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    Electric Auger Comparison

    By FishRecycler | February 4, 2014

    On the Recycled Fish “On Ice” Tour, we have been running electric augers for years. When we started, they were viewed as a curiosity. A niche product, designed for very specific situations, like people who had wheelhouses and didn’t need to drill a lot of holes, and who didn’t want the effort of a hand auger or the fumes from a gas auger inside their permanent shelter.

    Electric augers are finally coming into their own, they’ve made the leap from novelty to a mainstream product through advancements and innovation. We compare the four most popular, and each has its strengths.

    When it comes to stewarding our waters well, we know that our choices matter. Hand augers create the fewest negative environmental impacts, and we applaud anyone who wants to stick with the old manual auger. In fact, anglers fishing in international competitions can only use hand augers. Ice fishing is a more athletic sport when it’s done with a hand auger. Hand augers are lighter than their powered competitors. They’re the quietest choice, too.

    Electric augers come with some  downsides, but generally fewer than gas augers.

    Benefits of electric ice augers in general

    Faster and easier than a hand auger

    Full power from as soon as they come on, unlike gas engines which ramp up in power

    Flip a switch and they start – no pulling and pulling and playing with a choke on a cold engine

    Less maintenance than gas augers

    No concerns with gas or oil spills on the ice

    No fumes or smoke

    Less noise than a gas auger

    Most are lighter than most gas augers

    Less vibration than gas augers, easier to control

    Strikemaster Electra Lazer (MSRP $399)

    The veteran of the scene, has been on the market for years

    Runs off an inexpensive 12V battery – the same one as in your Vexilar

    Available in 6″, 7″ and 8″ models

    Includes cables to run off of an ATV or snowmobile battery

    Has an included car charger

    Generally get 30 – 40 holes on 10″ – 12″ of ice

    High torque, low speed – chugs its way through the ice

    Switching batteries is kind of a hassle

    The heaviest auger in the lineup at 26 – 28 lbs depending on weight

    Plastic handle can tend to break – more so than metal auger heads

    Ion Ice Auger (MSRP $549) 

    Innovative, ergonomic design

    Blade guard around blades for safety

    Switch has a two second delay to allow you to maintain control of auger

    22 pounds for the 8″ model

    40V Lithium Ion Battery is easy to switch out

    Shorter auger causes you to bend down a long way on thick ice

    We have had a hard time getting the 30-40 holes on 2′ of ice that manufacturer claims, but believe it’s possible

    Battery seems susceptible to cold but it’s bulk makes it uncomfortable to keep warm under your clothes

    Replacement batteries are expensive – about $150

    Ice Fishing Today / Vexilar K-Drill (MSRP $199)

    Super light! Less than 10 pounds depending on what drill you mount on it.

    Super fast! Cuts quick, quick, quick. Even on low speed on two-speed drills, it’s fast.

    Spare batteries tend to be fairly cost effective and many drills (like the Milwaukee Fuel) come with two.

    We’ve been getting 40-50 holes per battery on 12″ – 14″ of ice with the 6″ bit and a Milwaukee Fuel drill.

    Keeping the second battery warm in your clothes is easier with the smaller battery.

    You get a drill that you can use for projects when it’s not being used as an auger.

    A foam float ensures that if the drill comes out of the chuck while drilling, it won’t fall down the hole.

    Innovative flightings won’t throw the shavings all over (for use inside a shack).

    Two handled drills will allow you to control the auger and not hurt your wrist.

    Only downside is that we have heard about burning up drills, and ours has started to make bad sounds in season two after many holes.

    Official partner of the Recycled Fish “On Ice” Tour – Vexilar / IFT supports stewardship!

    Clam Drill Plate / Clam Auger (MSRP $59.99 Plate / $79.99 for 6″ Auger) 

    Our favorite new innovation – THE game changer. Mount any drill to any auger with this plate to make it an ice drilling machine!

    Light – aluminum plate doesn’t add much weight to the whole assembly.

    Depending on which drill and auger you use, will be in the 12 – 14 pound range.

    Can use a hand auger you already have on hand, and extension is available to keep it tall enough to prevent bending way over on thick ice.

    Loose auger bit won’t fall out of the drill

    Easy operation with gloves

    Stabilizes drill to make drilling go faster / straighter / easier.

    Only downside is availability – they sold out fast!

    Official Recycled Fish “On Ice” Tour partner – Clam supports stewardship.

    Our recommendation

    Hand augers are great. They’re light, they give us a workout (which most of us need) and they have the fewest negative impacts on our environment. There are many manufacturers making great hand augers, and Clam introduced its augers this year.

    If we were trying to put together the ultimate unit, we’d use a Milwaukee Fuel or similar 2-speed 18V or higher drill mounted to the Clam Drill Plate. We’d add the extension, and then put a 6″ Ice Fishing Today K-Drill auger on for targetting panfish, and an 8″ model where walleye and pike enter the equation.

    Champion Graphic

    If you watched our video, you know that the Clam 6″ was the fastest through the ice on the drill plate. The K-Drill took second, but the Milwaukee Fuel “caught” a couple times – the auger itself never did. The Strikemaster came in third, but it also gave us a 7″ hole. The Ion came in last place – but it was an 8″ hole compared to 6″ and 7″ holes so, in fairness, was not an apples-to-apples comparison.

    There are lots of ways to slice ice, and we think that electric augers are a great way to do it.

    We didn’t compare the Jiffy Propane auger, which stands in a category of its own, but from what we’ve seen, it does a great job as well. It’s a bit heavier than the electrics – more comparable to the gas augers. And you wind up with a bunch of green bottles that you have to figure out how to dispose of. But it’s no spill, no fume, and seems to start pretty reliably on the first pull or two.

    We should also note that in the gas auger category, we favor the four stroke augers for their environmental benefits over the 2-stroke units.

    Whatever auger you choose, do your part to be more than a sportsman – let’s be stewards.

    On Ice Sponsor Strip 2013

     

    Special thanks to Tony Ruter for his help shooting this video and lending his Ion.

    Special thanks to Rod Woten for lending his Clam Drill Plate combo.  

     

     

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