ION Ice Auger Review
Guest Blog by: Rick Schroeder 1/29/2013
So what does a high country fisherman do in the winter time when the high country is locked up… he ice fishes. Sorry it’s been a while since my last blog.
With a few gift cards and military discount I was able to acquire an ION auger this year for a very good price I am not sponsored by them nor was paid to do a review. What is the ION auger? It’s toted by their site as the world’s first high-performance electric ice auger.
I found myself standing there looking at the auger rack at Sportsman’s Warehouse, when the wife walked up to me and asked if they had the propane one I wanted. Explaining to her that I had ruled the propane auger out already based on the reviews I read online. This sparked her debate on gas leaking in the jeep and the jeep smelling like gas every time I go ice fishing. So I pointed to the ION and said what about electric? She simply said wow I like that idea even better. Being a little more expensive at $499.99 I was sold on the idea and picked it up.
Like most things electronic I skimmed over the manual really quickly to see if I had to charge the battery over night or anything like that… with nothing standing out I threw the battery on the charger and charged it up for a trip to 11mile res. It takes two hours to charge.
Getting to 11mile at 4:30 am with a -30° walked out to the spot and fired the auger up and poked four holes for me and my buddy. At 40volts the 8” blades cut through the ice like butter. Much faster than any gas auger I’ve used including my favorite the Lazer. The safety is on the handle you push it in and squeeze the trigger and it spins up and you are drilling. No trying to get the auger started, fighting the choke and gas. No sucking exhaust fumes while you drill. Was perfect… or was it.
Having not actually read the manual I left the auger out in the cold and went to fishing like I would any gas auger. Like so many times on the ice it was time to move and we packed up and moved to a new location. Once there I hop on the auger to pop a few more holes… but it will not start. A little frustrated I give up and we fire up my buddy’s gas auger and pop a few more holes. Temp outside still in the high -28° range.
Later in the day the temps had warmed up and I was able to use the auger again. Pretty upset about this first trial I went home kind of grumpy. Got on their website and found out they recommend keeping the battery warm in extreme temps taking it off and putting it in the hut should fix this issue. I also read that the battery should hold a charge for six months. Ok, no charging between this and my next trip.
This time we headed to Twin Lakes wanted to test the cold temp theory by keeping the battery in the hut but it was not needed with this weird Colorado winter temps were in the low 20’s which the auger should be able to keep up with even if left outside. IMO.Time to see if the auger is still fully charged, I pulled it out and hit the battery tester on the batter 3 lights, nice the battery held its charge. I popped a few holes through 2ft of ice still cut quickly and quietly just like it did its first holes. Awesome. Fished most of the day popping a lot of holes looking for fish and the auger held up great.
As the day went on I was drilling another hole and half way through the auger just stopped. Hrmmm maybe I let up on the trigger a little I drill some more and it goes another 10 inches and stops. Hrmmm again. I start it again and it pokes through the ice. So I start the next hole and it keeps stopping. I check the battery tester and it lights 2 lights. Should still have plenty of charge, IMO. But the next half dozen holes I drill all have the same results the auger just stops as you are drilling… it turns fine but when drilling it no longer can cut through the whole ice column doing it instead in spurts. Finally it would only turn two or three rotations and it would stop, hitting the battery tester only showed one light. Their website says it will do 40 holes through 24” of ice. I was not counting but between the two trips three weeks apart I probably came close to that number. The lights on the battery seem to me a little mis-leading at two lights I feel it should still be able to drill through 24” of ice no problem. But at two lights you still will make it through the ice, at one light it’s time to switch batteries. Which I recommend buying a backup battery for the auger.
Some additional things about the auger… It’s lighter than most 8” gas/propane augers easy to carry one handed with no worries about spilling gas. You don’t have to mix gas/oil or buy gas for your trips to the lake. It’s quiet which kind of makes you miss that sound of an old jiffy cranking up in the morning but probably makes you stealthier or at least I’d like to think. Anyone can start it I don’t know how many gas augers I’ve used that only the owner of the auger knows the trick to start it up. This one you just push the safety in squeeze the trigger and release the safety and you are drilling. Only maintenance is charging batteries and replacing blades no need to change plugs, clean carbs, etc. While I don’t think the auger will work for everyone I would highly recommend it to people if they are in the market for a new auger.
Rick Schroeder is the creator and founder of Colorado Mountain Fishing.com a website designed for those who share his passion for high country fishing, four wheeling, hiking, camping, and photography.
Rick has spent a significant portion of his life in the back country of the United States, starting at a young age in the Scouts, then in the Infantry with the 82nd Airborne, and after the military as a avid fisherman. In the summer months, Rick can often be found in the shadow of one of Colorado’s many fourteeners casting to some hungry cutthroat at one of the many alpine lakes in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. He also spends long hours on the summit of those peaks, capturing those unforgettable panoramas with his trusty Nikon. Rick has had photographs published on multiple websites, CMC books, and American Angler Magazine. During the colder weather, Rick frequently enjoys fly fishing one of the many tail waters in Colorado or using the short rod on the hard water with the South Park Junkies ice team. When he’s not wetting a line, Rick works as an IT Professional for the US Army and spends his off time moderating multiple Colorado fishing websites.
Blog content © Rick Schroeder
Fish Crazy, CO 1/29/2013 12:46:41 PM
I purchased an ion this year and its been great! I have not had 1 issue with this auger even in the cold. I charge the battery after every trip no matter how many times used, if not battery gets a memory and does not charge fully. I have drilled up 40 - 60 holes on 12"-15" of ice and 40+ holes on 20"+ of ice. I highly recomend this auger, it sure is fun to use, cuts like butter, runs smooth, quiet, easy to use, makes moving areas easy, very light. I think my friends like using it more than me.
MLP5420, CO 1/29/2013 12:52:51 PM
Need more of these "in field" reviews. The augers a little bit too expensive for me but its always nice to know!
tatonka, CO 1/29/2013 2:22:39 PM
Nice review and laker thanks
spinn3r, CO 1/29/2013 5:07:49 PM
Couple comments about Li-Ion batteries. As Fish Crazy says, the battery should be kept at full charge. It's not because of memory, but rather because Li-Ion batteries suffer when discharged too deeply. Also, some Li-Ion chemistries should not be charged in cold temps. Having a spare battery is the right answer, not trying to recharge it at -30F.
spinn3r, CO 1/29/2013 5:08:55 PM
Oh yeah, nice laker, Rick.
Tubejig, CO 1/29/2013 5:52:42 PM
Thanks for the review, I've been wanting to get an electric auger, but I wasn't sure about the dependability or performance.
reconfisher, WY 1/29/2013 9:37:53 PM
good review...i see you've surrenendered to the HDR lol
JKaboom, CO 1/29/2013 11:02:46 PM
Thank you for the review.
Rick Schroeder (ePiC), CO 1/30/2013 7:23:20 AM
Shane... I did turn the HDR setting on my point and shoot but there are lots of things I didnt like that it did... the blacks on my shirt are one. So I wont use that setting again. Will stick to the DSLR to do HDR pics.
FloatTubeGuy, CO 1/30/2013 2:55:15 PM
Thank you for the review I was thinking about getting one of these augers.
Icebuster, CO 2/1/2013 4:45:22 PM
I also just purchased one. Sold the old Jiffy and wrnt with the new technology. This auger performers very well, in 8 to 10" of ice I can drill north of 40 holes.
Like all batteries, charge after ever use. This thing is very light and cuts awesome. I strongly recommend this product.