You can’t start ice fishing until you drill through the ice. Luckily, there are more ice auger options than ever before. There is, of course, the tried and true manual ice auger for anglers needing a good work out. Or, you have gas powered behemoths that chew through feet of ice without pause.
Recently, battery powered augers have swept the ice fishing community by storm. Every season these lithium battery powered augers prove their worth. With the ability to drill dozens (or even hundreds) of holes on a single charge, hassle free battery power is the future.
This sounds great but with the rising popularity of battery powered ice augers, more manufacturers are competing for your attention. Among the top brands are Ion and StrikeMaster.
Each company has their own line-up of lithium ion driven augers. Your job is to decide which brand to pick and we are here to help.
We will compare every feature of the Ion and StrikeMaster ice augers so you can make the best decision possible. Plus, we will also let you know which one we picked for our ice fishing season.
Why battery powered
In case you still need convincing, there are better ways of punching holes in the ice than with noisy gas augers. Battery powered augers are powerful, lightweight and easy to transport.
No more oil spills, gas fumes or mechanical failures. Plus, advances in lithium ion battery technology means more holes drilled on a single charge. Some of the top battery powered augers are capable of ripping through 2000 inches of ice per charge. All with the push of a button.
Also, battery powered augers work safely in an ice shelter or pop-up without the worry of toxic fumes. On top of all that, just toss it in the back seat of your truck without fear of making a mess.
For most ice anglers, those are more than enough reasons to make the switch. Ditch the gas and keep it for your backup instead. Battery powered augers are the new top dogs this ice season.
Ion boasts a wide range of options ranging from their first generation augers up to their new Gen 2 augers. Choose from 8 inch and 10 inch augers, all in powerful 40v configurations.
The thoughtful features built into every Ion ice auger makes it clear that satisfying the needs of hardcore ice anglers was their goal. Ion’s line-up of augers accommodates most budgets and styles of ice fishing as well. Their new, lightweight Gen 2 augers represent the apex in ice drilling performance.
Take a look at the chart below for a quick comparison of features and pricing for every Ion ice auger available.
|Specifications||8” Ion Gen 1||8” Ion R1||10” Ion R1||8” Ion G2||10” Ion G2|
|Battery||40v 3 Amp Hour||40v 5 Amp Hour||40v 5 Amp Hour||40v 6 Amp Hour||40v 6 Amp Hour|
|Ice Cutting Capacity||1000” Per Charge||1600” Per Charge||800” Per Charge||2000” Per Charge||1200” Per Charge|
|Weight||22 lbs||23 lbs||24 lbs||17 lbs||18 lbs|
|Extension||12” included||Sold Separetly||Sold Separately||Sold Separately||Sold Separately|
|Transmission||Planetary Gear||Planetary Gear||Planetary Gear||Planetary Gear||Planetary Gear|
|Warrenty||3-Year Limited||3-Year Limited||3-Year Limited||3-Year Limited||3-Year Limited|
StrikeMaster ice augers are among the first to the scene. Their simple design and brute force power has stood the test of time. Don’t be fooled by the lack of updates on the original design. It just means they hit a home run on the first try. StrikeMaster’s 40v 8 inch and 10 inch ice augers are their crowning jewels.
A recent addition to the StrikeMaster auger line-up put the icing on the cake. The new lithium ion 24v ice auger is the lightest battery powered auger available. It blends portability and performance in 6 and 8 inch models. Any ice angler will find what they need in StrikeMaster’s line-up.
Here is a comparison of what StrikeMaster ice augers have to offer. Features and pricing are up-to-date.
|Specifications||8” StrikeMaster 40v||10” StrikeMaster 40v||6” StrikeMaster 24v||8” StrikeMaster 24v|
|Battery||40v 5 Amp Hour||40v 5 Amp Hour||24v 4 Amp Hour||24v 4 Amp Hour|
|Ice Cutting Capacity||1600” Per Charge||1120” Per Charge||1120” Per Charge||800” Per Charge|
|Weight||24 lbs||27 lbs||13.3 lbs||14.3 lbs|
|Flight Material||Steel||Steel||Synthetic Resin Molded||Synthetic Resin Molded|
|Transmission||Planetary Gear/ 15.9:1 Ratio||Planetary Gear/ 15.9:1 Ratio||Planetary Gear/ 50:1 ratio||Planetary Gear/ 50:1 ratio|
|Warrenty||2-Year Limited||2-Year Limited||2-Year Limited||2-Year Limited|
The pros and cons of Ion ice augers
You can’t get all the good without some trade offs. There is a lot to love about Ion ice augers but let’s review some of the pros and cons of the battery powered augers they offer.
- Superb ice drilling capacity: There is no doubt Ion drills more holes than any other battery powered ice auger. When getting the most from every charge matters, Ion does it right.
- Lightweight: Among the 40v augers, Ion delivers the most power per pound. Their Gen 2, 8 inch auger weighs only 17 pounds because of the nylon/polymer flights.
- Smooth cutting: Razor sharp blades deliver a smooth cut and the cleanest breakthrough every time. Ion yields some of the fastest drill times available.
- Excellent warranty: A 3 year, top to bottom warranty for an ice auger is unheard of. We like that Ion stands behind their products and quality.
- Ergonomics: The handles of an Ion auger fit nicely in the hands. You feel in total control of the auger the entire time. The single button reverse flush feature engages without letting go of the trigger for smooth operation.
- Price: To get the perks that come with an Ion ice auger you have to shell out some serious cash. Ion’s most advanced Gen 2 augers cost $730. Definitely not the cheapest battery powered auger.
- Exposed battery: The battery is the heart of an auger. Ion’s handle design doesn’t offer any wrap around protection to guard against accidental drops.
The pros and cons of StrikeMaster ice augers
StrikeMaster produces some fine drilling machines. They come loaded with superb features that appeal to avid ice anglers. While there is plenty to like about StrikeMaster, these augers are not without their faults. Look at the pros and cons to see just what we mean.
- Size selection: StrikeMaster has something for everyone. From a 6 inch panfish powerhouse to a 10 inch trophy hole puncher, StrikeMaster gives you what you need.
- Durability: Gear gets battered and bruised on the ice and StrikeMaster designed their augers with that in mind. The impact-resistant handles provide full circle protection for the powerhead and battery.
- Price: StrikeMaster battery powered augers pack a lot of quality into a lower priced option. We find their price points more in line with most angler’s budgets.
- Trigger system: The deadman trigger system applies instantaneous power to the bit and an equally rapid shutdown if torque gets the better of you.
- 2 year warranty: While not as stellar as Ion’s 3 year warranty, 2 years is still enough time to protect you from getting a lemon.
- 40v model is heavy: At 24 pounds for the 8 inch model and 27 pounds for the 10 inch, these augers have some heft to them. While still light by gas auger standards, it’s a load to pack around the ice.
- Rough breakthrough: The full line of StrikeMaster ice augers showcases smooth drilling but the final breakthrough on the last inch of ice is a bit rough. We aren’t saying the auger binds or becomes hard to handle. It just isn’t as smooth as butter.
Important features to compare
There is a lot of overlap in features between Ion and StrikeMaster augers. Both share built-in lights for night drilling and the reverse flush feature to clear away slush. Ion and StrikeMaster also offer respectable warranties as well. Those are all great features but hardly the most important for making an apples-to-apples comparison.
What it really boils down to is speed, battery longevity, weight and price. The company that can tune those features just right will hit all the right notes among ice anglers. So, let’s examine whether StrikeMaster or Ion did it best.
There are plenty of Youtube videos comparing drilling speeds of all the electric augers on the market. From analyzing the best footage and from personal experience, the speed title goes to Ion.
Not only do Ion augers drill faster, they are a tad bit smoother throughout the full cut. From tapping the hole to breakthrough, Ion bores a clean hole.
Keep in mind though that StrikeMaster cuts reasonably fast and only looses by a small margin.
Drilling holes is the name of the game when it comes to ice fishing. Sometimes you’ll need to drill dozens of holes just to get your first bite. When that is the case, hole hoppers need the highest battery capacity possible.
Once again, Ion augers steal the show. With their 8 inch Gen 2 ice auger, it is possible to drill through 2000 inches of ice. That’s a ton of holes. Even in the deepest parts of the ice belt, that’s more than enough juice for a full day of running and gunning.
In all fairness, StrikeMaster’s comparable 40v auger handles a respectable 1600 inches of drilling on a single charge. For most anglers this is sufficient.
Here is where things get interesting. Both StrikeMaster and Ion offer lightweight options in their battery powered line-up. Ion decided to stick with the 40v configuration and cut weight by using an entirely composite bit instead of steel. Ion’s gamble paid off and they’ve created the lightest 40v 8 inch and 10 inch augers weighing only 17 and 18 pounds, respectively.
StrikeMaster, on the other hand, stuck with the tried and true steel bit on their 40v lithium powered auger. With it’s 24-27 pound bulk, it is far from being a feather-weight. Instead, they introduced a new, super light weight, 24v auger with a composite bit and trounced the competition by several pounds.
What they gave up in battery capacity they gained in weight savings. At 14.3 pounds, the 8 inch 24v StrikeMaster is the lightest battery powered auger you can get.
If you want 40v of power, then the best in weight goes to Ion. When every ounce matters, then look no further than the StrikeMaster 24v auger.
When it comes to product comparisons, it seems like every tie is decided by price. Your money is on the line after all. So get the best value out of every dollar.
Ion and StrikeMaster are both top brands but the luxury of Ion comes at a premium. When you are willing to sacrifice a few perks to save hundreds of dollars then go with a StrikeMaster. You will get the most bang for your buck. Both augers drill lots of holes and both are reasonably light. But only StrikeMaster is gentle on the wallet.
How to pick the right one
Now it’s time to put it all together and figure out which one is right for you. The easiest way to decide is by figuring out what you need for the majority of your ice fishing season. Somebody on the fringes of the ice belt hardly needs the same auger as an angler centered in the coldest reaches of Canada.
Let’s cover a few of the most common scenarios to help make your decision a bit simpler.
For the casual ice angler who drills a few holes a year for panfish, trout, walleye and pike, go with a 6 or 8 inch StrikeMaster 24v lithium ion auger from Scheels. You will get the most portable electric auger available and the option to drill gobs of holes if needed. It is also the cheapest among the augers mentioned in this article.
Places where ice fishing is a way of life, you’ll need something a bit more capable. If money is no object, get the Ion G2 8 or 10 inch lithium ion ice auger. You will get the Cadillac of ice augers and unparalleled drilling capacity.
When price is important but the ice is still thick, get an 8 or 10 inch 40v StrikeMaster lithium ion ice auger from BassPro Shops. You get more battery capacity than most of us need and you’ll save some hard earned cash.
Die-hard ice anglers chasing monster lake trout or trophy walleye and pike on long ice camping adventures should consider nothing less than the 10 inch Ion G2 auger and a spare 40v 6 amp hour battery to go with it.
In all honesty, it’s unlikely you’ll be disappointed no matter which electric auger you choose. They all perform excellent on the ice.
We picked StrikeMaster, here’s why
We live well outside the ice belt and ice seldom gets more than two feet thick. Just the same, we fish hard and drill non-stop through the ice chasing our quarry. Mobility is often the key to our success and every pound cut from the sled makes our day that much more enjoyable.
It just so happens, StrikeMaster’s 24v 8 inch ice auger checked off every box in our search for the right auger. Whether we are targeting trout, walleye or panfish, the 24v does the job and then some.
At only 14.3 pounds and $300 less than the Ion’s 17 pound G2 auger, we get everything we need and nothing we don’t.
The 24v StrikeMaster may be just what you need. Want to see why we love it so much and why you might too? Check out our complete and honest review of the 24v StrikeMaster ice auger.
Want to get the most out of your ice fishing season? Check out our Washington State Ice Fishing Secrets ebook. Our book highlights the 10 best lakes for ice fishing in Washington State with actual coordinates to some of our most productive holes. Plus, we thoroughly cover everything from gear selection, tactics and travel planning. To top it off, you also get information on 41 other lakes with superb ice fishing! Check it out before ice fishing season passes you by!