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In a surprising move, Eskimo has released a new ice auger for the 2023/34 ice fishing season – the Eskimo E40. Why is this surprising? Well, Artisam, the parent company of Eskimo, is also the parent company of Ion ice augers. So why would a company that has such a strong ice auger release a competitor to its own product?
Answer: They didn’t.
Ion ice augers, specifically the Alpha series, is meant to be Artisam’s top dog, the best of the best, the one you reach for when you are a guide, hardwater junkie or otherwise serious ice angler. Eskimo’s E40, on the other hand, targets the weekend warriors, those of us that still demand premium features but also don’t want an 8” hole in our wallet.
Disclaimer – Eskimo provided this auger for review but the views and opinions expressed in this article are my own genuine, and as much as possible, unbiased, thoughts and opinions.
Eskimo borrowed many of the features and research that went into the Ion Alpha and packaged it into a cheaper (and redder) ice auger. Like the Ion Alpha, the E40 runs on a 40V power system. They also share similar handle designs, auger flights, aluminum shafts and blade systems. The biggest difference between the two is under the hood the Ion has a completely different motor and battery, one that is more powerful while also more efficient, and a more aggressive cutting angle tuned to the Alpha’s more powerful motor.
If turning the lake into swiss cheese is your goal, the Ion Alpha is worth the extra price. Thanks to the upgraded motor and battery system, the Alpha will cut more ice on a single charge than any other ice auger on the market. The E40 on the other hand, is average (see below).
- 40V Powerhead w/o Battery = 7.3 lbs
- 40V, 4Ah Battery = 2.9 lbs
- 8” Auger flight w blade cover = 4.1 lbs
- Total Weight = 14.3 lbs (6.1 kg)
This is hands down the most refined ice auger I have ever used.
After taking the E40 out of the box and assembling, the first thing I noticed was how light the auger felt. I’ve been using the SM 24V for a season beforehand so I was used to the weight, but the change from a steel auger shaft to aluminum was very noticeable. The light weight auger flight brings the centre of gravity much closer to the powerhead and makes the auger feel considerably lighter than the 24V model.
In creating the E40, Eskimo borrowed many design elements from the Ion Alpha. The powerhead frame of the E40 is all metal. There is even a metal band that surrounds the battery which is a durability feature I appreciate since one of the first things I did was accidentally drop the powerhead on the concrete floor of my garage. I also really enjoy the oversized and rubberized handles. If you’re like me and don’t put on gloves until you absolutely have to, the rubber grips are very comfortable – even with wet and cold hands. Like all electric augers, the E40 has forward, reverse and a deadman switch. Eskimo has even included one LED light on the bottom to help light up the area when fishing at night.
Once I hit the ice for the first time I got to experience just how smooth the auger cut. The variable speed trigger on the E40 allows you to feather the start of the hole before hitting maximum speed. While cutting, the E40 draws itself down through the ice so you don’t have to lean on it and during breakthrough at the bottom of the hole there was zero kickback at all. I have never experienced that before! This is seriously the smoothest cutting auger I have ever used.
What used to be the most challenging barrier (literally) to ice fishing – drilling holes with a heavy gas auger, has now become an enjoyable experience. When I was young and would complain about being cold, my Dad would tell me to go drill a few holes to warm up. It was seriously a lot of work. Nowadays, with augers as light as the E40, I’m drilling holes for fun. The biggest challenge I encounter is holding myself back from turning the lake into swiss cheese.
Compared to Strikemaster
I’ve owned Strikemaster ice augers for 5 seasons and have used them in the toughest conditions you can imagine – they have proven to be reliable. While I’ve enjoyed nearly everything about them, especially when you compare them to gas augers, there are three areas I hope they would improve: overall weight of the 40V system, handle comfort and replacement blade prices.
All of these improvements are addressed with Eskimo’s E40.
TL;DR – The short version of this rather long review is that the Eskimo E40 is the most refined ice auger I have ever used. The light weight, super smooth cutting, comfortable ergonomics and value price make this ice auger the one to beat. As an introductory offer in late 2023, Eskimo was even including a second battery for free with auger purchase – an incredible value for an incredible auger.
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Eskimo E40 Ice Auger