Avid ice anglers are always looking to efficiently and easily cut holes even under the thickest ice conditions. It used to be all hand-labor which really minimized the number of holes one would be physically able to cut.
Today ice anglers have many options from using traditional hand augers, gas powered augers and battery powered augers that are self-operating units and even electric drill-adapted augers.
Here’s my take on when to benefit the most use the different auger types.
Manual & Electric Drill Powered Augers
Manual augers in the 4-6″ diameter size are most handy when fishing early season ice since where you are not walking out far and ice is usually under 8″ in thickness. Manual augers are lightweight and its easy to cut several holes through thinner ice. Some manual augers are also very compact where you can fold them. Electric-drill adapted augers in the 6″ or even 4″ diameter are ideal if you need to cut over 20 holes of relatively thinner but still safe ice.
Gas & Electric Power Augers
These powerful big-boys are designed to cut many holes through any ice conditions. Since they are heavier than manual and power drill-adapted augers they are usually moved around the ice with machines. Gas powered augers have the longest life on the ice since they use very little fuel to cut even through the deepest ice.
In many case extension are required when ice is thicker than 3′. The downside of gas powered augers is that there can be fuel silage and issues with fuel lines or flooding and spark-plug related problems.
Electric battery powered augers are reliable, but in really cold conditions may loose their charge quicker under heavy use. Advantages is that they are very reliable, don’t require fuel, and as long as you have 2-3 batteries, you should have power to last you the whole days fishing.
Price can be a factor for ice anglers and the least expensive way to go is to use a manual auger or an auger that has been modified with a electric power drill. Gas augers are more pricey and the newer electric augers the most expensive. It really comes down to individual choice and budget.