Choosing The Best Ice Auger
Check out my list of the best ice augers on the market. I cover every category - hand, electric, and gas. Don't buy yours before you read my guide!
For an ice fisherman, an ice auger may be the most important piece of equipment. An ice auger is essentially a large, handheld drill, specially designed to cut holes into the ice.
And, since you need to get through the ice to catch fish, an auger is obviously a vital piece of ice fishing gear.
When it comes to selecting the best ice auger, you have some options. There are mainly three types - gas, electric, and hand-powered. I'll give you my picks for the best ice auger of each kind.
Top 3 Best Ice Augers 2018-2019
Best Hand Ice Auger
There's nothing quite like using some good old fashioned elbow grease. Hand ice augers have been around for a long time, and they're used by lots of fisherman.
Since the auger is powered entirely by hand, you'll never have to worry about refueling or recharging them.
They're also quiet, lightweight, and very simple to use and maintain. As long as the blades are sharpened or replaced every year or two, you're good to go.
You simply place one hand on the lower grip, one hand on the upper grip, and start cranking...
If you want the best hand auger, there's the Nils Master, and then there's everything else. THE BEST hand ice auger in existence. Period. End of story.
Its been the auger of choice for serious ice fisherman for decades. The Nils Master auger was designed in Finland, where the winters are long and the ice is thick. Its the auger that my father has always used, and its the auger that I have always used.
They do their job better than any other hand ice auger, and they're built to last a lifetime.
I have friends and family who own other hand augers, and I've always liked to try them out, and test them against the Nils Master. Over the years I've had a chance to use many different ice augers, and I've never found one that even comes close to being as good as the Nils. NONE.
The Nils Master is easily the most expensive hand ice auger on the market. But, its without a doubt the absolute very best hand ice auger on the market.
From it's chromium steel cutting head, to it's unique and comfortable, offset handle design, the Nils is set apart from all others.
There are certain pieces of ice fishing equipment that have very little difference between 'premium' and cheaper options. Often, you can easily get by with the lesser version without noticing drop in performance. However, this is not the case for augers.
Cheaper hand ice augers may cut a hole through the ice, but the Nils requires much less effort, and they're made so much better, its just not worth it to go with a lower quality hand auger in my opinion.
On slow days, you'll often need to cut lots of holes to find biting fish. Trust me, on these days you'll want the best hand ice auger, not an okay one.
And again, the handle design makes a huge difference in comfort and ease of use when compared to other augers.
Lets take a closer look at the Nils Master handle.
Notice the offset handle when compared to its competitors. The wide gap allows you to get more 'torque' on the auger with much less exertion, which makes it less physically taxing to cut numerous holes.
The offset handle design and upper grip make using the Nils a much more pleasant experience.
Now, lets see the Strike Master handle...
This handle design positions your hands too close together, and has a knob on top instead of a full handle. Repeatedly cutting holes becomes fatiguing with this build.
I suspect that many people are buying lesser quality hand augers simply because they're priced cheap. However, if you have the money to spend, I very strongly encourage you to choose the Nils Master.
Below are some videos I've found on YouTube of ice fisherman demonstrating the superiority of the Nils Master auger.
In this first video, the Nils Master hand auger goes head to head with a gas-powered Eskimo...and nearly beats it outright!
The next video really illustrates my point. Other hand ice augers require much more pressure to be placed on them while cutting. The Nils Master is just so much easier to use, being less physically demanding than it's competitors, such as the Strike Master.
The evidence is clear - the Nils master is the best hand ice auger on the market.
Every kind of ice auger, no matter how premium it is, will at some point need to have its blades either replaced or sharpened.