Best Cordless Drill for Ice Auger in 2022

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There are many anglers with DIY backgrounds who are very familiar with cordless drills, their performance, and their application.

Those new to power tools need to learn a few things before they purchase a cordless drill for their ice auger setup.

The power and longevity of lithium tool batteries have increased markedly over the last decade or so. Due to this, ice anglers have turned to cordless drills for hole drilling.

In reality, just about any reasonably powered cordless drill will have the ability to drill through the ice we usually encounter.

However, drilling hard and deep ice over extended sessions throughout a long winter makes some drills obsolete.

For guaranteed results on thick ice, only quality high torques cordless drills are recommended.

Here’s a list of 5 of the best cordless drills for ice augers that are sure to do the trick for you, and see you through quite a few seasons of relentless ice hole cutting.

All the drills have Lithium-Ion batteries and have brushless motors.

Best Ice Auger Drills Attachment in 2022

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

1. Makita XPH07Z 18V – Best Makita on a Budget

You’ll need to get the battery separately or take advantage of the Makita batteries you may already own. The 18 Volts LXT has a top speed of 2100 rpm with maximum torque of 1,090 in-lbs. 

The drill is brushless, which is also a key feature owing to the reduced heat under heavy load.

Makita XPH07Z 18V LXT Lithium-Ion Brushless Cordless 1/2" Hammer Driver-Drill, Tool Only

If you’re drilling many holes, a drill that keeps its cool is essential. Brushless, coupled with high torque ensures it doesn’t have to work as hard.

You may think that keeping a drill cool in icy conditions isn’t really a problem. 

However, when you load up your drill with 3 feet of ice over 5 or 6 quick holes, your drill gets hot.

Excessive heat over long periods is a sure way to damage a drill. That’s why I prefer Hi-torque and brushless drills for punching holes through the ice.

At 5.7 pounds, it’s no load to carry, and even with a great auger attached to the chuck, it doesn’t feel awkward or cumbersome.

Indeed, ergonomics on the Makita are great; it’s a feature of their tools. Even under load, the LXT doesn’t scream, intruding on the icy ambiance.

Power management appears very good, and you’ll easily manage a session on one charge, so long as you’re fishing the ice, and not mining the ice. 

You can monitor charge via 3 LED lights on the battery.

Added features such as the belt clip aren’t really a feature ice anglers will likely use. But they’re great if you use the tools for your working week.

The LXT is powerful, torquey, and robust. Most importantly, however, is that the LXT is reliable. 

You don’t want to get out onto the ice, set up, only to find your drill dies after a couple of holes.

Key Features

  • Speed: 2 speed, max 2100 RPM
  • Torque: 1,090 in-lbs
  • Weight: 5.7 lb
  • Voltage: 18 volt
  • Battery not included
  • ½ inch chuck
  • Motor: Brushless

2. Milwaukee 2804-20 M18 – Most Cost-Effective Power

The Milwaukee will suit plenty of anglers as there’s no doubt many will already have Milwaukee in the tool kit. 

It can be a huge saving to purchase a brand for which you already have the battery, as batteries contribute a significant percentage of the purchase price.

Milwaukee 2804-20 M18 FUEL 1/2 in. Hammer Drill (Tool Only) Tool-Peak Torque = 1,200

At 4.6 pounds the M18 fuel is very light, yet the metal gearbox housing is particularly robust.

The half-inch drill delivers a more than capable 1200 in-lbs of torque, which seems astonishing for such a lightweight unit.

At a max speed of 2000 rpm, you’re getting your holes sunk fast, as the combination of speed and torque provide the best of both worlds.

The all-metal ratcheting chuck delivers excellent grip strength and is built from corrosion-resistant materials, which is ideal, as it will see plenty of moisture.

However, keep in mind that these drills aren’t fond of water, so it’s best to keep it dry, wipe it down after each use, and ensure you store it fully dried.

REDLINK PLUS is a safety mechanism that protects the drill from overloads, heating, and over-discharge. 

This is a common problem with drills not up to the task of ice drilling, and drillers that are a little too ambitious with drill demands.

The ½ inch chuck is pretty standard, and you’ll have little trouble fitting or adapting your auger to the chuck.

The LED lighting is more powerful than you think, as we rarely test them in the dark before we purchase. You’ll be surprised at how much light your Milwaukee will shed on the job at hand.

It’s a small thing, and when you’re drilling in the dark, you’ll likely have a headlamp on. But the inbuilt LEDs are a feature that’s certainly not superfluous or wasted tech.

The belt clip holder may not be a feature you’ll use out on the ice, but it can be useful for hanging in your hut for easy access.

The Brushless power is ideal for longevity, and despite its compactness and lightweight construction, this is a drill that will endure.

With that much speed and torque, it doesn’t have to work as hard in tough ice conditions. 

And if it’s not working so hard, it’s sure to last more seasons than other, less powerful drills.

Designed for hard work, this is one of the best cordless drills for ice augers.

Key Features

  • Speed: max 2000 RPM
  • Torque: 1200 in-lbs
  • Weight: 4.6 lb
  • Voltage: 18 volt
  • Battery not included
  • ½ inch chuck
  • Motor: brushless

3. DEWALT 20V MAX XR – Best Dual Use

One thing we look at when dollars are critical is value and versatility. While all the drills here will be great for ice and the workshop, this is the drill I’d consider if I was looking for versatility.

The skin-only price is good for a top-shelf DeWalt. Although you will have to budget for a battery, a 5 amp hour battery on this drill is a brilliant tool. This is one of the best cordless drill for ice fishing and the job site.

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Brushless Drill/Driver with 3 Speeds - Bare Tool (DCD991B)

At 840 in-lbs, it’s light compared to others on the list. However, drills that punch through 1000 in-lbs are an exception – 840 is going to be fine on the ice.

The feature I like is the 3-speed gears that give you the flexibility to adjust incrementally based on the job at hand, and this is what delivers the versatility. 

The speeds are 450, 1,300, and 2,000 RPM, and are easily adjustable.

The torque is also adjustable with 11 settings. Again, that makes it a versatile drill for lots of applications. However, for the ice, you’d only ever have it set to max torque.

Like all the drills on the list, the DeWalt is brushless, ensuring better power, heat management, and therefore longevity. 

Also, there are no more annoying brush changes to contend with.

The heavy-duty 13mm ratcheting keyless chuck has carbide inserts that increase the grip strength on your auger.

While the grip strength of most drills is fine when out of the box, the big difference is over time. 

While I certainly couldn’t test this, I feel that the grip strength will remain over time. For what it’s worth, I’ve also been told this.

The 3-Mode LED light is particularly powerful. Its use on the ice is negligible, but it can be a handy backup should you fish into the dusk, having not brought sufficient light.

I was always a skeptic of the lights in drills until the first time I was drilling in a dark place under the house. The light proved extremely convenient.

It’s as light if not lighter than its competitors even with the 5 amp hour battery, and no load to carry. 

The all-metal gearbox is responsible for a lot of this weight, but the benefits of durability and strength far outweigh the concern of weight.

It is a brilliant DeWalt drill for drilling ice, and I also like the yellow color because it contrasts well with the ice.

Key Features

  • Speed: 3-speed, 450, 1300, 2000 RPM
  • Torque: 840 in-lbs
  • Weight: 4.4 lb
  • Voltage: 20 volt
  • Battery not included
  • ½ inch chuck
  • Motor: Brushless

4. Makita GPH01D 40V Max XGT – Editor’s Choice

I’m a regular DIY person with plenty of larger-scale projects such as cabins and the like on the go. 

I’m on the tools nearly daily, and there are some tools where compromise isn’t an option for me. My cordless is one of them.

Makita GPH01D 40V Max XGT Brushless Lithium-Ion 1/2 in. Cordless Hammer Drill Driver Kit (2.5 Ah)

The 40V Max XGT is an outstanding cordless drill for ice augers, concrete, and whatever substrate you’re looking to punch holes through.

With a maximum speed of 2600 RPM, there’s a huge 1250 in-lbs of torques, making it a master on the ice.

The two-speed configuration is pretty standard. 

However, the torque settings have changed from the traditional dial style to a small, front handle mounted roller that operates the electronic clutch, with a digital readout alerting the user to the 41 low gear and the 21 high gear settings.

Ergonomics are outstanding on the Makita, with the movable front grip having a long arm for excellent leverage – ideal for ice hole applications.

You only have to feel it to recognize the heavy-duty construction. From the metal gearbox to the rubber impact molding, this is a drill that will handle serious punishment.

Active Feedback Technology is a kickback control and is a new feature for this Makita. You’ll notice that the Makita kickback control is not an immediate stop, but a very fast slow down to a stop.

The kickback feature is a useful feature for an ice drill added to the extra torque that can be accumulated through a long auger stem.

The 40-volt battery is brilliant for a long session of heavy drilling. Interestingly, it’s only slightly bigger and heavier than the 18-volt battery. And by slightly, I mean negligible.

This is an outstanding tool, and in my opinion, beats the DeWalt and Milwaukee with better design and engineering. 

Interestingly, I see more and more DeWalt and Milwaukee diehards adding Makita to their arsenals.

If you’re an angler who frequents thicker ice in the deep winter, and if you’re a regular DIY handy person, the XGT, despite being more expensive than the others listed here, is well worth it.

The 3-year warranty is not as good as some, with the DeWalt up to 5 years. 

However, you have oceans of torque and speed, innovative safety features, long battery life, and the best ergonomics available. A clear winner of the editor’s choice.

Key Features

  • System: 40V max XGT
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Chuck Size: 1/2 in.
  • Max Torque: 1,250 in-lbs.
  • Speed: 0-650 / 0-2,600 rpm

5. Ryobi P1813 One+ – Best Budget Cordless Drill

I have become a big fan of Ryobi cordless tools over the last several years. While they aren’t high-end or recommended for trades, I’d call them intermediate tools. 

The price makes them more accessible to the average angler or handyperson. The kit comes with the drill, charger, and 4 amp-hour 18-volt battery. 

Ryobi P1813 One+ 18V Lithium Ion 750 Inch Pound Cordless Hammer Drill Power Tool Kit (Includes Battery Charger and Bag)
  • P251 HAMMER DRILL: This cordless 18v power drill can be adjusted up to 750 inch pounds of torque with the 24 position clutch. You can also tear through several different materials, from wood to masonry to plastic, with the 3-position speed adjustment knob
  • MAGNETIC BIT HOLDER: Near the base of the hammer drill is a platform where you can keep bits and fasteners secured to the drill. This way, you can replace bits without having to walk away from your job to your toolbag for different jobs
  • P108 BATTERY: This 4 amp hour battery is one of the largest in Ryobi’s lineup. It has an onboard fuel gauge that lets you know how much power is left, It can also work in extreme temperatures, functioning in as low a temperature as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius)
  • P117 BATTERY CHARGER: This charger can fully power 2 amp hour batteries in as little as 30 minutes. It can tackle the rest of the batteries in Ryobi’s 18v One+ lineup. Compatible models include the P100, P!02, P103, P104, P105, P107, and P108

Last update on 2022-05-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

The battery is ideal for the ice as it can function at full capacity in temperatures as low as 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 degrees Celsius).

There are 750-inch pounds of torque, with 24 settings. Again, the only setting you’ll be using on the ice is full power.

At 750 inch-pounds of torques, that’s just enough to ensure function and in demanding ice conditions.

While it’s possible to get the hole drilled with less power, the strain becomes too much over time, and premature wear is nearly certain.

This drill will be fine for an 8-inch auger, and you’ll punch through 2 feet of ice with no trouble. Drill plenty of holes all day long on one charge.

Those wanting 10-inch holes through deeper ice might have to persist and lose the expectation of a 5 or 6-second hole.

If you were to drill 10-inch holes through thick, deep winter ice, an extra battery would be almost essential to avoid running out of juice.

I do have a question about Ryobi quality control. Often you will see feedback stating immediate breakdowns or early failures.

I’ve not had the issue in any of my Ryobi tools, nor do I have any personal experience of it. However, it happens. 

Fortunately, the 3-year warranty covers any issues, albeit with the associated hassles.

The ergonomics are pretty rudimentary, but it handles well. Construction seems robust enough without it having the unbreakable feel of a Makita.

Chuck tension is not the best over time but can be dealt with by stronger hands. This can be an issue if your hands are freezing off in sub-zero temperatures.

The Ryobi is an ideal purchase for the ice angler looking for an inexpensive kit that will get the job done reliably. 

While there are no bells and whistles, the low-temperature battery is fantastic for the ice angler looking for the best cordless drill for ice auger.

Key Features

  • System: 18 V. Supplied with 4.5 amp hour 18V battery
  • Motor: Brushless
  • Chuck Size: 1/2 in.
  • Max Torque: 750 in-lbs.
  • Speed: 1800 rpm
  • The kit comes with a charger

How to Choose the Best Cordless Drill for An Ice Auger?

Here are some things to consider when choosing the best cordless drill for ice augers:

Portability

All the cordless drills in this list weigh in at around 5.5 pounds with the battery. 

They’re compact and easy to transport. This is one of the main reasons for getting a cordless drill for ice holes.

Power

The drills on this list range in torque from 750 inch-lbs to 1250 ft-pounds. 

While higher is fine, I’d not go lower than 750, as the strain on the drill will decrease longevity and reliability, as well as struggle on the deeper, harder ice.

Weight

Again, at 4.5 to 5.7 pounds, these drills aren’t at all heavy or difficult to handle. 

Weight isn’t really a consideration for ice fishing, as it would be for tradespeople using them for 8 hours per day.

See Also: Ice Fishing Tips and Techniques

Speed Transmission

Don’t worry about speed. The critical power measurement for ice anglers is torque. It’s nice to have both ( See the Makita 40V), but you’ll pay more.

Chuck Size

The minimum size above is half an inch. A smaller chuck would be problematic, and the drill would probably be too small and underpowered. 

Half inch should be your starting point, and it’s the standard anyway.

Battery

Batteries are expensive, and my advice is to get the most enduring battery you can afford. 

2.5 amp hours would be the absolute minimum, and I’d want 2 for safety sake, a 4.5 amp hour minimum 18-volt battery will do nicely.

Warranty

Warranties are essential because mistakes are made. A 3-year warranty is a pretty good deal for such a tool. 

With less than this, you’d want to be paying a very accessible purchase price.

Also Read: How To Sharpen Ice Augers Blades

Frequently Asked Questions

How To Turn A Drill Into An Ice Auger

Simply buy an auger plus connection adaptor (if required) for your cordless drill. Job done.

What Size Drill Do You Need for an Ice Auger?

A chuck size minimum ½ inch, with minimum power/torque of 750 inch-lbs

What Size Ice Auger Should I Buy When Using a Cordless Drill?

Like many, I don’t see the point of getting an auger less than 8 inches. An auger 6 to 10 inches will be fine for all the drills listed above.

How Much Torque Do I Need for an Ice Auger?

More torque is better, and ideally, you’d have no less than 1000 inch-lbs. Having said that, you’ll be fine with 750 to 900. 

While less than 750 will work, it’s less reliable and likely to kill the drill over a much shorter period.
For thick, hard, deep winter ice, get as much torque as you can afford. 

Also Read:

What Are The Best Ice Fishing Shelters?

Ice Fishing Fishfinder vs Flasher – Which One Should You Buy?

Can a Fishfinder Work Through Ice?

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Sean Ward

Sean Ward

Hey there, my name is Sean – OnTrack Fishing is my site. I’m based in the UK yet I’ve been fortunate enough to catch bass in the States, barramundi in Australia, trout here at home and carp on the Danube delta. If I’m not fishing, or talking about fishing, then….I’m probably asleep.

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