If you’re buying a new ice fishing auger this season, you may want to consider a propane model. Propane augers are clean, low-maintenance, easy to start and powerful. To better understand propane auger advantages, we spoke with two industry experts, Tony Aloia, Director of Sales for Eskimo Ice Fishing Gear, and Jim Hass, Sales Manager with Jiffy Ice Drills
1. A Quiet and Clean Ice Auger
“Propane augers are a very quiet running, clean burning alternative to gas augers,” Aloia said. “Many customers also like the fact
that they smoke much less than a traditional gas auger.”
Owning a propane auger like the Jiffy 46 X-Treme also means avoiding tasks common with gasoline augers. For instance, there’s no mixing oil and gas or fussing with fuel stabilizer.
"You don’t need to winterize the fuel at the end of the season, as it [propane] is much less volatile during storage,” Aloia said.
Hass also points out the low maintenance virtues of a propane auger. “Propane burns so clean that it literally does away with most maintenance concerns with no gumming up of carburetors or fouled up spark plugs due to today’s blended fuels,” Hass said.
Here’s another thing, I can’t remember an ice season where auger gas wasn’t spilled at least once in a vehicle, within an ice shack, on someone’s hands or clothing or on the ice. It’s messy and it’s another inconvenience avoided with propane.
Extra Tip: Propane augers are low maintenance but not maintenance free. The owner’s manual will detail upkeep duties and operation tips. For instance, according to Aloia, some propane models must be stored carburetor side up, otherwise oil may drip into the cylinder, which can cause smoking for up to 30 seconds after starting.
Watch video below: Jiffy's Propane Ice Auger
2. Ice Auger Are Easy Starters and Powerful
While as a fuel propane is cleaner than gasoline, its other advantages come from combining propane with a fuel-efficient, 4-cycle engine, as seen with the Eskimo HC40 Propane Ice Auger or the Eskimo P1 Rocket Ice Auger, a propane auger for the hardcore hole driller and the Jiffy 4500 Series Pro 4 Propane-Powered Ice Drill.
Hass explains the Jiffy 4-stroke’s over-head valve ensures plenty of low-end torque. This translates into a drill with plenty of power for chewing through whatever ice conditions you want to throw at it. The Eskimo HC40 is powerful, too, thanks in part to its high compression 4-cycle engine.
Four-cycles are also quiet. Stealth’s always a bonus. Keeping noise to a minimum prevents spooking shallow fish. It also avoids alerting the dudes at the other end of the lake where you’re fishing.
Propane engines are also easy to start given they prime automatically. This feature, along with the fact there’s no choke, means there’s no risk of engine flooding, which can be an issue with a gas auger when its starting procedures aren’t done properly.
Extra Tip: “Since propane is a 4-cycle auger, you want to make sure that you use a 4-stroke oil,” Aloia said.
Extra Tip: In extreme cold, propane as a fuel source may experience problems. Jiffy sells a neoprene cylinder sleeve for insulation. Aloia and Hass suggest keeping extra cylinders in a warm place, then using as needed to ensure better performance.
3. Convenient Fuel Source
One-pound propane bottles are readily available for purchase from various sellers. Their size and sealed qualities also make for easy transport.
Hass notes using a propane auger can merge fuel needs for ice anglers as 1-pound cylinders are also commonly used to power heaters, lamps and stoves. Screw-in, no-spill, pressurized cylinders also make it easy to switch bottles from one piece of equipment to the next. Unused ones can be saved for camping adventures or the next ice season.
“When you buy propane, it’s good to the last drop due to the fact it has no shelf life like today’s blended fuels,” Hass said.
Extra Tip: Once empty, 1-pound propane cylinders require proper disposal. Learn more by contacting your local government or waste disposal service.
While gasoline has a long track record powering ice augers, propane gives buyers another option when shopping for a powerful, low maintenance and fuel efficient ice drill.