Can You Use an Ice Auger in Dirt?

Will an ice auger work in dirt? Yes and No.  If you’re looking for your ice auger to pull double duty as an earth auger, you might want to reconsider. 

While using an ice fishing auger for dirt with the ice blades IS possible, and seems like an easy way to save a few bucks, we don’t recommend it. 

can you use an ice auger in dirt
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What is the Difference Between an Ice Auger and an Earth Auger?

Ice AugerPost Hole Digger
Sharp Blades, Pitched for slicing and cutting iceTougher blades for drilling soil, roots, rocks
Cold Weather AdjustedWarm Weather Adjusted
Made to drill even surfaces, no shocksCome with Shocks and Springs
Handle Set for using with gloves in tight spaces like Ice ShantiesHandles set for uneven and hard surface drilling

Why You Can Use an Ice Auger for Dirt 

If you’re trying to drill a hole in some top soil or something soft like clay or sand, you might be able to get away with using an ice auger to drill post holes.  MIGHT.   

There is a high chance that if you use an ice auger bit instead of an earth auger or post hole digger that you will destroy your bit.   

You WILL have to replace the blades before you go out ice fishing again and the bit may be out of pitch. 

You can actually buy different bits for your powerhead that will let you drill dirt.  Using one set for dirt and another for ice saves you cash on buying different powerheads. 

Using an Ice Auger For Dirt and Post Holes

Earth auger blades are available that will fit your ice auger powerhead.  This will let your powerhead pull double duty as a post hole digger. 

Take a look at these post hole auger blades below.  They fit a ton of ice augers, letting you use an ice auger for dirt drilling.  Make sure to check your powerhead specs and compare them to the size of the shaft on this blade. 

You have to get the right shaft size for your powerhead or its no go.   

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Why You Shouldn’t Use an Ice Auger in Dirt 

Can an Ice Auger Dig Post Holes

Ice augers are built for exactly that: drilling holes in ice.  The blades on your ice auger are specially shaped and sharpened for cutting ice, not dirt.   

Post hole augers are equipped with blades that are made to cut through tough and compact dirt and rocks.  

They come with a spring shock where the auger meets the head to absorb the vibrations and shocks from drilling through thick soil, tree roots and rocks. 

If you hit something solid while drilling with an earth auger, they protect you from hurting your arms and hands with a heavy duty clutch. 

Even the best ice auger isn’t built to deal with sudden changes in the drilling surface like tree roots or hard dirt.  Hitting a hard spot in the ground or a rock will throw the ice blade out of pitch and you’ll have to get it fixed.   

Even worse, you could bend the drill bit where it attaches to the powerhead, ruining your powerhead. 

The handles on post hole augers are built to be more convenient when dirt drilling, but not a deal breaker. 

Ice augers are rigged to work in cold weather meaning the carb is adjusted to run in colder temps versus an earth auger.  You might have to switch out the air filter to let more air in. 

And don’t even think of using a manual ice auger in dirt: you’d have to be super human to get through anything harder than soft top soil or sand.  

Honestly, the powerheads on some ice augers may not be powerful enough with enough torque to handle drilling through soil. Hitting rocks and roots could get a little crazy as the ice auger kicks back. Always check with the manufacturers recommendations first before drilling.

One of the fundamental differences in the two types of augers is in the powerhead. Earth augers have a lower RPM output than ice augers, which need the high RPM for ice drilling. The clutch on some models may be different as well. The gear ratios can be different because drilling through soil and drilling through ice require different amounts of power and torque.

Earth Bit for Ice Auger

Earth auger bits that fit ice augers are for sale online. Better check the manufacturers recommendation for attaching a dirt auger bit. Each auger will be different with respect to the requirements for attaching (or if you can even attach) an earth bit.

Whatever you do, don’t use your ice auger bit to drill in the dirt. The blades will be ruined and you could throw the bit out of pitch and need a whole new set up. That’s not cheap.

Can you Use a Jiffy Ice Auger in the Dirt?

Yes, you can attach an earth auger bit to a Jiffy Ice Auger and use it in the dirt. Check with jiffy about buying a jiffy earth auger bit and the specs.

Post Hole Digger: The Best Tool for Dirt 

Using an ice fishing auger to dig post holes is not the best idea.  Post hole augers are MADE to crush out holes in tough soil and drill through roots.   

The blades, shocks, clutch, carb and powerhead are designed to take the impacts of hard soil and whatever else may be hiding underneath.   

Will a Dirt Auger Work on Ice?

No. Dirt augers and ice augers have different types of blades. Basically, dirt augers are built to dig and ice augers are built to shave/chip.

The super sharp blades on an ice auger are either chipper or shaver blades and they are specially designed to chip or shave the ice. They are angled in such a way to drill the ice in the most efficient way possible. They are not designed to handle the roughness of soil, roots or small rocks. Dirt auger blades are not designed or angled to shave/chip into the ice. They are designed to break up dirt and rocks and are usually made of rounded carbite. The point on a dirt auger is not designed the same as an ice auger either.

Could I Use Old Ice Auger Blades to Drill Holes

I mean you COULD, but those blades aren’t going to get you far. They are made to shave or chip away at ice, where dirt auger blades are more rugged to break up dirt and chew through small roots. It’s going to take you awhile to drill a hole with old ice auger blades, if it’s even possible.


Can you use an ice fishing auger to dig post holes?  You CAN, but we recommend you get yourself a post auger blade for your powerhead or an earth auger for your next dirt project. 


What is a good Ice Auger for Me?

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

2 thoughts on “Can You Use an Ice Auger in Dirt?”

    • Hi David,

      Thank you for reading. Each specific auger is different and I hope your Eskimo ice auger can be used as a dirt auger. My best advice is to contact Eskimo directly and ask so that you get the right parts the first time. Here is their online contact form, you’ll have to register with them (it’s pretty easy) to talk to an Eskimo product expert. Thank you Todd

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