After my first full season using a StrikeMaster Lazer hand auger, I can say my already high expectations were far exceeded. Towards the end of last season, I broke my Eskimo Hand Auger, my trusty ice fishing companion for numerous seasons. I liked the Eskimo because it was simple and cheap – two nice features for someone starting out in the sport. When I went to buy a new auger for this ice season, I wanted to go with something similarly simplistic, but maybe a little higher end to keep up with my growing use of the tool.
I had already used the StrikeMaster Lazer a couple times before purchasing it and had always been impressed. When compared with the cutting capabilities of my Eskimo, the Strikemaster seemed to cut ice like butter. At $116, it was a significant step up in the price range, but I felt it was well worth it for the quality I had experienced.
I was immediately impressed with the performance of my new auger. In contrast to the Eskimo, which shaved the ice into a snow, the StrikeMaster cut little chunks of ice, and got through much quicker. The chrome-alloy stainless steel blades are wicked sharp (as evidenced by a nasty cut my friend got with his model), and the powder paint finish keeps the ice and snow from building up along the shaft. The seven-inch model is the perfect sweet spot of a large enough hole to pull girthy fish through, but also small enough that you don’t have to cut through ridiculous amounts of extra ice. The handle is ergonomic and comfortable, something especially important when drilling lots of holes or through thick ice. I’ve even found the Lazer to be less of a bear on my shoulder than the Eskimo, which was really causing me some pain last season.
When using the seven-inch Lazer hand auger and a ten-inch electric auger at the same spot with a foot of ice, I frequently got through the ice quicker with my Lazer. Granted, I barely know how to operate an electric auger, but it goes to show you that this hand auger can cut through thick ice just as fast as a tool five times its price. Furthermore, I prefer the insurance you have by carrying a hand auger, as you never know when an electric or gas auger might clunk out, especially in the cold.
This auger is also lighter than many of those on the market, coming in at only seven-and-a-half pounds. Not only does this make it easy to carry in a sled, but also makes it possible to carry it by hand when packing light and walking or skating to a spot, as I did a few times this season. Its weight, along with the ability to change its height in three increments from 48 to 57 inches, makes it the perfect auger for anglers of any size, including small children. To entertain young cousins, we had a hole-drilling contest, and even the four-year-old was able to get in on the fun.
All in all, the StrikeMaster Lazer hand auger has been dependable, and its performance has been outstanding. After drilling around fifty holes this past season, through ice anywhere from four to fourteen inches thick, the blades still cut just as well as the day it arrived. If you’re looking for a new auger to try out next season, go with the Lazer; you’ll be happy you did.