First we had cordless phones, then cordless shavers, and now cordless ice augers. The Nils Cordless Ice Auger is a bit of a misnomer because the auger is an attachment that goes on your own 18 V or bigger cordles drill. With that combo, you drill holes in the ice. It’s a really simple, easy-to-use, VERY effective design in an ice auger. Who doesn’t have a cordless drill that they love and cherish? Now, instead of only screwing down sheeting and drill holes in 2 x 4’s, you can take your cordless drill out on the ice and make holes – lots of them depending on the age of your battery.
This cordless auger bit is designed as a “wet” bit to be used in wet ice conditions for both early and late seasons. That was what it was designed for, but I have news for you. They’ve used them in thick, hard ice as well for the past two winters asd well. Even though the cordless auger’s head is slightly less aggressive (to not smoke your drill batteries), they worked particularly great in all ice conditions. The best part is in the design itself. You just know that a solid 40% of all ice fishermen will be bringing worn-out, beat-up, half-smoked batteries on their cordless drills. The thought of keeping batteries that are fairly fresh won’t even enter their minds for planning. Well, Nils USA is no dummy. They made this auger so you can stick the included handle on it and drill by hand when your worn out batteries freeze or crap out on you. “‘Wait”, you say. “I don’t want to be drilling by hand!!!” Don’t worry – it’s a Nils. Your job is to turn the handles in circles and let the auger do the work. You don’t push down on any Nils ice auger and the cordless version is operated exactly the same way.
Notice that the Nils handle has NO mushroom palm grip on the the top and NO flaring on the bottom of the black grip parts of the handle. That is because they don’t want you to be pushing downward. You just spin the shaft using the offset handles while keeping the shaft straight – no wobbling. Both of your arms turn the Nils auger handle. The cutting head does the rest. And, the same goes for your drill. It just spins the auger- the cutting head does the rest. ALL other ice augers are made to be pushed into the ice while turning. Nils ice auger are and remain, for the last several years now, the exception to all those other brands. I have YET to see any other ice auger company design an auger that cuts itself into the ice without needing you to push with both hands. It’s only happens with Nils.
The Nils Cordless ice auger comes in a 42″ long shaft only. It is available in 4.5″, 6″ and 8″ diameters. When hand cutting in 24″ of ice with this auger (orange shaft, black cutting head – think halloween) is it about one second slower than the regular hand auger (teal shaft and red cutting head). We’ve tested them side by side so you don’t have to. There is always a HUGE concern and discussion about the one second difference with a significant number of ice fishermen. It’s ONE second. It’s just like our canoe trip outfitting customers worrying whether or not they are going to like that palm grip or T grip on a canoe paddle before their trip. By the end of every canoe trip, nobody even thinks about the grip on the paddle – ever. But, boy, before they leave, it’s like that paddle grip (not the shaft or blade) will make or break the entire 5 day, 50 mile canoe trip in wind, waves, and portages. People obsess about the dumbest details. To waste one’s brain power about one second in an ice auger’s drill time is absurd. Instead of being incredibly, unbelievably, ridiculously fast, the Nils Cordless is just unbelievably, ridiculously fast. I know…it is a bit of a letdown for me, too. 😦
Compared to what is available out there in true cordless attachments in ice augers, this is the best ice auger money can buy. It’s also a much better deal than Clam’s drill conversion auger kit. The Nils is also the most versatile auger as you can slap a handle on it as conditions and power resources warrant. I’ve looked at the Clam “cordless” drill conversion thing and it costs more than the Nils, has a hokey design that requires you to take the chuck off of your drill by pulling the inside screw within the chuck. Then, you set your chuck on some shelf and forget where you put it. In the springtime, you then have to buy another one. For the conversion kit by Clam, you take your chuckless, cordless, drill body and bolt it to this plastic/metal frame that does nothing more than give you metal handles like on a regular gas auger. Apparently, torque is an issue with one’s 18 volt DeWalt. There’s a bearing in there that is supposed to do something special-I don’t remember what it is. Then you link up the throttle lever with an included, very professional (sarcasm) zip-tie, maybe some chewing gum, and a bandaid, depending on your drill make/model and attach a Strikemaster regular Lazer mag shaft to it. Finally, you are ready to drill.
While drilling with this outfit, you proceed to smoke your batteries on that itty-bitty drill which is now locked to the board and the auger for the entire winter. You cannot easily detach your drill to use it for anything else unless you unbolt the four big hand knobs, find your chuck, reinstall your chuck and then go drill. If the battery craps out in the cold – AND IT WILL – drilling by hand is not an option at all with the conversion kit. You go home, disgusted and trying to understand the meaning of life.
I listened (not willingly) to an Iowan at a sportshow at which I was representing redrockstore.com. He was some fishing “great” who once won 11th place in some Iowan ice fishing contest – 11th place! Boy, I be they gave a real pretty ribbon with that position! He told countless people at the show (in the booth next to me) about how great the Clam gadget was in 5″ of ice with an itty-bitty 5″ diameter shaft on it. People were drop-jaw amazed at “how light it is” and they were constantly hefting it, mouths agape in head-shaking wonderment. Well, no kidding – there is no gas engine sitting on top of an itty-bitty 5″ Lazer Mag shaft. You could pretty much look at it and know exactly what to expect for weight in this gizmo. The heavy-set Iowan all dressed pro-staff colors was like a barker at a circus telling people to buy a ticket to see the world’s biggest ball of mud. People hefted the silly thing in absolute amazement. Well, no s*** Sherlock! It’s a DeWalt 18V drill on an auger shaft with some metal and plastic attached. I was shaking my head and wishing I’d remembered to bring a big ball of string to compete with his big ball of mud. Maybe next time, I’ll bring the world’s biggest dust bunny. It didn’t take much to impress and dazzle those masses in particular and a lot of things in the world made sense to me after witnessing the “buzz” about absolutely nothing special. I sent a whole bunch of them over to the Nils USA booth and encouraged them see a true cordless auger attachment with a handle on it for when your battery craps out. Here – heft this! Wowwww! Sheesh!
For $150 (if you buy the 6 inch Lazer Mag shaft and the drill converter kit, it is NOT well-thought-out rig. The Finlanders are WAY the heck in front with the Nils Cordless Auger. In the spring, you have an apparatus to store with the Clam. With the Nils Cordless Auger, you have an auger shaft that you fold down the handle and stick in a corner until next season.
So, if you want a gadget they are out there. If you want a cordless ice auger that can be used by hand and doesn’t tie up your cordless drill for the whole winter, get the Nils.
In case you are wondering what a 6″ Nils auger can do by hand, watch this video (cordless or reg. hand auger – makes no difference):