I get asked these questions about Nils Ice Augers almost daily.   What’s the difference between the Nils auger with the power point?  Do  I need the power point for the power ice auger?  Well, here are the answers.

Everybody has an opinion on the internet and in our store.   We have some guys who INSIST that they need the power point to drill holes by hand and/or with the Tanaka motor.   That COULD NOT be farther from the truth.  If you are going to have an opinion about the power point, at least have an accurate opinion.

I have used both Nils Cutting Heads and we have sold thousands of Nils augers over the last 10 years, both power and hand.   I have interacted with thousands of people on Nils augers on almost a daily basis for the past 10 years as well.  I’ve heard just about every story there is regarding Nils Ice Augers and the power point cutting head.  I consider myself an authority on this ice auger having a lot of experience both personally and with tons of customers.  I’m also pretty tight with Nils USA.

Here are the truths despite anything you read, hear, discuss or choose to believe regarding Nils Ice Augers with and without power points.

You do not need a power point to use the Tanaka gas motor.   The Nils auger shaft and cutting head are a HAND AUGER that gets attached to the Tanaka motor with a special adapter.  It is the very same hand auger that we sell to everybody.   That auger, regardless of power point or non power point, cuts through the ice like a hot knife through butter – by hand.  When we sell an 8″ Nils Power Ice Auger, we go to the 8″ hand auger pile and grab one of those, and then we go to the Tanaka pile and grab one of those.  We ship them to you in two different boxes.   When we sell an 8″ Nils hand Ice Auger, we go to the 8″ auger pile and ship one of those very same augers to you.   There is no specially reinforced/designed/blessed auger for the hand or power auger in the Nils Ice Auger system.  The only difference is whether or not we ship you a motor.  For the 8″, that is a 27 CC Tanaka motor that is an industrial grade motor designed to run for 600 hours.  It’s tine, lightweight, expensive, and the best you can have.  The whole point of a Nils Power Ice Auger is the light weight 23 lbs. and the ridiculous speed that they cut through the ice.  They are almost effortless to use with the Tanaka motor.    To sum up – if makes ZERO difference if you have the power point or not to drill a hole at lightning fast speed with a Nils Ice Auger.  It stands to reason that if you can drill a hole by hand with unbelievable speed using the non-power point head,  putting a motor on top of the same auger will cut the hole ever easier, despite not having a power point.  Very few people seem to understand this point and blab all kinds of baloney out there that simply is incorrect.  We have customers who absolutely insist there is a difference.   Trust me, it is a placebo effect if you are comparing a sharp power point head to a sharp non-power point head.  Now if you are comparing a brand new power point head to a 3 year old, well-used, non-power point head, well, of course there will be a difference and the power point head will cut faster.  It’s like “duh”.

NIls Regular Cutting Head
NIls Regular Cutting Head

The Nils power point was made for ONE SINGLE PURPOSE.  It serves as a pilot bit only to drill straighter holes in the event that you will be drilling a lot of  “figure 8’s”.     A “figure 8” is two, slightly overlapping holes in the ice that looks like a number 8.   (Three overlapping holes looks like a “Mickey Mouse”)    A pilot bit in machine shop means a smaller drill bit that drills a guide hole to be followed by a bigger bit later.  If you want to drill a straighter hole in something, the smaller hole serves as guide.  Yes, I’m aware that drilling a pilot hole  in metal also allows the cutting edges of a much bigger drill bit to make contact with the metal for more efficient cutting because dead-center on a big drill bit won’t make it’s way into the material.  You must drill a pilot hole first.  I get that.  But, in Nils case, we are not drilling in metal.  It’s ice.  We are not applying the principle of “pilot holes to improve the cutting edge to meet the material” in this particular instance because unlike a big drill bit in metal, a Nils cutting head makes edge contact with the ice regardless of size.    They are designed to do that otherwise the non-power point head would not cut without a pilot hole.   So, don’t rationalize that the Nils cutting head is the same as a big drill bit.  It works differently and the power point does not add appreciably to the speed of drilling.  This isn’t a big block of aluminum in a drill press.  This is ice and not rocket science.

If you are not drilling overlapping holes in the ice all the time but only on rare occasion because an 8″ hole is big enough to pull a tuna through anyway, then the power point is a waste of money in my opinion.    The power point will not slow you down if you take care of it and have no mishaps.  The power point is essentially a mini blade that looks a lot like the big, main blade.  Think of it as the little mini-alien mouth that would come out of the main mouth of the alien in “Alien” right before the victim screamed in extra horror.    The power point on a Nils auger looks wicked.   You could take it to neck/face tattooed, Los Angeles gang member and say, “I’m gonna mess you up, sucka.” and they would believe you and run.    Aside from gang fighting in LA, I don’t think they are that great given the things that can go wrong with them.

If you bend one of those tiny mini-blades just a little or if you dull one on something, you are through drilling.  The cutting head will not drill into the ice and ends up jumping around on top.  Power points can work just fine for years for some guys and on the first trip out for others, they fail.  There are all kinds of youtube videos of guys drilling single holes with power points.   The biggest mistake they make is that they hit the the ice (while walking along) with the power point while the entire auger is at an angle.  The power point digs in easily.  Then, as they walk up to the place where the power point stuck into the ice,  they stand up the auger straight and they bend the little bugger.   Do you know how much pressure is on that little dug-in power point when they leverage that 4 foot long shaft to vertical?  You can’t do that with the non-power point Nils cutting head.    

The reason so many think they need the Nils power point is because they think the gas-powered motor has to be teamed up with something else that is referred to as “power”.  “Power” to an ice fisherman means bigger, better, stronger, faster, cooler, meaner, and more productive.   Just write the word “power” on anything related to ice fishing and everybody’s gotta have it.  “Power” socks – keeps your feet warmer and drier.  “Power” boot laces – keeps your boots on on stronger and tougher.  “Power” hand wiping rag –  Wipes fish slime faster and cleaner.    It’s a bit ridiculous,  but words of magnificence really work magnificently in big box retailer stores because you can’t find a salesman who actually knows anything  at all about the products they stock.   POWER!!!!  Arrrghh!  Where’s me parrot!?  It has to be better!!!

When considering a Nils Ice auger with power point consider the following:

Does Joe from Red Rock like the Nils power point?   NO.

If I could only get a Nils auger with power point, should my world come to an end?  No.

If I had a power point and did not initially want one, would I still be able to drill just as fast as the non-power point Nils cutting head?   Absolutely.

Would I feel any increase in speed with or without a power point on my Nils?   Only in your head and if comparing an old dull blade to a sharp new blade.

If I did not get the power point on the Nils Power Ice Auger, would it still cut OK?    Better than “OK”.  It’ll drill like red hot poker through a marshmallow on Saturday night. 

Should you buy a Nils Ice Auger with a power point?  That depends on the following:  

  • If you are bull in a china shop with regards to handling your gear-  No.
  • If you don’t understand the effects of leverage-  No.
  • If you are going to drill and might hit a reef below the ice-  No.
  • If you only once in a great while might drill a figure 8-  No.
  • If you don’t ALWAYS properly install the blade cover and check it to make sure-  No.

Should you buy the power point if all you ever drill are figure 8’s in the ice because you only catch really big fish and are an eternal optimist when ice fishing?  Maybe.

Are we going to see a decrease in sales of Nils Ice augers with power points as a result of this blog post explaining Nils cutting heads with power points?  Hell, NO.

Does the New 10″ Nils Ice Auger come with a power point?  Yes, and only with a power point.

Does it affect the speed of the new Nils 10″ auger to not have a power point.  No.  We discussed this already at length.

Did the Nils 4.5 or 6 inch augers EVER come with power points?   No.

Is the Nils Ice Auger the fastest cutting auger in the world?  Yes, both by hand and with the Tanaka motor


Watch this video of Hand cutting with the 6″ Nils

Watch the new 10″ Nils with Tanaka Gas (35cc model) (See blog post here)

Order your Nils Power Ice Auger Here

Nils Power Ice Auger System - available in 4.5", 6", 8" and 10"
Nils Power Ice Auger System – available in 4.5″, 6″, 8″ and 10″

Order your Nils Power Ice Auger Here

 

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