Ice fishing is used by many – either for sport or to gather food, but if you don’t have enough upper body strength, you’ll find it difficult to punch your way through several feet of ice. Depending on the location, the layer of ice beneath your feet might have a thickness between one and three feet.
After considering the thickness of the ice, imagine having to dig several holes through it every day. An ice auger is a powerful tool, and it’s designed to punch holes through thick layers of ice. With winter upon us, many fishermen are gearing up, and for most, an ice auger is at the top of the list of essential equipment.
The problem that most people have is finding the best ice auger for their needs. It’s easy to get lost in the massive selection of products and never find what you really need. If you want to get the best product, you need to know what to look for.
Best Ice Augers
Eskimo Quantum 43cc Power Ice Fishing Auger
The Eskimo Quantum is available in two different blade sizes, so you can choose from eight and 10 inches. The total length of the auger is 42 inches, which is suitable for an average height.
This ice auger features a high-performance Viper engine, and with 8,000 RPMs of drilling force, this auger is capable of penetrating the thickest layers of ice. For maximum comfort, the handlebars are equipped with foam grips, and the throttle can be controlled with your fingertip.
The high-performance engine on the Eskimo Quantum delivers 43ccs of power, and it’s designed for easy operation. For quick starting, it has a built-in primer button, and since the gas tank is transparent, it’s easy to see when it needs to be refilled.
It comes with two replaceable Quantum blades, and it has no problems starting in cold weather. The only potential downside is the low-quality pull cord, which isn’t the best fit for the high-compression motor on the Eskimo Quantum.
ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger, 8 Inch, with Reverse
The ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger is lightweight and doesn’t take much strength to carry. With a weight of only 21 pounds, it’s ideal for carrying long distances, and the wide-spaced handlebar design makes operation much easier.
The ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger also has a large trigger button, which is designed to make the auger more comfortable to use. The entire auger is made out of durable steel, and with an eight-inch blade, it can drill holes that are large enough for many types of fish.
The total length of the auger is 34 inches, but it’s still a great product for taller users because it comes with a 12-inch extension. A battery charger is included with the purchase, which makes charging quick and easy.
The ION is one of the only high-performance electric augers on the market, and it’s designed to provide plenty of performance while eliminating the hassles of using an electric model. The ION is fast, powerful and reliable, and it can drill up to 40 two-foot holes on a single battery charge.
Since this particular model also has a reverse feature, it prevents you from having to use an ice skimmer when you’re finished drilling a hole. It’s equipped with the latest lithium-ion technology and doesn’t produce fumes, oil or gas. If you’d like to drill holes efficiently and avoid stinky gas hands, consider the ION auger.
Eskimo High Compression 40cc Propane with 8-Inch Quantum Ice Auger
The Eskimo 40cc ice auger has an eight-inch blade, which is large enough to drill holes for a wide range of fish species. With a 42-inch length, it’s long enough to accommodate most fishermen. The 40cc, four-cycle engine uses high-compression to efficiently drill through thick layers of ice.
The Eskimo 40cc propane ice auger features a quick-release bottle holder, which makes refilling the propane tank much easier. It comes with a one-pound propane cylinder and uses an auto-prime fuel system. This feature eliminates the need to prime the engine before starting.
To start drilling through thick layers of ice, all you have to do is flip the power switch. Due to lower maintenance and cleaner burning, many older ice augers are being converted to four-cycle propane engines.
The problem with some augers is that they’re too heavy, and others are lightweight but don’t have enough power. The Eskimo 40cc propane auger strikes the perfect balance between weight and power.
The engine on this auger is designed to take advantage of the high-octane content of propane, and with a higher compression ratio, it delivers more power with a smaller package. A ball bearing transmission and two Quantum blades make this product one of the best options on the market.
Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger
If you’re looking for a high-quality product, the Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger is worth considering. For efficient drilling, it features chrome-alloy, stainless-steel blades, and to reduce ice accumulation, it has powder-coated paint.
With soft rubber grips, you might forget you’re using a hand auger. The Strike Master Lazer hand auger features an ergonomic handle system, which makes drilling much easier. To accommodate fishermen of all sizes, the Lazer comes with an adjustable handle, which can be adjusted between 48 and 57 inches.
Depending on your needs, you can select this auger with four different blade sizes, and with several blade sizes to choose from, you can find the best size for the type of fish you’ll be going after. The Strike Master Lazer ice auger is designed to be a simple tool, and when you’re drilling holes through ice with manual labor, the design can make or break a product.
Every part of this auger has been created to make your job easier. The Lazer ice auger has been made to save your breath and prevent strain on your back. With an adjustable handle, this auger works well for fishermen of any height, and it drills precise holes into the thickest ice.
Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger
Here we have the Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora hand auger, and for easier drilling, it’s equipped with high-alloy carbon steel blades. To reduce ice buildup, it’s made with powder coated paint. The handle can be adjusted for taller users, and you can adjust the handlebar from 48 to 57 inches.
The total weight of the auger is six pounds, which is why it’s easy to carry long distances. The Strikemaster Mora hand auger is equipped with soft rubber grips for increased comfort, and the handle system has been designed with an emphasis on ergonomics.
If you decide to purchase this auger, you’ll find three different blade sizes to choose from. Every feature on this auger has been added to increase comfort and control. Drilling through thick ice with a manual auger can be difficult, and the Strikemaster Mora has been engineered to make the job easier.
StrikeMaster Chipper Lite Power Auger, Red/Black, 8.25-Inch
This is another top model from StrikeMaster, and it’s the Chipper Lite. Since this is a powered auger, it makes drilling through thick ice a much easier process. With a 32cc engine, the Chipper Lite produced 1.5 horsepower, which is enough to drill deep into a thick layer of ice.
For reliable performance, it’s equipped with an American Made transmission, and the gears in the transmission are made of steel and have been heat treated. The Chipper Lite powered auger is equipped with a steel blade, and with polymer gear castings, it offers plenty of power from a lightweight package.
Two great features that this model offers are the Vandar long filament, high-impact handles, and the overall design makes it a lightweight, powerful auger. If you plan to handle rough ice and need a reliable auger, the Chipper Lite is worth considering. It features an economical design, and it’s ideal for drilling new holes or reopening holes that have already been drilled.
Since it has a pointed chipper blade tip, it doesn’t jump around inside of the hole you’re drilling. Although it delivers the performance you’d expect from a powered auger, it’s significantly lighter than many competing models.
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Different Types of Ice Augers
Not too long ago, the only products that you had to choose from required manual labor, and you had to operate them with nothing but brute strength. Today, you can choose from manual, electric or gas-powered augers. Each type of product is different, and it’s important to understand the benefits.
A manual auger features a basic design, and although there are gas and electric alternatives, many fishermen still use a manual auger. To drill holes into thick ice with a manual auger, you’ll need strong arms and shoulders.
After you’ve drilled through about 16 inches of ice, it will be significantly more difficult to drill deeper with a manual ice auger.
If you don’t plan to fish often, or you’re planning on drilling through relatively thin ponds or lakes, then a manual auger might be worth considering. With such a simple design, it’s much less likely to break than gas or electric products.
Gas Ice Augers
If you’re looking for the fastest way to drill through thick ice, then consider a gas auger. No other product will get you through tough ice faster than this option. When drilling a hole through ice with a gas auger, it’s like running a hot knife through butter.
Although they’re slightly more likely to break down, gas augers are quite reliable and efficient. To mitigate the risk of part failure, you can always bring a manual auger as a backup.
The only downside of purchasing and using a gas auger is the weight, and it can be significantly heavier than an electric or manual ice auger.
If you’re considering a gas auger, then you can choose from two or four-stroke engines. For heavy-duty drilling, a four-stroke motor is ideal, but depending on your needs, it might make more sense to get a two-stroke motor.
Electric Ice Auger
Many fishermen decide to go with an electric auger, and when compared with alternative options, it has several advantages to offer.
Today’s electric augers have a lot of power, so they have no trouble drilling through thick layers of ice. Since they run on electricity, they’re easier on the environment, and they’re also much quieter and don’t produce oil or fumes.
The only downside of an electric model is the battery life, and once the battery level gets too low, the performance will drop off sharply.
Features to Look For
When shopping for the best ice auger, there are several features to consider. Before making a purchase, consider the weight of the product. Most manual augers weigh about four times less than gas models.
If you’re planning to fish at a remote location, and you’ll be traveling a long distance to get there, then a manual auger might be the best choice. Fuel technology is another feature to consider, and if you’re planning to purchase a gas auger, consider getting a product from Jiffy.
Another very important feature to consider is the blade size. The common blade sizes are six, eight and 10 inches. When fishing for Burbot, Lake Trout or Pike, a 10-inch blade is the best choice because it’s ideal for larger fish species. With a 10-inch blade, you’ll be able to drill a hole that is nearly 50 percent larger than a hole drilled with an eight-inch auger.
Blade sharpness is also very important, and you should never leave home with an unsharpened blade. If you have enough money, it’s best to get an auger with a 10-inch blade because you’ll be able to fish for almost any type of fish.