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Which ice-fishing auger is best?

Even if you own the best ice-fishing gear on the planet, you won’t get very far without a high-quality ice-fishing auger. These essential tools drill through the surface of the ice, resulting in a clean hole that’s big enough for your fishing line and whatever you catch.

These drills vary from simple hand-powered models to high-tech power tools that get the job done in seconds. For a compact auger with an impressive battery life, the Ion R1 Electric Ice Auger is the top pick.

What to know before you buy an ice-fishing auger

Types of ice-fishing augers

  • Manual: These tools allow you to simply drill through the ice by hand. Manual ice augers are lightweight and portable, but they require more physical labor than powered devices. This is particularly true if you’re trying to drill through ice that’s more than 1 foot thick. On the plus side, hand-powered ice augers are durable, affordable and don’t require any power source.
  • Electric: Unlike propane or gas-powered augers, electric ice-fishing augers release no toxic fumes and can be used safely in a fishing shelter or cabin. They’re also more portable since you don’t need to carry around heavy containers of fuel, and they typically boast a long battery life. On the other hand, batteries drain over time, making electric augers somewhat less reliable.
  • Gas-powered: Gas-powered ice augers are very powerful but loud, which means you run the risk of scaring away fish. They’re also less environmentally friendly than other types and require the user to haul around containers of liquid fuel. Running the motor releases noxious fumes into the air, making these augers unsuitable for fishing indoors. On the plus side, gas-powered augers are fairly durable and require very little maintenance.
  • Propane-powered: These tools have the same environmental issues as gas-powered augers, but they’re quieter, lighter and usually clean enough to use in a fishing shelter.

Blade size

This measurement refers to the diameter of the auger’s blade. Most ice augers have a blade size of around 4-10 inches. When choosing blade size, remember that the diameter of the blade corresponds directly with the size of the ice hole. If your ice auger has a blade size of 4 inches, you won’t be catching very large fish.

What to look for in a quality ice-fishing auger


The speed of your ice-fishing auger is going to depend on the sharpness of the blade and if applicable, the power of the motor. The speed of an auger is usually measured in revolutions per minute, or rpm.

Noise level

If noise is a concern, choose a model that’s hand-powered or electric. Gas-powered augers are usually the loudest. Some manufacturers put an emphasis on quiet drilling, resulting in an auger that won’t give you a headache or scare away fish.


Some ice-fishing augers come with built-in LED lights so you can see where you’re drilling. This is an especially helpful feature if you like to fish in the evenings or early morning.


An auger with a generous warranty usually means the manufacturer believes in the quality of its products. Keep an eye out for warranty information, particularly if you’re buying a power tool.

How much you can expect to spend on an ice-fishing auger

The cost of your ice-fishing auger is going to depend primarily on the type you choose. Most anglers can expect to spend around $50-$100 for a hand-powered tool, while electric or gas-powered models usually are $300-$800.

Ice-fishing auger FAQ

Can you ice fish without an auger?

A. Technically yes, but make sure you are going to a fishing spot that has been drilled previously by other anglers. If you’re passionate about ice fishing, you will quickly find yourself running out of fishing spots unless you buy an auger.

Can you use any type of auger to ice fish? 

A. No. Ice augers and augers for dirt have completely different blade designs. Attempting to drill through ice with an earth auger could result in a broken tool and a possible injury.

What’s the best ice-fishing auger to buy?

Top ice-fishing auger

Ion R1 Electric Ice Auger

Ion R1 Electric Ice Auger

What you need to know: With an impressive battery life and fast cutting speeds, this ice auger is hard to beat if you want to go electric.

What you’ll love: The auger’s battery could theoretically drill through 1,600 inches of ice on a single charge. Two built-in LED lights illuminate the surface of the ice while drilling, and a reverse setting pushes slushy ice out of your way.

What you should consider: There is at least one report of the blades getting jammed.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Top ice-fishing auger for the money

Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger

Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger

What you need to know: Manufactured by a leading supplier, this affordable hand-powered auger has 7-inch blades.

What you’ll love: The 7-inch blades are constructed from high-alloy carbon steel and you can adjust the length for users of various heights. The handles are padded with rubber grips and an ergonomic design to prevent fatigue while drilling.

What you should consider: The auger’s drilling mechanism could lock when redrilling old holes.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Landworks Electric Ice Fishing Auger

Landworks Electric Ice Fishing Auger

What you need to know: This auger is lightweight with enough battery life to drill 60 holes on a single charge.

What you’ll love: This electric ice auger only weighs 22 pounds, making it much more portable than many gas-powered models. It’s designed to be extremely quiet and features an overload protector to prevent overheating.

What you should consider: The auger’s battery may die quickly in particularly cold weather.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Patrick Farmer writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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