How Hard is it to Use a Hand Ice Auger?

If you’re trying to save a few bucks, you’ve definitely wondered about using a hand ice auger instead of a fuel powered unit.  So, how hard is it to use a hand ice auger compared to its fuel powered cousins? Not as hard as you would think.

Keep reading to see if using a hand ice auger is for you this upcoming ice fishing season.

how hard is it to use a hand ice auger
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Is Using a Hand Ice Auger Hard?

The best ice augers come powered with either gas, propane, electric or by hand.  Hand augers are the most lightweight and budget friendly way to get out fishing right away without breaking your back or the bank.

Hand Ice Augers are human powered instead of gas powered.  You will need to use your strength and energy to drill fishing holes.  In all types of ice, this can be tiring, especially thicker ice.  Using a hand ice auger isn’t hard, but does require more energy than a gas, electric, or propane powered auger.

Hand Ice Auger Tips and Tricks

Here are 4 tips and tricks to make sure that you get the most out of your auger and your ice fishing trip.

  • Angle of the auger
  • Keep ice and snow off your blade
  • Blade check up and maintenance
  • Keep your blades sharp

First, always make sure to drill at a 90 degree angle or straight up and down.  This way you are drilling a straight hole into the ice the first time, instead of having to hand drill multiple holes.

Second, you might have to wipe off the blades to remove any ice and snow that accumulates on the blade. You want your blade free of snow and ice so it can cut through the tough surface down to the water.  Some people apply WD 40 or oil to their blade before drilling to make it so the ice and snow just don’t stick to the blade.

Third, make sure you check your blades for any issues like cracking and chips before heading out.

Fourth, sharp blades mean that when you use a hand ice auger, that they will slice through the ice much easier.  If your blades are sharp as they can be, you will use less physical labor and effort to get through the ice, making for a better ice fishing trip.

Using a Hand Ice Auger: Quick List Pros/Cons

-No Fuel to Worry About
-Great for travelling long distances on your sled
-Super easy to use
-Cheaper than Fuel Augers

-Manual labor
-Harder to Chase Fish
-Can be tiring to use
-Thick ice might be challenging

Hand Ice Augers and Drill Attachments

To make using a hand ice auger a bit easier on the body, you can use an ice auger drill attachment and power your hand auger with a drill instead of by elbow grease only. It’s a great solution that isn’t too expensive.

Do Hand Drill Ice Augers Work?

Hand augers with drill attachments are super easy to use and work great. Using the power of the drill, they slice through ice decently fast. You can drill through thick ice, although you may need to bring a few drill batteries to make sure you don’t run out while on the ice. Even if they do, you can always just use your hand auger manually, if it comes to that.

Hand augers with drills won’t drill as fast as powered augers, but they are lighter and don’t require you to bring a ton of messy fuels out on the ice with you.

Are Hand Augers Hard to Use…Fake News?

Hand augers are super portable and cheaper than powered augers. But, if you’re getting into thicker ice, it’s going to start being a work out to drill holes. Chasing fish may not be on the top of your list with a hand auger. You will get tired faster using a hand auger for ice holes. Even if using a drill, you may find that the batteries die pretty quick depending on the ice conditions.

Drilling post holes with a hand auger is a monumental task. If you only have a few holes, and those holes are pretty shallow, I can see using a hand post hole auger. But if you have to drill multiple holes in any soil condition and you’re going to be tired out fast. We’d recommend a powered post hole auger every time.

Ice Auger Rental Near You

Near me, no one rents Ice augers. This may depend on your specific city and the different rental places around, so call them up and ask.

How Long does a Hand Auger Take to Drill a Hole?

We can’t give you an answer to this other than: it depends on many factors including:

  • How sharp your blades are
  • How deep the ice is
  • How deep you need your post hole
  • What are the ice conditions
  • If you’re using a drill attached to your hand auger
  • How fast you’re manually drilling
  • How wide are the holes
  • etc., etc.

How Deep does a Hand Auger Drill?

A hand auger for soil usually can drill around 40-48 inches deep. Hand ice auger are about the same performance, drilling down around 40 inches or slightly more. Drilling that deep is going to be tiring, unless you’ve attached a drill. If you do attach a drill, make sure to bring spare batteries, deep ice takes alot of power to drill through. Keeping those batteries warm is also key, so that they don’t lose their charge.


How hard is it to use a hand ice auger?  Well, it’s not as hard as you think!  Borrow a buddies hand auger and give it a try, then check out our best hand auger reviews by clicking the button below to find one for yourself today.  Happy Fishing!

What is the Best Hand Ice Auger?

We recommend checking out our Best Hand Auger Post to find an auger that suits your needs.