The Mako is on sale for $300, while the Strikemaster Magnum is on sale for $320, plus I have an old $50 gift card.
From everyones posts it seems that both brands seem like pretty good products and both seem to have there pros and cons. I have a portable fish house and tend to favor the "run and gun" type of ice fishing, although this was kind of limited with the hand auger . I am leaning towards the Eskimo because of the dual blade system, and larger engine. The penalty for this seems to be the weight difference and wider grips which will add eccentricity making it more difficult to drill holes, but this drawback seems to be minor.
It does seem like a lot of you guys like your Strikemasters though. Maybe I should just flip a coin!
Strikemaster is a favorite due to MN local and sponsors. Im not seeing alot of constructive feedback on use or experience with both augers. So i'll paint a clearer picture since I use both augers frequently.
I have used the Viper powered Eskimo Stingray, Mako, Z51 and the hand shattering Z71. No complaints. All powerheads start fairly easily in coldest conditions ive been. Although the Z71 has way too much power for my liking. At times my hands feel like their still shaking from the drill. LOL. Design of auger bit and quantum blades making cutting very effortless without pressure. Your holes cut more adequate and the ring design on the bottom keeps the auger from cutting at a angle. Re-opening holes will be no problem. I have never seen person on the ice with the quantum bit/blades having problems drilling. Nor any pitch issues. I have seen some small wobble likely factory design flaw issues with quality control. I have cut over 1500+ holes with Eskimo vipers. Seems to drill well under any ice condition and you dont have to pull the auger up to clear ice during drilling a whole. I also have yet to change the quantum blades going on 3-5 yrs.
I currently have a Solo Lazer pro. I have used the Magnum Solo chipper, Strikelite, & older SM power heads on lazer blades. IMO, the biggest single selling factor for me on SM is the weight & power as to why I chosed the Solo Lazer pro. On the lazer blades they seem to dull easier and have more difficult time cutting on dirty ice. Both chipper and shaver blades will require you at some point to apply some minimal down pressure to cut. No big deal. SM's seems to have alot of issues with pitch. Seen this more in the older SM's then new models. Almost everytime I go out on the ice I will see a fellow have issue drllling and applying what appears to be heavy downforce to drill. My first guess is as usual pitch or blades. But I have also seen guys do this with appears to be fairly new SM solo augers. The biggest downfall is the chipper blade. Although it can re-open holes I find it slow even if on a lazermag/lazer pro head and tedious work to drill.
If the blade isnt clear of just any ice on it your gonna have some difficulty cutting ice. Clearly the lazer blades are they way to go if you have a SM. My Lazer Pro cuts very well with minimal down presssure and I have cut at least 1000 holes with it so far. I am seeing some minor wear on the blades and always bring a backup of brand new set just in case. There is some minor wobble and occasionally you have to pull the auger to clear ice out to drill. Because I run an gun often the 26lbs played a heavy factor in me choosing the Laser pro over the likes of other augers. Imma best that someday with the Tanaka/Nils setup at 21lbs .
Auger bit/blades - Mako
Ergonomics design - Solo Magnum
Weight - Solo Magnum
Drilling & power - Mako
Quality & customer service - both equal
Price vs value - Mako
My choice here with the edge again would be the Mako without a doubt. Your just gonna have less work and effort when drilling with the Mako over the chipper Solo Magnum. Your gonna have to drop extra $100+ to get a shaver lazer pro gas drill unit to be on par with the Mako.
You can find the Z51 Eskimo for $270-$280 new currently. So im sure you can find the Mako Eskimo @ $230-$250 at the end of the season. I have never seen a Solo Lazer Mag (not Magnum) sell close to those prices at clearance which would be the Z51 closest competition.