If you’re an avid ice fisher, one indispensable piece of equipment you’ll want to have by your side is an ice auger.
You can’t very well ice fish without first making a hole in the ice! Yes, a hand-operated auger can do the job, but unless your goal is to break a sweat to keep warm, a gasoline- or propane-powered auger is an ice fisher’s best friend.
Portable, specially pitched, and sharpened for drilling through ice, powered ice augers are a boon for ice fishers. Like most specialized tools, you can spend a little or a lot of money, but the good news is that a high-quality, reliable powered ice auger doesn’t have to break the bank.
Here are our top six picks for gas and propane powered ice fishing augers that cost under $500 and still get the job done.
These propane-powered units pack long-lasting power and impressive drilling speed due to the manufacturer’s redesigned engine featuring a high-compression transmission.
The Rocket’s proprietary cast aluminum bottom allows for smoother, faster ice breakthrough. A stainless-steel centering point keeps the unit stable while drilling over pre-existing holes or uneven ice surfaces.
With propane, there is no filling of fuel or mixing of fuel and oil, and no engine priming is required. A mitten-grip recoil starts the engine with a single pull. The foam-coated aluminum roll cage handlebars protect the powerhead and your hands while reducing vibration transmission.
- 40cc, high-compression four-cycle engine
- Turns both eight or ten-inch bits
- Uses standard one-pound propane cylinders with a quick-release mechanism for easy change-out
- Height: 42 inches
- Weight: 26 pounds for the eight-inch auger, 28 lbs for the ten-inch auger
Why we recommend it: The Rocket is ultra-portable even with the larger auger. A convenient propane system delivers more than enough power for the job and is easy, quick, and clean to refuel.
Powered by a 55cc, two-cycle, 2.3 horsepower gas engine, this unit offers extra value by doing double duty as both a digger and an auger. The standard ¾ inch shaft accommodates multiple auger bit sizes.
A manual recoil with quick start action ensures effortless starts, and a translucent fuel tank allows you to monitor fuel levels as you work. It comes with an eight-inch auger kit plus extension for quick and easy change-out from digger to auger. It features handlebar controls for power and throttle, and the gas engine provides all the steady digging or drilling power you’re looking for.
- 55cc, two-cycle, 2.3 Horsepower gas engine with air-cooling system
- Eight-inch ice auger bit included
Why we recommend it: The adaptability of this unit makes it a great four-season tool to have in your arsenal. The XtremepowerUS delivers ample, reliable power and cuts through ice with impressive speed.
This 63CC, two-cycle, 2.5hp workhorse is as versatile as it gets for a digger/auger, making it ideal for year-round use. With a ¾’ shaft, this unit adapts to multiple bit sizes to accomplish a wide variety of tasks.
The ECO LLC Earth Ice Digger is easy on the hands with a sturdy frame design that reduces vibration transmission. Power/speed controls are mounted on the handle for quick switching during operation. Built with a pull action quick-start fuel delivery system allowing you to visually monitor fuel levels in the 1.5-liter tank, this unit lets you dig hole after hole without powering out.
- 63cc, two-cycle, 2.5hp gas engine with air-cooling system
- 25:1 Gasoline to Oil mix ratio
- Weight: 10.5 kg
Why we recommend it: Comes with two bits, six and ten-inch. The 63cc engine delivers a lot of power for its size. A multi-purpose tool that offers year-round value.
This unit features a 52cc, two-cycle, 2.5HP gasoline engine and comes with an eight-inch auger bit and a 23-inch ice auger extension. Its centrifugal clutch allows for quick and easy bit changes.
Powerful enough to drill through 30 inches of hard ice, this digger/auger is still light enough to move around to your favorite fishing spots with ease. A built-in primer ensures a reliable start every time, even in very cold weather. It comes complete with a protective cover for personal safety and to preserve blade life.
- 52CC, two-cycle, 2.5HP gas engine
- 1.2-liter tank, 25:1 gasoline to oil mix ratio
- Total height excluding extension: 42 inches
- Weight: 33 lbs.
Why we recommend it: Exceptional engine life and performance means years of dependable use. Comes as a convenient all-in-one kit.
If you’re looking for a lower-displacement machine that still performs like the big guns, look no further than this 33cc, two-cycle, gas-powered gem. Its proprietary “cold-shot” technology lets you be confident of fast, efficient starts every time.
A high-performance engine delivers extra torque for cutting through even the thickest ice, and its smooth idling is easy on both your ears and hands. The super-sharp blades drill quickly and effortlessly, and any replacements or concerns are efficiently handled by an exceptional customer service team.
- 33cc, two-cycle gas-powered engine
- 40:1 gasoline to oil mix ratio
- Pre-mixed fuel canisters available
- Weight: 32 lbs.
Why we recommend it: Ease of use and portability makes this unit an ideal ice fishing companion. It delivers a surprising amount of power with a lower displacement volume, and the option of a pre-mixed fuel product saves weight, bulk, and the hassle of mixing oil and fuel.
With its “Viper” 52cc, two-cycle engine, the Ooku ice auger delivers plenty of power and a “self-propelling” drilling action that makes drilling ice holes nearly effortless for the operator. A precision-built transmission offers easy, smooth gear changes, allowing you to adjust power on the fly as well as quick power-on/power-off capability from a handlebar throttle switch.
Unlike convertible digger-to-auger models, this unit is specifically designed for ice drilling, to please avid ice-fishers everywhere. Assembly is a breeze with only a single bolt to tighten, and its remarkably light weight makes it ultra-portable for easy carrying to any of your favorite fishing spots.
Operation is a dream too, with ergonomic handlebars covered in a non-slip grip. The Ooku features a T-pull manual recoil start, a centering ring for safe and easy re-drilling of older holes, and a 39-inch auger for reaching through deep ice. The see-through housing of its 1.2-liter tank lets you know at a glance when fuel is low.
- 52cc Viper two-cycle Engine.
- 39-inch bit length
- Size when fully assembled: 25 x 10.6 x 51 inches
- Weight: 10 kg
Why we recommend it: An all-around great performer. Lightweight, with loads of power and easy starting, this amazing unit is uniquely designed with the ice fisher in mind.
Buyer’s Guide to Powered Ice Augers
Out on the ice, you want no-fail starting, reliable power, and quick cutting action from your ice auger. You should never return home from an ice fishing trip disappointed by your equipment rather than your fishing skills!
While a powered ice-auger can’t improve your skills, it can make your trip more enjoyable by providing more time for fishing and less time drilling. But which one is right for you?
How Do I Choose the Best Ice Auger for My Needs?
This depends on several factors. First, decide how much you can afford to spend. Then take into consideration how often you plan to fish and where. If you’re new to ice fishing or will only get out occasionally, choose a model that is easy to carry and to operate. If you’re a die-hard ice fisher, opt for a more robust unit that has enough power and fuel capacity to last for several trips of several hours each.
Which Models Have the Most Power?
For pure power, look for an engine with the highest displacement volume, which means more fuel delivery to the engine in a single stroke. More fuel equals more power. Keep in mind that you will be spending more money on gasoline and refilling the tank more frequently.
Which Models Are the Most Environmentally Friendly?
If you want to reduce your carbon footprint and find mixing gas and oil a nuisance, a propane-powered unit might be the ideal choice. With standard propane bottles readily available, fuel is convenient and easy to replace on the go. Unused canisters can be stored in your shed or garage indefinitely.
What If I Want to Move around to Multiple Fishing Spots?
If you like having multiple fishing spots or spots that are not always easy to get to, choose a lighter-weight auger for portability that still delivers sufficient power.
The Last Word
Last but not least, take into account the ice conditions where you plan to fish. The thicker the ice, the longer extension you’ll want to have, along with bit blades that are up to the task. Using the above guidelines will help you make the best choice for power, portability, and convenience.