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Ice Fishing Power Augers - Gas Or Electric?

Many a seasoned ice fisherman has dreamed of owning a power ice auger. They are about four more times as expensive as a really good hand auger so most don't take the purchase lightly. Those who do make the leap to a power auger quickly find that a whole new world has opened up to them. Really! Imagine setting up at your favorite ice fishing area and being able to drill twenty holes in the time it takes to drill one or two with the average hand auger. Then being able to move from hole to hole as the fish move rather waiting over one hole until the fish make their way back to you!

As good as that sounds, the power ice auger is really for the ice fisherman who fishes quite often or wants to be able to fish more. The investment into a power auger isn't for the casual participant due to the cost. For those who do make the jump to a power auger, your choices are between and electric model or a gas powered auger. Below I'll try to give you the considerations you'll need to make between the two types.

The technology behind the electric ice auger has really improved over the last few years. These drills contain a 12 volt, deep cycle battery that is recharged after use. Most come with everything you need to go fishing right out of the box. Most also include cable connectors for an auxiliary power source in case the main battery becomes discharged. The question I am most often asked concerning the electric power auger is, "How many holes can I drill before the battery runs out?" The answer of course depends on ice thickness but on average you can expect to be able to drill between 20-25 holes through 12" of ice before needing to recharge the battery. The benefits of an electric power auger are:

  • Less noise.
  • No gas, mixing or smell.
  • Lighter weight.
  • No starting problems.
  • Usually less expensive than their gas powered counterpart

The gas powered ice auger has been around since the 1960's and has been a big help to winter fishermen. Technology has advanced quite a bit since then but the basic idea is the same. The gas powered ice auger is comprised of an engine and simple transmission connected to the auger or drill assembly. Power is transferred to the business end of the auger by a centrifugal clutch type system as the engine increases in RPM's. Gasoline ice augers have a few advantages over the electric augers which includes

  • More torque and power.
  • Longer average run time.
  • Bigger ice holes.

Whichever type you choose, gas or electric, you'll be able to stay a lot more mobile on the ice which is the key to catching more fish. Ice fishing is a great sport and a power auger will make can add a whole new dimension to it!

Bruce M. Davis is a product review critic, avid sportsman and webmaster. To find out more about ice fishing and ice augers visit his website at

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