Last updated on March 29th, 2021
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Like traditional power tools, gas-operated devices are quietly being replaced by electric alternatives, namely because significant improvements in battery technology, in particular, lithium-ion batteries, have made them much more reliable than previously.
Of course, many people continue to use their gas-powered tools as they’re still very functional and reliable – fishing augers are no different. However, it’s hard to deny that the evolution of electric ice fishing augers continues to deliver impressive results, with more benefits arriving as the technology continues to improve.
They are not going away – expect them to outsell other types of ice augers in the very near future as they become even better and minor kinks get ironed out.
In fact, the augers available today are certainly a testament to how far the electric devices have already come in a short time.
The new generation of lithium-ion ice augers is nothing short of a game-changer! There are many fantastic electric options currently available that are well worth investing in vs the traditional gas auger or propane, for that matter.
Let’s take a closer look at this new breed of electric fishing augers and why they make sense for today’s ice fisherman.
Electric Ice Fishing Augers – Ready for Prime Time
Batteries were traditionally unreliable because their charge wasn’t powerful enough to last long, while recharging took forever.
Just think back as recently as 10 to 15 years ago and think how far our everyday power battery-powered tools have come along. Oh, how I don’t miss my old, heavy NiCd battery drills that always seem to die out on me in the middle of a job!
The most obvious area of improvement for electric fishing augers is the battery. Lithium-ion batteries have transformed countless devices and equipment, from cell phones to electric vehicles and, now, even trolling motors and ice augers.
They provide a significant battery charge for devices that traditionally consume lots of power. The best electric augers (most currently around 40V) provide enough power for over 100 holes, while faster recharge rates mean you can have the battery fully charged in several hours.
Better still, the batteries are usually easy to switch out and charge. If you buy a few spare batteries for your auger then you essentially extend its run time dramatically.
In a nutshell, the advancements made in lithium battery technology in recent years have positively changed the dynamics for electric, battery-operated devices and revolutionized ice fishing augers. And things are only getting better, with longer runtimes and shorter recharging cycles making them better than ever for drilling holes into the ice.
Let’s look at some of the most compelling reasons for buying or switching to lithium-ion battery augers for ice fishing as well as any downsides.
Lightweight and Portable
The improvement of battery technology has a variety of ripple effects, such as being incredibly lightweight. Remember, there’s no motor engine and all the heavy components that come with it, making electric augers significantly lighter than gas augers.
This has plenty of benefits for any ice angler traveling long distances over the course of the day and drilling multiple holes. Weighing up to 40% less than gas augers, electric augers are easier to carry and less straining when towing your auger around for long periods. The weight difference is notable, just ask those shoulder rotator cuff muscles!
Easier to Use
Gas motors take a while to get started. You need to crank it several times, let it warm up, and even then, there is no guarantee it’s up and running when you need it. Electric augers couldn’t be easier to get started. They provide power on-demand – you just push the on button and it’s instantly good to go.
This is also convenient when drilling multiple holes in a close area. Just push stop and start as needed, avoiding the risks of an idle gas auger.
Another great advantage that electric battery-powered augers have over gas augers is the noise when operating. As anyone that’s used a gas auger knows, they make quite a noise when in use, which often scares away fish at the bottom of the ice.
Battery augers provide significantly quieter operation. While not completely silent, the noise produced is rarely loud enough to spook the fish. This is certainly impressive considering the gap in cutting power between gas and electric augers is narrowing, with many ice anglers finding them very appealing.
Ever tried to start a gas auger inside an ice fishing house? Then you know just how much fumes are produced and how bad they make you and the shelter smell.
There are absolutely no fumes produced from electric augers, meaning no horrible gas smell and no pollutants entering the atmosphere, making the electric augur the perfect choice for the environmentally conscious ice angler.
While a well-maintained gas auger is likely to outlive current electric augers, doing so requires a lot of effort over the years.
Leakages and flooding are possible even on the tried and tested gas augers, while the need to combine oil and gas is certainly more of an effort than simply plugging in the electric battery and recharging it.
The Downside to Battery-Powered Ice Augers
Of course, electric/battery ice augers are far from perfect, with a few issues still present like with any newer technology. However, most of these issues are minor, given the numerous upsides, and should become less of a problem as improvements are made to battery technology.
Gas augers have been developed and perfected for decades, while the evolution of ice augers is relatively new, so expect further improvements down the line.
They are still longer-lasting if you are cutting 100-plus holes in, say, 3 ft of ice or more in a day’s fishing. But expect electric augers to close the gap in the near future as the technology continues to improve, with every new generation of electric ice augers making improvements on the last.
The power/torque of entry and mid-level electric augers may be lacking for some ice anglers, although we’re talking people digging a huge number of holes per day in the thickest ice. The wider and deeper the hole, the less effective an electric auger often becomes.
But even then, buying a high-end electric auger should compensate for this, with powerful 40V electric motors providing enough power and charge for even the most ardent ice fishermen. The higher-performing electric augers are a bit costlier mind you, but the additional advantages and power they offer make them more than worth it for most ice anglers!
Electric Ice Auger Highlights
- Lightweight and Portable – Less fatiguing to use (easier on shoulders, etc) and easier to carry around.
- Push-Button Start-up – Easy and convenient, no cranking needed; no cold weather hard starts, just plug and play on-demand ice cutting power every time.
- Quieter Operation – Eliminates the noisy operation associated with gas augers that often spooks the fish.
- No More Smelly Fumes – This is a huge benefit, especially if you are in an ice fishing shanty where fumes can be dangerous. Zero emissions make them very green/eco-friendly.
- Lower Maintenance – Eliminates maintenance worries such as sparks plugs, air filters, fuel lines, gaskets, etc; also, no mixing of gas and oil (2-stroke), or spilling/leaking hazardous fuel (who wants to contaminate all that beautiful ice!).
- Capacity/Duration – Even with all the advancements in lithium-ion battery technology, gas is still the way to go for now if you are going to be drilling more than 150 holes through extremely thick ice. Still, electric augers are more than adequate for 99% of ice fishermen.
- Power /Torque – Again, if you are going to be drilling in situations where the ice thickness and number of holes are on the extreme side, gas or propane offer more power.
- Cost – The average price of lithium-ion battery-powered tools have come down significantly over the last couple of years. Even so, gas augers are still a bit cheaper at the present.
Electric augers are not going to replace their gas-powered counterparts, at least not anytime soon. But If you’re in the market for a new ice auger then we highly recommend going electric. Their performance is getting better every day and they offer so many welcome advantages over gas augers.
Importantly, they are significantly lighter, making them much more convenient to carry around and quieter to operate.
Carrying them around is much more convenient, as is turning them on and off, while the lack of fumes and oil leaks makes them very appealing to most ice anglers.
The electric, battery-powered auger is where we are at in the evolution of ice fishing augers. They have already had a significant impact on the sport of ice fishing and will only continue to do so in the foreseeable future as battery technology continues its march forward to ever-increasing efficiency and performance.
While I don’t see the demise of gas-powered augers anytime soon, the benefits of the electric ice auger powered by lithium batteries are clear for all to see and will only get better, giving more ice fishermen even more reasons to jump on board.
3 Best-Selling Electric Ice Augers on the Market Today
While there are several excellent offerings available, with more coming onto the market every day, the following are 3 of the best electric ice augers for the money today:
Eskimo ION Lithium-Ion Electric Ice Augers
These top-rated fishing ice augers are best-sellers for a reason. They deliver reliable lithium-ion power in a powerful, quiet and lightweight package that’s hard to beat. They also let you drill through all the holes you need with no priming, leaking fuel or smelly exhaust fumes.
Choose from original 3 amp-hour electric models to their new X generation XC5 battery ice augers that deliver 5 amp-hours and 60% more battery capacity over the original models. Ion augers are capable of drilling anywhere from 400 to 2880 inches of ice on a single battery charge, depending on the model – that’s 33 to 240 holes at 12 inches of ice thickness.
Lastly, Eskimo/ION has added a couple of innovative features I really like: all augers include a reverse mode that allows you to clear out the slush from drilled holes, and the new XC5 models come with LED illuminating lights that make drilling in low-light/dark conditions a breeze.
Ion Key Features at a Glance (3 Ah and 5 Ah models):
- 3 Amp-hour 40V and 5 Amp-hour 40V(XC5 models)
- Ion Cutting Diameter: 6 – 10 inches
- Ion Auger Weight: 21 – 25 pounds
- Ion Auger Length: 34 – 42 inches (comes with 12″ extension)
- Reverse button eliminates having to clear slush after drilling
- Original ION can drill 400 – 1800 inches of ice on a single charge; new XC5 augers, 640 – 2880 inches
- LED lights are great for drilling inside ice shelters or at night
- Ion Warranty: 2-years on the unit; 1-year on battery
Trophy Strike 120V Lithium-Ion Battery 8″ Ice Auger
Packing a whopping 2.0 Ah 120v lithium-ion battery, the Trophy Strike electric ice auger is a beast. But if you’re wondering if the larger, higher-capacity battery adds unnecessary weight, rest assured as this ice auger weighs in at just 23 lbs.
But what that 120v high-capacity lithium-ion battery doe for performance gives you the power and torque to cut through 86 holes in 20 inches of ice (a total of 1920 inches of ice) at a rate that is 50% faster than the competition on a single charge.
The Trophy Strike 120v ice auger also comes with a reverse drive to help you clear away slush and ice chips from drilled holes, a bottom-mounted centering ring to easily re-open holes that have frozen over, a 15″ auger extension and a battery pouch.
Trophy Strike Key Features at a Glance:
- 2 Amp-hour 120V Li-Ion battery
- Trophy Strike Cutting Diameter: 8 inches
- Trophy Strike Auger Weight: 23 pounds
- Trophy Auger Length: 35 inches + a 15-inch extension
- Reverse gear for fast clearing of slush/ice chips from the hole
- Capable of drilling 1920″ of ice on a single charge 50% faster than competing augers
- Comes with a handy battery storage/carry bag
- Trophy Strike Warranty: 5 yrs on the unit (auger blades not covered); 1 year on battery
RAZR 7 Amp-Hour 40V Lithium-Ion 8″ Ice Auger
This RAZR lithium-ion ice auger is a workhorse on the ice thanks to its 7Ah 40 V battery. Though a 40-volt auger like most of the electric competition today, the RAZR surpasses most in the amp-hours department, meaning that it will put out more power and run longer on a single charge than most other 40V ice augers running on 5 amp-hours or less.
That power translates into being able to easily cut holes of 30″ or more of ice repeatedly without sacrificing performance. Diecast aluminum transmission and 2 stainless steel cutting blades ensure long-term durability while cutting through the thickest ice.
Other outstanding, useful features of this auger are a reverse switch to push slush from dug-out holes back under the ice and a 40-inch auger length so you can drill down deep without having to add an extension.
Rounding out the RAZR 40v lithium-ion ice fishing auger are LED lights for nighttime or ice fishing shelter use (LED can also be turned on via a separate switch for illumination even when the auger is not in use), a battery life indicator and the ability to thumb throttle the power output.
RAZR Key Features at a Glance:
- 7 Amp-hour 40V Li-Ion battery
- RAZR Cutting Diameter: 8 inches
- RAZR Weight: 28 pounds
- RAZR Length: 40 inches
- Reverse switch for clearing out drilled holes
- LED surface illumination with separate on/off switch for any time use
- Batter power indicator so you always know how much juice you have left
- Thumb control for fine-tuning power delivery
- Includes a battery storage/carry case
- RAZR Warranty: 3 years on the unit; 1 year on battery
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