Ice Fishing Augers 101: Which Auger is Best For You?

By: FishUSA Staff

January 10, 2023

The ice auger is undoubtedly the most crucial piece of any ice angler’s arsenal. An ice fishing auger is a tool used to drill a hole in the ice for the purpose of fishing, so without one, it’s pretty much impossible to ice fish. With the right ice fishing auger, you can cut through feet of ice in seconds with little effort. This not only keeps you from becoming fatigued quickly, but makes you a more efficient angler as well. Next, we’ll talk about the different types of ice fishing augers so that you can find one that’s perfect for you.

There have been many technological advancements in ice augers over the years. Presently, there are more varieties than there’s ever been before and they’re all extremely effective in their own rights. It’s never been easier to drill a hole in the ice! There are some important factors you should consider when choosing an ice fishing auger such as your budget, how much ice you will need to drill through, and the diameter and quantity of holes that you’ll need to drill. We’ll break ice fishing augers down into 2 main categories and discuss the pros and cons of each one to help you decide which type will be the most appropriate for you.

  1. Hand Augers
    1. As simple as it gets and exactly as the name suggests, a hand auger is a drill that solely runs on manpower
    2. The handle is shaped so that the user can easily spin the auger, causing it to drill through the ice
    3. Pros
      1. Lightweight and easy to transport
      2. Most inexpensive type of auger
      3. No need to carry any extra accessories such as batteries
        1. Cheaper in this aspect as well, no extra cost after purchase
      4. Less upkeep than other types of augers
    4. Cons
      1. Very difficult to cut through thick ice
        1. Near impossible to use when there’s multiple feet of ice
      2. Not very efficient
        1. Takes longer than other augers to drill through the ice, harder to cover a lot of water or drill many holes in a day
      3. Physically demanding to drill many holes
      4. Very difficult to drill large diameter holes that are necessary for certain species
    5. If the bullets below describe you, then a hand auger is the drill you need:
      1. Don’t need to drill a large number of holes in the ice per day
      2. Usually fishing on less than one foot of ice
      3. Looking to not break the bank
      4. Not fishing for any species that will require larger than a 6” hole

The Nils USA Hand Auger is an excellent choice if the hand auger is the best option for you

  1. Electric Augers
    1. Electric augers are relatively new to the scene, but have taken the ice fishing auger market by storm
    2. There are two main types of electric ice augers
      1. Battery powered
      2. Hand-held drill power (drill bit)
    3. Battery powered augers come with a battery made specifically for that auger and are rechargeable
    4. Drill bit augers are powered by the same hand-held drill you use for projects around the house
      1. Electric ice auger Pros:
        1. Quite powerful, most are 24 or 40 volts
        2. Battery powered augers are excellent for drilling large-diameter holes in the ice
        3. Extremely quiet
        4. Very efficient
          1. Cut ice at an incredibly fast rate
        5. Although heavier than hand augers, electric ice augers are still quite light
      2. Electric ice auger cons:
        1. Although batteries are long-lasting, if you plan on drilling hundreds of holes in a day you will likely need a second battery
        2. Battery powered augers can be very expensive
        3. Not as easy to transport as hand augers
    5. Many hardcore ice anglers will tell you that electric ice augers are the best option out there and for good reason
    6. StrikeMaster and Ion make phenomenal battery powered ice augers
    7. Eskimo, Nils USA, and StrikeMaster all make excellent drill-bit augers


Nils USA Cordless Drill Auger                                                                              Ion Alpha Plus Electric Ice Auger

Now that you know all the details about the different types of augers out there, we hope you’re able to make an educated decision regarding which style will suit your needs best. Electric ice augers are about as convenient as they come and are likely the way of the future. Their ability to drill many large-diameter holes in the ice with ease while remaining lightweight and easy to use puts them at the top of the ice fishing auger game. However, if you’re only drilling through inches of ice, don’t need many holes in a day, and are on a tight budget a hand auger will suit you just fine. Here at FishUSA, we’ve created an excellent selection of ice fishing augers & accessories for you to choose from so you’re sure to find one that’s suited to your needs! Happy ice fishing and be safe!