Is The Clam Drill Plate Worth It? (Key Pros & Cons)
UPDATED 18 MAY 2023
by Robert Ceran
Are you thinking about getting a Clam Plate for your ice auger?
The Clam Plate is a popular auger conversion adapter that can turn a manual auger into an electric drill powered one.
But you may be wondering why you need a Clam Drill Plate at all, and if it’s really worth the money.
To help you with this question, we’ll discuss the pros and cons of the Clam Auger Plate in this article.
That way you’ll know what you can expect from it, and decide if it is the right option for your ice fishing purposes.
Is the Clam Plate worth it?
The short answer is yes, the Clam Drill Plate is definitely worth it, as it makes drilling holes through the ice easier to control, while protecting both yourself and your electric drill from the jolts of the auger.
With that being said, the Clam Plate doesn’t only come with advantages, but also a few disadvantages that we should look at more closely.
That way you’ll be able to make a fully informed decision on whether or not it’s worth it for your ice fishing purposes, or if one of the other options is better for you.
The key pros of the Clam Drill Plate are:
- Versatility – works with many different augers & drills
- Provides a strong, two handed grip for steady drilling
- Protects hands & wrists from jerky auger movements
- Protects your electric drill
Let’s take a closer look at each of these.
First of all, versatility: The Clam Plate can be used with most manual augers and electric ice auger drill bits.
It was developed before ice augers became compatible for direct attachment to cordless drills, and so was designed to work with the majority of auger drills on the market.
However, since the most popular ice augers, such as the Strikemaster Lite Flite or K-Drill ice auger can now be attached directly to compatible power drills, this functionality of the Clam Auger Plate is not as significant anymore.
Secondly, stability: The Clam Plate provides you with a much better grip than using a cordless drill with a side arm, and this can make a big difference if you’re dealing with a lot of kickback while cutting through dirty ice using an auger with chipper type blades.
And apart from providing stability to the auger itself, this setup also protects your wrists and hands from injury, as well as protecting your cordless drill.
Personally, before I used the Clam Plate I burned through one drill per ice fishing season, while now I can get 3 to 4 seasons out of my drill since I switched to using the Clam Auger Plate. In my opinion, that alone already justifies the expense of buying one.
Unless you’re using an industrial drill, most cordless drills aren’t built to withstand the kind of abuse they get from powering an ice auger (especially if you’re using chipper blades, cutting through dirty ice, or reopening frozen ice holes).
The main cons of the Clam Plate are:
- Complex assembly process (hard to do with numb fingers in the cold)
- Long assembly time
- It’s bulky & hard to transport
- Requires maintenance of its bearing element
One of the biggest disadvantages of the Clam Plate is that the assembly process is quite complex, requiring you to put together multiple parts with bolts and screws.
Needless to say, this is hard to do with numb fingers in cold temperatures, and also takes at least 2 to 3 minutes to complete, which is a pain if you’re in a rush to get set up.
However, you can avoid this issue by assembling your Clam Plate at home before you go on your ice fishing trip (although this does make it bulkier during transport).
Pro tip: if you plan to store your Clam Auger Plate with the drill attached in your garage, it’s a good idea to remove the battery of the drill, and store it in the warmth of your home.
This helps to avoid the battery getting drained in cold temperatures.
Another disadvantage of the Clam Plate is that it significantly increases the weight and size of your ice fishing auger, which makes it a pain in the neck to transport while ice fishing.
In fact, you might need to get an ice fishing sled just to transport your auger with a Clam Plate attached to it.
Finally, the attachment of the Clam Plate to the auger drill comes with a bearing, and this requires regular lubrication as part of its maintenance. If you don’t do this, it will stop working after a few seasons.
What does a Clam Plate do?
A Clam Drill Plate is an ice auger conversion kit, and basically consists of an adapter that attaches to both the ice auger and an electric cordless drill, and thus converts a manual auger into an electric ice auger.
In addition to this, a Clam Auger Plate also provides you with a stable grip for both hands, allowing you to easily position your auger on the ice, and to keep it steady while you’re drilling through the ice.
Finally, the Clam auger plate also provides you and your drill with protection from the jerks and sudden kicks that an ice auger makes when it drills through dirty ice.
This last feature is especially useful when using an auger with chipper blades (such as the Kdrill ice auger), as these augers generate more vibration and sudden jerks.
How much does a Clam Plate cost?
A basic Clam Drill Plate retails around $90, and goes up to about $170 for a Clam Drill Plate Pro.
In addition to this, you may also need an ice auger adapter, depending on which auger bit you use. This usually costs around $15, bringing the total cost up to somewhere between $100 and $180.
Clam Plate vs power drill with side arm – which is better?
Since many popular ice augers can now be directly connected to a cordless drill, you may be wondering why bother with a Clam Plate at all?
Well, the short answer is that augers that are directly chucked to a drill work perfectly fine for most purposes, especially if you use them with a sufficiently powerful drill (personally I like the Milwaukee M18 Fuel).
However, when drilling through dirty ice, or when using an auger with chipper blades (such as the K-Drill), the Clam Plate provides additional stability that not only makes the experience more pleasant, but also protects your hands and your drill from the strong jolts and jerks.
Finally, the side arms of power drills that are directly chucked to an ice auger are well known to break off at times, which is a major hassle if it happens in the middle of your ice fishing trip.
What augers work with a Clam Plate?
The following brands of hand augers can be used with a Clam Plate:
- Strikemaster Lazer
- Strikemaster Mora
In general, most manual ice augers can be directly bolted to the Clam Plate, while electric ice augers often require an adapter to be used with a Clam Plate.
For example, the Strikemaster Lite Flite auger needs an adapter to bolt it to the Clam Plate. If you do find yourself needing an adapter, these are usually cheap and easy to get online.
However, keep in mind that if you want to use a hand auger with the Clam Plate, you’ll probably need to get an auger extension, as most hand augers are too short to be used while standing up.
What drills work with a Clam Plate?
You can use an 18 or 20 volt cordless drill with a ½ inch chuck for a Clam Plate.
The drill should be brushless, and generate at least 700 in lbs of torque, and come with a side arm for stabilization.
For more details on this topic, check out our article on what kind of drill you should use for an ice auger.