Surprisingly, given the great popularity of propane augers all over the Midwest, I’m surprised that there aren’t all sorts of them in every shape and color. As a matter of a fact, I only know of two propane ice augers, Jiffy’s Pro 4 and now Eskimo’s HC-40. Jiffy’s auger was a breakthrough and turned out to be very popular. Initially, it had a few problems that I thought were obvious right off the bat like an exposed aluminum gas line that they ended up redesigning and other things that they changed as well. The biggest gripe about the Jiffy was that the 10″ auger weighed in at about 39 pounds. Drilling downward is easy, but lifting it up at breakthrough was a lot more interesting. Lots of “oof-da” on lifting it back up. Oh, and don’t ever forget – when you set the Jiffy down on the ground, it’s ” spark-plug” up ALWAYS. I once fired one up in the store after telling a lady how they are SO COOL because they are smokeless plus they start really easy. Well, we didn’t read the warning about “spark plug up” and when I stood it up to crank it, it was harder starting than usual. Then, when it kicked in suddenly, the oil that leaks out of the crankcase and into the powerhead, catches on fire -sort of- and spits out a thick, stinking, synthetic smoke in a dull green-blue color. That is the opposite of “smokeless”. I filled the entire bottom floor of the store up with smoke. The lady, needless to say, did not believe my “smokeless claim” about that ice auger. I did not make that sale. Also, I had to get the smoke out of the building and ended up opening all the windows with it being 20 below outside. Yeah, that didn’t go so well. Instructions, man instructions…
That brings us to the Eskimo propane ice auger and three years ahead. Eskimo designed their engine from the ground up as a propane engine. “Spark plug up” is still the rule for the Eskimo as well. Setting up your auger in your cargo sled behind the Skidoo with the spark-plug-up and keeping it that way over a snow-drifted lake for five miles is not always easy. So, you’ll need to plan your gear a bit. Also, the other big part is that Eskimo cut the weight by about 7 lbs. Now, Jiffy does have a light version which is a tad lighter than the Jiffy Pro 4, but it’s because of a smaller motor. Interestingly enough, Jiffy was able to lower their price on their propane ice auger. Given how much we dealers make on this kind of ice fishing hardware (it’s un-impressive to say the least), I wonder how it is that Jiffy can suddenly drop their price? Apparently, “whatever the market will bear” is how the industry prices stuff in the ice fishing world before they actually sell it to us dealers. I have to say that I find that a bit “irking” given that we are on the front lines with their stuff and get to deal with their problems when problems arise all for a fairly low return in the face of high consumer cost. So, I’m happy to see some competition coming into the propane ice auger game.
Now, having not yet used the Eskimo HC-40 propane auger, I can’t tell you how well it works. (FOR AN ESKIMO HC-40 UPDATE – CLICK HERE) However, the product reps from Eskimo have told me they work great . Sure, you would expect that from any product rep. That being said, I happen to consider my rep from the group that reps Eskimo, a friend. Sure, he’s selling me stuff and if I do well, he does well, but he also isn’t afraid to tell me NOT to buy something from within his line as well. I’ve known him for a number of years and he’s been a darn good rep. Also, Eskimo has been a darn good company to us. They have a great warranty system and I’m not afraid to refer people to them to solve problems that occasionally arise since I feel they stand behind their product. So, when the rep tells me that the HC-40 ran very well during extensive testing in winter 2013/14, I’m good with that. A different rep from another company heard that it is “underpowered”. Well, I sold many so-called, “under-powered” augers over the years and that means that it might take another 15 seconds to punch the hole. (NEWEST INFO ON THE HC-40 IS HERE – SEE THE VIDEO) If you are not racing, does it really matter? Don’t push so hard. I’m not so sure this auger will be under-powered. Other than the rep I consider to be a very straight shooter, nobody has used this auger yet. It’s an Eskimo and we’ve had pretty good results with Eskimo for many years now. Good enough for me.
The Eskimo HC-40 comes with a 2 year warranty. If you are going to have a problem, it will be right away. Long warranties are always in place on really reliable gear. Nils (different auger) has a 7 year warranty on their Tanaka motors. There’s only one reason for such a long warranty and it’s not because it has problems, but instead the opposite is true.
- Lightweight, powerful high-compression 40cc 4-stroke engine
- All metal, sealed ball-bearing transmission
- Fast-cutting Quantum blades
- Auto-prime fuel system for easy starting
- 8”, 32 lbs.
- 10”, 34 lbs.