Ever since the introduction of lithium-ion batteries a few years back, electric ice augers have exploded in popularity – becoming major game-changers in the ice fishing world!
Back in the day, you only had two options: heavy, noisy, gas-powered augers, or lightweight but difficult-to-operate hand augers.
Enter the modern electric ice auger – it combines the power and torque of a gas-powered auger with the portability and convenience of a hand auger.
While they used to be fairly expensive, advances in battery manufacturing have made electric augers an increasingly appealing option – especially when compared to similarly priced gas-powered augers. The ability to quickly and quietly drill 100+ holes on a single charge – without the need for gas or pull-starting in the freezing cold – is an attractive option for many ice anglers.
If you’re considering stepping up to an electric auger, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a quality tool that will last for many years. I’ll break down some of the best electric ice augers available right now, and how to pick the ideal one for your needs.
Quick Answer: 5 Best Electric Ice Augers
Why Go Electric?
While both gas-powered and hand-augers certainly have their place, electric ice augers have several advantages that make them the superior choice in many situations.
Electric augers are ultra-quiet, especially when compared to noisy gas and propane-powered augers. They feature brushless electric motors, allowing you to drill multiple holes without scaring off nearby fish. This can be especially useful in early winter when fish are easily spooked.
One of the major downsides to gas-powered augers are the fumes they give off. These fumes make drilling inside your shelter or hut a serious pain.
Electric augers don’t give off any exhaust – and can be used inside your hut or shelter without having to worry about breathing in toxic fumes.
If you’ve ever had the misfortune of flooding an auger engine, then you’ll know how much of a pain this can be. Gas and propane-powered augers have all the same problems as other small engines – including oil and fuel leaks, dirty spark plugs, gummed up carburetors, and flooded engines.
Battery-powered augers eliminate all of these issues. Flip on the power switch and you’ve got instant power at your fingertips. No more cursing and yanking on the pull cord like a maniac in -20° weather!
Power on Demand
Unlike older NiMH batteries, newer lithium-ion batteries don’t lose power as they discharge. This means you’ll have full power right up until the battery runs out of juice. Many also feature easy-to-read battery indicators, allowing you to see exactly how much battery you have left before needing to recharge or swap batteries.
Additionally, unlike gas-powered augers, there’s no need to leave the engine in idle as you’re moving from hole to hole. Doing this can actually present a serious hazard – in seriously cold temperatures, your glove can actually freeze to the auger shaft, which can jerk violently if the engine keeps turning in idle. Several ice fishermen have even broken wrists and torn ligaments from this happening!
Eliminating the need to mix your own gas/oil for a 2-stroke gas auger may be the biggest benefit of going electric.
Gas is dirty, smelly, and can spill on your clothes, shelter, or fishing gear – fouling up your whole outing. Additionally, a gas can is just more weight you’ll need to haul around.
Modern ice fishing is all about mobility. Which is why your gear needs to be as light as possible.
While they’re not as light as simple hand-augers, electric augers typically weigh less than their gas-powered counterparts.
A newer electric auger weighs between 17 – 22 pounds, while most gas-powered augers weight between 25 – 35 pounds. This might not sound like much, but when you’re hauling a sled with a shelter, cooler, bait bucket, and other gear, any weight reduction can make a major difference.
High Drilling Capacity
A common misconception about battery-powered augers is they don’t have the power necessary for drilling numerous holes or deep ice drilling.
This simply is not the case anymore.
Modern electric augers like the ION X 40V can drill up to 1600 inches on a single charge. This translates into 100 holes on 16” deep ice – or 160 holes on 10” deep ice.
Electric auger manufacturers are constantly innovating, and as a result, they’ve come up with some handy extra features that can make your life easier.
Built-in LED lights make low-light and nighttime drilling a breeze, saving you the trouble of carrying flashlights, headlamps, or torches. If you’re after nighttime walleye this can be a serious game-changer.
Reverse gear can also be extremely useful – allowing you to push slush under the ice – so you have a completely clean hole without any obstructions.
Top 5 Electric Ice Augers – Reviews
How To Pick the Right Electric Ice Auger – Buyers Guide
With so many options out there, choosing the best electric ice auger can seem like a tough task. Let’s take a look at some of the most important features to be aware of – which should help you narrow down your choice.
One of the major selling points of electric ice augers is their weight. Typical electric augers weigh 30 to 40 percent less than their fuel-powered counterparts. This can make a major difference – particularly if you’re the type that tends to drill dozens of holes over the course of an outing.
Whereas in the old days, sitting over the same hole waiting for the fish to come to you was the norm, modern augers, fish finders, and sleds make run-and-run fishing increasingly feasible.
If you’re looking for the lightest auger on the market, the 17 pound ION G2 blows away the competition.
Cutting diameter is another important consideration, as it determines the width of the hole. Most auger models are available in 8” and 10” diameters, with several also available in 6” diameters.
Unless you’re only targeting smaller fish like yellow perch or crappie, you’ll want to go with at least an 8” cutting diameter.
The choice between 8-inch and 10-inch comes down to personal preference and fishing style.
8-inch auger bits will consume less battery during operation than 10-inch bits – allowing you to drill more inches per charge. Most fish you’re likely to encounter will fit through an 8” hole, but if you’re after northern pike, muskie, or lake trout, then a 10-inch diameter will make pulling fish through the hole much easier.
Keep in mind that most auger bits will be compatible with any powerhead of the same brand. So if you go with an 8-inch model, you can also purchase a 10-inch auger bit to give you more versatility.
There are two common ice auger blade types – shaving blades and chipper blades.
Shaving blades have a smooth razor-sharp cutting edge and remove a small amount of ice with each pass. The blade sharpness allows you to melt through ice quickly. Because they’re less durable than chipper blades, they’re intended for cutting through clean, fresh ice.
Chipper blades have wide-set teeth – similar to the groves on a serrated knife. They’re meant to chip through rough ice but are slower and less precise than shaving blades. The design makes them ideal for re-opening old holes that have partially frozen over or cutting on surfaces with dirt, mud, or gravel above the ice.
Generally, a shaving blade will work well for most anglers – but if you’re constantly re-drilling old holes, then you might want to consider investing in a chipper blade.
The augers shaft length will determine the maximum ice thickness you can drill.
Your local ice conditions will dictate the length you’ll need. If you’re fishing in the Midwest, where ice thickness rarely exceeds 18”, a 30-something-inch auger will be more than enough. If you’re up in Northern Canada or Alaska, where lakes regularly see ice thicknesses of 3 feet or more, then make sure you get a shaft extension.
Reverse gear is a super useful feature. It essentially eliminates the need for an ice scoop or skimmer.
Reverse gear allows you to flip a switch and quickly flush out any loose slush or ice still inside the hole. To clean out the hole, simply put the auger in reverse, drop the blade inside the hole and depress the throttle for 5 seconds or so.
Pretty much all newer ice augers have this feature, including all the models reviewed above.
With the increasing popularity of Lithium-ion batteries, electric ice augers are now able to drill an incredible number of holes before they need re-charging. Case in point, the ION G2 can drill up to 2000 inches before the battery needs charging – that’s 200 holes in 10-inch ice!
Most electric augers will be able to dill far more holes than you’ll need in a single outing. But, if you’re worried about running out of power, you can always pick up an extra battery.
Whenever you’re shelling out serious dough on a high-end tool, you’ll want to be sure you’re getting a quality product backed up with a good warranty.
Most electric ice augers come with a 2 to 3-year warranty on the powerhead, and a 1 to 3-year warranty on the battery.
While electric ice augers generally cost a bit more than gas-powered ones, the increased performance, convenience, and versatility more than justify the higher price tag.
If you’re not looking to break the bank, you can still get a high-quality electric auger for less than 500 dollars – which will give you give you years of comfortable and convenient drilling.
I’ve loved being in the outdoors for as long as I can remember. I grew up fishing, canoeing, and camping throughout the Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. It’s what lead me to start this site and share my passions for fishing, diving, kayaking and more. Nowadays you can find me writing about my passions or (preferably!) preparing for my next outdoor adventure.