It is pointless to talk about ice fishing if you don’t have a hand auger. This is the most important equipment for any angler. Every angler has his own hand ice auger. It means that nobody runs from one angler to another and tries to borrow it even for a short period of time. This instrument works most of the time because it is necessary to drill new holes to find fish.
You should have a high-quality hand ice auger for drilling holes of different depth and structure in ice and not to get tired while doing this. Hand ice auger should have sharp and correctly located blades. We have analyzed the market and determined the best hand ice augers in terms of functionality, reliability and budget.
What is the best hand ice auger?
The Best Hand Auger at a Glance:
- Nils USA Hand Auger – Editors Choice, best overall hand auger, but most expensive.
- Nils Master UR600C Cordless drill Auger – Best Cordless drill auger.
- Strike Master Augers Lazer Hand Auger – Affordable alternative to Nils.
TOP 5 best hand ice augers for the money
Quick Picks – 5 Best hand augers for the money:
- Eskimo Hand Auger – Best For a beginner winter angler.
- HT Mini Nero Telescopic – Editors Choice, Best Telescopic Hand Auger.
- Strikemaster Mora Hand Auger – Perfect Budget Hand Auger.
- ThunderBay Blazer Ultra-light – The Best cheap Hand Auger.
- RAZR Hand Auger – Good alternative among cheap hand augers.
It is not proven that an expensive hand ice auger drills well while cheap one does not.
What is the right size of the best auger for ice fishing?
Typically, the choice of the auger size depends on the size of the potential fish and fishing conditions. Small diameter ice augers suite well to catch relatively small fish and for fish search under freezing weather. An ice hole gets frosted quickly during heavy frost. It can make fishing quite complicated.
6-inch ice auger diameter is considered to be universal.
Best auger size for different types of fish
|#||Fish image||Fish name||Ice auger size|
|1||Bass (from 500 grams)||from 6”|
It is important to understand that a larger diameter of hand ice auger requires more power and energy for hole drilling. If it is necessary to drill 2-3 holes, it is better to choose a hand ice auger of larger diameter.
Ice auger weight
Ice auger weight determines convenience of drilling and the way of transportation. The heavier the instrument is the faster the operator gets tired. However, the most powerful augers are the heaviest ones.
Auger blades replacement
Blades can be flat and spherical. The advantage of spherical blades is smoothness while drilling, which ensures less noisy work. Wet ice is not a problem for spherical blades. They have one more advantage: it is easier to drill through old holes using them.
The choice of best blade shape depends on the type of ice, operating conditions, frequency and intensity of the augers use. The most important factor when choosing an auger is the type of ice. Ice can be wet, dry (usually in extreme cold), layered and viscous.
Flat knives with straight blades are also considered to be versatile, suitable for all types of ice. These knives require slightly more power than spherical ones, but they have an advantage: their sharpening can be done with no outside help and does not require special conditions.
For dry, frozen ice stepped knives with two cutting edges spaced apart are best suited. Dry ice is difficult to cut. Such knives do not cut but crush the ice. However, the use of ice auger with step knives requires more power than the use of other models.
Serrated knives are convenient with viscous, moist and wet ice. They are also good if there is a lot of sand in the ice.
Many augers are offered with extension inserts. Are they necessary?
The answer is usually not, but in certain conditions it is impossible to drill without them. For example, some years ago I had to drill a hole standing on my knee. In this case an extension insert would be helpful.
Use of cordless drill for ice auger
A cordless drill for ice auger can make drilling of a large number of holes significantly easier. This equipment enables us to put absolutely no effort for drilling. As a result, the fisherman gets less tired and enjoys ice fishing more. Our list contains one model that has a feature for connecting a cordless drill.
Best hand ice augers reviews
We have analyzed all the most popular models in TOP online stores and fishing forums.
Nils USA Hand Ice Auger Review
The design with the offset handle enables to increase the torque that goes directly to the cutting head. This substantially simplifies the of hole drilling compared to similar hand ice augers. Foldable handle design makes it easier to transport and store the instrument. The length of the auger blade is 47 inches and the total length is 57 inches. It is lightweight (6″ weighs less than 10 pounds).
Nils is one of the most popular hand augers among professionals; it enables to drill holes more quickly with less effort.
Nils master (cordless drill auger) Review
Nils ice auger is equipped with a cutting head made of chrome-plated steel and curved blades which quickly cut through the thickest ice without putting much pressure to the bottom. It works great with a 1/2 inch cordless drill. It is recommended to use settings at low revs or high torque in order not to burn the engine.
This model provides new opportunities by enabling you to drill quickly dozens of holes using a cordless drill or in manual mode if the cordless drill gets out of order or its battery dies.
Strike Master Lazer Hand Auger Review
Strike master auger is the best alternative to Nils. The model is presented in 5 different sizes from 4 to 8 inches. This ice auger is easy to use, not bulky and perfectly cuts the ice without requiring much effort. The disadvantage is the Chinese blades which can quickly get dull.
Eskimo Barracuda Hand Auger Review
This is the best entry-level hand ice auger that is perfect for beginners as well as for professionals as a backup for those who use a battery powered auger. This is a handy lightweight tool. Based on the reviews this ice auger is quite easy to use. Anglers note that on average it takes 20-30 seconds to drill one hole.
HT ENTERPRISES Mini Nero Telescopic Russian Hand Auger Review
Nero ice auger has already gained popularity among winter fishing enthusiasts. This model copes with any type of ice and has an innovative, ergonomic design and excellent technical features. It is worth mentioning that we have not yet found bad anglers’ reviews of this model.
This model enables to drill holes easily and effortlessly in wet or dry ice up to 1.1 meters in depth. Such high productivity can be explained by the presence of optimally selected angles for sharpening knives and cutting heads. When folded the auger and handle are in the same position, which is especially convenient during transportation.
This model is competing with Nils master ice auger, but is less expensive and has comparable quality and functionality.
Strikemaster Ice Fishing Mora Hand Auger Review
Mora ice auger has a three-stepped telescopic / adjustable handle that enables to adjust the height of the handle from as little as 48 inches to a maximum height of 57 inches. It can be comfortably used by both adults and children.
Some fishermen complain about poor construction and terrible reliability. However, this model has a lot of positive reviews from fishermen.
ThunderBay Blazer Ultra-light Hand Auger Review
It is a rather new model, and unfortunately, there were very few reviews from anglers. However, we have not found any negative ones. Users do not complain about durability or functionality.
RAZR Hand Ice Auger w/Stainless Steel Curved Blades Review
Razr ice auger has sharp curved blades made of stainless steel. It ensures fast and easy drilling.
Manufacturer notes that blades do not rust. Some users complain that the blades get dull relatively fast under frequent and intense usage.
Maintaining Hand Ice Auger Performance
No matter how reliable, modern and high-quality an ice auger is for ice fishing, we should use it carefully in order to maintain durability. As with any other equipment it is necessary to follow the rules of the ice auger operation and maintenance.
- During fishing never throw down the auger but carefully put it on the ice or drill it into the ice so that it touches the water. The best position for the auger during fishing is vertical.
- Don’t chop off the ice from the auger using heavy steel objects.
- Always bring a spare pair of blades.
- It is prohibited to knock ice with knives.
- During transportation, even it is a short distance, the ice auger should always be folded and blades should be covered with the case.
- After coming back from fishing it is necessary to dry the blades and the auger thoroughly.
- It is necessary to oil all moving parts.
- An ice auger is not a walking stick. Therefore, we shouldn’t lean on it while walking because there can be sand, stones or gravel on the ice which can make blades dull.