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Best Gas Powered Ice Auger - Buying Guide & Reviews For 2022

Written by: John B
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Gasoline-powered augers are old-school tech, surrendering ground to a new generation of battery-powered ice augers that provide hassle-free performance, no emissions, and no danger of spills.

That doesn’t mean that gas augers are obsolete, but the reality is that there are fewer models and options available every year, with StrikeMaster dropping gas augers altogether.

For anglers on a budget, that’s bad news, as both electric augers and their drill-driven siblings can be very hard on the wallet. By contrast, gas augers are roughly half the price or similar performance, trading weight, noise, and emissions to keep costs down.

For plenty of anglers, that’s not a bad deal. But the options are narrowing, and there’s been little to no change in the line-up of available models for roughly a decade. Below, you’ll find reviews of the best gas augers on the market, as well as a complete buying guide.

Quick glance at the best gas ice augers:

Related: Ice Fishing Auger Buying Guide & Reviews

Best Gas Ice Augers Reviewed

Eskimo Mako M43- Our Pick!

Eskimo M43Q8 Mako 43cc with 8-Inch Quantum Ice Auger

Amazon 

Diameter: 8” and 10”

Length: 42” blade

Blade Type: chipper

Weight: 32 and 34 lbs.

Eskimo is no stranger to the hard water, and their reputation among ice anglers is the envy of their competition.

Well-designed gas augers like the Mako M43 go a long way in explaining why, and this auger has been proving itself on the ice for years now.

The Mako runs Eskimo’s Quantum blades, a chipper design that stays sharp in dirty ice and works well to reopen a frozen hole. Wandering is kept to a minimum by a sharp pilot spike, and large handles provide plenty of control.

Powered by an ice-hungry 43cc, 2-cycle engine, the Mako starts easily and has power to spare with the 8-inch blades, running at higher RPMs than comparable augers from Jiffy. In practice, this means that the blades cut more smoothly rather than gouging and ripping their way through the hard water.

As you can see, real-world performance with the 8-inch blade is impressive:

Unfortunately, the 43cc engine has trouble generating the torque necessary for the 10-inch blade to cut deep ice, and it’s apparent that it struggles a bit in contrast to the 8-inch’s flawless performance.

As with all 2-cycle engines, the Mako runs on an oil/gas mixture that produces plenty of dangerous exhaust and deafeningly loud noise you throttle-up to tackle the ice.

Start-up is easy - choke and a few pulls on the recoil handle - until the mercury drops below -10F. Then, all gas augers can become finicky.

Pros:

  • Reliable and easy to start
  • High RPMs for smooth cutting
  • Easy to control

Cons:

  • Underpowered engine for deep ice with the 10-inch auger

Eskimo Stingray S33

Eskimo S33Q8 Sting Ray 33cc with 8'Quantum Ice Auger

Amazon 

Diameter: 8” 

Length: 42” blade

Blade Type: chipper

Weight: 28 lbs.

For hard-water fishermen on a tight budget or anglers who want a light-weight gas-powered auger, Eskimo’s Stingray makes a lot of sense.

Powered by a 33cc, 2-cycle engine, don’t expect the speed of the Mako - but that doesn’t mean it won’t cut:

The Stingray is equipped with the same Quantum blade tech as its big brother, and this proven design works well, especially at the higher RPMs Eskimo’s engines and transmissions generate.

Four pounds lighter than the 8-inch Mako, only Jiffy’s 6-inch 30Pro can rival this svelte package in terms of portability.

Two problems are common with the Stingray, however.

First, its gas caps tend to leak, creating the potential for contamination. That’s a serious issue, and aftermarket replacements are available - and worth buying. Secondly, the gas lines tend to get brittle and crack, creating the same issue.

Neither of these problems is good news, and you’ll want to watch for fuel leakage every time you take the Stingray out.

That aside, this is a great budget gas auger that offers a very reasonable tradeoff between price/weight and performance.

Pros:

  • Budget friendly
  • Reliable and easy to start
  • High RPMs for smooth cutting
  • Easy to control
  • Lightweight

Cons:

  • Fuel cap tends to leak
  • Gas lines tend to crack
  • Much slower than the Mako

Jiffy Model 30Pro

Jiffy 30-08-ALL-XT Model 30™ w/ 8' XT™ Drill Assembly

Amazon 

Diameter: 6”, 8”, 9”, and 10”

Length: ?

Blade Type: chipper

Weight: 29 to 32 lbs.

Jiffy’s gas augers are a popular alternative to Eskimo, and the old 30s were the stuff of legend in the 70s and 80s. Powerful, fast, and easy to work on, there are still ice anglers running their 40 and 50 year-old augers!

Think I’m exaggerating?

How does the new 30Pro stack up?

Powered by a big 52cc, 2-cycle engine, the 30Pro generates plenty of torque, provided that the idles are set properly.

This is an ongoing issue for Jiffy owners, and factory settings are typically not ideal for cold weather. As a result, when you throttle up and need real power on the ice, the blades will bog down, and the auger will stop cutting.

The solution is to manually set the idle- and high-speed jets on the carburetor in cold conditions, getting them just right for ice fishing, not running at room temp.

Alright, you’re saying. How do I do that?

  • Pop the red caps off.
  • Carefully close both jets by turning them gently clockwise. 
  • Open the idle jet (on the left) 1/4 turn.
  • Open High speed jet (on the right) 1 1/4 turn.
  • Start the engine.
  • Adjust the low speed jet until the engine is idling smoothly.
  • Throttle up to high speed.
  • Adjust the high-speed jet until the engine transitions smoothly from idle to high speed without bogging.
  • Shut the engine off and let it cool.

Once the engine is cold, start it and let it idle for 30 seconds. Run it at full throttle again, and adjust if necessary.

If you do this - and run good gas in your Jiffy - you shouldn't have any problems with bogging down. It’s unfortunate that you may need these instructions, but that’s the reality.

That big Jiffy engine spins the company’s proprietary Ripper blades, which they claim cut 25% faster than the competition. I’m not sure about that, but there’s no question that a properly running Jiffy 30Pro will cut.

Overall, this isn’t an option I’d recommend, as much as I like the old 30s still being used.

Pros:

  • Easy to start

Cons:

  • Default carburetor setting can cause bogging down as you throttle-up

Jiffy 4G FourStroke

Jiffy 4G 4-Stroke Power Ice Auger

Amazon 

Diameter: 6”, 8”, 9”, and 10”

Length: ?

Blade Type: chipper

Weight: 32 to 35 lbs.

Jiffy’s lineup of gas augers isn’t new, and the 4G is about a decade old at this point. That’s given it plenty of time on the ice, both for good and for bad.

Jiffy’s powerful 49cc 4-stroke engine powers the 4G, and as you’d expect from this style engine, there’s torque to spare when you give it some gas. Unfortunately, the carburetor issues that bedevil the 30Pro also cause trouble with the 4G, and you may need to adjust the jets manually to get a smooth idle and prevent dreaded bog down.

Available with 6-, 8-, 9-, or 10-inch blades, there’s torque for even the biggest holes, and the Ripper blades are definitely hungry for the ice. 

Jiffy’s engines and transmissions aren’t known for their high RPMs, and that’s certainly true of the 4G. Instead, this ice auger relies on brute torque to twist a sharp set of blades through the ice. The result is less smooth than the Eskimo.

This is also the heaviest of the augers on our list, and it may be the heaviest auger on the market in its larger sizes. That, plus high torque/low RPMs, means control isn’t as good as it could be, and portability is downright awful unless you’re dragging a sled behind a snow machine.

As with all 4-stroke motors, this Jiffy must be stored “right-side up” or it will leak oil, potentially contaminating the air filter.

I’d like to love this powerful auger, but I think you’ll have to count me in with the Eskimo fans.

Pros:

  • Easy to start
  • Torque to spare

Cons:

  • Default carburetor setting can cause bogging down as you throttle-up
  • Must be stored “right-side up”

What We Consider When Selecting a Gas Auger

Why gasoline?

Let’s get to the elephant in the room right away: as battery tech has improved, the popularity of electric and drill-driven augers has skyrocketed. Instant starting, to no hassle “refueling,” emissions-free running, quiet drilling: there are lots of reasons to like electric augers, and when you throw convertible systems into the mix, the future’s clear.

But there’s still a case to be made for gas augers.

First off, they’re typically much less expensive than their electric competitors and nowhere near as pricey as powerful cordless drill and convertible auger set-up.

Second, if you need to drill lots of holes in deep ice, even the best batteries may not be up to the task. Gas augers can be refueled essentially endlessly on the ice, and that gives them an advantage in this admittedly uncommon scenario.

It doesn’t take a genius to understand why StrikeMaster dropped gasoline altogether, doubling down on electric motors and quality batteries.

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of the alternatives:

Electric augers - Electric augers are the future, no question about it.

With revolutions in battery tech, electric augers have power to rival gas and propane, and even when you’re drilling dozens of holes in deep ice, remain hungry for the hard-water.

They start instantly, no matter the temperature, run quietly, and don’t produce any dangerous emissions. That makes them ideal for use in a shelter or shanty.

One downside to electric ice augers is the need to recharge. There’s no instant top-up like with gasoline or propane, and cold can kill the life of cheap batteries.

And overall weight tends to be much higher than a drill and auger combo, while performance isn’t. That’s pushing more and more anglers toward the pistol bit option.

But many anglers will find that the best electric augers are going to come with a hefty price tag.

Check out our buying guide for the best electric ice auger

Convertible or pistol bit augers - Pistol bit augers are gaining ground on electric augers, quickly becoming the go-to option.

Powered by a beast of a cordless drill, a pistol bit auger produces plenty of torque and speed to cut an 8-inch hole in the ice, but at a fraction of the weight of all but the most expensive electric alternatives.

Battery life is typically pretty good, and as long as you’re not asking for 100 holes in 28 inches of ice, you shouldn’t have a problem.

But the overall price of this system can be steep.

Check out our full buying guide on the best drill ice auger and the best ice auger drills

Propane augers - Propane augers are petroleum-based alternatives to gas.

Fueled by a small propane tank that can be easily replaced in seconds, propane augers offer all the benefits of gasoline, but with easier refueling and no dangerous fumes. They can be used indoors, which is great, but they’re even more unreliable in the cold than gasoline - and just as loud.

These drawbacks have led to their virtual disappearance from the market, with only Jiffy and Eskimo still producing a propane auger.

Check out our buying guide for the best propane ice fishing augers

Manual augers - Manual augers are simple and reliable, and they’re easily the lightest option on the ice. They’re also dead quiet and (obviously) fine to use in a shelter or shanty. Finally, they’re also a lot less expensive than any powered option.

But unless you’re super fit, drilling more than a few holes - or running a big hand auger at all - is going to be a real challenge. Most ice fishermen prefer a powered ice auger, and there’s no question that they save time and energy.

That doesn’t make manual augers a bad pick, just a very specific one that reflects trade-ffs about weight, portability, ice thickness, and the number of holes to be drilled.

Check out our full buying guide on the best manual ice augers

Blade quality and type

Blade quality means a lot, and better blades offer better performance from the first hole through the season.

There are two types of blades on ice augers:

  • Chipper blades - are serrated, and they excel at cutting dirty, uneven ice and re-opening frozen holes.
  • Shaver blades - are sharp, plain edges that take paper-thin slices of ice off on each pass. They’re best for drilling clean, even ice. They also offer smoother cutting and more control.

Auger diameter and length

Auger diameter is an essential consideration, and these generally range from 6 inches up to 10. The larger the diameter, the bigger the hole you cut, and the more power your auger needs to drive that big blade into the ice.

For smaller species like panfish, a six-inch hole is fine. For big pike, muskie, and lake trout, you probably need that ten-inch auger. But keep two things in mind. First, the bigger the hole, the easier it is for you to drop something in it. And second, if children will be around, it’s essential to size the holes so they can’t accidentally fall through.

Another important issue is auger length. You need to be able to drill through the ice, not just into it, so be sure to select an auger that’s long enough for the ice you fish. All of the models that made our reviews are long enough for 24 inches of ice, and most can handle a bit more than that.

Our Pick: the Eskimo Mako M43!

While we know that there are legions of Jiffy fans out there, we honestly feel that the reputation built around the old Jiffy 30 with the 3hp Tecumseh engine has been betrayed by their newer gasoline-powered offerings.

If we were buying a gas auger today, we’d pick the Eskimo Mako M43.

With plenty of power for an 8-inch blade, and reliable starting and running, our only complaint about the Mako is the lack of power for a 10-inch auger on thick ice. Even then, while the going will be a bit slower, you won’t experience the issues common to the Jiffy carburetor.

For us, that ongoing problem is a deal-breaker.

Overall, while the Mako isn’t perfect, it’s probably the best of the gas-powered models currently available.

About The Author
John B
If it has fins, John has probably tried to catch it from a kayak. A native of Louisiana, he now lives in Sarajevo, where he's adjusting to life in the mountains. From the rivers of Bosnia to the coast of Croatia, you can find him fishing when he's not camping, hiking, or hunting.
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