Affiliate Links: This post may contain affiliate links. Meaning I may get a small commission, at no cost to you, if you decide to make a purchase through my link. Please read my DISCLOSURE for more information.
The Strikemaster 24V Ice auger takes direct aim at the cordless drill/ice auger market and, in my opinion, solves all of the problems associated with using cordless drills out on the ice. If you’re in the market for a new ice auger and considering the cordless drill route, read on to see why the 24V may be a better fit! Like my other ice auger reviews, this article aims to be the most detailed Strikemaster 24V ice auger review on the internet.
When it comes to ice augers, we ice anglers have never been so spoiled for choice. For 2023, there is a wide selection of electric augers available, from giant 10” electric power houses to svelt 4” augers attached to cordless drills. All of them have their uses but I think the most versatile ice auger of the bunch might just be the new 24V from Strikemaster.
Disclaimer – Strikemaster 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.
The new Strikemaster 24V ice auger is the little brother to the much loved 40V. It brings a lot of the same features such as curved serrated blades, forward/reverse switch, on/off control with dead man’s switch and the distinct beeps on startup. What is new is the 24V battery system, the higher 50:1 gear ratio (a little faster to cut with), the removal of the bottom LED’s, and most importantly – the 24V’s small size and extreme portability.
Right out of the box, this auger surprised me. The powerhead of this auger is very small. The handlebars are only 13.5″ wide at the widest point, which, when compared to the 40V, is 30% smaller. Included with the auger is one 24V, 4ah battery and Strikemaster’s familiar 8′ Lite-Flite (a 6″ Lite-Flite is also available). The whole package once assembled is a lean 14.4 lbs (6.5 kgs).
Strikemaster 24V Weights:
- SM24 Powerhead = 7.4 lbs
- 24V 4ah Battery = 1.7 lbs
- SM 8″ Lite-Flite = 5.3 lbs (w bungie blade cover)
- Total Weight = 14.4 lbs (6.5 kg)
The 24V is so small in fact, I had two concerns as I unboxed and assembled the auger. My first thought was that it might be hard to hang on to while drilling because the handlebars are so narrow. Second, is this tiny auger going to have enough power to handle late season ice fishing when the ice is often more than 30″ thick? Both of my concerns were quickly dismissed the first time I took it out on the ice. The 24V drills with ease and manages to cut thick, late season ice all the way up to the powerhead without stopping – even when you don’t bother to clear the chips from the hole.
Compared to the Strikemaster 40V
I have been using the Strikemaster 40V with a 10 inch steel auger for 4 seasons now and have always been impressed with its performance. My only complaint is that it’s heavy. At 26 lbs, it’s a workout to hole hop and explore with, especially if you end up post-holing through snow and slush! The heavy weight and the fact that I like to drill a ton of holes while exploring, had me considering a high-powered cordless drill with an auger bit. I’ve read reviews, listened to folks on forums, and even tried a couple myself. After careful consideration of all I heard, I really felt the risk of damage to the drill was too high for how I like to fish.
Why the 24V is Better Than A Drill
As powerful as they are, cordless drills were not designed to take the abuse typical of ice fishing. From searching through forums and Facebook/YouTube comments, the most common ways drills are damaged are through exposure to water, ice and snow or simply burning out the motor from such a heavy load. Cordless drills are not designed to get wet and are not designed to turn an 8 inch drill bit.
I can’t speak for everyone but I want my gear to be dependable, and I don’t want to have to baby my equipment just because I’m doing something that it wasn’t designed for. Ice auger manufacturers know what their augers will be exposed to and plan for it. Typically, electrical switches are potted and protected, and the motor housing is designed to take the occasional splash. When I’m out fishing, I routinely set my auger on its side on the snow, it will get sprayed with slush from the 4 wheeler, and sometimes there’s floodwater and the powerhead will get sprayed or dropped into standing water. I take reasonable care not to get the battery wet but for the rest of it – I have confidence Strikemaster designed it for ice fishing.
If you don’t believe Strikemaster ice augers are built to last, check out this clip from Uncut Angling for proof.
Its worth noting that most drills do nothing to protect the user from spraining their wrist when the drill binds up in the hole. There is also no stopping a drill if the trigger freezes closed or fails. Strikemaster, and most other ice auger brands, include a dead man’s switch that must be pressed to start and, once released, shuts off the auger right away.
The 24V battery is roughly the size of a large (think 5 ah) power tool battery and easily fits in a coat or cargo pant pocket. This is good for two reasons, a smaller battery is much easier to keep inside your jacket on those really cold days on the ice and you will likely have more than one if you are drilling a lot of holes. If you are a panfish angler or like to run and gun, and typically drill 40+ holes in more that a foot of ice, its probably a good idea to purchase a second battery anyway, even if you don’t use it a backup is always a good idea. The 24V batteries are also significantly cheaper at $165 CAD vs the 40V batteries $260 CAD making it more affordable to have more than one.
The SM 24V is rated to cut 800 inches of ice on its 96Wh battery. Many cordless drill auger enthusiasts report cutting an average of 300 inches of ice with an 8″ auger on a similar sized (90Wh) battery. This huge performance gap again points back to having a tool designed for purpose vs adapting a tool to work.
As many regular readers know, I’m all about value and getting the most from my hard earned dollar. I’ve done some shopping and compared the retail prices of each unit:
- Strikemaster 24V w 8″ retails for $610 CAD in the 2022/23 season.
A similar 18V Milwaukee Fuel 2804 setup, the most popular drill choice among ice anglers, would cost:
- Milwaukee 2804 with two XC5.0 Batteries and charger is $428 CAD
- Strikemaster 8″ Lite Flite is $310 CAD
- Total = $738 CAD
*I chose a two battery kit for the Milwaukee drill to try to match the inches of ice cut with the Strikemaster 24V, this is important for a fair comparison.
*Keep in mind these are 2023 retail prices and not on sale. I fully expect a savvy shopper will be able to find better prices on all of these.
In my opinion the real cost is risk. Is it really worth it to risk getting your drill wet or burning it out, especially if you need it for your job?
What About Weight Savings?
Yes the 24V is heavier than a typical drill set up:
- Milwaukee 2804 Hammerdrill – 3.2 lbs
- Milwaukee XC5.0 Battery – 1.6 lbs
- SM 8″ Lite-Flite – 5.3 lbs
- Total Weight of Drill Setup = 10.1 lbs
If weight is your primary concern then yes, a drill and auger will be much lighter. I would argue though, if weight truly was a concern, you would likely be using a hand auger such as the excellent 7″ HT Nero.
The Strikemaster 24V is a serious powerhouse in a tiny package and, in my opinion, Strikemaster knocked it out of the park with this one. My only criticisms of the auger are the ergonomics are good, not great, and it would be a big improvement to get more runtime from the auger so you could go even further on a single battery.
Thanks to its overall size and power, I think this is the perfect auger for the majority of people, especially if you find lugging a heavy auger around is limiting the amount of fishing you do. I know I appreciate the mobility and since getting the 24V I’m a little more excited to see what could be lurking in that next hole.
One Final Note
I don’t mean to ruffle feathers with the cordless drill-auger crowd. There are many, many anglers who are very happy with their specific drill setups and that’s great! In ice fishing, drilling more holes often means catching more fish – however you choose to do that is up to you! It is my opinion that cordless drills will not have the same level of durability or dependability that a dedicated ice auger has. For how I fish and the conditions my gear is exposed to, I am not comfortable with using a cordless drill on the ice. That said, if you love your drill setup and want to share it, please post it in the comments!
Shop the Best Prices
Strikemaster 24V Ice Auger