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westguy

Propane auger vs ION

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I know this has been discussed in the past but to all who own one what are the pros and cons? I have been thinking of getting the ION but a lot of people told me they wont work in cold temps and last time I checked it is usually cold ice fishing:D. I am picking one or the other up at the show this weekend and would appreciate any advice from owners of each. Thanks will be mostly using for my big house.

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I bought a new propane auger last year and had lots of issues, I didn't get auger fixed until the end  of the season after every thing was fixed it worked great. This fall when I started the auger it started on 2 pulls ran great.  I like not having to worry about fuel going bad and its nice for drilling holes inside the fishouse . It is heavy and kind of a pain when transporting making sure the auger faces spark plug up. Just about traded it in on a new ion but still not convinced that the battries will last. I have  had lithum battries go bad on drill drivers after one season.

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Get a Honda 4 stroke Strikemaster and be done with it. No worries about propane, exhaust fumes, cold, or batteries. 

Still has exhaust fumes, just not 2 stroke fumes.

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"a lot of people told me they wont work in cold temps and last time I checked it is usually cold ice fishing"

They did? Have they ever used one? Lol

I wish I could link to a similar topic on another forum, as it'd save us both time. But I won't do that.

This is not a bash at you, but I see your comment from time to time on forums and I honestly think its from people that have never used one, and I mean that. I love my ION. If it broke tomorrow, I'd go buy another one right away.

I could never go back to a gas auger after using the ION. I didn’t realize how much of a pain gas / oil was until I used the ION for a while. Traveling is easy, drilling a bunch of holes is easy since it weighs 22 lbs, starting is easy, on and on.

As for your specific question on the batteries: All the gas guys (99% of which have never used an ION or even seen one in action) say the battery dies so you don’t get many holes. I drill more holes than most on the ice, so I got an extra battery. Most times, I never need it. Just keep the batteries warm which isn’t difficult by any stretch of the imagination since it takes 3 seconds to pop it on and off. Its way easier than messing with gas.

I almost always drill over 50 holes in a trip out on the ice (unless I'm really on them, then I only drill maybe 10 and having a light auger to drag around is even better :grin:). Even in the mid to late-winter when the ice is 25"+ where I live I've never been short on battery with the 2 I have. If you drill 150+ holes each time out, then yeah, maybe an ION isn't for you but I haven't run into many (if any) guys like that on the ice...

I just put this on another forum but it's a great example of why the ION is awesome in my eyes:

The weight is also huge for me since I trek into a lot of back-woods lakes. Case in point this past Sunday. A buddy and I had to walk a mile into the woods to get to a small lake that actually had fish-able ice. Before we leave he says “Do you care if we just use the ION today so I don’t have to lug my gas auger back there?”…. 75+ holes later and we had a great day on the ice!

Sorry to vent and make a long post! I just can't stand the myth about the batteries that has seemingly been created on these forums... With that said, I have two buddies with the Eskimo HC40 Propane auger so I've had experience with those as well. They are also great, and if I couldn't have an ION that would easily be my second choice.

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I know this has been discussed in the past but to all who own one what are the pros and cons? I have been thinking of getting the ION but a lot of people told me they wont work in cold temps and last time I checked it is usually cold ice fishing:D. I am picking one or the other up at the show this weekend and would appreciate any advice from owners of each. Thanks will be mostly using for my big house.

Westguy, I've had a propane since 2011, 5 seasons and it has always been reliable, a little  heavy but no problem starting down -15 and never had to keep a tank warmed up.  I have no regrets, it started a week ago on the second pull and hadn't been started since last March. I  bought it to use in my wheelhouse, I'm happy with it so far.

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With all the creditable viable options for augers out there propane imo would be a last resort. The only factor for propane as being potentialy useful is clean burning but with a major cost, the waste byproduct of those propane tanks. You know, those  empty tanks embeded in the ice or sitting on the ice. I'll stop there , I'm not a tree hugger but if you would like to fish with my group leave the propane auger at home.

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All I can say wow hard to believe people can get that bent out of shape over what augers best.  And yes I have a propane auger do I  think its the best no. I have never had any problems with empty tanks left behind. They must have fixed that last time it was in for warranty work.

 

Edited by huntercj

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With all the creditable viable options for augers out there propane imo would be a last resort. The only factor for propane as being potentialy useful is clean burning but with a major cost, the waste byproduct of those propane tanks. You know, those  empty tanks embeded in the ice or sitting on the ice. I'll stop there , I'm not a tree hugger but if you would like to fish with my group leave the propane auger at home.

I was only providing the information the original poster requested, I find it hard to believe that all of those tanks left behind are from people utilizing propane augers I normally  go through 1 tank per year. I do agree that lake litter is a problem and disgusting to say the least! Our group picks up after ourselves and others and we aren't tree huggers either.

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I have a first gen propane that must have been the only one from the factory that didn't leave a tank behind either, glad the "warranty work" fixed yours!

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I was only providing the information the original poster requested, I find it hard to believe that all of those tanks left behind are from people utilizing propane augers I normally  go through 1 tank per year. I do agree that lake litter is a problem and disgusting to say the least! Our group picks up after ourselves and others and we aren't tree huggers either.

Sorry bud my response was not directed towards you. Its he internet and I understand. The format of this page (page) does not help.

Edited by waker

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Sorry bud my response was not directed towards you. Its he internet and I understand. The format of this page does not help.

Thanks! No problem on my end.

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For what its worth, I went the battery route for one year before going back to gas. Got tired of dead batteries while fishing. Nothing worse then having to stop fishing cause you ran out of power. 25" is nice but what about 36"+? I thought of going propane but hated spending all that money on tanks along with bringing multiple bottles with.  Plus the weight of propane augers with all my other gear.Gas just made more overall sense.  And like the battery guys hate when folks say they don't last, we gas guys don't get what's so hard mixing one gallon of gas...Anyways, that's just my opinion owning both gas and battery.

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thanks everyone for the info all very good points! I have a gas auger but with my new ice cabin was kind of trying to keep the fumes to a minimum to keep the wife happy:D. I have done my research and still 50/50 but leaning towards the ION.

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Still has exhaust fumes, just not 2 stroke fumes.

My exact thoughts as I read the original post about 4 strokes.

 

Reading thru this whole post still doesn't solve my auger dilemma. I have my 15 year old+ gas two stroke Strikemaster lazer mag, its a starting and cutting machine, works great. I also have the Strikemaster Electra to use in my wheelhouse to keep the fumes down. Its really a piece of dump, just about janks your back out when you hit the bottom of the hole, but its still works if you cut really slow at the bottom of the hole. My problem is I also like to drill holes around the house and when I'm searching for the spot to set down, don't have enough faith in the Electra battery to last, so I end up taking both augers with on the trip, which takes up too much space!!!! 

Wish their was a spot where I could try a propane auger and a 4 stroke inside the house and really see what it smells like.

Its never bothered me to mix the gas and oil, I use the same mix in my chains saw, 50:1 BUT where the problem is, sometimes the cap leaks if you forget to shut the lit air bleed valve.

Right now I'm leaning toward the ION with a spare battery. That would get me down to one auger on trips, the only downside is the initial cost for both and how long would those batteries last?? Would I be buying a new battery in 2 years?? 3 years? 5 years??

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I know this has been discussed in the past but to all who own one what are the pros and cons? I have been thinking of getting the ION but a lot of people told me they wont work in cold temps and last time I checked it is usually cold ice fishing:D. I am picking one or the other up at the show this weekend and would appreciate any advice from owners of each. Thanks will be mostly using for my big house.

In a permanent house is the best fit for an ion.  I have had one two years.  In that set up, you can leave the auger outside and just bring the battery inside.  Our old strikemaster, we'd have to bring the whole thing in to warm it up to get it to fire on day 2-4 when it was butt cold outside. 

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I think it's a shame that most negative comments about Ions or Strikemasters are from people that haven't been around them much. The old 12 volt junk Strikemasters still haunt the electric auger market. I think if you are a permanent house guy they really excel, a hole hopper then no. I can move my house a couple times, drill to locate it, drill inside, and put out tip ups on a single charge. Remember too that if you have a permmy house with a generator you can charge the battery between moves, but I've never had to do it. I bought a new one this year to get reverse but my old was 2 years old and still perfect. All augers drill holes and all are pretty good quality, get an auger based on what you will be using it for. Don't fear the electrics because of hearsay.

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To be perfectly objective on the Ion, I did have one battery go bad on me.  I called Ardisam and they replaced it for free with no hassel, if it is less than a year since purchase.  I did have to send in the bad one.  I also agree, you can't do unlimited hole hopping, but if you've got a plan to charge batteries on a trip, that is also easily dealt with.  

That said, the biggest benefit of the Ion is the size and light weight.  I'm glad I can run the battery dead before I get drilling fatigue.  I've lugged around heavier augers and just quit drilling because it was pushing 50 lbs with the ice caked on.   

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 You won't smell the exhaust from the 4 stroke Strikemaster in your ice house, I guarantee you that. I am as picky as anybody, and I worked on my own ice house for 3 months before I was able to drill a hole in it, I wouldn't use an auger if it smelled my house up as I have my own blood and sweat poured into the thing. If you are ever south of the cities and want to stop by my house when it's on the lake, I will give you a $100 bill if you can smell exhaust fumes in it.

My point about the batteries is that they may last for as many holes as you want to drill, but their lifespan will be short. Lithium Ion batteries do not last long, anyone who says they do may have gotten lucky with an outlier or they just don't use their batteries much. Having 15+ years experience in the construction world, I can tell you that the average lifespan on a lithium ion battery from Makita, DeWault , or Porter Cable power tool is about 3 years. I can't imagine a little company like ION spending more R&D dollars than a tool giant like Makita, but maybe they somehow have a magic formula to make them last longer. We found that the #1 enemy of them was temperature changes, so I can't imagine using them in the Minnesota winter to drill ice holes will increase their lifespan.

Anyway, if you have disposable income, then I think the ION is a great choice. I had my last auger for 9 years, being optimistic and saying the batteries last 4 years, I would of had to replace batteries twice. I would need two batteries, so that would be a $300 fix every 4 years, or $600 fix for the 9 years I owned it. Again, if that's not a big deal to you, then the ION is clearly the right choice. 

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Remember also, when you drill a hole in your house with a new Ion, you have a snow cone on top of your hole and on your new one you'll hit reverse and it will disappear back down the hole. With a traditional auger you'll be sweeping up ice chips for 1/2 hour and have a soggy floor the rest of the day. Don't even think about it, get an Ion for a big house. Even that has to be worth a $149 battery every 3 or 4 years. Lifespan is still unknown and can't be compared to batteries used and charged a couple times every day for construction. Most experts say it's based more on the number of charge cycles than years. 

Edited by Hawg

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Lifespan is still unknown and can't be compared to batteries used and charged a couple times every day for construction. Most experts say it's based more on the number of charge cycles than years. 

Bingo! You took the words out of my mouth. The reason a lot of tool batteries only last 2-3 years is they are charged nearly every day, or more. The biggest thing with Lithium Batteries "life", is number of charge cycles.

I fish nearly every Saturday and Sunday from November through March (most years, this year it will be even shorter...). So in a normal year, my season is 5 months using the batteries twice a week. A lot of tool guys season is 12 months charging the batteries 5 times a week. So yes, brian is exactly right that the batteries won't last forever. But comparing to a tool battery isn't apples to apples...

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 You won't smell the exhaust from the 4 stroke Strikemaster in your ice house, I guarantee you that. I am as picky as anybody, and I worked on my own ice house for 3 months before I was able to drill a hole in it, I wouldn't use an auger if it smelled my house up as I have my own blood and sweat poured into the thing. If you are ever south of the cities and want to stop by my house when it's on the lake, I will give you a $100 bill if you can smell exhaust fumes in it.

My point about the batteries is that they may last for as many holes as you want to drill, but their lifespan will be short. Lithium Ion batteries do not last long, anyone who says they do may have gotten lucky with an outlier or they just don't use their batteries much. Having 15+ years experience in the construction world, I can tell you that the average lifespan on a lithium ion battery from Makita, DeWault , or Porter Cable power tool is about 3 years. I can't imagine a little company like ION spending more R&D dollars than a tool giant like Makita, but maybe they somehow have a magic formula to make them last longer. We found that the #1 enemy of them was temperature changes, so I can't imagine using them in the Minnesota winter to drill ice holes will increase their lifespan.

Anyway, if you have disposable income, then I think the ION is a great choice. I had my last auger for 9 years, being optimistic and saying the batteries last 4 years, I would of had to replace batteries twice. I would need two batteries, so that would be a $300 fix every 4 years, or $600 fix for the 9 years I owned it. Again, if that's not a big deal to you, then the ION is clearly the right choice. 

So I've just about convinced myself to go buy an ION and then you come forward with this post.  All batteries go dead eventually and I sure wouldn't feel comfortable going on a trip without two batteries. Decisions, decisions.

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Haha yeah it's a tough one, I am glad I am not in your shoes. I was fortunate in the fact that I hole hop a lot, my ice house is more for family weekends, so my decision was a lot easier than yours. 

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I have an Ion and I love it.  You will need a 2nd battery though.  I can easily drill 20+ holes in 18" - 24" of ice with one battery.  If you leave that battery out in -16 (I did this once last year), you will only get about seven holes.  Manage your batteries and you'll be fine.

Typically, the best ice fishing is early ice.  An Ion is perfect for this.  However, the best ice fishing on LOW is late ice.  An Ion is not the right choice if you are planning on hoping around a lake with over 3' of ice.  

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Get a Honda 4 stroke Strikemaster and be done with it. No worries about propane, exhaust fumes, cold, or batteries. 

X2

I had a 2 stroke, sold and bought an Ion, sold that and bought a propane, sold that and bought a Strikemaster with a 4 stroke Honda and couldn't be happier with it. I use it in the wheel house all the time. Sometimes it sets off the smoke alarm but it doesn't set off the CO2 detector.

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