Ice Fishing Auger Guide and How to Use Them [2022 Update]

Updated on August 29, 2022 by

Ice angling is super exciting but it comes with its own set of challenges. Drilling a hole in the winter ice cover over the lakes is one such challenge. But with the help of a high-quality auger, you can overcome this problem with ease.

For ice fishing, augers are one of the most important fishing gear, perhaps even more important than the fishing rod. It allows you to access water without which you can’t fish. The market is flooded with a wide range of augers.

These are much superior quality products than what you would find 20-30 years ago. Some of these auger models are designed to keep the costs low while other models may worry only about quality. There are hand augers and power augers.

Hand augers require you to put a lot of physical effort to cut through the strong ice surface and establish access to the water. Power augers use electricity, gas, or propane to power the machine to turn the blades that chip through the ice surface.

Other important features include the size of auger blades. If the blades are smaller, they will create smaller holes but if the blades are bigger, they can create bigger holes. Through bigger holes, you can pull bigger fishes.

An augur with a 10-inch blade is considered suitable to create big holes while one with up to 6-inch blades is considered sufficient to create smaller holes.

Ice Fishing Auger Buying Guide

How do you know which is the best quality augur for you? Here, we have put together an Ice Fishing Auger Buying Guide for you. It should help you check different features and select a model that best fits your needs.

Types of Augers

There are four primary choices when it comes to types of augers available in the market. These are manual augers, electricity augers, gas-powered augers, and propane-powered augers. Each of them has their strengths and weaknesses that you should consider carefully before buying.


A Hand auger or manual auger is the least expensive of all the augers – gas, electricity, and propane. There are other advantages as well such as these units make no noise while at work.

They are also lightweight compared to other types of augers as hand units don’t need a power source. These units can be disassembled into two parts for easy storage and transportation.

As hand tools don’t need any source of power, they can straightway put the job with the only caveat that the blades should be sharp and the handles are in place.

Other types of augers might need setting up, especially their power source or fuel tanks. In cold temperatures, the charge of the batteries depletes faster.

On the downside, hand augers require a lot of physical effort to drill through the ice. If you have multiple holes to drill you may wish you had a power auger.

Gas Auger

Gas-powered augers are powerful machines that can drill thick layers of ice with ease and speed. Typically, they feature longer bits that help carry out difficult ice-cutting tasks. These augers are more durable as they don’t feature delicate electronic items that can go wrong.

These units have durable motors that can work without problems for years.

The only downside with this gear is that it consumes liquefied natural gas that can be messy to deal with and also be polluting in environmentally sensitive zones. It is the loudest noise among all power augers.

Noise and gas spills may drive away fish and other aquatic animals from the hole you just cut with gas-powered augers.

Electric Auger

Electric augers do not produce the same torque as gas or propane models can. But these units are less expensive. Electric augers are a great substitute for manual augers, meaning they are good if you have one or two holes to drill.

Electric augers are nonpolluting and can be used inside your ice-fishing cabin where it can be kept warmer also, a condition that ensures the batteries do not discharge too soon.

On the downside, electric augers are considered somewhat unreliable by some anglers. The battery is a major concern that can discharge or run down over time.

To overcome these hiccups, you should keep a back-up battery. It will ensure you can penetrate the ice even when your first battery dies inches away from the target.

Propane Auger

Propane combines the best features of many other types of augers. It’s easier to refuel than gas-powered augers. It’s lighter than a gas-powered machine but more powerful than a manual auger.

The fuel burns without releasing any fumes into the atmosphere. This makes it a good choice to be used inside your fishing cabin. Refueling is easy as you can find pre-filled propane tanks. Propane is easier and safer to carry and store.

What Blade Size Is Good?

After you have selected the type of auger that best suits your needs, you should decide the blade size. Blades are available in 6, 8, and 10-inch diameters. Some hand augers can be found with 4-inch diameter blades.

Between these different types of blades, they offer you the opportunity to catch small to big fishes.

The blade size also depends on the type of auger you are using. If you are using a manual auger, cutting through ice with a 10-inch blade can require you to be physically very strong. Similarly, an electric auger with a 10-inch diameter would struggle while a propane or gas-powered auger with the same blade can work through the ice very easily.

A hole made with 10-inch diameter blades can be dangerous for a child who can fall into it. The safety of children and the risk of things falling into the hole should be one of the guiding factors for you to choose the blade for your auger.


While patience used to be the secret of success in angling during the previous generation, mobility has replaced it in our times. Now, anglers prefer to move from an unproductive hole to making and concentrating on new holes.

This requires augers to be reasonably lightweight. But if you have a sled to carry things from the car to your fishing spot, you can use any of the augers without worrying about their weight.

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Augers are indispensable for ice fishing. Electric, gas-powered, propane-powered, and manual augers are available in the market. For you to be able to choose the right kind of auger, we have prepared this Ice Fishing Auger Buying Guide. We hope this serves well.

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Captain Russ Egan

Captain Russ is an avid fisherman. He has fished all over the world for more than two decades, primarily for saltwater game fish but also for local trophy fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Curado Baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.