Best Ice Augers
Trying to do some cold weather fishing without an ice auger is like trying to throw a party without a bottle opener! There are various different styles and designs out there on the market that make chiseling into a frozen lake at that perfect spot simple and easy. Motorized designs are often very expensive, but are unbelievably effective as well as easy to use. To save some money, you can also opt for a hand model, but you are going to have to employ the use of some muscles to create the perfect hole. In this buyer guide, you will find some of the best ice augers that are currently out there on the market.
In a Hurry? The test winner after 15 hrs of research
Can drill a bit deeper than most
- Strikemaster Mora
- Eskimo ION
- HT Polar
- Trophy Strike
- Strike Master Lazer
- Eskimo HD06
- Criteria Used for Evaluation
- Other Factors to Consider
- Frequently Asked Questions
Top 10 Picks
1. Strikemaster Mora
Can drill a bit deeper than most
Hand crank requires a bit of elbow grease
The Strikemaster Mora is great because it is a hand operated model that has a simple and basic design that it easy to work. It is made from high-quality materials that will stand up in the toughest of conditions, and it comes from a trusted company.Read more
Ease of use
While you will not need a fuel source like gasoline or propane, you are going to have to employ quite a bit of elbow grease to get this model to work. To use, simply mount in on the lake where you wish to drill your hole. Soft rubber grips on the top of the unit and on the crank will make it easier to really apply some pressure as you turn the crank to create your fishing hole.
A lot of the effectiveness of this product relies on the person that it using it, and if they have the fortitude to apply enough pressure to get it to work. The user can rest assured that the carbon steel blade will not buckle under the pressure, and the powder coating on the surface prevents ice from building up.
What we liked most about this design is that it has a simple, small frame. Users can select from a 6, 7, or 8-inch blade, and the handle can be adjusted to accommodate holes that are 48-57 inches. What this means to you is that you are going to be able to drill down quite a bit farther with this unit than some of the others out there on the market.
Another great feature about this design is that it isn’t going to weigh you down the way some of the motorized option can. This unit only weighs 11.6 pounds, making it one of the lightest options that you will find.
This is a great option if you are looking to save quite a bit of money. The price of this option is about ¼ of many of the motorized options. For fishermen that spent all of their money on poles and lures- this is going to be a great option for you.
While some might not like the idea of drilling their holes by hand, we make this one of our top picks because it is one of the most affordable options out there, and it will not weigh you down. Plus, it is made from high-quality materials that will not bend under pressure.
Users can get up to 40 holes on a single tank of gas
Incredibly easy to use- even with mittens on
If you are looking for something that contains the ultimate power to really work its way through even the thickest of layers, this is going to be your best option from the trusted company of Eskimo. This unit is incredibly quick and easy to use and will allow you to get your hole set in no time for a full day of winter fishing.Read more
Ease of use
Due to the fact that this design uses gas or propane-fueled motor, users will have no issues with turning it on. In fact, the drawstring ignition and soft foam rubber handlebars that are designed to reduce vibration, this unit can be used without even taking off your mittens.
This option form Eskimo uses and 8 inches in diameter blade that can really cut through the lake like butter without applying that much pressure. Many past users that have personally tried this product also rave that it cuts through the frozen water with incredible ease. It also sports a blade along the bottom of the unit to prevent slipping while in use. Some claim that just one single tank of gas can cut about 35-40 holes.
This unit has a blade that measures to be 42 inches in length, which means it can clear about 4 feet of frozen water. The entire unit measures to be about 16 inches wide as well.
One thing that users really like about this option is that while it is a gas powered design, it doesn’t have the heavy weight that is typically associated with gas-powered power tools. This unit weighs just shy of 30 pounds.
The price tag of the Eskimo Gas & Propane might be quite higher than many of the other options out there on the market, but it actually not the most expensive design that is for sale. Considering the compact and lightweight design, as well as the ease of use, we find that this is well worth the higher price point.
We loved this option so much that we put it in our number one spot because it is incredibly effective, lightweight, and easy to use. If you are someone that is willing to dish out additional money to have power tools to all of the heavy liftings for you- this is going to be a great option.
3. Eskimo ION
Easy to use
Holds a charge for up to about 40 holes
Eskimo makes our list yet again with their great electric model. This design is actually just as powerful as a gas or propane option, and the addition of a battery-powered motor will take a lot of pressure off of your hands and arms, and it is quite a bit lighter and easier to handle than the options out there that run on a propane motor. The only downside to this option is that it has a price tag that could knock you over.Read more
Ease of use
To use, you must first full charge the 3 Ah 40V Max battery with the charger that is included with purchase. Once it is fully charged, simply turn the device to the on position. Users love that there is no need to jump-start the motor like the gas options, which can be both frustrating and exhausting if your motor is very cold. Place the unit down on the surface of the lake and allow the device to all of the work for you.
This unit comes with a drill bit that is 8 inches in diameter, meaning that it will cut an 8-inch hole. It is able to achieve depths of about 34 inches (or 46 inches with a 12-inch extender). This is just a little more shallow than some of the other options out there on the market, so it is important to keep that in mind.
As we mentioned earlier, the drill bit of this unit is 8 inches in diameter, and the entire unit measures to be just over 36 inches in length.
One of the things that we love most about this option is that while it does use a motor, it only weighs about 26 pounds- making it one of the lightest motorized options out there on the market.
We hope you are sitting down because the price tag of this unit is going to pack quite a punch. This unit will likely set you back about the same amount that you spend on your snow blower for your driveway, and it is about two times as much as some of the higher end gasoline models.
Sure, it might come in at a very high price point, but this design is incredibly powerful and easy to use, and it doesn’t have many of the negative features like some of the gas powered options. Plus, users were generally pleased with the battery life of this design.
Easy to use
Battery indicator light mounted on the side
Drill bit sold separately
This option from Landworks is another battery-powered option, but it doesn’t carry the painful price tag that the Eskimo ION option carries. What users love about this option is that it is easy to use and lightweight, and it has a decent battery life. Plus, it comes in at a reasonable price point. The downside to this design is that it isn’t as powerful as some of the other options, and it doesn’t drill down as deep.Read more
Ease of use
To use this design, simply charge the battery with the charger that is included with purchase. There is a battery life light built right into the side of the unit, so you will know how much of a charge you have before even stepping foot on the lake. Press the power button, and hold it firmly in position while you let this unit do all of the drillings for you.
This design falls just a little short in terms of effectiveness. It is important to note the base model does not come with a drill bit- you are going to have to buy that separately. Users will only be able to select from one size, and it is just a little limited in terms of length. However, each bit is made from heavy-duty steel with a powder coating to prevent build up in cold temperatures.
This unit measures to be just over 20 inches long, without the inclusion of the drill bit, and it is just over 13 inches wide which should make it easy to toss into the back of your truck without taking up all that much room. We found that this design is smaller than many of the other options out there.
Weighing in at just shy of 20 pounds, we have found that this design is a little lighter than many of the other motorized options on the market.
Looks can be deceiving with this product. While at first glance it looks to be incredibly more affordable than some of the higher end battery designs, it is because it does not come with the drill bit included. However, once you factor in the drill bit, the cost of this design is still more affordable than some of the higher end battery options and rivals the cost of the gasoline-powered designs.
It’s important to remember that this design is just a base unit, and users will have to dish out additional money for the special 8-inch auger. While it is a slightly more affordable option, it will not be able to cut down quite as deep as some other designs that can achieve depths of 40+ inches.
Affordable motorized design
Very easy to operate
Odd handlebars make it a little difficult to control sometimes
For those that want the benefit of an electric design, but might not have the money to spend on them, the ARKSEN is going to be a great option. It sports a more slender and delicate frame that makes it lightweight and more compact, but it just cannot achieve the same wide and deep hole has some of the others. It can, however, get the job done.Read more
Ease of use
Here’s the bad news about this design, while it is electric, it does not run off of a battery. Users will have to plug it directly into a power outlet from a generator, or a really long extension cord. However, this means that you will not need to worry about charging it, or it running out of juice mid-drill. To use, simply place the unit where you want to drill your hole, hold on to the soft rubber handlebars, and hit the power button.
This unit offers users 110 volts of power, with 90 pounds per foot maximum torque. A 4-inch drill bit is included with purchase, which means that it is only going to be able to drill a hole that is 4 inches wide. The good news is that larger bits (6 inches and 8 inches) are available at a modest price point). It is also only able to drill down about 30 inches, which is significantly less than some of the other options on the market.
This unit measures in to be about 23 inches wide, 15 inches long and stands up to be 43 inches high.
Looks can be deceiving when it comes to this product. While it’s slender frame makes it look to be rather light, it actually weighs in at just shy of 30 pounds.
One of the main reasons we selected this design is because it comes in at one of the most reasonable price points for a motorized option. This unit cost about three times less than some of the other electric options out there on the market. Just keep in mind that it needs a power source in order to operate, and it does not come with a battery.
If you are looking for something that has a motor to do all of the heavy liftings for you, but you don’t want to dish out the extra money for one of the higher end options, this design from ARKSEN is going to be your best bet.
Easy to handle
Gas powered with a cold start function
A little expensive
Some users do not like using gas-powered options because they can be a little too heavy and bulky, but this option from ThunderBay is small and slender, but also very powerful and easy to use. The two-cycle engine with a cold start feature makes it perfect to use and operate in even the coldest of climates.Read more
Ease of use
What users really like about this option is the addition of the cold start switch. What this switch does is warm up the engine with a pull of the string, and then users will flick it back over to start and be able to easily start the engine with just two pulls. No one likes struggling to start a cold engine in the middle of a frozen lake, and this option sets out to eliminate that hassle.
This unit runs off of a compact 33cc two-cycle engine that makes it just a little easier to start. It comes with an 8-inch drill bit that can create an 8-inch hole without much effort on your part.
From the research that we conducted, we could not find any exact dimensions for this product. There were a few users reviews that claimed this design was able to cut through about 14 inches of a lake without batting an eye. From the look of this item, it looks to be of similar size and dimensions as some of the other options on the market. It also has a set of handlebars that are close together with rubber grips.
Many gas powered options get the reputation for being incredibly heavy and difficult to handle, but this unit is one of the more lightweight gas powered options, weighing in at just 32 pounds.
The cost of this design runs about par for the course in comparison to other gas powered options out there on the market. The addition of a blade protector included with purchase makes this option a great value.
For users that want a gas-powered option because it offers a great deal of power, but you also want something that is lightweight and easier to handle, this design from ThunderBay is going to be a great addition to your winter fishing gear.
7. HT Polar
Made from high quality materials
Some users feel the handle is uncomfortable
This model from HT Polar is a hand operated design for fishermen that want something that is a little easier to carry. What we liked most about this hand option is that it is able to be broken down into two pieces, so it will make traveling just a little easier.Read more
Ease of use
Due to the fact that this design doesn’t have a motor, users are going to have to employ a little bit of elbow grease to get this unit moving. Some previous users find that getting it started it a little difficult, but it can be done.
This unit uses high-quality stainless steel and shafts to create a sturdy base no matter how much pressure you apply to the unit. While it does offer soft rubber grips at the top and on the crank, some users feel that it is a little uncomfortable on the hands while in use.
This unit measures to be about 37 inches long and employs the use of an 8-inch drill bit to create an 8-inch hole. Users can also select the 6 inch bit that is offered at a lower price point.
The best part about the HT Polar design is that it is incredibly lightweight- weighing in at just 10 pounds. Plus, the ability to break it down into two pieces makes traveling with it that much easier.
Our favorite feature of this item is that it is offered at a very affordable price point, and it will likely set you back a little less than what you spent on one of your fishing poles.
If you are willing to put in the work to crank this design to save yourself quite a bit of money, we feel that the HT Polar is an excellent choice because it is made from high-quality materials that will not bend and break while in use.
8. Trophy Strike
Firm handlebar grips make it easy to control
Can drill 1,800 inches in a single charge
Can only drill holes that are 31 inches deep
If power and stability is something you are looking for in one of these products, the Trophy Strike design has that in spades. The rugged and well-built frame is made to tackle some of the toughest terrain fishermen can find, and it is also incredibly easy to use. It’s important to note, however, that his battery-powered design packs a wallop of a price tag.Read more
Ease of use
As with the majority of electric designs, using this model could not be easier. Once it is fully charged on the adapter that is included with purchase, simply pop it into your unit and you are ready to go. To drill, place the unit on the space that you want to drill the hole, hold on to the soft rubber grips, and turn it to the on position.
What we loved about this design is that a single charge of the battery can effectively drill up to 1,800 inches of frozen terrain. However, what surprised us about this option is that it is only able to drill through about 31 inches of a frozen lake in a single-use, which pale in comparison to many of the other units that are able to achieve depths of about 40+ inches.
This unit measures to be about a little over 31 inches long and the drill bit that is included with purchase is 8 inches in diameter.
For an electric unit, this design is surprisingly heavy, weighing in at almost 40 pounds.
The cost of this unit is one of the most expensive designs out there on the market and rivals the cost of the Eskimo ION design. However, we did like the fact that it comes with an impressive 5-year warranty on everything for the exception of the drill bit.
If you are in the market for something that is powerful and effective, this is an excellent option. Just keep in mind that it is a little bit heavier than most, and it comes in at a really high price point that will likely cost as much as your gas-powered snowblower.
9. Strike Master Lazer
Cuts through a frozen lake like butter
Easy to use
Comfortable hand grips
Made from high-quality materials
A little expensive for a hand crank option
When researching this design, we were drawn to a review from a 67-year-old fisherman that claimed this item is like carving through hot butter. This came to us as a bit of a surprise, considering that the Strike Master Lazer is a hand operated model. We liked this option because it is incredibly easy to use, it is made from high-quality materials, and it is has a lot of drill bit options available.Read more
Ease of use
From all of the reviews that we read, this option is incredibly easy to use. It has a soft rubber top and handles that makes gripping easy while turning the crank through the terrain. You will have to employ a little bit of elbow grease to get this unit started, but it is one of the easier manual models out there on the market from what we have discovered.
What makes this design stand out from the other manual designs is the sharpness of the blades. They are constructed from a very heavy duty chrome alloy stainless steel, and the positions of the handle and crank create better leverage. What we really liked about this option is that users can select drill bits that range from 4 inches and run all the way to 8 inches in 1-inch increments.
This unit measures to be 32.2 inches long and is about 10 inches wide, which makes it very easy and compact for traveling.
Weighing in at just 10 pounds, this is one of the lighter options out there on the market but runs pretty par for the course for a hand crank design.
The cost of this design is surprisingly expensive for a hand crank option, and it comes in at a price point that is almost double that of some of the other manual options found on our list. However, if you worry that you might not have the strength to operate one of these models, this unit may be worth the padded price tag.
We found that this was a really effective manual design, but knocked it down a few notches due to the fairly high price tag. We feel that the price for this option comes close to the price tag of some of the lower end electric models.
10. Eskimo HD06
Some users feel that the blade dull quickly and it takes them too long to drill a hole
Rounding out our list is another option from Eskimo. This hand operated design is made from the same high-quality materials that you would find in any other Eskimo product, and it comes in at a price tag that we find to be incredibly reasonable.Read more
Ease of use
While this unit is incredibly durable, we found that there were quite a few users that felt it took them too long and they had to exert a good deal of energy to drill their hole. Also, some users felt that the blades would dull quickly with repeated use.
The Cross-Bolt Takedown System offers users a way to loosen things up and prevent over-tightening while in use (which means you won’t have to worry about it getting stuck in the lake!). The blades on the drill are initially sharp, so cranking the lever on the side will be pretty easy. Users can select a 6, 7, or 8-inch drill bit to create the perfect hole for their fishing needs.
This unit measure to be 31.8 inches long, and is about 9 inches wide- which makes it pretty compact for traveling.
Hands down, this is one of the lightest options out there on the market, weight in at just 7.4 pounds (whereas the standard weight for manual options is about 10 pounds).
What we liked most about this option is that while it comes from a trusted company as Eskimo, it comes in at one of the most affordable price points on the market.
We selected this design because it comes from a name brand at an affordable price point, and many users feel that the lightweight design makes it easy to use.
Criteria Used for Evaluation
Ease of Use
Hands down, this was one of the most important things that we considered because creating a hole is the most important part of cold weather fishing.
One of the very first things that we looked at when determining the products to make our list was what past users were saying. Sure, a company can advertise that their products cut through like butter, but as they say- the proof is in the pudding. We made sure to select designs that had a long line of users that felt that the device was easy to use- from powered options to hand cranks. Naturally, powered options were easier to use than manual options, but designs that were bulky and awkward and incredibly heavy typically did not make the cut. More power doesn’t always necessarily mean that it is easier to use. Designs that had a smaller frame typically landed at the top of our list because they were typically easier to control than their heavier and bulkier counterparts. If a design is difficult to control, or so heavy that is is hard to get into place, it isn’t going to be all that easy to use- no matter how much power it has in the motor.
You are going to want something that is going to be able to make a clean cut hole that is of the right size for your needs.
How do you achieve the perfect cut? By selecting a design that has enough power, and one that has a sharp, powerful blade that is attached to a quality frame. To find the most effective designs out there, we first looked at the materials used to compose the device. Companies that used high quality alloys such as stainless steel were the very best materials to use for this particular job. Another thing that we felt was really important to create that perfect fishing hole was a powder coating on the frame. You are more than likely going to be drilling more than one hole on your next fishing expedition, so the last thing that you will want is a thick layer of ice forming on the blades on those insanely cold days. A powder coating on the frame will prevent build up so your blades will be as sharp at the end of the day as they were at the beginning. Sharp blades are important to determining if a product if effective, but a strong, solid frame is the other part of the battle.
Finding products with the right size blades is an important part of finding the right gear for your fishing needs.
One thing that we immediately looked at when considering a product was the diameter of the blade. The thicker the blade, the bigger hole it will create. Naturally, bigger blades are designed to create bigger holes. Depending upon the type of water that you are fishing in, bigger blades aren’t always better. If you are fishing in more shallow water, you would be better off with a thinner blade that is about 4-5 inches in diameter. When you are pulling up a smaller fish through a bigger hole, you run the risk of it getting away- so a smaller blade would actually be better. If you are fishing in deeper waters, a bigger hole provided from an 8-inch blade is going to be your best bet. With that being said, we wanted to make sure that we selected designs that allowed users to select the right size blade for their specific fishing needs. Many companies on our list offer a base 6 in or 8-inch option, while some companies offer blades that range from 4 to 8 inches.
Depending on the distance that you will have to travel to reach a good body of water, traveling light might be something that is important to you.
We wanted to make sure that we selected designs that weren’t too heavy and bulky, and we also wanted to select options that were easy to travel with. Motorized models that have a motor that runs off of gasoline or is battery powered are naturally going to weigh more than their manual counterparts. From what we could gather, the average weight of these motorized options was between 30-60 pounds. To keep things light and easy, we tried to select models that were under 40 pounds. We also determined that motorized options that weighed under 20 pounds typically did not have the same level of power that their heavier options had so that it something that you will want to keep in mind. In terms of manual options, 10 pounds seemed to be the average weight of these options all the way around. There were a few exceptions, such as the Eskimo design, that offered a hand powered design that only weighed 7.4 pounds.
We want to save you money where we can, but not at the risk of sacrificing quality.
There are quite a few options on our list that pack a wallop of a price tag, but that is simply because they offer superior design and functionality that take away the pressure of creating a great fishing hole. From what we have heard from a myriad of seasoned cold-weather fishermen is that paying the extra money for one of the more expensive models is well worth it in the long haul. The more expensive models not only create perfect holes at very minimal effort, but they also hold up a lot better over time that some of the more affordable options. We know, however, that not all users have the money to spend on these incredibly expensive models, which is why we included some more affordable options- both powered and manual- on our list.
Expert Interviews & Opinions
There are two things that you want to look for in an effective design: materials used, as well as the sharpness of the blade. It makes sense that a sharper blade will cut through easier, so be sure to take a look at what users have to say about how sharp the drill bit is. We also suggest that selecting a model that is made from high-quality steel is a safe bet to ensure that your unit will not buckle under the pressure of a very thick and frozen lake on incredibly cold days. Also, be sure that the frame is powder coated. This ensures that ice will not build up on the surface of the blade throughout the course of the day.
Size matters! And bigger isn't always better. Consider the fish that live in the lake, as well as the depth of the water. Shallow conditions and smaller fish typically only need a blade that measures to be about 4-5 inches. Smaller holes also mean that you will be able to drill more without becoming overly tired, so make sure you select the right size drill for the job! Besides, smaller blades are generally significantly more affordable than larger 8-inch blades.
Other Factors to Consider
There are few services on the planet that are harder to penetrate than ice, that's why you want to make sure that you select something that is easy to use. Any seasoned veteran will tell you that motorized is the way to go to make your life exponentially easier. These units might not be great if you are camping or hiking out in the woods and stumble upon a perfect spot the way a more mobile hand crank option would, due to the fact that they are very bulky and often pretty heavy. However, if you plan on spending the day on the lake and like to create a lot of holes to find that perfect spot, motorized is the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
q: What are these products used for?
If you want to fish all year round, you are going to need a way to penetrate through that frozen lake to reach all of the fish. As we suggested earlier, showing up to a frozen lake without one of these devices is like throwing a party without a corkscrew. Fishermen use these devices to cut multiple holes on the surface of a frozen lake, and then place their poles directly into the hole, or place a series of tip-ups in the holes on the surface of the lake. Many veteran fishermen drill anywhere from 25 to 100 holes per outing until the find where all of the fish are hiding, so investing in an easy to operate and lightweight model is going to be the key to finding all of those fish.
q: What are the benefits of using a propane or electric option?
Many seasoned fishermen will tell you that motorized options are the only way to go because they require very little effort from the users. Plus, if you are planning on drilling multiple holes while you are out on the water, motorized options are going to be your new best friend. The only downside to these design is that they can run out of gas, or the battery can die in the middle of your trip, and if you aren’t prepared you will suddenly have nothing to drill with. If you are planning on drilling multiple holes. Another downside to these designs is that they are often heavy and cumbersome, and can be difficult to start if you opt for a gasoline operated option. Another reason users may shy away from these designs is that they often come in at a price point that is quite high. However, we have discovered that many seasoned fishermen find that they are well worth the investment.
q: What are the benefits of a manual unit?
The downside to manual options is pretty obvious- they are powered by you. And if you are drilling multiple holes, you are going to want to take a nap before you even grab your fishing pole. However, these options are not without their benefits. The reason some fishermen opt for a manual unit is that they are incredibly affordable. If you are someone that can only get out on the lake a few times a season, spending the higher price point on the motorized options might not be worth it in the long haul. These designs typically cost about ¼ of what their powered counterparts cost. Another reason that fishermen like the manual option are because they are less likely to malfunction when you are out on the lake. As long as your arms have not frozen into two blocks of ice on a particularly cold day, you will have the power supply that you need to operate them at all times.
q: Can they be used for anything else?
Yes, they can! If you are planning to do any yard work this growing season, these devices can actually be used to dig holes in particularly stubborn dirt that doesn’t seem to react very well to your shovel. If you really want to get the best out of these devices, however, we suggest buying additional drill bits that are designed to work with various types of terrain. Many of the options found on our list offer drill bits made for hard terrain at an affordable price point so you will really gut a lot of mileage from these products all year round.
q: How do I know what size drill bit to purchase?
If you are a novice to wintertime fishing, your instinct might tell you that the bigger the blad, the better. However, this isn’t necessarily true. Depending on the type of water that you are fishing in, you might want to opt for one of the smaller blades. Typically, smaller holes are drilled in more shallow bodies of water where you are just looking to catch a couple of panfish. Bigger holes will not hinder your chances of catching fish, but it is not necessary. Plus, smaller holes are easier to drill, and the come at a much lower price point than 8-inch models. The 8-inch models are typically used for deeper bodies of water, and for those chasing bigger game, this is going to be your best bet. If you are using a hand crank model, the thinner holes are going to be easier on the body and arms, and you are going to be able to drill more holes throughout the course of the day.
q: How can I sharpen my blades?
Dull blades can, quite literally, be a real pain in the back. So, what are you supposed to do when your blade dulls from frequent use? There are many tutorials out there on the internet that explain how to sharpen your blades at home, but these tutorials often require the use of power tools that the average homeowner does not have in their arsenal. What we found is that there are many businesses that will offer to sharpen them for you for a fee. Businesses like lawn and garden stores often offer tool sharpening services that will sharpen all sorts of blades- from lawn mowers to augers. If you cannot find a service that will do it near you, there is always the option to buy a replacement blade from the manufacturer. Most replacement blades will cost you about the same price that you would spend on a fishing pole, and sometimes less if you opt for a smaller blade.