Propane augers promised to revolutionize ice fishing when they first appeared, threatening to dethrone gasoline as the fuel of choice.
Much of that promise has been denied due to rapid improvements in battery tech, and electric and drill-driven augers are clearly the future of hard-water angling.
That doesn’t make propane a bad choice, especially if you prefer instant refueling or need to keep your budget in check. And generally speaking, propane augers are less expensive than comparable battery-powered alternatives.
If that gets you thinking about a propane-powered auger, we’re here to help. Below, you'll find reviews of the two available propane augers, as well as a complete buying guide.
Quick glance at the best propane ice augers:
Table of Contents (clickable)
Best Propane Ice Augers Reviewed
Eskimo HC40 - Our Pick!
Diameter: 8” and 10”
Length: 42” blade
Blade Type: chipper
Weight: 28 and 31 lbs.
Eskimo’s enviable reputation on the ice spans everything from shelters to bibs to augers, and there’s simply no question that they know hard-water angling. The HC40 was designed around the advantages of clean-burning propane and designed from the ground up for this fuel.
Powered by one-pound propane bottles, there’s no mess and no hassle. Just open the valve and give the handle a firm tug. Expect very smooth idling and no-nonsense performance from the 4-stroke 40cc engine.
Generating power to spare, and easily drilling as many holes as you want to make on a single one-pound tank of propane, the Eskimo HC40 is as reliable as a small internal-combustion engine can be.
And while both gas and propane don’t offer the instant on of electric augers, this Eskimo typically starts easily and runs like a champ.
- Easy to start
- Easy to refuel
- Can be used indoors
Diameter: 6”, 8”, 9”, and 10”
Blade Type: chipper
Weight: 32 - 35 lbs.
Jiffy was among the first companies to offer a propane-powered auger, and the Pro 4 is undeniably popular among hard-water anglers who are worried about fuel or oil spills.
Powered by a 4-stroke 49cc engine, the Jiffy starts and runs about as well as the Eskimo. Spinning Jiffy’s proprietary Stealth STX with the serrated “Ripper” blade, the manufacturer claims a 20% increase in performance over the competition.
Jiffy also says that this is the most powerful propane auger on the market, and that’s certainly true in terms of raw specifications.
On the ice, I doubt you’ll notice any true performance difference between this auger and the Eskimo, and the Jiffy devours ice like the engine’s hungry for more.
To help you control the torque this monster generates, Jiffy provides wide handles to improve your grip. That’s a thoughtful touch, and we appreciate that feature.
Jiffy uses 2-pound propane tanks, meaning that swapping them out will happen less frequently, though weight increases as a result.
The only real drawback I can think of for the Jiffy Pro 4 is a minor point: this auger must be stored in the proper position (arrow up), or it will leak oil.
- Good price!
- Easy to start
- Easy to refuel
- Can be used indoors
- Will leak oil if stored incorrectly
What We Consider When Selecting a Propane Auger
Let’s discuss the 800-pound gorilla in the room: there are very few propane augers on the market, and that reflects demand rather than a problem with supply.
Why is that?
If you want an auger that runs a small internal-combustion engine, you’ve got two choices: gasoline or propane.
Both are loud, but clean-burning propane is odorless and emissions-free, meaning that you can use it indoors safely. And since there’s no danger of spills, and refueling is a snap, you’d think propane would be the go-to option for petroleum-driven augers.
But propane augers are a touch more finicky than gasoline alternatives once the mercury really drops (below -10 F), and both can be problematic to start.
Overall, when compared to the latest generations of instant-on electric augers, which provide power to spare with no hassle operation, both gasoline and propane are slowly getting left in the dust. And with the rise of convertible augers driven by monster hand drills, there are very few reasons to stick to internal combustion.
That’s a fact reflected in the paucity of options on offer.
Let’s look closer at the advantages and disadvantages of your options:
Propane augers - Propane augers are driven by internal combustion engines.
Fueled by a small propane tank that can be easily replaced in seconds, propane augers offer all the benefits of gasoline but with easier refueling and no dangerous fumes. They can be used indoors, which is great, but they’re even more unreliable in the cold than gasoline - and just as loud.
Electric augers - Electric augers are gaining popularity rapidly.
The best of the bunch are powered by large lithium-ion batteries that offer long run times and plenty of torque to chew through the hardest, thickest ice. They don’t give up any power or performance to gasoline or propane, but they typically do cost a bit more.
They also start instantly, run quietly, and don’t produce any dangerous emissions. That makes them ideal for use in a shelter or shanty.
The only downside to electric ice augers is the need to recharge. There’s no instant top-up like with gasoline or propane, and cold can kill the life of cheap batteries.
That’s one reason why quality matters: you need a top-flight electric auger to get the performance you want.
Check out our buying guide and reviews of the best electric ice augers
Manual augers - Manual augers are simple and reliable, and they’re easily the lightest option on the ice. They’re also dead quiet and (obviously) fine to use in a shelter or shanty. Finally, they’re also a lot less expensive than any powered option.
But unless you’re super fit, drilling more than a few holes - or running a big hand auger at all - is going to be a real challenge. Most ice fishermen prefer a powered ice auger, and there’s no question that they save time and energy.
That doesn’t make manual augers a bad pick, just a very specific one that reflects trade-offs about weight, portability, ice thickness, and the number of holes to be drilled.
Check out our buying guide and reviews of the best manual ice augers
Convertible or drill-driven augers - Convertible augers attach a sharp blade to a powerful, cordless drill.
Performance is on par with the best gasoline-powered and electric augers, making these a game-changing option for many hard-water anglers.
Lightweight, easily portable, and powerful, you can spend as much on the right combination of drill and auger as you would on the highest-end electric, so keep that in mind.
Gasoline augers - Gas-powered augers are the old stand-by.
Powerful enough for any ice, they’ve got brawn to spare. And, of course, you can carry as much fuel with you as you want, so you can drill pretty much as many holes as you want.
Check out our buying guide and reviews of the best gas ice fishing auger
But they’re heavy, loud, and produce deadly fumes that make them outdoor-only. People die every year because they don’t heed this warning, and if you like the idea of being able to run an auger in a shelter, these are absolutely not an option to consider.
They also can be downright cranky in the cold, leading to frustration and wasted time trying to get them to start.
And spilling gasoline on the ice is a great way to kill fishing in a lake forever.
Auger diameter and length
Auger diameter is an essential consideration, and these generally range from 6 inches up to 10. The larger the diameter, the bigger the hole you cut, and the more power your auger needs to drive that big blade into the ice.
Both the Jiffy and the Eskimo can power a 10-inch blade, no sweat, allowing you to match your auger size to your needs.
For smaller species like panfish, a six-inch hole is fine. For big pike, muskie, and lake trout, you probably need that ten-inch auger. But keep two things in mind. First, the bigger the hole, the easier it is for you to drop something in it. And second, if children will be around, it’s essential to size the holes so they can’t accidentally fall through.
Another important issue is auger length. You need to be able to drill through the ice, not just into it, so be sure to select an auger that’s long enough for the ice you fish. Both of the models that made our reviews are easily long enough for 24 inches of ice, and they’ve proven they can handle more than that if you need them to.
Our Pick: the Eskimo HC40!
Jiffy fans may not like our call, but we’ve chosen the Eskimo HC40 as our pick.
Slightly more expensive than the Jiffy Pro 4, we feel performance is a more-or-less tie between these propane augers, with the Eskimo pulling ahead simply because of easier storage and no oil leaking.
For us, that’s worth a few dollars more, but plenty of well-informed hard-water anglers choose the Jiffy and never look back.
Both models have the power and durability you’re looking for, as well as odorless, emissions-free fuel sources that allow them to be used indoors.