2 Stroke Vs 4 Stroke Ice Auger

Two types of gas augers exist and ice fishers debate which is best a 2 stroke vs a 4 stroke ice auger?

We review the pros and cons of 2 cycle vs 4 cycle auger engines below so you can make the best choice for your ice fishing.

2 Stroke vs 4 stroke
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2 Stroke vs 4 Stroke: Which is Best for You?

The best ice auger is the one that works for you and what you need out of your auger. We personally prefer a 4 stroke even though they cost more. That’s because 4 strokes are quieter. They have more torque throughout the RPM range. The engines also last longer than a 2 stroke. So which one is the best for you and your next ice fishing outing? Well, it all comes down to personal preference and budget.

Are 2 Cycle and 2 Stoke the Same Thing?

You might see some augers advertised as “2 cycle” or “2 stroke”. Don’t panic, they are the exact same thing, just two different ways of saying it. So 2 cycle vs 2 stroke is just referring to the same type of engine and the term is used interchangeably.

What’s the Difference Between 2 Stroke and 4 Stroke Quick Charts

2 Stroke Features
-Doesn’t last as long as 4 stroke
-Expensive to Premix Oil/Gas
-Uses more Fuel
-More Emissions
-More Powerful/Higher RPMs
-Easier to Repair
-Lighter than a 4 Stroke Auger
-Starts up no problem in colder weather
4 Stroke Features
-Long Lasting Engine
-No Premixing Oil/Gas
-Quieter Operation
-More Expensive to Buy
-Not as Powerful as 2 Stroke
-More Moving Parts
-Heavier than a 2 Stroke Auger

2 Stroke Pros and Cons: Are 2 Strokes better than 4 Strokes?

Let’s talk about the Pros and Cons of a 2 stroke Ice Auger. 2 cycle vs 4 cycle is a heated debate but it really comes down to personal preference for which type of engine you buy. Is a 2 cycle or 4 cycle engine better is fully up to you to decide. Some folks say that the 2 stroke technology is outdated and old, slowly being replaced with electric augers and more efficient 4 stroke gas augers, but it’s up to you to decided which one is best for you.

2 Stoke vs 4 Stroke Explained

#1. Doesn’t last as long as 4 stroke.

This is because of #5. 2 strokes are more powerful and run at higher RPM’s so the parts are working faster and more often than a 4 stroke. More RPM’s equals less engine life.

#2. Expensive (and Messy) to Premix Oil/Gas

No one likes mixing oil/gas or paying a premium for the premixed stuff. It’s expensive, smelly, and inconvenient.

#3. Uses more Fuel: Are 2 Strokes or 4 Strokes better on Gas?

2 strokes use more fuel than 4 strokes. For every piston stroke there is fuel released, versus a 4 stroke where fuel is released 1 time for every 4 strokes.

#4. Louder

2 strokes have a specific sound that is loud and grating to the ears. If you want to avoid annoying sounds like that, get yourself a 4 stroke. It could honestly scare off more fish due to its loud sound.

#5. More Emissions

Using more fuel, plus the mixing of oil and gas means than 2 strokes emit more smoke that you can see and smell. Oil is released as the fuel is burnt, which you can also smell in the exhaust.

#6. More Powerful/Higher RPMs: Are 2 Strokes more Powerful than 4 Strokes?

2 strokes run at higher RPM’s than 4 strokes. You can tell be the high pitched noise that 2 strokes make compared to 4 strokes. 2 strokes are more powerful because power is released for every 2 stroke of the piston. There is more torque per pound of auger with a 2 stroke. 2 strokes are great if you plan on chasing fish and drilling a ton of holes in one outing.

#7. Easier to Repair

Less parts means if something goes wrong while you’re out ice fishing, chances are your auger can be repaired on the spot with the tools you have on hand. It also means that the repairs will likely take less time as well.

#8. Lighter than a 4 Stroke Auger

Less parts means a 2 stroke is lighter and easier to carry/use than a 4 stroke. Unfortunately, you will always have to be carrying around 2 cycle oil and gas to mix, which can become heavy and a burden if it creates a spill/mess for you to clean up.

#9. Less Problems Starting Up

Typically 2 strokes have less problems starting up and are generally more reliable in colder weather.

Always bring a hand/manual auger with you as a back up in case of the few times your gas powered augers won’t start

4 Stroke Pros and Cons

#1. Longer Lasting Engine

4 strokes last longer due to their build. This means they are always more expensive than a 2 stroke.

#2. No Premixing Oil/Gas

No messy spills, no buying premixed oil/gas. 4 strokes don’t require premixing of oil and gas. Just like a car engine, the oil has its own separate reservoir and you just buy regular 87 octane, low ethanol content gas for the engine.

#3. Quieter Operation

Buying a quieter auger might be a smart thing to do if you’re ice fishing. 2 strokes have that specific pitched sound that is much louder than a 4 stroke. After drilling a few holes, it can become annoying.

#4. More Expensive to Buy

4 strokes have more moving parts so naturally, manufacturers charge more. Also, because they last longer, they are at a premium.

#5. Not as Powerful as 2 Stroke

4 strokes release power once every 4 strokes of the piston compared to a 2 stroke that releases power every 2 strokes (or twice as often). While a 2 stroke isn’t twice as powerful as a 4 stroke, there is a notable difference. If you’re looking specifically for a powerful ice auger, a 2 stroke may be for you.

#6. More Moving Parts

4 strokes have valves and all of the trappings of a long lasting engine. More moving parts means they are heavier and repairs are more expensive. Could be difficult to repair out on the lake if something goes wrong. However, you have to consider that they are long lasting and perhaps more reliable, so engine breakdown may not be a concern for you.

#7. Heavier than a 2 Stroke Auger

Travelling long distances with your ice auger on a snowmobile, pulling it behind you on a sled, or walking across a frozen lake may stop you from buying a 4 stroke because they are heavier than 2 strokes. Depending on the kind of ice fishing you do, you have to decide if the added weight of a 4 stroke is a trade off for reliability and engine longevity.

How to Tell the Difference between a 4 stroke and 2 stroke

The fastest way is if they are running, the 2 stroke will be louder and push out more smoke due to the mixing of oil and gas.

Do 4 Cycle Engines Use Regular Gas? What is 4 cycle gas?

4 cycle or 4 stroke engines take the same gas as your car, just regular unleaded. As long as its 87 octane or higher with lower than 10% ethanol content you’re good to go.

Can I use 4 cycle gas in a 2 cycle Engine?

2 cycle engines require you to mix gas and oil to a certain ratio for them to function. Each auger brand has its own ratio and the manufacturer recommended gas and oil brands. You could do damage to your 2 cycle/2 stroke engine if you stray outside the recommended options.

Can You Use 4 cycle oil instead of 2 cycle oil?

No, 2 cycle/2 strokes have specific types of oil to use and the ratios of mixing oil and gas and those need to be followed or your engine won’t work and can be damaged. 2 cycle vs 4 cycle oil is different. 4 strokes don’t require premixing of oil and gas so the 4 cycle oil itself has different properties than 2 cycle oil. It disrupts combustion in your 2 cycle due to the different additives that are present because 4 cycle oil doesn’t burn inside the engine like with 2 cycles.

2 Stroke Vs 4 Stroke Ice Auger

For all the reasons we outlined above, we would choose a 4 stroke gas ice auger. They are quieter, don’t smell as bad, last longer, and we don’t have to mix oil and gas.


2 stroke vs 4 stroke and the choice you make between the two all depends on how you ice fish and what sort of pros and cons break the deal. Check out out best ice auger reviews to find the ice auger that’s perfect for you this season.


What is the best gas auger?

Check out our post on the best gas augers on the market.