Do Propane Ice Augers Freeze Up?

You might be considering buying a propane ice auger.  But, do propane ice augers freeze up in cold weather?  If they did, why would so many people love using them to ice fish? It’s a legitimate question to ask, before spending $100s of dollars on an auger.  

Read on to learn if propane ice augers freeze up during cold weather.

Do propane ice augers freeze up
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What is the Freezing Point of Propane?

According to Foster Fuels, propane gas will freeze at -44 F (-42 Celsius).  You would have to be outside in some pretty vicious cold weather to have your propane ice auger freeze up.  Even the best propane ice auger can fall victim to extreme cold.

Do Propane Ice Augers Freeze Up?

If you dare to be outside in -44 F then it is possible that your auger could freeze up. Why Does a Propane Tank Freeze Up? It’s because the propane turns to liquid in its’ tank at very low temperatures, leaving you without vapor pressure to send the propane through the lines to your auger.  This can affect the performance of the auger, as the liquid propane may not be able to vaporize and burn properly.

You wouldn’t be able to use your auger until the tank defrosts.  And if it’s that cold, it’s pretty darn unlikely that you’d be outside. At least, most sane people…ice fishers, now that’s another story!  For most ice fishers, you won’t even come close to having to worry about your propane tank freezing on ya.

Will Propane Lines Freeze on my Auger?

When the temp dips low enough, propane will freeze in both the lines and the tank.

Tips to Keep Your Propane Auger Working in Cold Weather

Don’t insulate or wrap anything around your propane tanks.  Your propane is freezing from the inside.  The best thing you can do is make sure to bring multiple tanks on your trip.  

If one starts to freeze, switch it for a new one until the frozen one starts to warm up by letting the cold escape through the outside of the tank and placing it in the sun or a warmer area away from wind and snow if possible.  

If you have to travel a distance to get to your ice fishing spot, make sure to keep your tanks insulated from the cold during your travels. Store your spare tanks in a warmer place, away from cold temperatures.

The fuller your propane tanks in cold weather the better, keeps them from freezing over.

Do You have to Warm up a Propane Auger More than Other Types in Cold Weather?

Propane augers typically have a built-in heat exchanger which keeps the fuel from freezing. However, in extremely cold temperatures, it may take longer for the engine to reach its optimal operating temperature.

It is recommended to run the auger for a few minutes before using it to allow the engine to warm up properly. This is the same for any gas powered engines: cold starts are not their strong point and you have to be ready to give it a few minutes to get started and warm up to a good operating temp.

Are Propane Augers Better than Other Types?

Which type of auger you choose all depends on your needs and personal preference. For me, I would choose a gas auger over a propane or electric auger because of their sensitivity to cold temperatures and gas augers have a ton of torque for getting through thick ice fast and efficiently. Electric augers are also cold sensitive, mostly the batteries lose their charge if they aren’t kept warm enough.

Pros and Cons of Propane Augers Quick Chart

Horsepower/TorqueTemperature Sensitive
Easy MaintenanceFuel Disposal
Easy Starting and Long LastingPortability

Why Choose a Propane Auger…Or Not…

The 3 main reasons to choose a propane auger over another type are:

  • Emissions
  • Horsepower/torque
  • Easy Starting and Long Lasting


Propane burns cleaner than gas, leading to a more eco-conscious fishing trip


Some propane augers have even more torque than high end gas augers, drilling 100 holes in a few feet of ice with relative ease.

Easy Starting/Long Lasting

Propane augers are easier to start than gas augers because they don’t require any priming. Both types can be finnicky in super cold weather however. They aren’t as easy to start as electric augers, but they are easier than most to start in cold weather.

The 3 main reasons to NOT choose a propane auger:

  • Temperature sensitive
  • Easy to cart around with you
  • Fuel disposal

Temperature Sensitive

While they are easier to start in colder weather than gas augers, you have to try to keep the propane canister itself warm for the auger to be efficient and start properly.


Propane augers can be heavy, although not as heavy as gas augers. This can limit how far you’re willing to carry it/cart it across the lake. You also have to carry around spare green cylinder propane tanks everywhere you go and keep them warm, which can be a pain. The lightest augers are manual augers.

Fuel Disposal

Disposing of empty propane cylinders can be a pain, and you’ll have to cart around the empty ones with you while out on the lake. Depending on where you live, you can dispose of the canisters for free, but you may have to pay to dump them, which adds costs at the end of the season.

Is a Propane Ice Auger Quiet?

Propane ice augers aren’t quiet to operate. They are usually one of the loudest augers. Only gas augers are louder. They might even be loud enough to scare fish away, so be aware of that fact. For quiet auger operation, you should choose a manual auger, an auger operated by a drill, or an electric ice auger.

Do Propane Augers Freeze Up Conclusion

The answer to the question do propane ice augers freeze up is…they COULD, if you’re in cold enough conditions.  Remember to bring extra tanks and to check the temperature for your trip before heading out.


What temperature will propane start to freeze?

-44 Fahrenheit