Reviewing The Best Cordless Drill For Ice Auger: Top 5 Picks

by Thavius | Last Updated:   April 11th, 2022
Reviewing The Best Cordless Drill For Ice Auger: Top 5 Picks


A cordless drill is one device that you should always have on your ice fishing trips. When you have the right product, ice fishing will become as convenient and effortless as fishing in the summer.

Ice anglers now have the option of choosing between different types of cordless drills, from the more affordable options to high-end products. So, you just have to find a high-quality product that suits your needs. This is easier said than done though and you can search for long hours without finding the ideal product.

To save you time and energy, I will be reviewing the top 5 cordless drills on the market today. I will also be providing a buying guide and answering some questions you may have on cordless drills.

IN A HURRY? HERE ARE OUR TOP PICKS…

Reviewing The 5 Best Cordless Drills for Ice Auger

I have chosen the products on this list based on several essential factors. They include accuracy, speed, power, price, brand, user reviews, my personal experience, and more. Without further ado, let’s get started.

DEWALT 20V MAX XR Hammer Drill

The DEWALT DCD996 is regarded as the flagship product of DEWALT due to its great features. Not only does it come with a powerful brushless motor, but it also offers a unique 3-speed transmission. This is a feature that is unavailable in products from other brands.

Additionally, this cordless drill offers an impressive torque that can’t be matched by compact drills. The brushless motor provides 820 UWO which is enough power to help you drill through thick ice effortlessly. Also, the device offers faster drilling speeds up to 2250 RPM and 250 BPM.

When it comes to lighting, the device has a huge LED light that features three light settings which are the low, medium, and spotlight mode. When on the low setting, the device will match the brightness of several cordless drills. It will become slightly brighter in the medium setting. However, both the low and medium modes only stay on for 20 seconds. The spotlight mode is the standout mode as it is super bright and it lasts for 20 minutes.

Furthermore, the switches on the device have been sealed and coated to protect its components from the elements. The ½” chucks are also nitro-carburized for increased durability. Finally, it has a length of 8.4 inches and it weighs 4.7 lbs.

Pros
  • It features has a LED light with 3 modes
  • It offers increased runtime
  • The motor is fast and powerful
  • It is a 3-speed hammer drill
Cons
  • It is heavy
  • The package doesn’t include a battery and a charger

WORKPRO 20V Brushless Cordless Drill

If you are in search of a well-designed and affordable cordless drill, this is a product that you shouldn’t overlook. It is also a powerful device that has all the features that you would want in a cordless drill for ice augers.

Thanks to the brushless motor, this ice auger drill senses the amount of power required to execute a task and completes it with minimum power output. This boosts efficiency and prolongs the life of the battery. The drill has also been equipped with a ½” keyless chuck, 487 in-lbs of max torque, and 1,700 max RPM so that it can drill through thick ice with minimal effort.

Additionally, you will always have the right amount of power as there are two-speed settings for you to choose from (450 RPM and 1,700 RPM). The drill has three modes. Depending on your needs, you can choose between the drilling, driving, and hammer drill mode. It also features a trigger delay LED light that remains on for ten seconds. You would find this feature useful when drilling ice holes in low light conditions.

For comfort, the drill comes with an anti-slip, rubberized handle that will feel comfortable on your hands and prevent blisters. You will also get two 20V lithium-ion batteries for day-long drilling. All you have to do is ensure that the spare is fully charged. With a fast charger, you will be able to charge each battery fully in one and a half hours. Finally, the lightweight storage box will enable you to organize and transport your drill tool conveniently.

Pros
  • It has a carry case
  • It comes with two batteries
  • It has a comfortable handle
  • It has two operating speeds
Cons
  • It comes with a plastic case

Makita XPH12Z 18V LXT Brushless Cordless Drill

The Makita has become synonymous with quality and efficiency over the years and the Makita XPH12Z is one of its finest products. This device is lightweight, compact, and incredibly efficient. So, it should combine excellently with your ice auger.

When it comes to power, this ice auger drill delivers 530 in-lbs of max torque. A brushless motor has been included in the device to ensure greater run time, power, speed, and life. I also love the two-speed setting of the machine drill. You will have more control at the lower speed setting while the higher setting provides higher speed pulses.

Additionally, the device is powered by an 18V motor which should be adequate for casual and amateur anglers. Unless you are a professional or you plan to fish every day, you won’t be needing the power of a 20V motor. The device also provides a decent maximum RPM of 2000.

Weighing just 4.2 lbs, this cordless drill is easy to carry. It is also equipped with a non-slip, rubberized handle that makes it suitable for long hours of drilling. The manufacturer considered anglers that prefer fishing at night as the device features dual LED lights that provide illumination. Finally, the gear housing is made of 100% metal for extreme durability.

Pros
  • It features a lightweight and compact design
  • It comes with a comfortable handle
  • It has dual LED lights
  • It is dust and water-resistant
  • It has a powerful motor
Cons
  • It doesn’t come with a battery

Milwaukee M18 18-Volt Brushless Cordless Drill

Milwaukee is one of the most trusted makers of power tools in the world, so it is only right that I have a Milwaukee tool on this list. The Milwaukee 2801-20 features a brushless motor that provides great speed. Asides from ice fishing, you will be able to use this drill machine for several tasks around your home.

Additionally, the brushless motor offers more than 50% greater run time than brushed motors. It also lasts two times longer than its brushed counterparts. Hence, you won’t have to charge it repeatedly. Another great about this drill is that it can be paired with all M18 systems.

To prevent damage, the cordless drill is equipped with advanced overload protection. This feature protects the device during abusive use and tracks its temperature to extend the life of both the device and the battery.

Furthermore, the overall design of the cordless drill will ensure that it doesn’t get damaged easily. It comes in a metal gear case that offers maximum impact and shock durability. The machine is also versatile. It can either be used as a normal drill or a cordless hammer drill.

Pros
  • It is a durable cordless drill
  • It has a long-lasting battery
  • It is versatile
  • It can be with all M18 batteries
Cons
  • The handle should be more comfortable

DEWALT 20V Max Cordless Drill 

The DEWALT DCD777C2 is a hugely popular drill driver thanks to the wealth of features it offers. It is suitable for all kinds of tasks, including ice fishing. I’ve used this cordless drill for ice auger several times and I can assure you that it is compact, powerful, and effective.

Additionally, this powerful cordless drill is equipped with an ½ inch single sleeve ratcheting chuck. This chuck is highly durable and it offers tight bit gripping strength. The drilling machine also has two different speed settings. You will get up to 450 RPM on the first speeding setting, this will be enough to drill holes in lighter surfaces. The second speed is suitable for thicker surfaces as it provides up to 1500 RPM.

A proper cordless drill needs to be compact for easy transportation. Fortunately, the DEWALT DCD777C2 doesn’t disappoint in this area. It is lighter than most portable drills as it only weighs only 2.6 lbs. It is also equipped with an ergonomically designed handle that will reduce fatigue during extended drilling sessions.

I like that two Li-ion batteries are included in the package. This greatly reduces the chances of you running out of power during your ice fishing trip. You can even charge one battery while the other is in use. The only downside to this device is that the chuck is built with plastic. But generally, it is a good drill that is highly suitable for ice augers.

Pros
  • It has an ergonomic design
  • It comes with two batteries
  • It is lightweight and portable
  • It has a powerful motor
  • It is equipped with an integrated work light
Cons
  • The build quality isn’t the best

Our Top Choice

Though any of the products mentioned in this article will bring you great value, I still have to choose the overall best. The best drill for ice auger can only be the DEWALT DCD996 Max 20V Max XR Hammer Drill.

The inclusion of two DEWALT products on this list should tell you how much I love the brand. Since I upgraded to the DEWALT DCD996, I haven’t needed my old 18V tools. The batteries in the DEWALT drill are long-lasting and they complete 30% more tasks.

Additionally, the device combines great performance and an ergonomic design. The 3-speed transmission provides greater control and performs well in all levels of use. You will also get 75% more run time from the motor. Finally, the spotlight mode of the LED light is incredibly bright and it stays on for up to 20 minutes so that you can even use it as a flashlight.

Check out the most affordable fish finders for your ice fishing trip.

Buying Guide For The Best Cordless Drill For Ice Auger

There are several factors that you need to consider when buying a new product. This will enable you to find a product that will suit your unique needs. In this buying guide, we will be looking at the right features to look out for when buying a drill for an ice auger:

Motor

The motor of a cordless drill is one of its most essential components as it determines how much power it can provide. Cordless drills usually come with either brushless motors or brushed motors. However, brushless motors are the most popular options despite their higher price. This is because they offer greater speed, power, durability, and energy. All products mentioned in this article come with brushless motors.

Power

The higher the voltage of a cordless drill, the faster its drilling will be. That said, the voltage of the best drills usually ranges between 18 to 20 volts. 20V drills are more powerful, but they are more suitable for professionals and avid ice anglers. An 18V drill will serve you well.

Battery Life

The lithium-ion battery is the most popular type of battery used in cordless drills. They are lighter and longer-lasting than traditional batteries. You should ensure that you have a battery whose capacity can serve you throughout your fishing trip. Some products also come with two batteries to give you more peace of mind.

Learn how to extend the life of your lithium-ion batteries.

Weight

As an angler, you have to ensure that your tools are lightweight. This is because lighter tools are easier to use and carry. For increased mobility, some drill kits also come with convenient travel bags so that you can organize all your tools.

No-Load Speed

This is the highest speed that can be attained by a cordless drill without a load i.e when it isn’t drilling holes. It is measured rotations per minute (RPM). Drills with higher RPMs turn chucks at higher speeds and this results in much faster drilling.

Chuck

A chuck is a component of a cordless drill that holds the drill bit or screw bit. You will find it right in front of the device. Several anglers opt for keyless chucks they allow them to change the bits easily. If you don’t want to carry extra tools on your ice fishing trip, you should also opt for a keyless chuck.

Temperature

Fishing in winter means that you will be using your fishing tools in extremely cold conditions. However, some batteries do not perform well in cold weather. You should ensure that the battery in your cordless drill ice auger can withstand the cold.

All the cordless drills that were mentioned in this article perform well in cold temperatures. However, you should avoid leaving them outside overnight and take the necessary steps to keep them warm.

Grip

The importance of a good grip can’t be overemphasized in a cordless drill. A good grip will enable you to safely hold the device while drilling. To reduce the chances of accidents, you should opt for an anti-slip, rubberized handle.

Waterproof

Your cordless drill ice auger will come in contact with water whenever drill holes with it. Hence, you need to ensure that your drilling machine has a good amount of protection from water.

Extra Features

Some additional features can improve your experience with a cordless drill. They include:

  • Ice auger drill adapter: An adapter is a device that allows you to attach your auger to the cordless drill. You will find most adapters easy to use and some models even come with handlebars for more efficient drilling.
  • Hammer Drill Feature: The higher torque rating of hammer drills makes them highly suitable for ice augers. However, you should avoid using the hammer mode on the ice auger. Always set the device to the drill mode before starting.
  • Multiple Speed Modes: If you can afford it, you should consider getting a cordless drill that offers multiple speed modes. This will enable you to change the torque of the machine with ease.

How To Convert A Drill Into An Ice Auger

Best Cordless Drill For Ice Auger

Get yourself a hand ice auger. It should have a diameter of between 4.5 to 6 inches if you are hunting fish. You will also need an adapter to attach the auger and the drill and prevent the auger from slipping into the ice hole.

The next item that you will need is a good blade and I would recommend a laser. This is because a laser will be able to cut through the ice seamlessly. It will also extend your battery life since the device will consume less energy. This will lead to an increase in the number of holes that you drill.

Ice Auger Adapter

Now, pick up your cordless drill. Its chuck size should match that of your ice auger. After that, remove the auger’s handle and then connect the two main devices using the adapter. For safety, you should ensure that the drill is in drill mode and operating on low torque.

See a cordless drill ice auger adapter in action:

Advantages Of Using A Cordless Drill

Below are some of the reasons why you should invest in a cordless drill:

Convenience

The ease of using cordless drills is a great advantage for ice anglers. When you use a cordless drill, you won’t have to waste your time sorting cords. This also means that cordless drills are lighter and easier to carry around.

Multipurpose

Cordless drills match the performance of electric drills while being more portable. Their lightweight also gives more ice anglers greater accuracy. Some models even come with LED lights so that they can be used in low-light conditions.

Ice fishing at night? Make sure you have a good headlamp.

Reduced Noise

Since cordless devices operate without external connections, they make lesser noise than corded drills. This will enable you to drill without scaring away the fish.

Affordable

As an amateur or casual ice angler, you don’t have to invest a lot of money in your fishing tools. You will save a significant amount of money by opting for cordless drilling machines.

Safety Tips

There are some steps that you can take to ensure your safety when using ice auger drills. Here are the essential ones:

  • Put on protective goggles: Lots of ice crystals will fly around as you drill the ice. Wear protective Google to shield your eyes from them.
  • Put on protective clothing: You should opt for waterproof and warm clothing on your ice fishing trips. Wet clothes can get you sick.
  • Use a stabilizer handle: A stabilizer handle is a necessity for ice fishing. However, you should consider having one as it will reduce the chances of accidents significantly.
  • Use an ice chisel: An ice chisel will allow you to measure the thickness of the ice. You should avoid fishing on any ice surface that is below 2 inches thick.
  • Notify your loved ones: If you will be going on an ice fishing trip alone, ensure that you notify someone. This is vital to your safety because several accidents occur during ice fishing trips annually.

Watch this video to learn how to measure ice thickness:

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best cordless drill for ice auger?

The best cordless drilling device is the DEWALT DCD996. It has several features that will make it a great investment for you. Some of these features include three different speed modes and three light settings.

What size drill is needed for an ice auger?

Ice augers tend to get detached due to their weight. Hence, the right drill for your ice auger will be one with a ½ inch chuck.

Can you use an impact driver for an ice auger?

The answer is simply no. What you need to make holes in the ice a nice and even turning movement rather than the slamming motion provided by impact and hammer drills. You should opt for a hammer drill due to the higher torque that you will get. However, you shouldn’t utilize the hammer mode when drilling ice to avoid damaging the blades.

How many holes can I drill before running out of power?

How long your drill serves you will depend on your preferred product. But generally, a cordless drilling machine should drill between 10 to 30 holes on one charge. You can increase the number of holes you drill during your fishing trip by carrying extra batteries. Also, you should remember to read what others are saying about the runtime of your preferred model before buying it.

Can I pair any drill with any ice auger?

Technically, any drill can be paired with any ice auger. You just have to be able to mount an adapter bit on the drill to hold the ice auger. You should remember to purchase a lightweight and portable that will be easy to use and carry around. Also, your auger has to be of the right size to cut through the ice, so you get a drill that can handle it.

I've been a fisherman for over 35 years. From catching small bullheads with my grandfather at his pond to catching strippers on the backwaters of the Chattahoochee, I love to get out in the wild and have a marvelous day on the water.