The HT Enterprises Nero Mini Compact ice auger is the best hand auger I’ve ever used. I’m so impressed with this auger I’m not sure how much use my propane ice auger will get this year, its seriously that good!
I bought the Nero late last season after I found it in the clearance section at, of all places, Walmart. I’ve had my eye on this auger for a while because they include an adapter to mount it to a drill. Everyone is using a cordless drill these days and I wanted to get on board too.
Eager to try the Nero out, my first experience with it was late March on Pigeon Lake. The ice at that time was pushing two feet deep, definitely not hand auger territory. I brought both the hand crank and drill attachment just to get a feel for how they would perform. First I tried the hand crank and I was really surprised at how buttery smooth the auger cut. It chewed through two feet of ice almost effortlessly. I mean seriously effortlessly, I didn’t even need to stop for a break when drilling through 24 inches of ice. It almost feels like it would be more effort to lug out a gas auger, start it, and cut a hole then it is to manually drill with the Nero.
With only one wing nut it’s very quick to switch the to the drill attachment. I have an 18V drill, it’s not brushless or very powerful, so near the end of the 24” deep hole the auger was starting to hang up before it broke through. I think with a better drill and some refinement of my technique cutting would have been smoother. Still, I was impressed.
Head to Head Comparison
This season, just for fun, I decided to have a head to head comparison of my 7” HT Nero to my 8” Fin Bore ice auger. Both augers have offset handles, similar cutting diameters and, when fully extended, are about the same size. The Nero weighs about 6.25 lbs on my fish scale and the Fin Bore weights about 8.25 lbs. I believe the weight difference mostly comes from the auger flight. The Fin Bore flighting is longer and made from a thicker steel then the Nero. Normally, I would say thicker is better but an ice auger flight is just moving ice and water, it doesn’t need to be that strong.
Drilling with the 7” HT Nero is effortless when compared to the 8” Fin Bore. Have I said that already? Both augers are near new. I guarantee I have more cutting time on the Nero then I do on the Fin Bore so the blades should be of comparable, if slightly in favour of the Fin Bore, sharpness. When drilling with the Fin Bore I have to simultaneously push down as I crank the handles all the way through the ice. The Nero I would push down to start the cut, but once the auger bit into the ice all I had to focus on was rotating the handles, the auger would feed itself into the ice. I would say it’s easily half the effort compared to the Fin Bore.
Since this is first ice there was only 5” of solid ice to work with. I set up a timer and began recording how long it took to drill one hole with both augers. It took less than 5 seconds with the Nero and about just over 11 seconds with the Fin Bore. I know 5” of ice isn’t much, but in terms of inches per second cutting speed the Nero takes the cake. If you consider that the Nero is twice as fast with half the effort the results are really stacking up.
Next up is price. The Nero retails for $160 CAD and the Fin Bore is $150 CAD at my local Fishin’ Hole, so they are comparably priced. Still the Nero has the advantage because it comes with a drill adapter at no extra cost.
I realize this whole post sounds like an ad for the Nero and HT Enterprises. Just to clarify, I have no connection with HT Enterprises; I’m just an angler that believes in getting the best value I can and passing that information along to you. I truly believe this is an auger not just for the casual angler, but could be the only ice auger you need.