Nothing quite gets me in the mood for ice fishing like shopping for new gear. But when I am planning to shell out a few hundred bucks on a new auger, I do my research first. This year my efforts paid off and I have found my new favorite way to drill through the ice.
StrikeMaster’s new 24 volt Lithium Ion powered ice auger is a thing of beauty. It is the perfect balance between weight and power at a scaled down price. And I love using it!
If you are like me, then you also like doing your homework. We have made that part easy. From unboxing to putting it through its paces on the ice, we will give you a full and definitive review on the StrikeMaster 24v ice auger.
We dive into the good, the bad and the ugly so you can be sure this is the right ice auger for you. Now, let’s get started.
About the StrikeMaster 24v
Before the StrikeMaster 24v lithium ion battery powered ice auger arrived, 40 volt augers ruled the roost. In all fairness, this auger won’t likely upset that balance but it may come close.
The StrikeMaster 24v ice auger blends copious drilling power and portability into a reasonably priced package. The auger uses resin molded segmented flights which drastically cuts down on weight. On its business end there are twin, serrated stainless steel blades and a power point to eliminate drift. This auger is also long enough to drill through 3 feet of ice.
StrikeMaster’s 24v compact powerhead delivers decent torque using a DC brushless motor matched up to a 50:1 planetary gear system. Strong, impact-resistant plastic forms the frame of the powerhead.
The power button functions in tandem with a deadman’s safety switch, capable of instantly killing power if needed. Also present is a forward and reverse switch.
Included with the auger is a 24 volt, 4 amp hour lithium ion battery and a rapid charging station. You can recharge a drained battery to full in about 2 hours. There are also three LED battery status indicators for keeping track of the remaining juice.
All put together, the StrikeMaster 24v ice auger is rated to drill 50 holes in 16 inches of ice using the 8 inch auger bit and 70 holes with the 6 inch auger. A 10 inch model in the 24v configuration is not available.
Features we love
As far as ice fishing technology goes, battery powered ice augers are fairly simple. However, StrikeMaster has thought through each detail to offer everything you need and nothing you don’t.
Here are the features we absolutely love about the StrikeMaster 24 volt ice auger:
- Light weight: No feature appealed to us more than how little this auger weighs. You can buy the 6 inch model that weighs a scant 13.3 pounds or the 8 inch model that barely tips the scales at 14.3 pounds. Either way, it’s several pounds lighter than any 40 volt ice auger on the market. When you are trudging on foot across big lakes in search of fish, every ounce matters.
- Drilling power: While the 24v battery doesn’t deliver the same specs as its 40v big brother, it does chew through ice with ease. Not once has this auger bound up in a hole or shown any signs of sluggishness. In perfect conditions, 24v is enough to drill 800 inches of ice on a single charge. That’s not far off from reality either.
- Plastic flights: At first glance, we weren’t sure how the resin molded flights would hold up. However, they seem extremely flexible and durable. They handle plenty of abuse and won’t bang up any of your other gear during transport like standard welded steel flights can.
- Compact size: We love the compact powerhead. It is significantly smaller than most other powered augers so it packs nicely in the sled and shaves off a ton of weight. To some ice anglers, it looks like a toy. Yet from experience, we know it’s anything but a toy.
What we don’t like
With so many things to like about this auger, it is a challenge to find what we don’t like. Although, as with all things, there is always bad to go with the good.
Here are a couple things we don’t like about the StrikeMaster 24v ice auger:
- Battery is cold sensitive: This more or less is a complaint of all battery powered augers. Extreme cold increases the drain rate of lithium ion batteries. Unless we kept the battery pre-warmed in a jacket pocket, the battery quickly lost significantly more juice at temperatures in the low teens.
- Difficulty drilling thin ice: This one we did not expect. The design of the head coupled with the flight spacing seems to cause it to struggle when drilling through 4 to 6 inches of ice. It’s plenty sharp and drills fine but once you break through, the auger flights grab the ice edge and things get rough. You can solve this problem by killing the power as soon as you break through. Hardly a deal breaker but something to think about. On the other hand, the StrikeMaster 24v drills through thick ice without any problems.
No matter what you are buying, it usually boils down to cost. For most ice anglers, that is the nuts and bolts when narrowing down their options.
On the cheap end of the spectrum, hand augers take the cake. A quality hand auger runs anywhere from $50 to $200. At the upper end, 40v ice augers come in around $600-$700.
The 24v sits nicely in the middle. The 6 inch model starts at $379.99 and the 8 inch is $399.99. Catch a sale and you really get your money’s worth.
You might think that the StrikeMaster 40v is worth the additional cash to get the bigger battery capacity. With the ability to drill 1600 inches on a single charge, the 40v is a tempting buy.
But here’s the thing. If you simply buy a spare 24v battery for $100, you suddenly get an auger capable of drilling 1600 inches of ice. You save $100 and still cut down on weight as compared to the 40v. Not bad huh?
The StrikeMaster 24v Lithium Ion powered auger came package in a fairly large box. The contents were well protected and arranged nicely inside.
Included in the box was the auger bit, the powerhead, charging station, battery, instructions and an additional allen wrench.
Once the box was opened, assembly only took a few minutes. I first plugged in the charging station and charged the battery. During that time, I quickly attached the auger to the powerhead and tightened all the fasteners as suggested in the directions.
After about one hour the battery was fully charged and the 24v auger was ready for testing.
On the ice testing
To really see what an ice auger is capable of you need to take it on the ice. Our first test of the 8 inch StrikeMaster 24v ice auger was on 16 inches of early ice. Temperatures hovered around freezing but we kept the battery warm right up until using it.
How much ice does it drill
With a full charge, we drilled 30 holes over the course of the morning through 16 inches of ice. During this time, the auger and battery were exposed to the elements. Using the integrated battery status indicator, 30 holes used up only one third of the juice.
After punching 5 more holes the battery status light dropped to the last LED light indicator as expected. The last third of the battery’s power easily delivered 10 more holes but started showing signs of exhaustion.
All in all, we drilled just over 45 holes on a single charge without keeping the battery warm throughout the day. Pretty close to the expected 50 hole rating on 16 inches of ice.
How fast does it drill
Our second test was to determine speed. Everyone wants to ram through the ice as fast as possible. So did the StrikeMaster 24v deliver?
The 40v delivers the highest torque rating in the StrikeMaster lineup but the 24v auger is not too far behind. With its 50:1 gear ratio, the 24v powerhead ripped an 8 inch hole through 18 inches of ice in 7 seconds. Not a record but plenty fast compared to hand drilling.
I was able to drill a series of 6 holes, trying to find a weed line transition, in under 1 minute through that same 18 inches of ice. That’s impressive to say the least.
How does it handle
The compact size of the powerhead had me worried that overcoming the force of the motor’s torque would be a challenge. A wider handle grip gives you more leverage to counteract that torque. That’s what we like about the 40v StrikeMaster.
Surprisingly, the torque on the 24v StrikeMaster is manageable. The powerhead wanted to twist in my hands, yet with steady pressure, the torque was easily controlled.
If by chance the auger bit bound up halfway through the ice and twisted out of your hand, the deadman switch would immediately cut the power. Unlike a cordless drill and K-Drill auger combo, this would save you from injury.
We also like how cleanly the auger broke through the last bit of ice. There was no jarring break or additional force needed. The drilling head and blades are an exceptional match to the power of the motor and every hole was smooth all the way down.
The only struggle this auger had was on ice less than 6 inches as we mentioned earlier. To counter this, immediately stop drilling once you break through the ice to avoid problems.
We like to hole hop and cover ground. The superb portability of the 24v StrikeMaster was a game changer for us. It easily packed into the sled, taking up minimal space. I also found it light enough to carry in one hand without fatigue. The protective blade cover fits snugly in place and is quick to take on and off.
Cleaning and recharging
Getting the 24v StrikeMaster prepped and ready for another day on the ice was a cinch. The composite and stainless steel construction means rust won’t be an issue. Just make sure you remove ice buildup and thaw out the auger in a warm location. Keep it dry, re-tighten all fasteners and leave the blade cover in place to protect the blades.
Recharging the battery is lightning fast. On a typical day, I might drain half the battery. Once I get home it only takes an hour or so to recharge. Let the battery warm up though before putting it on the charging station. A solid red light on the charging station tells you the battery is too cold to charge. It will only start charging at warmer temperatures to protect itself from damage. Also, don’t leave it on the charger over night to avoid over charging and battery damage.
Who should buy it
The StrikeMaster 24v auger is perfectly suited for ice anglers on the periphery of the ice belt or for those needing a light weight auger option on early winter ice. You will get the most efficiency out of the 24v auger when drilling in 2 feet of ice or less. That allows for a full day of hole hopping and exploring new locations.
When having a light weight auger is essential for mobility on the ice, nothing beats the StrikeMaster 24v ice auger. Panfish anglers can get the 6 inch model and drill through nearly 1100 inches of ice and it weighs under 14 pounds. That’s certainly enough holes to get your limit for the day. Plus, you won’t wear yourself out lugging it around.
We prefer the 8 inch model for targeting trout, walleye and most other species beneath the ice. So far, the 24v auger supplies enough power to drill more than enough holes throughout the day on 16 inches of ice.
The 24v ice auger should intrigue K-Drill fans looking to move to a dedicated auger. Compared to the K-Drill auger and a cordless drill’s combined cost, the StrikeMaster 24v is about the same. We give StrikeMaster the edge over the K-Drill for ease of use and better torque control.
Who shouldn’t buy it
Any ice angler deep in the heart of the ice belt would be better served with a gas auger or a 40v lithium ion battery powered auger. Where winter extremes deliver sub-zero temperatures and 3 feet of ice, a dozen or so holes might be all you get with the 24v auger.
Also, those looking to cut 10 inch holes in the ice to pull trophy fish through need to super size to the 40v as well. The StrikeMaster 24v is not available with a 10 inch auger.
If you ice camp and drill over a hundred holes during a trip without access to electricity, battery powered augers may not be for you.
Is the StrikeMaster 24v worth the money
Having paid full price for the StrikeMaster 24v ice auger, I can tell you it was well worth the money. Before that, I was getting a good upper body workout with my manual auger. Now, I can drill dozens of holes without debating whether or not it is worth the effort.
Overall, we believe the StrikeMaster 24v Lithium Ion powered auger is priced fairly for what you get. You definitely should jump at the opportunity to buy one when they are on sale.
Battery powered augers will likely continue to evolve and get more affordable every year. So far, the 24v StrikeMaster is our recommended auger for most avid ice anglers.
Where to get your own
These auger sell out fast once ice season arrives. Most big outdoor stores carry the StrikeMaster 24v auger in both 6 and 8 inch models.
Both BassPro Shops and Scheels generally have some in stock. Both retailers ship fast just in time for ice fishing.