Ice Fishing

Best Ice Fishing Augers

Best Ice Fishing Augers

If you’re going to get serious about Ice Fishing, then you need to get serious about an ice auger. Drilling the holes is one of the biggest parts of ice fishing. And a good ice auger is worth its weight in gold.

Anglers today have an abundance of ice fishing augers to choose from, including electric, gas and propane power options, cordless drill and auger assembly configurations, as well as manual hand ice augers. Yet, wading through the various ice auger brands, models and features to find the best ice fishing auger for your needs can be a tad bit daunting, particularly for beginners.

This resource will provide updated information you can use when deciding what ice fishing auger is best for you. It covers the following:

  • What is an ice auger
  • What to consider when buying an ice auger
  • Hand ice augers
  • Electric ice augers
  • Gas-powered ice augers
  • Propane-powered ice augers
  • Best cordless power drills for use with an ice auger drill assembly
  • Ice fishing auger options and accessories
  • Best ice fishing augers from the top brands
  • Ice auger comparison chart

ice augers for ice fishing

What Is an Ice Auger?

Used for drilling a hole through the ice, an ice fishing auger has two main components. One is the drill assembly, which is comprised of a metal shaft, flighting and a cutting head holding either a single blade or a set of opposing blades.

The upper part of an auger is what powers the drill assembly. With a manual hand auger, the assembly connects to a handle, which an angler turns to cut a hole. Electric, gas and propane power heads have motors for driving the drill assembly. With some augers, an 18-volt brushless power drill can be used.

What To Consider When Buying An Ice Auger?

You’ll need to think about several factors when deciding what is the best ice fishing auger for you. Some things to consider include:

  • Your fishing style
  • Price
  • Powering
  • Cutting diameter
  • Weight
  • Drill materials
  • Blade type
  • Ergonomics and transportability

Fishing style

As with any tool purchase, identifying how you intend to use an ice auger is an important part of the decision-making process.

“It all depends on what you think you’ll be using your auger for the most,” said Wired2fish’s Kobie Koenig. “Are you on the go drilling new holes all over the lake? Or, are you just re-drilling the holes in your permanent ice house on the weekends? Style of fishing can also have to do with daily longevity. Do you plan to drill 100 holes per day or only five?”


How much you have to spend on an ice auger must also be taken into account. Prices range from around $90 for an entry-level hand auger to upwards of $380 – $800 for powered ice augers.


Budget and fishing style will influence whether you choose a hand or a power auger. The more holes you intend to drill, and the larger the cutting diameter, the greater the argument becomes for investing in a powered ice auger, particularly during thick ice conditions. However, for those who only fish for panfish, don’t drill many holes, or live in an area where the ice doesn’t get very think, a 5- or 6-inch hand auger might check all the boxes.

Cutting diameter

The wider an auger’s cutting head, the more energy and time it takes to get through the ice. In addition to drilling time and effort, you must also consider the species you plan to fish for on the ice when choosing auger cutting diameter.

Generally, the smallest cutting hand auger option is 4 inches, which has applications for anglers targeting yellow perch as well as for hard-core anglers drilling holes for scouting with an underwater camera. A 5-inch hand auger is a popular choice for panfish and small walleye and is a little less work to drill with than a 6-inch; however, a 6-inch deserves consideration if planning to frequently target mid-sized species, like walleye and whitefish, along with panfish. Auger assemblies in 6- and 7-inch are quite popular for pairing with a brushless, cordless drills.

Drilling with an 8-inch hand auger is no small feat, but it can be done. If you can, though, go with power if you need this hole size or larger.

An 8-inch hole auger is a good all-round size for predators, including walleye and pike. The exception being if fishing for trophy-sized lake trout and northern pike, in which case the extra room of a 9- or 10-inch hole is good to have.

Auger weight

Anglers who move around and drill a lot of holes will want a light auger. Conversely, those only using an auger to re-drill a few holes inside a permanent ice house — perhaps half a dozen outside for tip-ups for good measure — may not rank auger’s weight as high on the priority list.

Drill materials

An auger assembly’s materials also deserves your attention. Steel flighting is durable and has a proven track record, but adds weight and can accumulate ice over the course of the day. Assemblies made with composite flighting are lighter and, in some instances, resist ice built-up better than steel. The balance manufacturers have attempted to strike is ensuring the is also rugged enough to withstand freezing temperatures.


You’ll also have to choose between shaver or chipper blades. Shaver blades deliver smooth, efficient and fast cutting. Flat shaver blades cut well and are common with entry-level drills. Curved shaver blades are designed to move the cutting head downward with each rotation, increasing drilling efficiency and eliminating the need to put much, if any, downward pressure on the auger.

Chipper blades are generally more durable than shaver blades and stay sharper longer. Chipper-style augers are great for re-drilling old holes and can take the abuse of cutting through “dirty ice” (i.e., ice containing sand, sticks, etc.). Some anglers find chipper style augers cut more slowly and can require downward pressure when drilling. The cutting style of chipper blades can also send a fair amount of feedback into the powerhead’s handles and, subsequently, to an angler’s body. Whether these characteristics are considered disadvantages or not will depend on your auger needs and fishing style.

Ergonomics and transportability

In addition to an ice auger’s weight, mobile anglers who drill a lot of holes need to consider how the unit balances in the hands when carrying it, as well as their posture and comfort when drilling. The less effort and more natural it is to haul around an ice drill and punch holes, the more ground you’ll cover and, hopefully, catch more fish as a result. On-ice demo days are hard to come by, but if a buddy has a model he likes that feels right for you, it might be worthwhile to stick with this brand.

The above doesn’t capture everything to consider when choosing an ice fishing auger, but we believe it covers many of the important decision points. With these factors in mind, let’s look closer at the different ice auger categories, before exploring a few of the best ice fishing augers available to help you make an informed purchase when choosing the best ice fishing auger for your needs.

Types of Augers

There are quite a few differences in the different types of augers but basically you have the following 5 types to choose from as an ice angler:

  • Hand Ice Augers
  • Electric Ice Augers
  • Gas-Powered Ice Augers
  • Propane-Powered Ice Augers
  • Cordless Drill Kit Ice Augers

Each auger type has its advantages and disadvantages from weight, ease of use, price, portability, usage time, maintenance and more. Here’s a closer look to help you choose the right one for your fishing style.

hand auger from jiffy

Hand Ice Augers

For many ice anglers a manual hand ice auger was our first ice drill. Affordability, ease of use, quiet operation and being lightweight are reasons these augers remain relevant.

In scenarios where a fishing party only has one power auger, having a hand auger available as a back-up is not a bad idea. This raises the fact hand augers have less moving parts and a more simple design than power models, which means less can go wrong.

There may also be situations where a hand auger is your only option.

“Some areas, like the BWCA, prohibit power augers,” Koenig said. “In that case, a hand auger may be a necessity for some.”

A drawback of hand augers is drilling a lot of holes and drilling through thick ice can get physically demanding. As noted, increasing cutting diameter compounds the issue. When drilling becomes an uphill battle, it can make an angler complacent and more apt to stay too long in unproductive holes instead of drilling new ones and searching for active fish.

If a hand auger appeals to you, it’s worth thinking about a model with an offset handle design, which increases torque and power. Examples include the Jiffy Hand Augers and NILSUSA hand augers as well as StrikeMaster’s Lazer and Fin-Bore (exclusive to Canada and formally branded as a Normark Fin-Bore).

electric ice auger from strikemaster

Electric Ice Augers

The lithium-ion power ice auger category has boomed in the last five years. This section discusses electric versions of a traditional power-head design, like the StrikeMaster Pro Lithium 40-volt Lite, Ion Alpha and Jiffy Rogue 2.0.

Electric augers are very low maintenance and fairly hassle-free. Keep batteries charged and blades sharp, and you’re good to go. They also offer some features not found on other power units, such as powerhead LED lights for better visibility when drilling at night.

Drilling is fast and easy with an electric ice fishing auger. No need to fight with a gas engine to get it started or waiting for it to warm up — just grab the handles, pull a trigger and/or press a button and an electric auger starts cutting. This is advantageous anytime, but for Wired2Fish’s McKeon Roberts these characteristics make electric ice augers more reliable in cold conditions.

Keep lithium batteries warm when you’re not drilling, if possible.

Electric ice augers are also quiet. A bonus to avoid spooking fish, but also to not alert other anglers to the whereabouts of your secret fishing spot. It’s also nice not having to yell to friends when drilling holes.

Most models the option of forward and reverse auger operation. Reverse is useful for backing-out should the drill hit something or get hung-up. After drilling a hole, reverse can be used to flush slush downward as a cleaning method.

For their size and the number of holes they can drill on one lithium battery, electric augers are relatively light. Owning an extra battery increases the number of holes you can drill per outing as well as serves as a back-up. Battery chargers are typically included with electric augers.

For many, batteries offer a reliable power source, but for others batteries are a drawback in certain scenarios.

As Roberts notes, “When your battery dies, you’re at the mercy of electrical outlets and time.”

Given this reality, electrical augers may not be ideal for certain extended remote fishing scenarios. Anglers can also get sidelined, too, should they forget to charge batteries — unlikely, but certainly not improbable.

For more information on electric powered augers, see Ryan DeChaine’s rundown in this electric ice auger video.

Gas Powered Augers

For decades, gas ice augers ruled the ice belt. Despite the skyrocketing popularity of electric models, gas drills still appeal to some, which is why brands like Jiffy’s gas augers and Eskimo’s gas augers continue offering gas power ice auger.

Gas augers have been around for a long time, their technology is reliable. Add tough to the list, too, especially when going with a historically proven and rugged brand, like Jiffy.

Gas as a fuel source is also generally available. This may seem better than relying on battery power for some anglers, depending on their fishing style and intended destinations. These days discussing the downsides of gas augers is often done by comparing them to electric models. Yet, for years many of us enjoyed great ice fishing trips thanks to gas drills, so the following may or may not classify as “downsides” based on your particular wants and needs.

Gas engines require routine maintenance and must be drained at the end of the ice season. Starting a gas engine involves using a choke and priming the fuel system. This is typically a non-issue for those familiar with the unit, but if you’ve ever had someone flood your auger’s gas engine, you know all too well the hassle and lost fishing time this creates.

Gas augers are louder in comparison to electric augers. They also tend to be heavier.

Propane Powered Augers

As an alternative to gas augers, propane models are quieter and less maintenance. Propane models like the Jiffy 46X-treme and Eskimo HC40 don’t require priming of the fuel system, which eliminates the risk of flooding.

These drills run on a one-pound propane cylinders, which are readily available but also take up space and require proper disposal. Extremely cold conditions are not friendly on propane augers and units may experience performance issues.

Best Cordless Power Drills For Powering An Ice Auger

Many ice anglers are cutting ice holes using a professional-quality, 18- or 20-volt, lithium, brushless 1/2-inch chuck drill, which is attached to an an ice auger assembly, like the StrikeMaster Lite-Flite Drill Unit, K-Drill Ice Auger, Jiffy Torch and Eskimo Pistol Bit. Combining these two items results in a lightweight, highly portable and powerful ice auger option.

Be aware an adaptor may be needed for connecting the ice auger to the cordless drill’s chuck. Having a flange on the assembly is recommended to prevent the unit from sinking down the hole should it slip out of the drill’s chuck.

We recommend reviewing ice auger brand websites to learn details on the minimum requirements for brushless drills, such as ensure it has a stabilizer arm, as well as the recommended settings for use with their products. For what it’s worth, I had good success for several years using a Milwaukee M18 Fuel Drill (2703) with a M18 REDLITHIUM XC5.0 Extended Capacity Battery Packs with a 7.5-inch K-Drill.

Spare batteries are a must for doing any significant amount of drilling with this set-up. The smaller drill batteries don’t have as much capacity as the lithium batteries in electric auger power heads.

Be aware, too, an 18-volt (or higher) drill produces a lot of torque and power. Should the auger assembly encounters resistance preventing it from cutting or spinning, the cordless drill will jerk and want to spin until you release its trigger. This can result in a sudden and significant amount of stress placed on the hands, arms and upper body — even with a stabilizer arm. To reduce the chance of injury, keeps arms braced against your body.

If you like the idea of a using a cordless drill, but are concerned about the potential risks just explained, you may want to look at the Clam Outdoors Drill Plate. Designed specifically for cordless drill and an ice auger drill assembly combinations, one of the Drill Plate’s benefits is its two rubber dipped handles anglers can grip to ensure a solid, secure grip when drilling.

hand ice auger in use

Ice Auger Options And Accessories

Many ice auger add-ons and accessories are useful to have, depending on your choice of auger and fishing style. An auger extension increases the drill’s cutting depth and is worthwhile if you typically encounter thick ice conditions.

Owning a set of replacement blades, along with the necessary tools to change them on ice, is a good idea. A blade cover is essential for keeping blades in peak cutting condition as well as preventing injuries. Typically, augers are sold with a blade cover, but covers can also be purchased separately.

Having a storage bracket or a stand is useful for keeping a power augers at home. A power head cover bag and auger carry case will also help protect your investment.

Consider a storage bag for spare electric auger batteries. For gas augers, having extra oil and another spark plug on hand is a good practice.

Best Ice Fishing Augers by Brand

The following sections list some of the best ice fishing augers available from various brands. In addition to our own experiences with products, we’ve worked with ice fishing experts, manufacturers and folks in the industry in an effort to create a comprehensive snapshot of popular ice auger options. In addition to highlighting several products from each brand, we also provide manufacturer links so you can do your own research on specific details and specs in order to make informed decisions when choosing the best ice fishing auger for your needs.

You’ll also find an ice auger comparison chart at the end of this article.

Photo by Kobie Koenig

Strikemaster Ice Augers

StrikeMaster’s first electric ice auger was in 1977, and currently focuses on this technology while also manufacturing hand augers. Wired2Fish has extensive experience with StrikeMaster ice augers and are partial to the brand’s Lithium 40v and 24v electric ice auger offerings.

StrikeMaster’s 8- and 10-inch Lithium 40v Lite features the brand’s proven electric DC brushless motor powerhead with impact-resistant, long filament handles, but shaves off weight thanks to the new Lite-Flite Lazer Drill Unit with synthetic flighting (see details below). Outfitted with twin serrated stainless steel Lazer blades and powered by a lithium 40-volt battery, this is a serious ice-cutting machine StrikeMaster states is capable of drilling 100, 8-inch holes through 16 inches of ice on a single charge. If you like the look of this set-up but would prefer a steel auger flighting, check out StrikeMaster’s Lithium 40v.

StrikeMaster’s 6- and 8-inch Lithium 24v Augers are lightweight, compact and fast, offering anglers an alternative to cordless drill and auger combinations. The Lithium 24v boasts stable, ergonomic handling, plenty of power and a Lite-Flight Lazer Drill Unit. On a single battery charge the 6-inch model can cut 65 holes through 16 inches of ice.

StrikeMaster’s Lite-Flite Lazer Drill Unit can be purchased separately in 6 and 8 inch cutting diameters an is designed for use with a professional-quality 18-volt (or higher) brushless cordless drill with a 1/2-inch and side handle, but can also be used with a StrikeMaster power head. Synthetic resin molded flighting reduces weight yet is rugged enough to withstand winter’s wrath. Outfitted with twin serrated stainless steel Lazer Blades and centering Power Point. Comes with a blade guard, drill adaptor and safety flange.

More details at

ion ice augers

ION Ice Augers

ION ice fishing augers continue to be forerunners the electric ice drill segment. As an Ardisam brand, ION electric augers are part of a long history of ice auger manufacturing dating back to 1960.

The Alpha Series represents ION’s latest evolution of lithium powered ice augers. Anglers can choose either the Alpha Plus or the Alpha model in 8- or 10-inch configurations. Standard across all Alpha models is the all-new powerhead, which features a new motor and transmission for more efficient power delivery and faster drill speeds. The powerhead’s new winged plate handlebar design provides a comfortable, compact and maneuverable cutting experience. Another standout is the variable speed trigger.

Every Alpha also touts the new Turbo cutting system and multi-edge blade design. The result, ION claims, is faster cutting speeds, improved battery efficiency and an even smoother cutting experience and breakthrough. The brand states an 8-inch Alpha can cut up to 3 1/2 inches per second, and up to 2,000 inches of ice per battery charge.

The distinction between the two models is seen in the Alpha’s steel Turbo auger bit versus the Alpha Plus’s composite Turbo auger bit. The latter configurations significantly reduce overall weight — the 8-inch option weighing 15.9 pounds. Despite these differences, both models deliver the same cutting performance.

More details at

K-Drill systems

K-Drill Systems

The K-Drill Ice Auger System is a lightweight, fast-cutting ice drill assembly specifically designed to be powered by electric hand drills, although it can be adapted to certain power heads. Featuring a three-blade, high carbon steel chipper design, the K-Drill cuts through fresh ice easily, but is just as capable of reopening old holes and drilling through “dirty” ice.

The biting angle of the blades is tuned to match the RPMs of hand drills and its design ensures easy break-through at the bottom of the ice. Its sturdy aluminum auger shaft is outfitted with durable, modular plastic fighting, along with a foam float to prevent the auger from sinking should it slip out of a drill chuck. K-Drills come in 6-, 7 1/2- and 8 1/2-inch cutting diameters, each including a Safety Cover for the blades.

More details with

jiffy ice drills

Jiffy Ice Drills

For more than 70 years, Jiffy has garnered a reputation for its long-lasting, tough and reliable ice augers. They currently offer all auger types. Here are just a few.

The Jiffy Model 30Pro has a patented gas powered, 52cc, 2-Cycle engine with a high torque transmission. The powerhead has a mitten grip starter and wide-stance, comfort grip handle. The XT drill assembly features brand’s popular Ripper serrated blade, which drill through dirty ice fast. Available in 6-, 8-, 9- and 10-inch drill sizes.

The Rogue 2.0 is Jiffy’s latest electric ice drill. It has a 2-speed motor and comes with a 80-volt battery, which can return to full capacity within an hour using the included charger. The drill assembly hex shaft is steel, but flighting is a composite with nylon and rubber additives. Dual hybrid chipper blade system and ergonomic handles capability are other highlights of these 6-, 8- and 10-inch ice drills.

The 6- and 8-inch Jiffy Hand Auger feature shaver blades and a flip-down handle for easy transport, which has a built-in, adjustable 24-inch extension. Combined with an adapter, this drill assembly can also be used with a cordless power drill or Jiffy’s E6 Lightning Powerhead.

More details at

clam outdoors ice equipment

Clam Outdoors

A juggernaut in the ice fishing industry, Clam Outdoors offers their Auger Kit, which pairs their popular Drill Plate and bracket (described earlier) with a 6- or 8-inch quality ice auger assembly, featuring a two-blade cutting system and steel flighting. A sealed ball bearing drive absorbs the load from the auger assembly and, in turn, reduces wear and tear on the cordless drill. The kit works with most current 18- and 20-volt cordless drills and includes all necessary hardware for mounting the drill (cordless drill not included).

More details at

Eskimo Ice augers

Eskimo Ice Augers

Another Ardisam brand, Eskimo offers gas, propane and hand augers, as well as auger assemblies for use with cordless drills. Here are just two.

Available in 8- or 10-inch models, the Mako is a 2-cycle gas auger offering a smooth, even cutting and ice breakthrough — even when re-drilling old holes — as a result of its Quantum steel auger bit with centering ring. Mako augers have a 43cc Viper engine, all-metal transmission, stainless steel blades and an oversized mitten grip for easy starting.

The Pistol Bit is a lightweight, fast, efficient ice auger assembly made for pairing with a cordless 18-volt drill with a side stabilizer arm. Available in 6- and 8-inch sizes, each less than four pounds, these highly portable units feature a hex aluminum shaft, strong, lightweight cold-weather polymer flighting with composite bottom with dual flat blades. The polymer top plate prevents losing the Pistol Bit down the hole. Capable of cutting up to 2.4 inches of ice per second.

More details at

NILSUSA Ice Augers

Manufacturing ice augers since the 1960s, NILSUSA is known for their efficient, easy-to-use, smooth-cutting augers. Augers feature a handmade, twin-blade, one-piece chromium steel cutting head and other metal construction features for excellent durability.

NILSUSA Hand Augers come in 4 1/2-, 6- and 8-inch sizes and feature folding, offset handles. Extension shafts with flighting measuring 14 and 28 inches are available for 6- and 8-inch hand auger.

NILSUSA Convertible Augers come with an offset handle, which can be removed to allow for use with a cordless drill. The auger assembly features a built-in flange and comes in 4 1/2-, 6- and 8-inch sizes. According to NILSUSA, an 8-inch model with a Milwaukee 18-volt Fuel Drill weighs approximately 12 1/2 pounds.

More details at

jeff gustafson drilling with a RAZR Auger

RAZR Ice Augers

For over two decades, RAZR has been manufacturing high-performance ice augers. The brand is known for their lightweight auger assemblies being used in conjunction with 18-volt brushless cordless drills, but also offer hand and lithium power head augers.

RAZR says its fast-drilling 6- and 8-inch Synthetic Ultras are approximately 33% lighter than steel ice augers, and suitable for use with a 18-volt (or higher) brushless electric drill or a RAZR 24V or 40V Lithium Power Head. The durable steel blade carriage holds Pro Curved Blades with a center point, improving drilling performance and efficiency. The Synthetic Ultra features 40 inches of lightweight, synthetic flighting and allows for drilling through 36 inches of ice before the need for the optional extension.

For an all steel option, check out the RAZR Scout.

The RAZR 40V Ultra comes with the new Synthetic Ultra drill assembly in 6- and 8-inch sizes and offers ergonomic two-handed operation. RAZR claims this 8-inch model is capable of cutting through 1,785 inches of ice on a single charge using the included 40-volt, lithium-ion battery.

For more details visit

Ice Auger Comparison Chart



Auger Type

Cut Dia. (In)

Clam Outdoors Drill Plate Pro Auger Kit

$229.99 and up

Drill Plate and Auger

6 and 8

Clam Outdoors Drill Plate Pro


Drill Plate


Eskimo Pistol Bit

$229.99 and up

With Drill

6 and 8

Eskimo Mako

$379.99 and up


8 and 10

ION Alpha

$529.99 and up


8 and 10

ION Alpha Plus

$679.99 and up


8 and 10

Jiffy 30Pro

$374.99 and up


6, 8, 9 and 10

Jiffy Rogue 2.0

$739.99 and up


6, 8 and 10

Jiffy Hand Auger

$89.99 and up


6 and 8

K-Drill Ice Auger System

$179.95 and up

 With Drill or Electric Powerhead

6, 7.5 and 8.5

NILSUSA Classic Hand Auger

$152.90 and up


4.5, 6 and 8

NILSUSA Cordless Convertible Auger

$180.18 and up

 With Drill or Electric Powerhead

4.5, 6 and 8

RAZR Scout

$82.99 and up

 With Drill or Electric Powerhead

4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

RAZR Synthetic Ultra

$179.99 and up

 With Drill or Electric Powerhead

6 and 8

RAZR 40V Ultra



6 and 8

StrikeMaster 24v

$429.99 and up


6 and 8

StrikeMaster 40v Lite

$649.99 and up


8  and 10

StrikeMaster Lite-Flite


 With Drill or Electric Powerhead

6 and 8

StrikeMaster Lazer

$113.49 and up


4, 5, 6, 7 and 8

StrikeMaster Fin-Bore (CAN Only)

$114.99 CAD and up


4.5, 6 and 8