It may not be fly fishing for cutthroats on a western river but to those who participate in ice fishing it’s an incredible part of their life. Getting through those thick layers of ice can be a real challenge.
Once you do, however, you are awarded with some great fishing. Thoughts of fried walleye come to mind just thinking about ice augers.
Getting through this ice, however, can be quite the task. Like any other job if you have the proper tool you can be successful. What we will discuss in this article is the proper tools for getting through that ice. We will review some of the best ice augers on the market today.
We will look at two different types of augers. Each has their place but both will get the job done. In this market, there are two distinct differences.
One is the manual auger that works off your own sweat equity. Your muscles do the spinning of that auger. A good sharp, ergonomic auger makes this an easier job than it sounds.
These are typically gas powered machines that require little of the handler but to keep it on target and under control. These augers are typically gas powered and chop through ice with surprising ease if they are sharp and powerful.
A good quality motorized auger is an indispensable tool of the ice fisherman.
Ice Auger Reviews
XtremepowerUS V-Type 55CC 2 Stroke One Man Auger
This powerful ice auger will get you through the thickest ice. Its lipstick red handles and powerful 1090W output will dig as deep as 2.5 feet.
The XtremepowerUS is sold with bits as small as 4 inches and as wide as 12 inches. The variants should meet the needs of anyone looking to dig through ice of one thickness or another.
Its 55cc 2 stroke gas engine has the power to drive the 8-inch bit down into the ice. The handles are sturdy and allow for plenty stability when driving the bit.
Stability is the most important aspect of handling one of these augers. The long auger of the Xtremepower with its sharpened edges digs quickly through the ice. The deeper the auger the safer this unit is to operate.
Based on reviews this post hole digger has the power to get the job done. There are a few reviews about the quality of this post hole digger. Some of the plastics can break down after a lot of work in the dirt. I
must imagine without hitting stone this auger will last much longer. Still it is something to consider. This model comes in at just over $200 and will follow you to any lake if you are looking to put a nice hole in the ice and get to fishing.
- Many auger sizes
- Powerful engine
- Questionable durability
XtremepowerUS V-Type 55CC Summary:
- Sturdy handle
- 55cc 2 stroke gas engine
- 1090W output
- Just over $200
Southland SEA438 One Man Auger
Another powerful motorized auger, this model doesn’t come with the power of our first model reviewed. That said, this could be as much a benefit as it can be a detriment.
You will find that if anything snags a powerful auger like the one above it is liable to do some physical harm if you are not light on your feet. For ice Southland SEA438 One Man Auger will get the job done so you shouldn’t shy from the 43cc, 2 cycle motor.
The Southland will start with a manual recoil pull and from there get to see what it's capable of. The gas powerhead drives an 8” auger bit. Replacements can be bought separately and Southland offers a 6” in diameter blade as well.
If you are after some delicious icy perch or walleye the Southland’s 8” diameter will get your there in no time. The blade is attached to a solid steel drive shaft that is direct gear. This offers stability you can rely on.
They are stout and will give you all the leverage you need to plow through that thick ice and get on your way to good fishing. The butterfly handles were built with ergonomics in mind as well as your comfort. This machine also comes with a 2-year limited warranty.
The reviews shone on this Southland. They were all very surprised on its capability and efficiency for a smaller model.
One reviewer has made this a permanent piece of equipment in his landscaping business. That means it’s taking consistent and daily punishment. I don’t know that we can find a better testimonial than that.
- Great stability
- Steel drive shaft
- Industrial durability
Southland SEA438 Summary:
- 43cc, 2-cycle motor
- Manual recoil pull starter
- Solid steel drive shaft
- 2-year limited warranty
Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger
A motorized ice auger is a very convenient thing, once you get it to the ice. On the way to the ice these things can be a bit of a burden, depending on how far you must hike it.
These augurs also require gas to fuel them. They come with a lot of baggage. The Strikemaster is 6lbs. It probably weighs less than your tacklebox!
The Strikemaster hand auger is going to travel anywhere with you and you will barely know it’s come along for the hike. Its power comes from the high alloy carbon steel blades.
The powder coated paint is one of the best benefits of owning a strikemaster. The special design on the paint is there to reduce ice buildup.
Ice is the battle. You will be up against the elements and so will your ice auger. If you wind up moving to a new spot that needs to be drilled and your auger is covered with ice you will have a tough time on that next whole. This model is prepared for that.
This auger also adjusts from 46” to 57” which allow you to take calculated steps when breaking through ice. This also makes it easier to carry as it is under 4 ft. in length when at its smallest.
Several reviews mentioned durability issues after working through several holes. I question if this is user error because others mentioned that the auger worked great.
- Carbon steel blades
- Adjustable length
- Some durability issues.
- Lightweight at 6lbs
- High alloy carbon steel blades
- Powder coated paint
- Easy to carry
Eskimo Hand Auger
I feel like this auger plays on your assumptions a bit with a name like Eskimo. I feel like nothing’s going to cut ice better than an auger that bears the name that is synonymous with frozen living. It’s a simple model that is very effective and is just a no frills, manual ice cutting machine. It lives up to its name.
This hand auger doesn’t come with a lot of cool technologies or paint designs that make it stand out. Instead it has only functionality in demand.
The blades are replaceable which gives you the opportunity to keep this model ready to go, always. When it comes to your ice auger: Does it get any better than that. I mean, we aren’t talking about a tool that you will show off to people or put on display. You are looking for functionality. This model handles that.
The auger comes in three different sizes based on the ice you are attempting to cut. You can have a 6”, 7” or 8” diameter to cut with. It is held together by a cross bolt fastener.
This makes for quick and easy assembly. These things are simple and effective. I am very impressed with the Eskimo
The reviews on this model were all impressive. There was an overwhelming resonance about the durability of the model. It’s clear that this auger is about making many holes and holding up to the demand.
- Simple design
- Multiple diameters
- Great durability
- Replaceable blades
- Quick and easy assembly
- 3 different diameters
- Durable construction
ThunderBay Blazer Ultra-light 8 Inch Hand Auger
The ThunderBay Blazer has this interesting look and it’s clear there are some new technologies at work with this manual auger. There are a slew of great upgrades and changes from traditional ice auger design.
It looks great and based on reviews all the tech ads up to getting the job done efficiently. Thrashing ice out of the way is priority and the ThunderBay Blazer looks like a great option to make that happen.
One of the most interesting features is the new advanced blade mounting bed. It basically captures the edges of the last few blades and holds wraps around the entire blade area.
This feature will give your blade a much longer life and touts the ability to protect blades from breaking altogether. It adds a different look to the overall design of the auger. It looks a little bottom heavy but it’s just the look.
The nylon composite bed makes this one of the lightest augers on the market as well. These are small advances in what might seem like a trivial matter but the truth is every little bit counts.
When you are facing adverse situations like the cold weather you will find small perks to add morale. At least that has been my experience.
Surgical steel blades will make quick work of that ice below your feet and the three adjustable positions gives you the ability to get the perfect leverage on the ThunderBay depending on your situation.
There were very few customer reviews but nothing detrimental came. There were no issues with durability or problems working around all the new features and design. This could mean it has the stamina or it could also mean not enough people have given honest reviews about the issues.
- Revolutionary Design
- Extended blade life
- Very few customer reviews
ThunderBay Blazer Summary:
- Advanced blade mounting bed
- Lightweight design
- New features and design
- Surgical steel blades
Each year anglers in the northern most regions of the nation gear up for the ice fishing season. When most of us southern anglers and hunters are looking at the face of isolation and despair, that is often attributed to winter, these hardened men and women are getting prepared.
In a way, I am very jealous of this extended season and the strangely romantic idea of fishing “afloat” a lake sized disk of ice.
For the initiated ice fishing is not a matter of catching small fish through tiny holes in the ice. In recent history, we have seen some astounding giants pulled from holes drilled with the very equipment reviewed in this article.
- In Northwest Pennsylvania, a 53-inch musky was wrangled through a 10-inch hole in a fight that lasted 30 minutes in total. This is an experience that just cannot be duplicated
- In Nebraska, a 33-pound pike was pulled from the ice in the year 2014. These monsters are waiting below the surface of that ice
- Finally, a record breaking 40lb lake trout was brought up from the depths on Ontario’s White Otter Lake in recent history.
Anyone of the ice augers profiled would have the blades and the power to get you down into fish just like these. Of course, the manuals will take a bit more effort on your part. Unfortunately, these accounts do not offer their choice of auger!
Whether you decide to go motorized or manual, owning your own ice auger will extend that fishing season if you are far enough north that ice fishing is possible.
You could opt for the high powered 55cc engine of the 2 stroke XtremepowerUS or maybe you like the looks of that revolutionary designed ThunderBay. These are all great models.
I hope this review has shed some light on the various options that exist in the ice auger world. We spent some time with these five models and I think we have a solid group that should be considered for your next, or first, ice fishing expedition.