Tuesday, July 16, 2024

How To Find The Right Propeller For My Boat

Understanding Your Rc Boat Kits Propellers

Choose the right propeller for your boat

Most RC boat kits come with more than one propeller, with many offering up at least three or four of varying sizes. This is by design, and each propeller is typically made for its own unique purpose.

Some propellers, typically the smaller ones, are made for slow-speed cruising. The larger the propellers get, the more likely it is that they are meant for racing, specialty waters, and stunt steering.

Its important to remember that the inclusion of a propeller in your RC boat kit doesnt mean that the prop is good to use for long periods of time at maximum power. Testing each propeller out can help you determine how conservative you need to be with your RC time.

The 7 Best Boat Propellers For 2021

by Ian ForteyUpdated on August 19, 2021.

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Buying a boat propeller seems like it should be an easy task. But there are actually so many factors you need to take into consideration. It can leave you scratching your head. Lets cut through the confusion and take a look at the best boat propellers on the market today.

The Quicksilver Black Diamond is the best all around boat prop youre going to find. Its not too expensive, but its built to last and to perform. In fact, its the best-selling aluminum prop in the world.

This is Quicksilvers 3 blade design. Its right hand and comes in a large range of pitch sizes. You can use this anywhere from 25 horsepower up to 250 horsepower outboard motors. Its also suitable for Alpha One sterndrives. It operates with the Flo-Torq hub system youll find on many outboards.

The included hub will work for engines up to 60 horsepower. If you have a bigger engine, you can pick up a different hub system to get the job done.

Once installed, expect to see a big improvement in planing. This model also offers a solid hole shot. That refers to your boats ability to accelerate. That means from a standstill or just low speed. If you hate slow acceleration, a good hole shot is important.

Finding The Right Outboard Propellers For Your Boat

When you are shopping for high performance outboard boat propellers it is important to do your homework so you choose the right replacement for your old propeller. If you fail to choose the right propeller you will not improve your boat’s performance on the water. You will need to consider size, style, and material when you are comparing all of the different top name brands on the market today. Understand how to determine which size and style is best for your boat and make the best investment of your hard-earned money. The biggest key is finding the propellers that will fit your engine, you can use the Propeller Guide at Propeller Depot to provide this list. If you have any questions in terms of which propeller you need, email or call the experts at Propeller Depot.

Prop Size and What to Consider

You may already know that not all boat propellers are the same. Understanding how they differ in size in important. Prop sizes refer to the diameter or the propeller and its pitch. Boat propellers with smaller diameters are meant for smaller board with smaller engines. As you might assume, larger propellers are designed for maneuvering larger boats. Pitch means how much the boat will move in one revolution. If you purchase a propeller with a higher pitch your boat will move faster as long as the engine is powerful enough to keep the RPMs in the right range.

Number of Blades

Which Material is Best

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Does Your Engine Over

If your prop has too little pitch, the engine can rev past its red line, which is like driving your car on the interstate in second gear. Continuous running over WOT will soon damage an engine. A prop shop can add more pitch or recommend a new prop. Notice that having either too little or too much pitch can cause engine damage. So why didnt your boat come with the right prop in the first place?

It’s possible it did, but the prop could have been changed later. Also, a boatbuilder doesn’t know how or where you will be using your boat, so he or she often uses a compromise prop. Running your boat at high-altitude lakes, for example, requires a different prop than one that will be used at sea level. A boat used to pull skiers or one that is loaded down with weekend gear will require a different prop than a boat used for zooming a couple of fishermen out to a fishing spot.

A damaged prop might not be this obvious.

What Problems Are You Looking To Solve

The right " hi

Is your boat sluggish coming out of the hole and slow to get on a plane? Are you not hitting the top speed you think you should? Do you want an improvement in fuel economy? Hoping for better all-around performance? Is your current prop blowing out or ventilating excessively in turns or when you accelerate? Are you looking to improve your boats watersports performance for tubing, skiing or wakeboarding? Once you have defined your goals, you can move on in the selection process.

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Determine The Best Propeller For Your Boat Engine And Boating Lifestyle

Selecting the right boat propeller is an important factor in maximizing your boats performance. The key factor in choosing the right propeller for your Glasstream Powerboat is finding the sweet spot between your engines wide-open throttle operating range and the pitch of a propeller. The pitch is how far the propeller moves in one revolution.

If your boats rpm gauge matches the WOT operating range at WOT and neutral trim, it means you are properly propped. If you are over-revving, it means you should move up in pitch and vice versa. In either case, your motor is not delivering its maximum horsepower and a propeller replacement is in order.

Choosing The Right Size Piranha Propeller


  • If your current aluminum propeller is performing to your satisfaction, select that size pitch in the Piranha.
  • Know your RPM at wide open throttle . Your reading should be in the upper end of your engines operating range at WOT . Consult your manufacturers website for the operating range for your engine.
  • If your looking to gain top-end speed, or lower your RPMs, increase your pitch. Every two inches higher in pitch will increase speed 3-5 MPH, and decrease the RPMs by approximately 400. Keep in mind this may compromise your hole-shot.
  • If you are looking to improve your hole-shot, or increase your RPMs, decrease your pitch. For every two inch decrease in pitch, you will increase your RPMs by approximately 400. Keep in mind this may impact your top-end speed.
  • No single propeller will give you the optimal hole-shot AND top-end speed, you must decide your priority. With the Piranha Pro Kit you can get two sets different size blades and change them in minutes to give you the best of both worlds.
  • If you are switching from a three blade to a four blade prop, drop one inch in pitch to compensate for the RPM change. Likewise, if you are switching from a four to a three blade, increase one inch in pitch.

    The same basic concept applies to propellers, except with a prop you are committed to only one gear”. So what to do now? Find the prop size that will give the best overall performance. Sound difficult? Its really not.

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    Brave New Blade Design

    With modern propeller design and construction methods the three main criteria are no longer the only governing factors. Increasingly, shape is just as important.

    If the diameter needs to be smaller to provide better acceleration then the blade area can be increased by adding more blades. For optimum performance, fuel economy, fast acceleration and smooth vibration-free running, it is the shape and cross section of the blades that make the crucial difference.

    For the everyday boat owner blade shape is governed by the boats dimensions, its engine specifications and the owners choice of propeller manufacturer. High-tech computer-designed and machined propellers only become viable for yachts over 24m where the shape of the blades is tailored to the requirements of the vessel taking into account resistance as well as all the normal information required to build a propeller.

    This Sunseeker propeller is a good example of what is required to propel a heavy high-performance craft. The total area is greatly increased by overlapping the leading and trailing edges of the blades. This avoids the problem of cavitation, but the blades are shaped to ensure water flows smoothly through the propeller

    The shape of the older equipoise is reminiscent of the latest foil design although it has less blade area.

    The round blade turbine propeller is still used on heavy displacement craft including commercial vessels. It has a large blade area and thick sections to resist damage.

    What About Shaft Size

    How to Choose the Right Boat Propeller

    The propellers shaft size is the size of the connecting shaft between the propeller and the boat. This is the only truly rigid aspect of choosing a propeller size your shaft size always has to remain the same.

    If you were worried about the shaft size limiting your boats propeller options, dont be. Propeller diameters are made to fit shaft sizes, which are made to be big enough for their respective boats to handle.

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    Other Factors To Consider When Purchasing A Boat Propeller

    When you browse the available propellers to buy, youll notice there are two definitive numbers. One reflects the diameter , and the other describes the pitch . The diameter should be matched to the size of your boat. The pitch will help keep your engine within its ideal RPM operating range, according to Crowley Marine.

    Youll also want to consider the cupping or the trailing edge of each blade on the propeller. The cupping can be gradual or angled and describes the bite on the water or the propellers ability to grab and push water, Boat U.S. explains. Cupping matters if you need a quick acceleration or want to operate in shallow areas. Increased cupping is what speed enthusiasts talk about, and there are even more complicated variations based on twin-engine designs. But every boat can achieve its best performance with the right degree of all three of these measurements: diameter, pitch, and cupping.

    Did You Run Over A Log Hit A Sandbar Or A Rock

    A bent blade or nick will severely affect performance and could even damage the engine and transmission. Even worse, a bad prop may look fine to the eye. Larry Carlson at Black Dog Props in Stevensville, Maryland, which uses computers to diagnose and repair props, says that 80% of the propellers on his shop floor look healthy. But those otherwise “healthy”-looking propellers typically have differences in pitch of 1/2inch to 3/4 inch.

    Which material is best for a prop? A lot depends on where you do your boating. If your chances of hitting a submerged object are low, an aluminum prop is an all-around inexpensive choice. Aluminum props come standard from most boat and engine manufacturers, but they’re less rugged than stainless-steel props. The latter are less likely to be damaged but are more expensive to repair.

    Read this article to learn more on how to choose the right propeller for your boat, including size, pitch, and problems to avoid.

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    How To Select A Propeller

    Propellers are described in numbers: the first number is the diameter, and the second number is the pitch. So, a 14 x 19 propeller has a diameter of fourteen inches, and a pitch of nineteen inches. In conversation, most people would describe this propeller as a 19-inch pitch, or simply a 19.

    Choosing a Propeller

    Choosing The Correct Pitch

    Mercury Racing Boat Propeller SDAMTS

    For safety and efficient performance, it is critical that your engine operates within the RPM range recommended by the manufacturer. Matching the right prop for the load is the most significant factor when choosing a new propeller.

    Determine Manufacturers Recommended Engine RPM

    • Find the manufacturers recommended RPM range in the owners manual or contact your local dealer.

    Test For Maximum RPM

    • Using the existing propeller, make test runs to determine the maximum RPM and Boat Speed. Vary the Trim Angle for optimum performance.

    If the RPM is HIGHER than Recommended:

    • If the actual Wide Open Throttle RPM is Above the recommended RPM range, then install a Larger pitch propeller to your WOT RPM. Re-Test to determine a revised WOT RPM.

    If RPM is LOWER than Recommended:

    • If the actual WOT RPM is BELOW the recommended RPM Range, then install a Smaller pitch propeller to Increase your WOT RPM. Re-Test to determine a revised WOT RPM.

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    Learning About Boat Kit Propeller Compatibility

    If you are relatively new to the world of RC boating, then all this talk about math, propeller testing, and engine burnout can be intimidating. After all, hobbies are supposed to be easy, right? Not a problem. There are some easy ways to handle finding new propellers for your boat:

    • Check out the name, make, and model of your RC boat kit. Boat kits made by major manufacturers are fairly popular and well-known in the RC world. In some cases, propeller makers will mention some of the more popular kits their props are compatible with.
    • Poke around online RC boating forums. The RC boating community is one thats extremely supportive and open to helping newbies. Going onto online forums and asking for help as a newbie is a great way to get suggestions on propeller sizing for your boat.
    • Its also totally okay to read reviews on propeller add-ons made for your RC boat kit. If your kit is extremely popular, you might find reviews that offer advice on propellers that are made with your kit in mind. Picking those propellers, or even just finding ones with similar measurements, is a good way to get great results.
    • Read your boat kits pamphlet. Some boat kits come with pamphlets that offer guidance on propeller sizing, as well as information about the best propeller material for your boat to use. Heres hoping you didnt throw out that pamphlet!

    Is Your Boat Slow To Come Onto Plane

    If your prop has too much pitch like the one above, the engine will have a lousy “holeshot” the ability to jump up on plane quickly and will lug . It’s like starting from a stoplight with your car in third gear not only will it take much longer to accelerate, the engine has to work hard at low speeds, which places a tremendous load on the pistons, crankshaft, and bearings. This, in turn, can cause detonation, piston seizure, and other engine damage.

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    Choosing The Best Boat Propellers

    You need to make sure you have the right propeller on your boat or things will work poorly. Boat propellers have the diameter and pitch inscribed in the hub. It may also be along the side of the propeller. Check your old prop for these numbers before buying a new one. If the numbers arent present for some reason, you can figure it out the old-fashioned way.

    Diameter can be measured by hand. Measure from the center of your hub to the edge of the blade. Thats your radius. Double it and you have prop diameter.

    Well get into propeller pitch later in detail. For now, if youre not sure, know that pitch is measured in inches. An 18 inch pitch propeller would move 18 inches in the water with one revolution. More pitch equals more speed but slower acceleration. What you need depends on your particular boat and engine. Check with your engines manual or a specialist to find out the best pitch if you dont know.

    What Are Tooth Splines

    How to Find the Size of a Boat Prop | How to Identify Prop Size | Prop Diameter and Pitch

    A new propeller will only fit if the number of ´tooth splines´ on your propeller shaft is the same as the number of tooth splines on the inside of your propeller hub. When selecting your engine in our shop, it will automatically select the propellers with the right number of tooth splines. To verify if your new propeller will fit, you can check the number of tooth splines as mentioned on the product page.

    Like our article? Do you have some comments or suggestions? Or want to share this with a friend?!

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    Boat Prop Selector Guide

    Whether you are buying a new propeller for your boat, simply in need of a replacement for a prop you lost/damaged, trying to address a performance issue or you simply want to gain better fuel economy, we can help you find the perfect propeller for all of your boating needs. Propeller Depot offers the best pricing in the marine industry on all inboard, outboard, ski/wake and stern drive propellers. Order your boat propeller today from Propeller Depot and save.

    Should You Pitch Up Or Pitch Down

    Engine rpms and pitch are inversely related. Increasing the pitch will decrease engine rpms and decreasing the pitch will increase engine rpms. As a general rule, a two-inch increase in pitch will result in a reduction of 300 to 400 rpm. Conversely, a two-inch decrease in pitch will result in an increase of 300 to 400 rpm. Going back to the question of performance at WOT, if your engine is under revving, consider a propeller with less pitch. If your engine is over revving, consider a propeller with more pitch.

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