Best Cordless Drill & Auger Setups on the Ice

Updated 11/10/20 for the upcoming ice season…

Are you looking for the optimal cordless drill ice auger combination?  Good news is, I’ve done all the homework and research…and I have a killer setup.  After a long weekend of testing my new cordless drill ice auger, I was able to drill dozens of holes FAST and with plenty of battery to spare.  I’ve literally never drilled a hole that fast, and I’ve owned and used just about every gas, electric, and propane ice auger on the planet.  I will NEVER go back…let me explain…

How did I get here?  Well, after my last EXPENSIVE ice auger broke, I felt it was time to seek out a solution with less moving parts (and parts to break).  I have buddies that have been using cordless drills for their ice auger needs and have been really happy with them.  The ONLY reliable augers I’ve owned are gas, but the problem is they stink up the permanent ice house, are heavy, and require maintenance.  I wanted an ice auger setup that was light, compact, and reliable…is that too much to ask???

Why this is important?  There is nothing and I mean NOTHING more frustrating than having an ice auger break down on the ice.  All the time and energy spent to get to that point, only to be disappointed.

You only need to be in this situation ONCE and you’ll hopefully never be in that situation again.

So with that being said, let’s dig into your options for an ice auger drill setup.

See our suggested cordless drill / ice auger setup in action below.

 

CORDLESS DRILLS FOR ICE AUGERS

I’m going to start my review of cordless drill ice augers with the actual drill itself.  This is the most important decision to make, as not any cordless drill will work.  While doing my research, a lot of guys swore by this cordless drill vs. another drill…but there was consistency. First off, understand that if you’re going to run a setup with a K-Drill for example, you’ll want to know that only a handful of cordless drills are supported by K-Drill itself (see the K-Drill Website for models).   The fact of the matter is you need an ice auger drill with some serious muscle.   Here are the models I’ve tested and recommend.

DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT cheap out with some crappy cordless drill that you think will do the trick.  The reality is you’re going to spend around the $250-350 ballpark for a reliable and powerful cordless drill for your ice auger.  And on this one, you’re going to want only 2 brands.  Go with Milwaukee or DeWalt PERIOD.  You won’t be disappointed.


I went with the Dewalt DCD996P2 Cordless Drill.  Why?  Well for one, it’s one of the models supported by K-Drill.  That says something.  And I have some people I know who fish hardwater hard that swear by it as well.  And I got it on sale for the right price…perfect.  It comes with 2 LARGE LITHIUM batteries and a side handle.  This is great for cutting A LOT of holes in the ice, no matter the thickness.  I was punching through 15” of ice with ease just yesterday, with no problems whatsoever.  And to be fair, I did keep the batteries warm to ensure longevity.  While this is common sense, I felt it should be noted.

WHAT ICE AUGER SHOULD I USE WITH MY CORDLESS DRILL?

While I felt the cordless drill was the most important aspect of this setup, the next important question is which ice auger should I use with my drill? Well, there are really 2 options at this point. You can buy the full setup (ice auger PLUS the ice auger adapter attachment) OR you can buy the ice auger and the adapter separately. If you want the all-in-one, go with the K-Drill or the Eskimo Pistol Bit setups. They’re both viable options, I’ve tested them both. What I like about them is the simplicity and lightness of them, which is great for the ice fisherman on the run.



For me, I chose the alternate route by going with an ice auger plus the adapter. All you really need to do is select the hand auger you need, then get the matching adaptor attachment for your drill to connect the two…DONE. If you’re going this route, it’s not a bad one and it’s CHEAPER as well. You can get a hand ice auger for around $50-100 and the adapter for around $20-25. You’re going to pay double for the all-in-one setups. HOWEVER, you need to keep in mind one critical thing.  With the all-in-one ice augers like the K-Drill or the Pistol Bit, it has a plate at the top that keeps your auger from going down the hole (should your adaptor fall apart or fail).  If you go the cheaper route and bypass the all-in-one ice augers, you’ll want to add your own plate at the top.  I’ve heard of guys using the lids of ice cream buckets for this.  It’s cheap and easy to fabricate.  After all, if you’re a cheap ice angler, you’re probably used to fabricating already…

I updated this article for the 2020/2021 ice fishing season.  I went away with the adaptor setup and got a PISTOL BIT.  The newer pistol bit blades have a center point which makes cutting ice MUCH easier.

 

WHICH HAND ICE AUGER DO I RECOMMEND USING WITH YOUR CORDLESS DRILL?

In my opinion, you really have 2 solid options here for a hand ice auger. And they’re both under $100. I personally went with the Eskimo after using one in the past. They’re sharp, durable, and you can find them even under $50 at times. Heck, that’s the cost of new blades for some augers! However, I will probably also get a Strikemaster Lazer because they’re also amazing for cutting ice holes. They are a bit expensive in comparison, but worth it if you want a long-lasting ice auger.


CORDLESS DRILL ICE AUGER ADAPTER

There are options out there for ice auger drill adapters (also called ice auger drill attachments). And having options are a good thing. But just make sure it’s the right adapter for your ice auger. This isn’t the expensive part of the process, but if you don’t match up the right attachment…you may set up for failure on the ice. Use common sense here and match up the ice auger drill adapter that fits your auger.


WHAT’S THE ICE AUGER CORDLESS DRILL SETUP THAT I WENT WITH?

To make this simple, and to use EXACTLY what I’m now using, go with the three listed below. I love the Dewalt DCD996P2 cordless drill with the Eskimo Pistol Bit combo. While it’s a little bit heavier than the K-Drill, its speed makes up for it when you get down to cutting holes. If you’re like me and cut over 50 or more holes each day, it’ll pay for itself in no time.



So, there you have it, the best cordless drill ice auger setups on the ice today. I can see a lot more competitors and products to come into this market over the next 5 years, as we see more and more anglers selling their traditional ice augers for this route. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND giving this combination a look and when the ice melts, you still have a reliable and useful cordless drill!

Check out a few videos if you need more help deciding what’s right for you…

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