Screwdriver for an ice screw – an overview of the best models

Not a single self-respecting winter fisherman appears on a frozen body of water without an ice ax. It is as much a must-have for ice fishing as a fishing rod or a box. Of course, you can go without it, counting on holes left by colleagues, but even after a slight snowfall, finding them will be very problematic. Walking is also not the best option. If the ice is more than 20 cm thick, you will have to work until you sweat, after which fishing becomes not a joy. With an ice pick, everything is easier, especially if its knives are well and correctly sharpened. Drilling will take only a few minutes, and the rest of the time you can enjoy your favorite pastime.

In recent years, an improved tool has become very popular, which is a symbiosis of an ice ax and a construction screwdriver. The connection of the screw to the screwdriver is an unusual solution that allows you to get an excellent automated device for drilling ice of any thickness and structure without any effort. Today the fishing market offers drills that are already adapted for a screwdriver. The famous Swedish company Mora can boast of such products, but not every fisherman can afford this rather expensive tool.

But there were craftsmen who learned how to make automated ice axes from domestic products. This job requires certain skills and knowledge. It is not enough just to cut off the handle with a grinder, you need to know how to connect the auger to the power tool, and most importantly, choose the right one, because a low-power model will not cope with the task at hand. So, which screwdriver is the best for your ice ax? Let’s try to figure it out, but first we will finally make sure that this really needs to be done.

Advantages and disadvantages of ice axes equipped with a screwdriver

Compared to manual models, automated ice axes have a number of advantages. First of all, these are:

  • Ice screw with a screwdriver on iceSaving time. When a fish is passive, sometimes you have to look for it for a long time, making many holes. With a hand drill, you can spend hours searching, and the winter day is already short.
  • Saving energy. No physical overstrain, just a little effort to hold the tool in an upright position.
  • Great opportunities. The redesigned ice ax is capable of handling any ice, even the driest and densest.
  • Silence. When the ice cover is clear, without snow, there is a loud echo from the blows of an ice pick on the reservoir. After that, the fish will not fit under the hole for a long time. Another thing is an automated ice ax. It is not only fast but also quiet.
  • Multifunctionality. It is not necessary to store the fixture fully assembled. The screwdriver can be removed and used in everyday life for its intended purpose.
  • Self-esteem. Not every ice fishing lover has such a device. Competitors who continue to hammer with a pesh in the old fashioned way will glance at the work of the miracle ice ax with undisguised envy.
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Unfortunately, fishing shows some of the weaknesses of the power tool.

  • Ice fishing takes place at low temperatures, which is a major problem. If at -10˚C the device still somehow copes with its function, then in a more severe frost, you have to take out the battery and keep it in your bosom.
  • Devices with ice axes in which the auger rotates counterclockwise are unstable. After a certain number of revolutions, the adapter loosens and begins to slip in the chuck.

As you can see, this tool has much more advantages than disadvantages. They made it popular.

Which to choose?

Every angler, tired of working with his hands and making a choice in favor of improvement, is faced with the question of choosing a screwdriver. This mechanism has a number of requirements. What parameters you need to pay attention to when buying a screwdriver for an ice screw and which one to choose:

  • Fastening to a screwdriverSuitable for extreme conditions. In our case, these are low temperatures. Not every screwdriver is capable of working in frost, therefore, you should look in the device’s passport for information about at what temperature minimum it can be operated.
  • Voltage. This parameter determines the performance of the screwdriver, that is, its power. There is one rule here: the higher the value, the more powerful the tool. An 18-volt device is suitable for fishing, but it is better to stop at its professional “relative”, working from 36 volts. He will definitely cope with heavy loads.
  • Rotational moment. This physical quantity, which determines the force of rotation of the working element, determines how easy the drilling process will be. Here, too, you need to follow the principle: more is better. If there is no extra money, then you can limit yourself to a device operating in the range of 40-70 Nm (newton / meter), but if finances allow, it is worth purchasing a more advanced model – 80-90 Nm.
  • BatteryBattery capacity. The larger it is, the longer the device can work without recharging. Typically, this parameter ranges from 1.5 to 4 Ah (ampere-hour). It is clear that with a 4 Ah battery you can drill more holes on one charge.
  • Hull strength. In difficult winter fishing conditions, anything can happen. For example, during assembly, the screwdriver will accidentally slip out of your hands and hit hard ice. In order not to be disappointed in an automated ice ax on the very first day, you need to choose a high-quality screwdriver for it, resistant to impacts and other mechanical influences.
  • Lever. It is very convenient to use the device with a side handle. Thanks to this additional element, it can be reliably held with both hands and not be afraid to injure the hand.
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So that a screwdriver for an ice screw does not turn into unnecessary ballast on a pond, it is important to choose the right battery for it. Today, tools of this type are most often equipped with two types of batteries: lithium-ion and nickel-cadmium. Nickel-metal hydride are less common. They all have both positive and negative sides. Below is a table that will help winter anglers make the right choice.

Battery type pros Minuses
Lithium Ion (Li-Ion) Easy to maintain, high energy consumption, low self-discharge, light weight, fast charging Poor resistance to low temperatures, rapid wear, high cost
Nickel Cadmium (Ni-Cd) Works at extremely low temperatures (down to -50˚С), can be stored in a discharged state Memory effect, rapid loss of energy consumption (10% per year), heavy weight, noticeably heavier instrument
Nickel Metal Hydride (Ni-Mh) Increased energy intensity, resistance to cold, low weight Limited capacity, memory effect, high self-discharge, short shelf life in a discharged state (up to 3 years)

According to most ice fishing enthusiasts, the best option is a nickel-cadmium battery. It can withstand the cold very well, but just in case it is better to take a spare battery for fishing. While one is working, it is advisable to keep the second warm.

Ice screw adapter

An adapter is an intermediate element that connects the screwdriver to the drill. Without it, the ice ax cannot be automated. Usually the adapter consists of two parts: a square or hexagonal rod with a diameter of at least 2.5 cm (for a screwdriver) and on the back of a wider circular shaft with a hole for a mounting bolt (for a screw).
Ice screw attachment
Today, such adapters are sold in fishing shops, they cost about $ 10., but if there is a piece of thick-walled pipe and a metal rod in the garage, then you can try to make the adapter yourself. The main thing is that the center of rotation of both parts coincides, otherwise the ice ax will “dance” and not drill.

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Which screwdriver is better

Before focusing on specific models, it is worth mentioning the attempts of some fishermen to equip the ice ax with other devices, electric and not only. Wrenches, drills and even chainsaws are used. In technical terms, this is possible, but extremely difficult. This is especially true for the saw. Therefore, it is better to stop all the same with a screwdriver.

So, an ice ax screwdriver, which one to choose? The fishermen have tried many options, but not all of them have passed this test with dignity. In practice, only some models have shown themselves well. Let’s list them and give them a brief description:

  • Hitachi DS18DSFL – perfectly balanced tool with a comfortable rubberized handle. Voltage – 18 V. Powered by a lithium-ion battery with a capacity of 1.5 A / h (there are two in the set). Weighs only 1.7 kg, so even with prolonged use the hand does not get tired. A case is provided for transportation. The power is a little lacking, 41 Nm is not enough for drilling holes. Anglers who have to drill holes in the dark point out that this screwdriver could use a backlight.
  • Makita 8434DWFE – compact, light enough screwdriver weighing 2.5 kg. Powered by 3Ah NiMH batteries. At a voltage of 14.4 V, it has a maximum torque of 70 Nm. The pluses also include the high strength of the body, the keyless chuck and the presence of a side handle.
  • Bosch GSR18-2-LI Plus – a professional tool with the best performance / price ratio. It has an overload protection system for the electric motor, which ensures the durability of the device. Weight – 1.1 kg, battery type – Li-Ion, capacity – 2.0 A / h, voltage – 18 V, maximum torque – 63 Nm. Equipped with a flashlight to illuminate the working area.

These models are not very expensive and not the most powerful, but they cope with drilling several dozen holes perfectly. With proper use and proper care, they will last more than one season.

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