If you acquire an auger without understanding how it functions, the chances are high that you’ll end up getting something that works in a way that wasn’t expected. The details below will help clear up some of the classifications of engine type and product features.
Types Of Augers
Manual – Manual ice augers must be operated by hand. There’s no fuel or oil needed so the only maintenance that will be necessary is to keep the parts clean, in particular, the blades. Blade quality is the same as any other auger type, meaning that you’ll have to to keep them sharpened if you wish to use the device for more than one occasion without them becoming useless. The downside is the manual operation itself, which can get pretty tiresome quickly. You will definitely break a sweat with most models. If you think that you might get fatigued as you cut through the ice with a manual, consider an electric or fuel-operated alternative. But it’s a lot easier when there’s help. As such, use a manual when you have a partner to help you with the procedures.
Gas – Gas-powered augers are the most popular, and for good reason. If speed is your most important demand, these are the way to go. There are generally two types of engines associated with them: Four-stroke and two-stroke. These subcategories will determine the fuel mix that’s required to run the auger itself. Two stroke augers must be combined with one part oil and gas. The mixture burns a lot faster than four strokes, which only need ordinary fuel. Collectively, they are heavy, have a higher learning curve, must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis in order to avoid damages.
Electric – Electric engines work in the same manner as those with a reliance on fuel but utilize a battery instead, which must be charged prior to leaving with the machine. The primary advantage focuses on weight and 100 percent fuel economy since you won’t have to go out and purchase gas to feed the auger. Most models use ion batteries that will stay on from anywhere between 20 to 40 holes, depending on the model. Truthfully, they aren’t as reliable as fuel powered augers for this and tend to cut off at times when other types would run. And batteries aren’t as easy as fuel to purchase, so you’ll probably have to order or go to a sporting goods stores to get a new one.
Most augers are going to be heavy no matter what, but manual models are usually the lightest. When evaluating a product, check out its specs to get a rundown on the weight. Also keep in mind that you’ll be hauling this to the ice by hand, so if you see a good model that includes a proper carrying handle somewhere near the top of the machine, that’s a plus. Augers must be weighted to allow the devices to pass through the holes you create, making it a necessary inconvenience.
Auger blades come in a variety of sizes from four to 16 inches, depending on the size of an auger or type of fish you plan to catch. The most common sizes are 6”, 8” and 10”. The first two are a widely accepted standard, which will work for the small or medium-sized fish species. You, however, should look at the 10” or larger blades, if you plan to fish for something as large as Burbot or Sturgeon. As you technically can use the ice auger to catch fish by aiming at a large fish shoal, so you’ll need a bigger blade to catch a fish directly through a hole.
Apart from the blade size, you should always consider the length (size) of the tool itself. Large augers are less mobile and harder to handle. Still, they are usually more powerful and able to cut through the thickest layer of ice. However, these augers make more sense to use if the ice layer is getting too thick (more than 12-16” inches). Generally, even medium and small size augers are sufficient for an average ice fishing trip.
Drilling holes quickly are what everyone hopes for in an auger, along with low chances of engine and blade failure. Some types might be useful for only a day’s worth of drilling and require excessive work to clean up parts for use later in the future. Furthermore, pay attention to the craftsmanship of the inactive parts. Plastic pieces may break quicker than augers housed in fiberglass and metal. You’ll have to handle the former with more care so that nothing cracks when you’re on the ice.
Even the most bare-bones ice auger will produce some sound. But one misconception is that fueled-powered types are always louder, which isn’t the case with every model. Of course, gas augers are loud in general but have become refined over the years to make less noise on the ice. Although it’s debatable, some fishers feel that loud noises can scare away fish and leave them swimming for a located that’s far away from where you’re stationed. Knowing this, stick to manuals if you want things to be as quiet as possible.
To sum it up, safety should be the first concern when drilling. Doing it improperly can cause the ice to crack and risk damage to you and those in your immediate vicinity. There might be different ice fishing regulations that are dependent on your location, but as far as the machines themselves, the focus should be on making precise holes and not cutting yourself with the blades in the process. Always wear gloves whenever possible, and keep your fingers away from the edges, which are razor sharp.
Most ice augers will product holes that are either eight or ten inches in diameter. Most products will inform you, in the name, as to what sizes are possible. For instance, a brand will display 10″ or “8 inches” on the label or description. Larger holes are preferred by some since the fish will be easier to pull up to the surface. But eight inches could suffice, especially if you don’t anticipate catching anything too large.
Augers are manufactured with plastic and metal parts. You’ll also notice rubber houses around the area where fuel is added. As previously shown, handling them too rough might causes parts to break off. At the same time, you shouldn’t have to worry every time you drop the auger from a short distance. Manuals will have strong grips that keep your hands from slipping as you turn the drill, while other should have coverings around the top that will protect it the interior components from snow and rainfall.
Lugging an auger around by hand isn’t very fun. Their ease of mobility can be determined by weight. But also pay attention to the height. If you’re short, carry a tall auger might be overkill. And always look for models that include safety covering around the blades so you don’t rip anything when walking with the product. If you’re taking a four-wheeled vehicle with you on the ice, be sure that it will fit on the back portion with the rest of your gear.
Blade type and quality
Apart from the different types of ice augers, there are also different blade types, which are usually specific to a single brand or manufacturer. Meaning, you’ll have to stick to the same brand of blades as your ice auger. Blade types fall into 2 categories: shaving and chipper blades.
- Shaving blades – these blades might remind you of the razors as they have smooth, straight edges. They are suitable for clean, untouched ice and are incredibly efficient at drilling new holes with high speed and precision.
- Chipper blades – these blades, in contrast, have serrated teeth. They are slower, and the holes end up rather messy, yet they are way more powerful. Serrated teeth allow for cutting through the dirty ice with earth, sand, and stones, without damaging the blades.
One thing you should be aware of here is the quality of used metal and how sharp the blades are. The edges of shaving blades get dull rather quickly, so you need to make sure that the metal is of supreme quality. And don’t forget to sharpen it every time before fishing. With chippers, it’s crucial to have thick blades, which are capable of withstanding any damage.
Direction of Spin
So, remember about the blades being unique to one brand? It’s not only about whether or not the blade fits the base of an auger, but also about the direction the blade spins. It has no effect on auger performance, and it’s simply a design feature.
However, if you own one of the older augers, it might be hard to find an appropriate substitution for a worn-out blade. Simply because its construction supposes that the blade spins left when other spins right. The bottom line, stick to the same brand, and you should be fine.
As with any industry nowadays, among hundreds and thousands of brands, a lucky few dominate the market. Here are the titans of the market of ice augers: Eskimo, StrikeMaster, and ION.
Eskimo offers a number of different ice augers models: hand, propane, and gas. The tools are famous for their longevity, efficiency, and comfort. Apart from ice augers, they also offer shelters, apparel, and other fishing accessories.
StrikeMaster made it to the big game by producing fuel-efficient, but lightweight and fast augers. They offer gas, hand, and electric augers. They are usually equipped with German engines that last longer than the majority of models and allow drilling more holes without refueling.
ION only offers electric ice augers, but they are ungodly good. These environmentally-friendly augers feature the latest technologies (like lithium-ion batteries or slush-flushing reverse), light materials, and premium blades. Apart from that, you can quickly restock on batteries and blades, and grab some high-performance apparel.
What Does One Need an Ice Auger For?
In two words, you won’t be able to fish on a frozen lake or river without an ice auger. An auger, or a drill, is used to make round holes in the ice. You can also use an ice auger to catch a fish.
How Many Holes Can One Make with an Electric Auger Drill Before the Battery Dies?
If we are talking about electric augers, it depends on the auger size and the thickness of the ice. The bigger the auger is, the more pressure on the battery, as the drilled area is larger. Thus, for a classic 8” model, you should expect to drill 30-40 holes, with a smaller 6” version – it should be at least 60 holes per one battery life.
Is an Ice Auger Safe to Use?
Almost any item can be dangerous if you don’t know how to use it. All electric, gas, and propane augers have built-in safety features such as blade protectors, muffle guards and mitten-grip recoils that protect you during work. However, bear in mind that you should always try using the auger before you go fishing. Make sure that blades are clean and sharp, so there will be no malfunctions, and nothing gets stuck.
Once you know what auger is best for your ice fishing, see how to stacks up against the top picks on this article. The Eskimo High Compression and Sting Ray (the first and second reviews) win for being the best all-around ice augers for anyone. They are good for both beginners and experts, built with good quality parts that should hold up for more than one winter season. Still, if one of the alternatives retains your interest, then go with what you feel confident with. Ice fishing becomes easier when you have the right drilling product, so each brand listed will do a solid job at producing holes in an efficient manner.