Cut Holes In The Ice Quicker And Easier With These Hand Augers
There are a lot of things that you have to remember to bring when you go ice fishing, but none of them are as important as a hand auger. Without it, you won’t be able to open up a hole to fish in.
Since augers are so important, you won’t want to waste money on a low-quality piece of junk. In this review post, I’ll run you through my three favorite augers, and I’ll give you a few tips to help make your first ice fishing experience go smoothly.
Ice Fishing Hand Augers Mentioned In This Article
The Best Hand Augers For Ice Fishing (Reviews)
Below is list of 3 of the best hand augers for ice fishing along with a short review of each one. You can follow any of the links to learn more information about any one of these augers. You can also read more user reviews by following the same link.
1. Strike Master Lazer Hand Auger (Top Pick)
The Strikemaster Lazer is a fairly versatile auger, and it has been praised for its ability to drill through the ice with very little resistance. That last bit makes it a great choice for older anglers.
We’ll start off talking about the handle. First, it’s adjustable. The handle can be extended from 48″ to 57″ with just a simple pull. It’s also made from a very durable steel shaft, and the gears are designed to make each of your rotations dig as deeply as possible.
The blades are also fairly impressive. They’re made in China, but they’re made from a high-quality chrome-alloy steel. That prevents the blades from becoming rusted after years of being dunked into the icy water.
Regarding blade size, you get to choose from multiple hole drilling sizes from 4” all the way up to 8”.
A suction pad is located on the base of the unit to prevent it from slipping around while you’re drilling.
- Adjustable Height
- High Quality Blades
- Very Efficient Drilling Mechanism
- Can drill up to 8” holes, but seems to work best drilling smaller hole sizes.
I honestly recommend this auger for anyone who wants to fish for perch. It’s a great piece of equipment, and it’s extremely easy to use. If you’re disabled or lack upper body strength, this hand auger is a great option for you. It has a reputation for effortlessly digging through up to 15″ of ice.
The Eskimo is similar to the Lazer I previously reviewed, but it’s designed for digging bigger holes. In fact, you can’t buy it in anything smaller than a size seven. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though. It has a few features that make it stand out a bit.
Since this is a larger unit, the manufacturer made sure that you can easily disassemble it and reassemble it on the fly. That makes it easier to carry it around on the ice while you’re also carrying a rod case and all of your other equipment.
The blade is built to last for years without being serviced, but some users have complained about it arriving with a wonky blade rotation. If you do get one that comes without a defect, it’s known to cut very easily. So, don’t be afraid to make use of the warranty if you do get a lemon.
One of my favorite features of the Eskimo is its handle. It has a foam grip at the top with a hardened cap to keep you from slipping off of it while you’re cranking, and there’s a second grip on the shaft to help you stabilize the auger without having to touch the cold metal.
It is lacking a suction cup, though. That won’t be much of a problem if you use the secondary handle, but you’ll have to apply more force. That can be an issue if you’re tired or lack upper body and back strength.
- Larger blades for bigger fishing holes
- A comfortable and stable handle
- Built to last
- Some users have complained about getting a lemon. It is backed by a warranty, though. So, don’t be afraid to take advantage of that.
This isn’t a great option for perch fishermen, but it is a good option for fishermen that target bigger fish. It’s inexpensive, and it gets the job done. Just be sure to check your auger when it arrives, and exchange it if it has a wonky blade.
This is a more versatile option than the other two. The Strikemaster Mora comes in six-inch and eight-inch versions, and it combines a few of the pros and cons of the other two options.
First, it has the same handle design as the Eskimo. Two grips and an ergonomic shaft design makes it easier to continuously crank the Mora, and its long blade design makes it easy to drill through really thick ice.
It features the same chrome-alloy blade material as the Lazer, but the blade is more elongated to allow you to dig through deeper ice. Unlike the Eskimo, all of Strikemaster’s blades are known to come without any defects.
It’s also really easy to assemble and disassemble. So, it’s easier to pack up than models that don’t come apart.
What I don’t like about this auger is that it doesn’t have a stability cup to suction it to the ice. It’s not a big deal if you just want to drill one hole, and you have plenty of strength to hold it still yourself. If you’re drilling multiple holes, or if you’re a bit weaker, this thing will tire you out.
- Multiple blade sizes
- Great handle
- High-quality blade
- It would be a lot better if it had a built-in stability cup.
I can’t think of anyone I wouldn’t recommend this to. The blade options cover the needs of perch fishermen and fishermen that like bigger targets, it’s comfortable, and it’s pretty efficient. However, you might want to bring a buddy along if you plan on drilling a lot of holes. Using your own physical strength to stabilize it can get tiring.
What To Look For In A Hand Auger
Hand augers are pretty straightforward pieces of equipment. As long as your auger can cut through ice, you’ll be good to go. However, a few different characteristics can make the experience a lot more enjoyable, and they’re definitely worth investing in.
Blade quality is the most important characteristic of an auger. You can have all of the fancy bells and whistles, but if your blade is bad, you aren’t going to have a fun time.
You mostly just want to make sure that the blades come sharp, and you want to take the auger for a dry run to make sure the blade doesn’t rotate in a curved direction. It should stay straight the entire time you crank it.
You can test the blade for defects by pretending that you’re drilling the air. You’ll quickly see if it’s straight or not.
Also, try to stick to stainless steel blades. Carbon steel is harder, but you’re using this on the ice. Ice is frozen water. Water destroys carbon steel in the blink of an eye. If you want a tool that won’t become rusted out after a single trip, you need to get a stainless steel variant.
The way your handle is shaped will determine whether or not you end up tired before you even start fishing.
Ideally, you want a handle with a straight shaft, but the shaft should bend into a sideways “U” a little above the middle. At the top, the handle should be bent out to allow you to get a good grip.
Rubber or foam grips are definitely a welcome bonus. You’ll want them on the top handle and the bend in the middle. That’ll keep you from having to touch the metal while you’re cranking, and it’ll make it easier for your cold fingers to actually grab it in the first place.
If you buy a powered model, you don’t really have to worry about the handle, and you can disregard this bit of advice.
You don’t want to struggle to keep your auger upright. You’ll end up with a slanted hole, and you can probably guess that pulling fish through something like that is difficult.
Suction cups or braces at the bottom of the auger can help, but they have to be able to allow the auger to pass beneath them. Otherwise, you won’t be able to drill very deeply.
Tips For Using Your Hand Auger
Even if you get a high-end auger off of my list, you’ll still probably have a little trouble getting used to using it and caring for it. So, here are five tips to help you get through that learning curve.
- Use the blade guard: Augers come with blade guards for a reason. If you don’t keep it on, your blades will get dinged up and dulled, and they won’t last very long. If you do keep it on when you’re not drilling, you can expect your auger to stay sharp for years.
- Don’t slap it: A lot of people think that smacking their auger into the ground can help with the drilling process. That is the exact opposite of the truth. Banging the blade around dulls it, and it might deform it. This will lead to you spending a lot more time drilling than if you were to use the auger appropriately.
- Oil it: If you buy a stainless steel model, you won’t have to worry about rust that much. You should still apply a light coating of oil to the blades and internal parts after each fishing trip, though. Stainless steel is tough, but if it has water sitting on its blades for awhile, it will rust.
- Use steady strokes: Don’t try to manhandle the auger. You’ll tire yourself out, and you’ll probably move it around too much to make a good hole. Apply a small amount of pressure, and turn the handle at a pace that is comfortable but steady. You’ll dig through the ice faster, and you’ll have plenty of strength left to handle the rest of your chores.
- Don’t sharpen it: Ice auger blades should stay sharp for years, but they do eventually dull. When they do, you should have them professionally sharpened, or you should replace the blades. You should only try to sharpen them yourself if you know what you’re doing, but you probably wouldn’t be reading these tips if you were that advanced. Doing it wrong can completely ruin your auger’s blade.
Buying a good auger can make or break your ice fishing experience. There are some really low-quality ones available, and those will have trouble getting through the ice, and they’ll tire you out.
To avoid that, I recommend getting one of the three I reviewed. They’re efficient, affordable, and high-quality. Pick the one that suits you best based on your own personal needs and fishing style.