Updated: Jan 20, 2016
Ice Auger Reviews:
- What is an ice auger?
- Benefits of using an electric ice auger
- How much do ice augers cost? Which should I buy?
If you plan on going ice fishing, you'll need to invest in a solid ice auger. The old school hand augers still work just fine on the ice, but the newer electric ice augers are very convenient. Think about cold, frigid temps and having to manually turn the hand auger. Doesn't sound like fun to me. A power ice auger will cut through the ice quickly and efficiently leaving you more time to fish. The power ice augers are run on either gasoline, propane or batteries. They all do a tremendous job and our video below shows just how quick they are.
Ice anglers would much rather be fishing than digging. Just how many holes can you dig using a manual ice auger before you get exhausted and have no energy left for catching those fish? Throw out all the macho stuff and consider buying one of the Eskimo or Strike Master ice augers. You can literally blast through the ice in seconds and dig dozens of holes in minutes. Don't want to hassle with a gas engine? Then look into the new battery powered ION electric auger. Think it can't hold up to the abuse? Charge the 40V unit and go out on the ice. Reviews are solid and experts are slowly switching their allegiance to these battery powered ice augers. We have a complete buying guide below along with reviews on the most popular ice augers.
The video below shows the basic functions of an electric ice auger:
Ice Auger Buying Guide
When it comes to purchasing an ice auger, you will need to take many factors into account. One of the first things to look at is the bit size. The hand augers go from 4 inches up to 8 inches and the power augers typically range from 8 to 10 inches. What size is right? Many ice angling veterans say 8 inch diameter holes are probably enough for your fishing needs. For those using hand augers, keep in mind that the size of your hole in the ice determines how much torque you'll need to get it done. Power augers will eliminate the worry about torque as they can dig dozens of holes effortlessly.
Weight of your ice auger is another feature worth noting. Do you like to dig 10 holes and then move on to another location? Power augers typically weigh more than the hand augers with the added engine weight. Lugging a 30 pound auger around the ice is probably not what you want to do all day. Many ice fishermen we talked with prefer to sit at a hole for 10 or 15 minutes and move on if nothing is biting. That means digging addition holes and carrying the auger with you.
Hand vs Power Augers - Here's the key question to us. What style auger are you going to prefer? Manual ice augers are still prevalent anywhere you fish on the ice. One main reason some ice anglers like them is because they produce less noise and vibrations while digging versus power augers. No need to scare off the fish if you can help it. They are economical and run clean. The 4 cycle gas ice augers start smooth, burn cleaner than 2 cycle motors, and have less durability issues. The new electric ice augers are gaining traction amongst even the hard core holdouts. Rechargeable batteries, environmentally friendly, and running quiet are just 3 reasons these augers are so popular.
Blades - The ice auger blade can make a big difference in cutting speeds, but ultimately they all cut fast. You will see single blade, double blade and quad blades. There are both standard and serrated blades or the combination of both. We like the serrated ice auger blades for their efficiency and ability to break up ice easier near the surface. The fishing hole gets started easier and you are done that much faster.
Brands - We recommend looking at Eskimo, Strike Master, and ION. Jiffy was mentioned in several head to head reviews, but they don't get the same positive owner feedback as the other 3 manufacturers. The best ice auger reviews can be found online at In-fisherman.com, Worldfishingnetwork.com, and Iceshanty.com. We like watching ice auger comparisons on YouTube and we have listed several quality videos on our page. Pricing starts at about $50 for hand augers and goes up to $100 for them. The gas powered ice augers are $200 to $800 and the battery powered ones are about $500. You can browse the best selling ice augers here.
Best Ice Auger:
There are several gas powered ice augers that score well in comparison tests, but the one we see more often on the ice is the Eskimo Quantum 43cc Power Ice Fishing Auger. There are two version available - 8 and 10 inches. The 8000 RPM Viper engine has a fingertip throttle control and cuts through the ice impressively. Your hands will stick to the foam-grip handlebars and starting the engine is fairly simple with the primer button. The see through gas tank is nice so you always know how much fuel is left. The propane models don't offer the same convenience. The one drawback we found is that gas engines can have a hard time starting in subzero temperatures. Propane and battery powered augers don't.
The ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger is an 8 inch battery powerd model that features a reverse function as well. It's lightweight and easy to maneuver at just over 20 pounds. The auger length is 34 inches, although you can get the 12 inch extension to dig down 46 inches. This electric ice auger has been questioned in terms of the power it produces. We found it to be quite strong in all ice conditions and more powerful than you would think. You get a quality electric ice auger without all the hassles of owning and maintaining a gas powered model. How many holes can you drill? We found the ION 40V Max Electric Ice Auger is capable of drilling up to 40 holes through almost 24 inches of ice on one charge. Not bad right? If you need raw power from a gas motor, then go with the Eskimo listed above. Otherwise, consider the ION. No oil, no fumes, and no gas needed. The replacement battery cost is close to $150 - something to think about.
To check out how to use a manual or electric ice auger - click the image below to go to video.
Top Rated Manual Ice Auger:
Our favorite is the Strike Master Ice Augers Lazer Hand Auger which lets you cut a hole in the ice from 4 to 8 inches in diameter. Hand augers on the ice need to turn your RPMs into inches drilled. The ergonomic designed handle system equates to no wasted energy. The handle will adjust from 48 inches up to 57 inches. There are even soft rubber grips to help keep your hands on the handle. The blades are chrome-allow stainless steel and the powder coated drill will keep ice build-up to a minimum. On our videos page, you will see how simple these ice fishing tools are to use. Eskimo makes some quality manual ice augers as well. They are slightly cheaper but still as effective at getting yourself a fishing hole started in the ice.
Propane Ice Auger:
As we noted earlier in the article, propane might be your best source of fuel when out on the ice. Propane ice augers like the Eskimo High Compression 40cc Propane with 10-Inch Quantum Ice Auger get great feedback from owners and experts. The 10 inch diameter auger will cut through ice effortlessly. The unit holds a 1 pound propane cylinder which will power the 40cc high compression 4 cycle engine. The auto prime fuel system is what owners appreciate - just flip the ON switch and start drilling. No need to prime the engine. The propane powered auger will burn clean and requires little maintenance compared to the gas ice augers.
We like that the propane auger is lightweight and still powerful enough to get the 42 inch auger through the ice smoothly. You get a higher octane rating with propane which means higher compression ratio. The increased power will let you cut through 1 foot of ice within seconds. In tests, the single canister of propane was able to get through 40 holes at 14 inches deep and still have fuel left. Some ice anglers have asked if the propane tanks will freeze up in cold temperatures. Many owners have told us that using the ice auger with propane fuel in single digit temps was no problem at all. The Eskimo ice auger is reliable and dependable - two key attributes you need to consider when working in freezing temps.
More videos and resources are here on our Ice Auger Resource Page.
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