model on a single battery charge (the 10-inch version will cut 70 holes before dying). An internal “battery management system” improves the battery’s longevity, and the included two-amp charging station refuels the device in 2.5 hours. Twin serrated stainless steel Lazer blades slice through the ice, powered by an electric DC brushless motor with a 15.9:1 gear ratio for reliable torque. A simple power button makes this the easiest powered ice auger to get going, while a deadman’s switch adds some much-needed safety. Bonus: Built-in LED lights in the impact-resistant handles provide some welcome light, especially when you’re drilling in a shed.

Diameters: 8 and 10 inches | Weight: 24 and 28 pounds, respectively | Warranty: Limited two years

Best Hand Auger: Nils USA Velocity Hand Ice Auger

Nils USA Velocity Hand Ice Auger

Courtesy of Cabela

What We Like
  • Inexpensive

  • Lightweight

What We Don't Like
  • Though it doesn’t require downward force to operate, it’s not as efficient as a powered auger

Hand augers offer pure simplicity—but also could generate hours of frustration. Nils USA hurdles that possibility with their Velocity Hand Ice Auger thanks to the blade shape, the angle of the chromium steel cutting head, and the ergonomic design of the offset folding ice handle—meaning no down pressure is needed. The premium-edge cutting blades have also been engineered to last longer than standard ice drills so that you retain a sharp edge season after season.

Blade Length: 47 inches | Diameters: 4.5 and 6 inches | Warranty: No

Best Drill Powered: K-Drill Ice Auger System

K Drill Ice Auger System

Courtesy of Cabela's

What We Like
  • Simple

  • Reliably powerful

  • Lightweight

  • Easy to handle

What We Don't Like
  • You need a reliable power drill

Arguably the most pack-friendly option in an ice auger, the K-Drill Ice Auger System is designed to partner with today’s high-powered brushless hand-held cordless electric drills, rather than operating as a stand-alone system. This affords several benefits—modern cordless power drills are powerful and have batteries that can last for days and be easily swapped out as needed. They’re intuitive to operate, and take up a modest amount of space in your pack, and marry perfectly with the K-Drill’s drill-bit-style attachment point. Constructed of light, strong aluminum, the K-Drill employs a three-blade system on the tip, with high-carbon steel chipper blades running its length to cut through ice and reopen old holes with incredible efficiency.

Blade Length: 17 inches | Diameter: 6, 7.5, and 8.5 inches | Weight: 5 pounds (7.5-inch model) | Warranty: No

Best Hand/Drill-Powered: Nils USA Velocity Cordless Convertible Ice Auger

Nils USA Velocity Cordless Convertible Ice Auger

Courtesy of Cabela's

What We Like
  • Versatile

  • Affordable

What We Don't Like
  • Hand auger purists may want one that’s more ergonomic

The Nils USA Velocity ice auger provides both the portability, purity, and simplicity of a hand ice auger along with the ability to partner the auger with a cordless hand drill to fight through really thick, dense ice. On mellow days, just grab the blade and handle and hit the ice. A chromium steel cutting head and curved blades make quick work of the ice, cutting holes quickly and without having to put pressure on the tool. In more unpredictable conditions, take along a cordless drill (18 volts, at a minimum). And when the manual effort becomes too much, swap out the handle for the power drill plate, thread the auger onto the drill, and start spinning.

Blade Length: 47 inches | Diameters: 4.5, 6, and 8 inches | Warranty: No

Final Verdict

The propane-fueled Eskimo HC40 auger (view at Amazon) uses a powerful four-cylinder 40cc Viper engine to make quick work of thick ice. It runs quietly, burns clean, and starts up reliably. The center ring also lets you line up the auger over old holes for accurate redrilling. But if you’re a purist, go with the Nils USA Velocity Hand Ice Auger (view at Cabela's), which comes with an angled chromium steel cutting head that lets the blades cut without any downward pressure. It’s also very lightweight and arguably the most travel-friendly option on the market.

What to Look for in an Ice Auger

Hand vs. Electric vs. Propane vs. Gas

Hand augers are the epitome of simplicity when it comes to cutting a hole in the ice. They’re lighter than powered augers and don’t require carrying fuel or worrying about an engine dying or getting flooded.  But...obviously, hand augers require a lot more elbow grease to cut the hole. To some, that only adds to the pure—and quiet—nature of ice fishing. But those wrestling with thick ice (or those who plan to ice fish a lot throughout the season) may want the added heft of a powered device.

Electric augers don’t handle really thick ice as well as propane or gas augers, but you also don’t have to worry about fumes or spillage. They’re also the lightest and quietest of the category of powered augers, and the easiest to start.  A smaller sub-genre of electric augers, you can also purchase an auger that’s compatible with a cordless power drill, which offers a lighter—albeit, less powerful—version of a stand-alone electric device.  But keep in mind that cold temps sap battery power quickly. So if you plan a longer excursion, consider packing in more than one battery. 

Propane-powered augers afford several benefits. They burn clean fuel (versus gas), and often run quietly, and don’t emit any smoke, making them ideal for fishing in an ice shack. Anglers also report that they start up reliably in the first or second pull—and there’s no risk of flooding the engine. Gas augers are the old-school workhorses, providing longer run times and more continuous, even power. But they’re much noisier, do require carrying gas (and sometimes oil), can flood, and can be fussy to start in low temps. They’re also often the most expensive, and heaviest.


Ice Thickness and Size of Hole 

Most augers will be long enough to cut through the thickest ice of the season and their lengths don’t vary as much as you’d expect. But if you’re trafficking on frozen lakes with more than a foot of ice, be sure the auger is longer than 12 inches. There are more variables when it comes to the blade’s diameter—anywhere from four to 13 inches—though an eight-inch hole is wide enough to allow most fish to pass through without issue.

How often will you go ice fishing?

If you’re dipping your metaphorical toe into ice fishing and don’t plan to make it a winter-long obsession, you should consider a hand auger that’ll work well without breaking the bank. Hand augers also have the added benefit of being far more travel-friendly. They’re lighter and most break down so you can pack them tight to add to your checked luggage. If you plan on traveling to a bunch of different ice fishing meccas, or if your favorite lake is a long hike from the trailhead, this is a smart solution. But if you do plan on frequently hitting the ice, powered augers make punching a hole far more efficient and less taxing than a hand-driven product. If you’re fishing in a shed, avoid gas-powered augers, and instead consider either electric augers or those fueled by clean-burning propane.

Why Trust TripSavvy?

Nathan Borchelt has been testing, rating, and reviewing outdoor products for decades. Price, ease of use, reliability, pack weight, and overall function were all taken into consideration in evaluating these augers, with a special emphasis on products that would perform admirably over multiple seasons.

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