Jiffy PRO 4™ Lite PROPANE Powered Ice Drill.  This auger is available in the 8″ diameter or 6″.   We only stock the 8″   It weighs in at 26 lbs which is pretty light for a combustion engine power ice auger.  It runs on the little green, 1 lb. propane tanks.  It has a chipper blade.  The blade on the Pro 4  Lite is a Chipper Blade with a drilling point in the center.  On the Pro4 regular model it has a Jiffy Stealth blade which is painted yellow and has two little claw teeth where the drilling point is on the “Lite” model.   If you blow your blade on a reef and it is the Stealth package, it’ll cost you over $100 to replace.  On the Pro4 Lite, the chipper blade replacement is only in the $40 price range.  Note that I can sharpen all of these blades for a for a fraction o the cost.  Click here for ice auger blade sharpening

Jiffy was the first to introduce propane powered, 4-stroke power ice augers.  We had the first ones that they introduced years ago and since that time they have really tweaked a lot of things such as the weight and overall design.  The old models used to have gas lines in exposed positions and some other minor issues.  IF you remembered to transport them all the time with the “sprak plug up” you would have very few problems.  If not, your very smokeless auger would become very smokeful.  This is no longer a theory.  I proved it in great detail one day in the store here.

In today’s new line of Jiffy propane augers, they have engineered out those old issues and you can now set the auger down in the spark-plug-up and carburetor-up positions which allows for better transporting in the back of your vehicle.  As per usual, they drill fast with fairly high RPM’s because the single chipper blade has to go around twice as fast as a two-bladed auger.  So, as a result, a whole bunch of fishermen “think” that because it is spinning fast that “you’ve really got something great there”.   OK, sure, it may be a tad faster, but I do know that the individual chipper blade with the steel plate on the bottom literally blasts water all over the place when you do break through.  When you use a Jiffy, you are going to want to use it with less RPM’s in your Ice Castle, I would guess.  That is the biggest drawback of Jiffy augers.  You get pretty wet when using them due to the bottom plate and the high RPM’s.    As for drilling a hole, they tear through the ice just like every other auger on the planet.

The advantage to propane is that it doesn’t spill gasoline all over your vehicle.  It doesn’t smoke up the fish house.  It is readily available in most places.  You can drill about 60 holes per tank in 20″ of ice.   Once, with a Jiffy 10″,  I once drilled 15 holes in 24″ of ice with a half tank of gas and didn’t really make a dent in the propane.

The drawbacks to propane are that it too,  can leak.  A cylinder can malfunction which can be very bad in an enclosed space.  Cold weather can affect half empty tanks.  You have those empty green tanks laying around once they are empty.

In winter, March 2015, I had the top of a Coleman 1 pound cylinder blow off while still attached to the regulator on the Eskimo HC 40 auger I was using.  I figured it was metal fatigue from bouncing in the back of the cargo sled all winter.  It blew off and the regulator on the long hose that Eskimo uses, hit me in my right side ribs and the contents of the one pound cylinder BLEW into those same ribs and turned me into Frosty the propane man.  The auger was still running while this happened and I panicked as I let off the throttle and searched for the OFF switch frantically as I stood covered in white propane frost and a cloud of gas.  It was like playing “hot potato” with a live grenade.  All I could think of was that the propane was going to light me up and there wasn’t any snow on the ice to roll in.  In retrospect, I should have simply walked away from the auger and let it conk out on it’s own.  Panic makes you not think of the easy solution.

Blown Propane Cylinder
Thar She Blows!

After the whole “POOF!!!” experience, I thought of what would have happened inside of a wheel house had this occurred?  I made this list of doubts and considerations:

  1. I questioned the safety of propane augers in general.
  2. I realized that I did the exact opposite of what Jiffy and Eskimo advise users to do:  remove the tank when transporting & not in use.
  3. I considered that lithium batteries in lithium battery augers can explode if handled incorrectly.
  4. I noted that the majority of male ice fishermen seldom follow the rules or instructions of anything, ever.
  5. I remembered that leaking gasoline is also a big problem in the back of a minivan or SUV.
  6. Exhaust fumes from regular gas engines in the fish house take forever to get out.
  7. Lithium batteries conk out in cold weather. (0° F and colder.)
  8. A full propane cylinder does pretty well in cold weather.
  9. Spilled gas inside of a wheelhouse is just as bad as a propane leak.  Fuel is fuel and when it’s out of control, you go boom.

After my analysis, I concluded that propane augers are fine.  Nothing was wrong with that last auger and the propane cylinder was damaged most likely because it was bouncing against my Keeper Deluxe chair all winter long in the cargo sled.  The regulator with attached tank would touch that chair as I developed my “system” for transporting the auger “spark plug up”.   I was supposed to remove the tank during transport, so I do believe it was my fault that the tank blew.  I’m sure an attorney would see differently, but maybe not.  Nonetheless, WILL I be hauling a propane auger with the tank still attached to the regulator this winter?  Probably.  Most likely….Ice fishermen are a stubborn lot.

If it doesn’t kill you it makes you stronger.

Summary regarding Jiffy Pro4 Lite augers

I saw some dude online reviewing this ice drill and he said it took him “two months” to decide which friggin’ ice auger to buy.    No disrespect intended, but anybody should be able to determine which auger they need in about  15 minutes.  It’s an ice auger to make a hole in the ice.  Either the motor runs and it drill or it does not.

If you are drilling outside, a gas auger will do the job nicely.    If you will be inside, propane maybe better.  Transporting in a car – propane requires less care other than spark-plug up or, in Jiffy’s case, carburetor up.   If you want a propane auger, SHOULD you buy a 26 lb. Jiffy Pro4 Lite auger?  Unlike other augers, Jiffys come with a quick attach lower unit.  They cut holes really fast.  They start reliably.  I heard a concern about the Pro4 Lite “being underpowered”.    I constantly hear this “under-powered” discussion like we’re talking about tree skidders and Nascar racing so I have purposely taken supposed under-powered ice augers out and drilled tons of holes with them.   OMG what an ordeal I endured – not.   I’ve concluded with all this meaningless “under-powered” talk is usually based in completely no knowledge whatsoever.   What exactly does “under-powered” mean if you are going to drill 4-6 holes that day?   The Pro4 Lite is anything but under-powered, but who gives a crap if it was?   Are you in a race?  Does drilling a hole 2 seconds faster make the difference between catching as many fish?   This is right up there with the whole ball-bearing in fishing reels argument, but that is for a different post.  The only time I’d give a crap about having ample power is if I was always drilling in 36″ of ice all winter long.  In that case, get the Pro4.  For all the rest of us, there is probably no good reason to waste two months researching augers “to make the right choice” .   Heck, the $20 you are might save after all that angst, you’ll waste on a case of cheap beer.

These are good augers.  Doesn’t take that long to make a decision.  It’s not a car or a house.  If you don’t like it – and I can’t see why that would be the case- sell it and try something else.  It need not be a lifetime decision.  You’re drilling a hole in the ice and that is all.

Order your Jiffy PRO 4™ Lite PROPANE Powered 8″ Ice Drill here

 

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