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The Strikemaster 40V ice auger has been reviewed a lot. So much in fact that you’re probably sick of hearing about it. Well this review is a bit different, it’s about that one time one person had a problem with it. I’m going to break this review down into three parts. The first part is where I will share what the issue was, the second part will be my review and in the third I want to talk about value.
The Problem? It’s stuck…
I got the Strikemaster 40V ice auger over Christmas and was so excited to get out and use it. From the moment I hit the start button and began cutting ice I knew this auger is powerful. Electric motors are known for their torque and this thing has it in spades. As the auger broke through the flight hung up, catching me off guard and almost ripping the auger from my grip. That should’ve been my first clue something wasn’t right, but I choked it up to user error and kept on fishing. Since I opted for the 10” auger flight over my old 8” I figured it was a result of the extra surface area the auger needed to cut. Or maybe it was the fact that my hole wasn’t quite straight. Anyway, it doesn’t matter, I was still happy with my new toy.
But again and again, hole after hole the auger would stick. Sometimes I would have to restart the cut two or three times before making it through the bottom. I would even brace it on my leg or hip just to help it out. That just couldn’t be normal.
After a few more outings with the same issues I took to the internet to see if I could find anyone with the same problem. I would think if Strikemaster was out to dislocate peoples shoulders someone would be talking about it. But my search came up empty. There were stories of blades coming loose or breaking, damaged auger flights and motor troubles but nothing quite like the problem I was facing.
With nothing to go on I turned to my favorite fishing forum and posted my experience. In a matter of minutes I had plenty of advice and another forum member offered to meet me and do a head to head comparison with his auger. Talk about comradery! We met a few days later to try each others auger out and the difference was striking. His blades were well used but there was still nothing but buttery smooth ice cutting performance. After that I was on a mission to exchange it.
Since we were close to the end of the selling season most retailers stock is getting low. There was only one left but I managed to make the exchange at my local Cabela’s and am happy to say that my new fight cuts very smoothly. No sticking or binding at all.
So what was the problem? It’s tough to say without taking some angle measurements but I believe the issue was how the blade carrier was welded to the flight. There was a slight gap on one side where the flight meets the steel that holds the blades. This would cause the blades to sit at an angle other than 90° to the flight. Any auger service center would tell you that the blade angle is one of the most important components of a good cutting system, even being off by 5° will have an effect on performance.
It was not an issue I could have fixed myself, and if you are experiencing something similar it’s best to take it in right away. If you are unable to exchange it like I did, Strikemaster warranty will take care of you too.
Although me and the Strikemaster got off to a rocky start, I can confidently say I’m happy with the product. As I said earlier this ice auger has a ton of torque. I opted for the 10” auger for a few reasons and the 40V motor has no problem turning it. With the old flight the auger would get hung up just before it broke through the bottom of the ice, but instead of dislocating your shoulders the motor would cut out. Which is a nice safety feature that you won’t see on a gas auger or cordless drill unit.
Being electric, the Strikemaster starts cutting with the push of a button. The convenience of pulling the auger out of the carrier and cutting a hole as soon as the blades touch the ice is nice. There’s also no pulling a starter cord or waiting for it to warm up. But, to be honest, in use I don’t find the battery significantly more convenient than propane. The battery still suffers the same kind of faults as propane, such as poor performance in cold temperatures and the need for extra bottles/batteries for multi-day trips. The propane bottle and Strikemaster batteries are even similar in size. It is great that Strikemaster often includes a second battery for free and that they can be recharged wherever there is power. That is a better deal and more eco-friendly than 1 lb propane bottles.
I can’t emphasize enough just how quiet the 40V is! That was the first comment my friend made when he was walking out to our spot while I was drilling holes. He said he could see me drilling but couldn’t hear a thing. My propane Jiffy is also quiet compared to a two stroke but that might be the same as comparing yelling to screaming.
One advantage Strikemaster has over other electric brands is that they come with a long auger flight. It’s long enough that I may not need an extension. I measured from the top of the blades to the bottom of the motor to be 39 inches. As a comparison my Jiffy auger flight is 36” long. I’ve only used the extension a handful of times, and usually just for an extra few inches. The Ion auger flights are 34 inches long but I believe the extension is thrown in.
As a backpacker I am conscious of the weight of my gear. The Strikemaster, when ready to go with battery and blade cover installed, measured 2.9 lbs lighter than my Jiffy Pro4 lite, also ready to go. So there is a tiny weight savings.
Jiffy Pro4 Lite 8” = 29.3 lb
Strikemaster 40V 10” = 26.4 lbs
- 40 V Power head (no battery): 12.9 lbs
- 40V Battery: 2.9 lbs
- 10” Auger flight: 10.6 lb
- Strikemaster Lite Flite 8”: 5.3 lbs
Lastly, I would like to talk about the blades. Strikemaster is known for their curved style blades and just how effective they are to cut with. It’s true that they cut very well but for how long remains to be seen. 10” Strikemaster blades are listed for $90 CAD locally while the competitors blades are listed for around $65 CAD. That’s quite a difference, especially if they can’t be resharpened at your local sharpening service for a few bucks.
A lot of hype was built up around the Strikemaster 40V ice auger and when I finally got my hands on one I had pretty high expectations. The performance is excellent and best of all, predictable. There is no guessing that it will start every time you hit the button. I also love the extra room in the 10” hole for electronics and for sight fishing. Overall, I am really happy with the auger, it just didn’t blow my hair back like I thought it would. I’m all about value, so if you want to go electric, this auger coupled with the second battery, is the best value in the market.