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All good ice anglers have high-quality ice augers as part of their gear. Some are made to boost speed, others work to increase accuracy, while others are designed to be budget-friendly.
Whichever one suits your ice fishing needs, you’ll find that each type is unique in its power and efficiency. What they do have in common is the fact that they save time and energy.
Turning your manual auger into a powered one with the help of a cordless drill is easy and efficient. It’s a great way to save time and money. Having a good drill is even important if you have a solid ice fishing suit, as the less time in cold temperatures the better. With a good drill, fishing in the winter with proper ice fishing line can be just as good as the summer!
Knowing how important quick ice work is when you’re ice fishing, we did a deep dive for the best cordless drill for ice augers. We found many high-performance cordless drills for ice augers that provide power and accuracy without breaking your budget.
Let’s get started!
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
Best Value: Ryobi P1813 One+
The Ryobi P1813 is a convenient, easy-to-operate cordless drill for ice augers. It runs on a powerful 18 V lithium-ion battery. It can last for over 4 hours on the ice. You can go out on the ice knowing your drill won’t die on you.
It operates using a 3-mode adjustment knob. The standard drill mode is for basic drilling holes in metal, wood, plastic, and, of course, ice. Then there’s the hammer mode that allows you to drill holes into concrete, masonry, and thick slabs of ice. Finally, there’s the drive mode for driving bolts and screws.
This 3-pound lightweight drill is 8 inches long. It comes with a battery charger that can fully recharge the drill in as little as 30 minutes.
You’ll also find a magnetic bit holder near the drill base. This feature can be used to conveniently secure fasteners and bits to the drill for easy retrieval. The shipment also contains a carrying bag for easy portability and storage.
- Great value for the price
- 3 operating modes
- Long-lasting battery
- Equipped with LED light
- Magnetic bit holder
- Comes with a carrying bag
- Torque is lower than other ice augers
Best Torque Power: Milwaukee M18
The Milwaukee drill/driver kit is practical and easy to operate. It’s made to withstand heavy-duty work for long hours.
Powered by a sturdy 18 V lithium-ion battery, this drill offers an impressive torque of up to 1200 pound/inch. Yet, it still manages to be compact and easy-to-handle. This drill provides up to 2000 RPMs and 32,000 BPMs.
The Milwaukee 2704-22 weighs 5 pounds and measures less than 8 inches in length. It comes with its battery charger and carrying case.
- Impressive torque power
- Long-lasting battery
- Comes with charger and case
- The handle is a bit weak
Best Functionality: DEWALT MAX XR
The high-performance transmission on the DEWALT MAX XR is perfect for optimal speed and accuracy. It features 3 operating modes for fast and convenient drilling. The 3 modes are drill, hammer drill, and driver modes.
The 10-pound, 11-inch drill comes with a belt hook for easy handling. There’s also a 360° side handle for better support.
The MAX XR is equipped with a LED light. It offers 3 lighting modes to customize your workspace illumination. This is one of the best features of this drill. It allows for safe and convenient use during any type of work setting.
While the DEWALT can safely operate on a 20 V battery, the minimum voltage is 18 V for optimal safety conditions. It offers up to 2000 RPMs and an impressive 38,250 BPMs.
- 3 operating modes
- LED light with 3 lighting modes
- Belt hook
- 360° side handle
- Comes with batteries, a charger, and a toolbox
- The price is a bit high
- The motor tends to be weak at times
Best Durability: Makita XPH11RB
The Makita drill features an ergonomic design that prevents hand fatigue. It can also reduce tension on your back, neck, and shoulders.
Weighing a little less than 3 pounds and measuring 16 inches, this drill is ideal for working in narrow areas. It can power up to 1700 RPMs and 25,500 BPMs for versatile applications. It can deliver up to 350 pounds/inch of torque for quick and accurate drilling.
This drill is not only fast and powerful, but it’s also lightweight and easy to use. It features dual LED lights on the front to boost accessibility and precision.
Another great feature is that it’s waterproof and corrosion-resistant. The Makita XPH11RB comes with a kit that includes 2 quick-charging 18 V batteries, a charger, and a plastic tool case.
- Ergonomic design
- LED 2-mode lighting
- Resistant to rust and corrosion
- Comes with a toolkit and carrying case
- Low-quality hammer drill capability
Best for Tight Spaces: Hitachi DS18DGL
The Hitachi name is synonymous with power. With its ergonomic design, this drill can handle tight spaces and heavy-duty use with ease. It comes with a double-sided Phillips driver bit, two 18 V batteries, charger, a carrying case.
One great feature on the 8.5-inch DS18GL is its 2-speed gear settings. It allows you to customize the speed according to your work. With peak torque reaching 400 pound/inch, this drill can deliver optimal control and precision.
The Hitachi cordless drill comes with an LED light. It easily increases your work productivity even when it’s dark. Weighing a little under 4 pounds, it can deliver up to 1250 RPMs.
- Comes with a tool kit and a carrying case
- LED light
- 2-speed setting
- Ergonomic design
- Batteries are weak
What to Look for When Buying a Cordless Drill for an Ice Auger
Cordless drills can help you out on the ice. They save time and energy when compared to manual ice augers. Also, they don’t need awkward cables like electric drills, and they won’t smoke up the place like gas-powered ones.
What features count the most on the best cordless drills for an ice auger? Here’s a quick look at what you can expect from the best cordless drill for an ice auger.
On the Move
The whole point of using a cordless drill is to be portable. You want to be free to go anywhere and take your ice auger with you.
Many drills also come with a convenient carry bag. It helps you carry along all the items you’ll need.
Chances are you’ll be using your drill for long periods. That’s why you should look for a drill that’s designed with comfort and support in mind. The best drills for ice augers are comfortable to use.
One important feature is the drill handle. It should be ergonomically designed to promote a convenient grip.
Light as a Feather
To facilitate mobility, go for a lightweight drill. An ideal weight would be around 3 pounds.
Light drills also prevent hand fatigue. In turn, this reduces stress on your neck, back, and shoulders.
Almost every single cordless drill is powered with a lithium-ion battery. They’re long-lasting and quick-charging. They can hold for several hours of heavy-duty use before they need to recharge.
Unleash the Power
The power of a drill can be measured in 3 different ways:
RPM stands for ‘rotations per minute’. It measures how fast the drill is operating at any given time. 750 RPMs is a fairly good drill RPM for ice augers.
The drill’s torque is the force that causes it to rotate. It measures how powerful the drill is. You should look for drills with at least 750 pounds/inch of torque.
Even though the actual distance traveled by the bit is small, the hammering action is extremely rapid. It’s measured in ‘blows per minute’ (BPM). Sometimes it’s also referred to as impacts per minute (IPM).
A decent drill should produce up to 25,000 BPMs, or even more. The higher the BPM, the faster you’ll be able to drill through the ice.
Hammer Drill Time
Also called impact or percussion drill, a hammer drill is used to cut through any type of thick, heavy material, such as steel, masonry, or thick ice. When used with your ice auger, the hammer drill will make accurate, clear-cut holes in the ice.
5 Steps to Turn a Drill into an Ice Auger
If you’re a newbie angler, attaching a drill into an ice auger may seem like a daunting task. So we decided to help you out.
Follow these steps for a safe and efficient way to turn your drill into an ice auger.
Step 1: Get an Ice Auger
If you have one, great! If you don’t, it’s time to do some shopping. Look for augers that feature appropriate size and diameter for the species of fish you’re going after.
For example, if you’re on the hunt for panfish, look for an auger that measures 4.5 to 6 inches in diameter. On the other hand, if you’re chasing walleye or musky, then a diameter of 6 to 8 inches will do just fine.
Step 2: Get an Adapter
An adapter is what connects the auger with the drill. Adapters are easy to find and are quite affordable.
You can opt for the Clam Drill Auger Conversion Kit. It’s easy-to-use and comes with great features such as the wide, sturdy handle. This handle makes it easy to control the auger. Plus, it’s designed to be light and buoyant to prevent the auger from drowning if it slips into the water.
Another option would be the Ice Auger Cordless Drill Adapter. It’s also a reliable, budget-friendly product. Its round design keeps the auger from sinking.
Step 3: Get a Drill
The first thing you have to do when buying a cordless drill for your auger is to match their chuck sizes. The 3 basic chuck sizes are:
- 1/4 inch
- 3/8 inch
- 1/2 inch
Step 4: Connect the Parts
Once you find the perfect match, remove the auger handle. Then, join the drill to the auger with the help of the adapter.
Make sure you keep your drill on low torque or the lowest speed. It should also be set to drill mode for added safety.
Step 5: Get Some Fish
Now you’re ready to drill holes, set up your ice fishing reel, and catch some fish! Some common species you can catch:
Benefits of Using a Cordless Drill
Below are some of the benefits cordless drills have over other types of drills.
Convenient to Use
Not having to deal with bulky cords could be the most important benefit of using cordless drills. It also makes them more lightweight than their wired counterparts. This is important when you’re drilling holes on the ice.
Operating at the same level of electric drills, cordless drills offer more portability. They ensure increased precision because they’re lightweight. Many also come with LED lights, which make it possible to work in dark settings.
Reduced Noise Output
Cordless drills don’t rely on external connections. This makes their level of operation noise lower than corded drills that are powered by big motors.
The internal motors on cordless drills generate some noise, but it’s much less than that produced by other types of drills.
When buying a drill, the more affordable, the better. This is where cordless drills come out on top. They’re available at a more budget-friendly and cost-effective price.
Our top choice for the best cordless drill for ice auger is the Milwaukee M18. It’s the most ideal for almost any type of application.
The 2704-22 drill is equipped with 1200 pounds/inch of torque. This is the highest of almost all cordless drills on the market. Plus, its long-lasting battery ensures many hours of ice fishing fun.
If you’re looking for something more affordable, then the Ryobi P1813 One+ should be your first pick. The Ryobi drill is one of the lightest on the market, weighing a mere 3 pounds.
Besides being durable and reliable out on the ice, the P1813 is also versatile. It features 3 operating modes and a quick-charging battery. With this drill, you’ll never run out of drilling power.
And remember to be safe while ice fishing, as it can be dangerous. You should also learn how to properly care for your ice fishing rod and reel.