The Stihl BT 131 Earth Auger is the company's largest and most powerful drilling tool for a variety of applications from construction to ice fishing. Let's drill some holes in the earth and see how it works!
- Large fuel tank gives you more time to refuel
- Hip pads provide some comfort and create a barrier between you and the motor
- QuickStop brakes prevent injuries in restraints
- Damping system
- Pistol throttle is much more comfortable than motorcycle throttle
- Unexpectedly light, compact and quiet for such a powerful tool
- The semi-automatic choke is a bit inconvenient on the bottom of the engine
Used STIHL BT 131 Auger
I maintain a Georgia horse farm in my "free" time. It's in this horse country that the Stihl auger and I have a pretty good job setting up initial posts for new barns using an 8" bit (the largest bit the BT 131 will accept). We will then install new posts for the fence. The auger has to cut through some very hard clay soil with root and rock obstructions if it's going to get the job done.
When I loaded the Stihl auger into my John Deere Gator, I was pleased to find that the tool plus the Stihl's 8" bit was compact enough to fit completely in the cargo box. It's also lighter than I expected.
When you put the auger on its side, the gas cap is accessible, which makes refueling easy. Stihl emphasizes the BT 131's large 24-ounce fuel tank for long runtimes and efficiency. Not having to stop constantly for gas helps me get work done faster.
One of the things I really like about starting is that I can set the brake so the bit doesn't turn when I start the auger. It's the little thing that lets me set bits exactly.
The hip pad is nothing special, but it sticks out when I drill bigger and deeper holes. There is much less pressure and heat buildup in the legs/hips than on other models. Since I can consciously put my hips in, I have better control over the Stihl BT 131.
This auger also has much less vibration than other augers I've used. That doesn't mean you can drill for ten hours without a hitch—it's still hard work. But compare that to anything you're likely to get from an equipment rental and you'll see a big difference.
Stihl has designed the exhaust to be vented away from the operator. Not only does this prevent you from being engulfed in toxic fumes. It makes the BT 131's 36.3 cc engine much quieter than you might expect.
The QuickStop Auger Brake is without a doubt the centerpiece of this tool. Yes, at first it looks like a bar that can knock you out or bring you to your knees. But the brakes are flexible where they connect to the engine, that's safety. If the STIHL auger starts moving violently or becomes tangled uncontrollably with roots or rock, the brake engages your leg, flexes and stops the bit from turning.
Most augers don't have this feature, so you'll have to get used to how much you let the auger work before binding. I'm a little worried that the brakes will get in the way. But after using the STIHL auger for a while, I didn't even notice it. Stihl did a good job of positioning it on the tool and giving it a little wiggle room that still allows you to work.
I really like the Stihl's pistol-grip throttle, which is a nice contrast to the traditional motorcycle twist-up design. It's more ergonomic, allowing you to release faster and have better control.
Yes or no?
The Stihl BT 131 does the job well. At the end of my to-do list, there's no question that it has enough power to get the job done — even through roots and rocks. Georgia Clay didn't bog it down in the slightest. As long as you're using a well-maintained (or new) drill, there's enough power for the entire range up to 8 inches.
My only complaint is that the semi-automatic choke is located on the bottom of the unit. It's inconvenient, but far from a deal-breaker.
- Hip Pad – The Hip Pad for Stihl Augers cushions your hips/legs from the pressure and heat generated during the maneuver.
- QuickStop Screw Brake – The screw brake is designed to stop the rotation of the tool if it rotates enough to hit your leg
- Emissions-reducing engine technology —exceeds EPA and/or CARB exhaust emission standards
- Long-lasting air filtration system
- built in usa
The $699.95 Stihl BT 131 is no change. I'd like to compare it to its arch-nemesis Husqvarna, but it doesn't look like their offerings in the US market (Australia and South Africa) are comparable.
You can consider a $243, 43cc Earthquake E43, but you won't find brakes, a shock-absorbing frame or pads. There are several other value brands that will also save you money at the expense of features and performance.
Echo's EA-410 Earth Auger appears to be at the high end of the price range, at $826. Going this route gets you a 42.7cc engine and 10-inch max bits, but a less refined feature set.
the bottom line
Stihl put together their BT 131 Earth Auger into a well thought out and improved machine. It sits at the top end of the premium market at a lower price point than the Echo, and has features and performance worthy of an upgrade from a value brand.
Stihl BT 131 Ground Drill Specifications
- Displacement: 36.3 cc (2.2 cubic inches)
- Engine power: 1.4 kW (1.9 hp)
- Fuel tank capacity: 710 cc (24 oz)
- Drill tool speed: 200 rpm
- Gear reduction ratio: 47.5:1
- Torque (engine): 1.7 Nm (1.25 ft/lb)
- Torque (Auger): 81 Nm (60 ft/lbs)
- Powerhead Weight 10.0 kg (22 lbs)
- Price: $699.95