The Best Drill for Ice Auger: Top 5 Picks of 2022 Reviewed

Kenneth ReavesEdited by: Kenneth Reaves
Michael DarmontReviewed by: Michael Darmont

Last Update:

The Rundown

Most Durable: Metabo HPT (click to see)
The Metabo HPT features an LED flashlight for nighttime fishing, a battery charge indicator on the drill, a keyless chuck, and 22+2 clutch settings to adjust for whatever you can throw at it.

Best Option For Extra Utility: Milwaukee M18 Drill Set (click to see)
“If you’re looking for a functional drill that doesn’t just perform on the ice, the Milwaukee M18 is worth a shot. This powerful and durable drill does the job for ice fishing but can also be used at home all year-round.”

Best For Dim Light Conditions: Dewalt 20V MAX XR (click to see)
“For anglers who prefer ice fishing early in the morning or even at night, the Max XR is built exactly how you need it. It’s great for dim light conditions and a reliable drilling partner for ice fishing.”

Check Other Models on Amazon

The essential tool for ice anglers isn’t their rods and reels; it’s their tools for getting through the ice. Choosing the right tools for you can make a difference in even getting the bait into the water.

A cordless drill should be appropriate for the task, easy to use, easy to carry, and durable. The location you plan to fish also impacts which drills will be best for you. Gas and propane drills give off fumes you don’t want to sit inside a shack, while electric drills require batteries and charges.

Thankfully, technology has come a long way since manual ice augers were the only option available. Here are the 5 best cordless drills and options for ice augers available on the market today.

You might also want to check the Top 5 Ice Augers of 2022 where we tested and reviewed the best electric, gas, and propane-powered ones.

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What Is The Best Ice Auger Drill?

Top 5 Ice Auger Drills

Most Durable

Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2QB 18V Cordless Driver Drill, 1.5 Ah Lithium Ion Battery, LED Light, Brushless, Lifetime Tool Warranty, Black Design

Metabo HPT

Multiple warranties to ensure quality

Over 20 clutch settings

Over 20 clutch settings

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Best For Most Anglers With Extra Utility

Milwaukee 2606-22CT M18 Cordless Drill/Driver Kit, 18 V, Red

Milwaukee M18 Kit

Useful around the house and for drilling ice holes

Hand-operated battery-powered drill

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Best For Dim Light Conditions

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Drill/Driver 3-Speed, Premium 5.0Ah Kit, Cordless (DCD991P2)

Dewalt 20V MAX XR

LED spotlight so there’s no need for a flashlight

Super light at 3.4 pounds

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Longest Lasting

Makita XFD12Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2' Driver-Drill, Tool Only,

Makita 18V

Brushless Motor runs more efficiently and cooler

Great battery life and electronically controlled rpm/torque

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Best Budget For Early Ice

StrikeMaster Lazer Auger-8 in. LD-8

StrikeMaster Lazer

Lightweight, no need for batteries or gas

Best on thin or early ice

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Best Drills For Ice Auger 2022

  1. Most Durable: Metabo HPT
  2. Best Option For Extra Utility: Milwaukee M18 Drill Kit
  3. Best For Dim Light Conditions: Dewalt 20V MAX XR Cordless Drill
  4. Longest Lasting: Makita 18V
  5. Best Budget Option For Early Ice: StrikeMaster Lazer Auger

Metabo HPT

Most Durable Cordless Drill: With solid-body construction and a lifetime warranty, the durability of the Metabo is unquestioned.

Metabo HPT DS18DBFL2QB 18V Cordless Driver Drill, 1.5 Ah Lithium Ion Battery, LED Light, Brushless, Lifetime Tool Warranty, Black Design
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The Metabo HPT cordless drill is one you can depend on regardless of the conditions outside or the age of the drill. Strong parts, quality of life features, and multiple warranties make the drill the perfect workhorse for drilling fishing holes on the ice.

Specifications

  • 18V cordless drill
  • 22 + 2 clutch
  • Keyless chuck
  • 3.5 pounds including battery
  • LED flashlight attached

Pros

  • Great warranty
  • Solid battery life
  • Dependable in tough weather conditions

Cons

  • Not the best power
  • Handle isn’t the most comfortable
  • Only one battery included

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The cordless drill has a few quality of life features that make it easy to use. These include an LED flashlight for nighttime fishing, a battery charge indicator on the drill, a keyless chuck, and 22 + 2 clutch settings to adjust for whatever you can throw at it. In addition, the battery has a two-year warranty, the charger has a one-year warranty, and the drill itself has a lifetime warranty, so if anything ever goes wrong, you can get it replaced easily.

Milwaukee M18 Drill Kit

Best Cordless Drill For Most Anglers With Extra Utility

Milwaukee 2606-22CT M18 Cordless Drill/Driver Kit, 18 V, Red
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The Milwaukee M18 is a durable and strong drill/driver that can help with projects around the house and drill a hole through the ice with the right bits. The package comes with the drill, two batteries, a charging adapter, and a hard carrying case.

Specifications

  • Intelligent design protects against overloads
  • Compact ½ inch driver drill
  • Kit weight is 9 pounds
  • 800 max watt batteries
  • Built-in LED

Pros

  • 1,200 pounds of torque
  • Comes with two batteries and a carrying case
  • The drill weighs under 6 pounds

Cons

  • Charger only has one dock
  • Extra torque needs turned down for ice drilling
  • Doesn’t come with ice bit

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Upsides

First off, the M18 is a regular drill/driver. It works very well for any project at home, so you’ll get more use out of it than an ice-specific drill. It comes with a spare battery, and since it’s electric, it doesn’t put out any fumes. 

The cordless drill weighs under 6 pounds and, combined with an ice auger bit, weighs under 10 pounds. Its weight and power make it an excellent option for any fishermen, whether you’re ice fishing multiple spots or inside a shack.

You’ll need to purchase ice augers made to fit onto a drill to use it, but you can buy a bit specifically for what you want to do. Different size bits allow you some flexibility.

Downsides

While easier and more powerful than a manual ice auger, the M18 still requires effort and strength to push into the ice. You can only charge one battery at a time, and if the batteries become lost or damaged, the cordless drill becomes useless.

Dewalt 20V MAX XR Cordless Drill

Best Cordless Drill For Dim Light Conditions

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Drill/Driver 3-Speed, Premium 5.0Ah Kit, Cordless (DCD991P2)
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Another great choice in a portable and light cordless drill is the Dewalt 20V MAX XR. This cordless drill runs off of electric batteries and is smaller and lighter than the M18. While slightly less powerful, the MAX XR does feature an LED spotlight, making it a great choice for anglers trying to drill down in darker conditions.

Specifications

  • 3.4-pound drill weight
  • Two-speed transmission
  • 20V battery drill
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Included belt clip and carrying bag

Pros

  • One of the lightest cordless drills you can find
  • Super portable for on-the-go ice fishing
  • Spotlight is great for nighttime trips

Cons

  • Takes longer to get through ice than other options
  • The small size means less power
  • Won’t fit the larger ice bits with 13mm bit maximum

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Upsides

The most significant upsides to this ice auger are its portability and spotlight. The MAX XR weighs around half as much as the M18. The LED Spotlight is a big help when you’re trying to drill holes at night or before the sun comes up.

There are also adapters to plug it into your vehicle if you need to in a pinch. Like the M18, the MAX XR can be used around the house on projects, so you’ll likely get more use out of it than a manual or power auger.

Downsides

Similar to the M18, if the batteries are lost or damaged, the cordless drill is useless. The MAX XR is slightly less powerful than the M18, meaning it can take longer to drill through the ice, and harder ice may become an issue.

Makita 18V

Longest Lasting Cordless Drill: Compact, lightweight, and long-lasting battery life make the Makita an excellent choice for drilling multiple holes in one trip.

Makita XFD12Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2' Driver-Drill, Tool Only,
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While you need to select an auger to fit it, the Makita 18V cordless drill is is an excellent choice for long days on the ice. It has all the power you need to get through thick ice sheets and the battery life to drill holes all over the lake without recharging. 

Specifications

  • 2-speed transmission
  • 530 pounds of torque
  • Brushless motor
  • Electronically-controlled motor

Pros

  • Options for battery choices or just the drill
  • Motor adapts to your needs
  • Runs cool and smooth

Cons

  • Can be purchased without batteries
  • Drill size is a bit large for traveling
  • Rubberized grips can grow hard in the cold

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The brushless design of the Makita cuts down on friction in the drill, making it more efficient and allowing it to run without heating up as quickly. In addition, it’s got 530 pounds of torque for getting through hard ice, adjustable torque to get exactly the right amount of pressure, and electronic control that keeps your bit spinning at the most outstanding efficiency. 


StrikeMaster Lazer Hand Ice Auger

Best Budget Cordless Drill For Early Ice

StrikeMaster Lazer Auger-8 in. LD-8
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Manual drills are one of the oldest ways to get through the ice. The hard synthetic metals of StrikeMaster Lazer Hand Ice Auger will stand up to ice and it doesn’t require maintenance outside of some blade sharpening now and then. 

Specifications

  • 8-inch manual hand auger
  • Laser blades
  • Synthetic material construction

Pros

  • Doesn’t require batteries
  • Portable and lightweight
  • Good for most situations

Cons

  • Works based on your own manpower
  • Slower than powered drills getting through the ice
  • Not a good option for drilling a lot of holes

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Upside

Manual drills are lightweight and portable. It makes them easy to carry since they don’t require fuel or batteries other than your muscles to use. They work well inside shacks since they don’t give off any fumes. 

If you’re fishing early in the season and are familiar with the area you plan on ice fishing, then a manual ice auger can be a good choice for you. 

Downside

This ice auger isn’t good if you need to drill more than a few holes to find fish since it will tire you out. It is also limited to thinner ice because of its size, whereas longer drill bits or power ice augers work better for those. 

You can buy adapter kits to allow the drill to get through thicker ice, but this does require quite a lot of work. Also, this one wouldn’t work great for older anglers or fishing enthusiasts who tire easily or people who will be drilling multiple holes.


What To Look For When Buying The Best Drill For Ice Auger

cordless yellow drill with battery removed

Portability

Portability is essential when picking out cordless drills since it makes them easier to carry. A cordless drill that comes with a case may be helpful since it will hold it in place and is easier to pack into a bag while keeping your drill protected. The smaller the drill, the easier it is to pack, but the drill has less power. You want to find a balance between the two.

Comfort

Cordless drills usually have padded or ergonomic handles to make them more comfortable to use. You don’t want a cordless drill that hurts your hand when you use it and is comfortable to grip and put pressure on. If you’re boring multiple holes, comfort becomes an even more important factor because of how much damage your hands could take.

Lightweight

Cordless drills are great options because of how light they are for the power they give you. They’re much easier to use than a manual drill and much lighter than a power auger. In addition, being lightweight makes them easier to carry, especially if you’re going to have to hike out to your ice fishing spot.

Battery Power

Long-lasting and powerful batteries make a big difference in a proper cordless drill and a worthless one. If the battery doesn’t provide sufficient power to the drill, it can become more difficult or even impossible to bore through the ice. In addition to this, if you’re drilling multiple holes or taking a long time and the battery dies, your fishing trip could be over since you can’t get a hole to fish through.

Hammer Drill Time

Most cordless drill/drivers have internal mechanics that slowly pound the bit forwards and backward ever so slightly. This makes a huge difference in helping punch through hard surfaces without relying on pressure from you. You want fast timing so you get as many punches as possible per minute because it will speed up your drill’s ability to punch through ice.


How To Turn A Drill Into An Ice Auger

Step 1: Choose the drill you’re going to use.

You might have a cordless drill already, or you might be purchasing one for ice boring. Either way, you need to know what drill you’re going to use so you can determine which augers are compatible with your drill or which adapters you will need. 

Step 2: Remove any current drill bits from your drill.

Many ice augers are made to fit into the chucks on cordless drills and fit in just like drill bits. Unscrew the chuck to open up its front and remove the drill bit you have in it. It should fall out once you get the chuck open enough.

Step 3: Connect your adapters.

If you’re using a bigger ice auger like the Landworks drill bit we suggested, you’ll need adapters. This usually consists of a handle that comes off the side of your cordless drill and a piece that fits inside the chuck of your drill on one end and the auger bit on the other. 

Step 4: Attach the auger bit.

If your ice auger is made to fit into a cordless drill, put the bit end into the chuck and tighten it down. For others with adapters, connect the bit, adapters, and drill, and tighten the chuck onto it.

Once you have either the adapter set up or the bit directly into the chuck, you’ll want to secure the whole thing to your drill. Use bungee cords connecting the plate above the auger adapter if you’re using one over the handle on your drill. This will help keep the ice auger from loosening in the chuck and keep all connections from coming loose.

Step 5: Try lightly drilling into the ice to ensure everything is connected correctly. 

Go slow. If something comes loose, you don’t want it flying off. Slowly increase the pressure and let the bit do the work for you. If needed, tighten down the chuck more or secure the bungees better. At this point, you’ve successfully made a drill into an ice auger.

Here’s a video to show all the steps:

YouTube video

Complete Your Ice Fishing Tackle

Check our buying guides on other essential ice fishing gear: