How to choose the right props for your quadcopter: FPV Freestyle, Racing, and Long Range

How to choose the right props for your quadcopter: FPV Freestyle, Racing, and Long Range

In this video I take a deep dive on some of the principles that govern the performance of the props that we use on our quads. I look at the effect of diameter, disc loading, number of blades and angle of attack on prop efficiency and thrust. Finally we look at what props are most suitable for different applications.

This video was reuploaded to include a better treatment of L/D ratio as it relates to efficiency. Thank you to the commenters who brought this to my attention.

Motor selection video: https://youtu.be/RXy00orSpfU
Slides: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1md9Vc2l-PnY5jVDQSH7HXB_FSh5z8dr_?usp=sharing
Prop tip sped calculator: https://warpdriveprops.com/propspd2.html

Support me on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/chris_rosser

Song: Wonki – Sunset Paradise (Vlog No Copyright Music)
Music provided by Vlog No Copyright Music.
Video Link: https://youtu.be/Q23BZRDjh-U

50 Comments

  1. Oleg on October 22, 2021 at 8:53 am

    this was a very useful 18+ minutes of my life, thank you! now choosing a new props would be much less of intuition/reviewers influence and much more of understanding of physical processes which make quadcopter fly. subscribed!

  2. AlbeeSoaring on October 22, 2021 at 8:53 am

    I seen you briefly touched on the density of air. I am interested to see what your thoughts are on elevation and prop and pitch adjustments.

  3. RunPuppyFpv on October 22, 2021 at 8:54 am

    Great content for some one luke me who wants to understand everything thanks Chris !

  4. Art Moony on October 22, 2021 at 8:55 am

    Hi please what about cinematic 5 inch what props i choose?
    Thank u so much

  5. Jekle on October 22, 2021 at 8:55 am

    Love your content!
    I do have a question though: I think I’m comfortable with selecting a good blade count and pitch for a prop, but how would you go about selecting the correct prop size?

  6. omer nadav on October 22, 2021 at 9:00 am

    thanks the video clarified what prop should I use thanks a lot

  7. On The Wings Of The Wind on October 22, 2021 at 9:03 am

    I can only imagine a prop hitting 1.0 Mach and hearing a bang as a trail of fire burning on a road is all that is left as the drone travels back to the future.

  8. aviphysics on October 22, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Do you have a video on designing a quieter quad?

  9. Gandaulf_FPV on October 22, 2021 at 9:04 am

    Thank you this helps tremendously!! Your’e video’s are very educational I appreciate the knowledge!

  10. Aero Cheng on October 22, 2021 at 9:05 am

    actually , stick feeling is the biggest concern for pilot, its related to Props MOI, stiffness etc.

  11. GooD bOy on October 22, 2021 at 9:07 am

    I have a question about relationship between prop pitch and oscilations.
    I was using ethix s3(5031) with lots of oscilations. tried to manage it by tuning the PID but failed.
    One day I had a chance to use ethix s5(5040), all of the oscilations were removed and feel like propwash was even better.
    Everything was in same condition.
    BTW I’m flying my quad with these specs.
    6s, 1750kv, rpm filter, lowest filter slide, default PID on BF.

  12. FEEL FREE FPV on October 22, 2021 at 9:07 am

    The most important factor for my type of flying is durability 😅

  13. jdeshong08 on October 22, 2021 at 9:09 am

    I just did a top speed test with 6S 1900kv motors. I found the high pitch props 5053 were the slowest at 88mph and 5043 were the fastest at 102mph. Can you explain this result?

  14. SCU- DUB on October 22, 2021 at 9:09 am

    Now this is CONTENT!!!!💯👍 My only mistake is that I didn’t find out about Chris until recently!!!! When the Yoda of fpv had his quad filter set by Chris and absolutely loved it I was like ok…..I need to find this Chris guy 🤣 I subbed immediately after watching the first vid I saw….just great information all around man✌….PS…..YODA IS JB 😁

  15. Noah Mcelwey on October 22, 2021 at 9:10 am

    Your channel has given me a while new excitement for drones, I’m now extremely interested in the building and perfecting of the quad to squeeze performance. Before I couldn’t digest it all, but giving us an understanding in more understandable terms will allow me to further delve in

  16. eM on October 22, 2021 at 9:14 am

    The moral of the story is that 5043 props are all that you ever need as it seems to strike the ideal balance.

  17. TheWatahboy on October 22, 2021 at 9:18 am

    I feel like this is a very expensive lesson for free. Amazing level of detail here in a science I don’t know jack about

  18. The Gamer on October 22, 2021 at 9:19 am

    Its really helping

  19. Mind Rider on October 22, 2021 at 9:20 am

    Would be great o see real life examples with known props and quads during a test? Great video.

  20. nate teator on October 22, 2021 at 9:20 am

    In terms of emptying the reservoir of vibration in the frame it seems like the battery pad would have the largest influence considering its holding an isolated mass that’s about 1/3 the total quad weight. In my case the under mounted battery has a sticky pad connected directly to a carbon surface that also mounts to the flight controller. I wonder if rubberized pads have a high Spring rate that could create harmonic frequencies… Versus gel or soft foam.

  21. Ruben van Eupen on October 22, 2021 at 9:20 am

    What happens if you keep pushing kv for a given setup? Hot motors? Lipo not being able to provide the amps? What will be your bottleneck/performance issue?

  22. Rindos Rides on October 22, 2021 at 9:26 am

    I was thinking about this more, do you know if the prop flex has any effect? These fpv props are quite flexible, I presume at a certain disk load the majority of the flex will have occurred and have little impact. I wonder if there is excessive flex at a certain low load threshold.

  23. Zoltan Gremsperger on October 22, 2021 at 9:26 am

    so there are other things to consider than color match to motors, before buying props … 😉

  24. Rolo Saenz on October 22, 2021 at 9:27 am

    Chris, so for a 7" LR build, 7050 or 7060 Bi blades would be ok with some HYPERLITE 2807.5 1122KV motors ?

  25. Swiffty on October 22, 2021 at 9:28 am

    Recommendations start at 12:57

  26. AlbeeSoaring on October 22, 2021 at 9:29 am

    I have a scenario for you. You have a 7" kwad that weights in at around 1kg AUW with 2806.5 1300kv RUNNING A 2200MAH 6S battery. You want to do aggressive long-range flying. Your going to be flying up a mountain that starts at 7500′ elevation and tops at around 11k’. What size prop would you recommend to give good quick thrust but also efficiency for distances like 6 mile round trip. I have tried a few different types and settled on one that I really love but curios if there is one you might recommend that I haven’t tried yet.

  27. Wrstew on October 22, 2021 at 9:31 am

    Bardwell sent me over to check your channel out, really glad that he did. Being an ex aircraft and helicopter mechanic, I guess that from my technical education required to get my license, a lot of the principles that you explain seem to be common knowledge, but that is only because of my own education. You did a great job of explaining a uncommon topic! Ain’t no perfect prop for all conditions, you have to choose the one that fits your flying parameters.

  28. Sergey Kado on October 22, 2021 at 9:33 am

    so useful is a ray of scientific light in our world of subjectivity and ignorances … thanks for what you’re doing for community

  29. RBAD RBAD on October 22, 2021 at 9:33 am

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  30. Zachariah Ninan on October 22, 2021 at 9:36 am

    @Chris : Thanks for the useful videos . Wanted to bring up one question on props . Lets say while flying a 5 inch quad we tend to keep stock of multiple props . While all props will usually be 51 series , the pitch could vary . Now while flying lets assume we have a 5143 set on the quad and happen to break one or two of the front facing props . Now the only other set i have is a 5148 set . If we replace the front props with the 5148 does it cause problems . what happens if we end up mixing pitch of props mounted on a quad ? Is this a bad practice or something that never must be done ?

  31. Stefan 73 on October 22, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Thanks for the insights. I though do not exacly buy into your concrete prop spec recommendation. I guess that also heavily depends on the prop manufacturer and how they form the tip ends. So as relative recommendations in the line of one manufacturer, I do buy into this.
    For freestyle imho the compromise is that you need "punch" and you have to deal with all this adverse flow conditions. Most freestyle videos are so appealing because there is smoothness and flow interrupted by phases of hard punchs. But certainly going for the most high-pitch prop is not the right thing to do.

  32. Lawrence Muñoz on October 22, 2021 at 9:38 am

    This series of videos is amazing. I have some questions, do these same pitch recommendations apply to all propeller diameters?, for example 3-4 in; and what would be the best propeller for a cinewhoop to get the maximum flight time?

  33. LookAround FPV on October 22, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Nothing about 51 props? 5136 i think is really good for Freestyle with medium KV motors 🤷

  34. se on October 22, 2021 at 9:39 am

    Very informative and interesting, I learned a lot. Superb!

  35. H2O- FPV on October 22, 2021 at 9:39 am

    yes excelent video thank u.

  36. tony hernandez on October 22, 2021 at 9:39 am

    If I’m using a 1607 3675kv what size props should I be using ? I’m new at all this been flying for about 6 months ..I’m using hq 3×3×3as of now also gemfan 3052

  37. teojaxxx on October 22, 2021 at 9:44 am

    Hi Chris, thank you very much for your teaching….Can you please put, the most common/important prop sizes, into the graph of stator motors volume in relation of inch quads, in order to have a really clear full view of how to pair these Items. Thanks

  38. MVMTV on October 22, 2021 at 9:44 am

    thumbs up new sub, thanks for sharing

  39. iPiqqy FPV - Builds on October 22, 2021 at 9:44 am

    I was scouring the internet for equations to solve for the right props, and I have FINALLY FOUND IT. also I’m so glad I took AP physics

  40. Ruben van Eupen on October 22, 2021 at 9:45 am

    So detailed and complete, I love it!

  41. Vopter on October 22, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Thanks.

  42. Константин Володин on October 22, 2021 at 9:47 am

    Hi! Can you help me, what config i should consider for 350g payload for my quad (like gopro as payload), bottom mount, battery on top? Thanks!

  43. hojiqabait on October 22, 2021 at 9:47 am

    This is just rubbish.
    1. You need to factor up the design scale. Cheap toy grade props are not to be used in that formulas. Just take a 5 inch prop, how accurate is that? Than a 125mm prop? Have you ever seen a 5⅛" prop? 1/16? 1/32? Errors everywhere. That’s why the numbers can’t compute any correlation.
    2. It’s a quadcopter, in a gyroscopic motion with cm and cg, 1-plane/multi-axis. More design factors along the arms to the tips. Plus you wouldn’t have much problems for any props-motor selection if the p/w ratio as per what you need/want. Just tune them i.e. instrumentation and control. Why? Because no motor dyno spreadsheet, just props recommendation and thrust generated on a scale per motor respectively. Does it needs a wind tunnel test? Even an airflow simulation? How much would you pay for? And they keep reproducing more motors for you to buy to pair with cheap propellers. 🤦‍♂️
    3. Lastly, aerofoil, the most expensive part of a propeller. Nuff said.

    P/s: Serious toys? Seriously 😜

  44. Luis on October 22, 2021 at 9:49 am

    Hi,
    I asked myself all the time how to think about this on my Cinewhoop. I just finished watching your new video about ducts, and I have a squirt V2 at home. Also I am just designing my own "megas-quirt", that can handle 3.5" (89mm) props, as my Squirt is barely holding itself in the air with a Hero 8 and a 1300mAh 4s lipo.

    Now to my question:
    How do you think that multiple blades change the therory. By that I mean the 6- or 8-bladed HQ props, or the much steeper Gemfan D76 or sth like this. My testing tells me, that two props that both are called to have a pitch of 3 aren’t really comparable, doesnt matter whitch size (3", 5", …).
    In the cinewhoop-part also the diffrent blade-count makes everything even more uncompareable. I really have problems to compare a Gemfan D90 (3 bladed prop, pitch "3") to a HQ 89mmX8 (also pitch of "3") but they clearly are diffrent in their steppness-angle and will poth have very diffrent thrust.

    toothpick-class: Gemfan for example has a 3018-2 prop (biblade) and a 3016-3 (triblade), I also cant tell in this case which prop I could expect to have more thrust. The issue is, that we often dont have real numbers to calculate with or alternatively have simulation-values or static-bench test from the manufacture himself (1st hand).

    Sometimes I have the feeling, the manufacuters dont use the pitch-value to tell us how steep the balde is, rather to tell how much thrust they think the prop makes compared to their other props on the market. By adjusting the pitch value they use for marketing so they can put their props in somewhat of an order they make comparison for us pretty rough, and practically impossible to compare to other companies.

    Did/Do you think/feel the same as I do, or do you understand my problem? If so, do you have any idea how we could interpret these values we get from the manufactures, or do anything about it other than just buying a ton of props just to find out that 99% arent the ones we where looking for?

    Thank you so much for your videos, it is great to understand such topics in greater detail, love it, keep it up!

  45. doom3crazy on October 22, 2021 at 9:49 am

    I’d love to see an updated take on this with the new wave of all these 5.1 props like 51433, 51466, 51477, etc.

  46. Pat Clevenger on October 22, 2021 at 9:49 am

    So where my physics teacher ears are burning. Because I am set here like WHY DID I NOT LISTEN IN CLASS!!!!. Good info really putting this with your motor video I have a better feeling about the props I am picking for my rigs. Instead of just well so and so use this let’s see.

  47. Pickled Enigma on October 22, 2021 at 9:50 am

    Thank you for all your videos, i Fly 4S,2306 2450 kv.. I’m looking for the best prop, heavier quad, roma f5,,I don’t race,I just want smooth control. I’m a beginner so I just try to do freestyle and fly around under trees and stuff like that.didnt care for the s5 props,it came with.didnt know if 51466 or 51433 or hq 5x5x3 is good or what.thank you.

  48. Zunkey on October 22, 2021 at 9:51 am

    This explains why I wasn’t getting the top end performance for the Ethix peanut butter jelly props. I thought it was the weight, but it’s likely my lower KV motors for 4S?

  49. Michael RC King on October 22, 2021 at 9:51 am

    The man Chris does it once more…outstanding vid bruh

  50. Nixie on October 22, 2021 at 9:52 am

    Can a quad make the propeller tips go supersonic?
    Also, how come that quads, no matter how hard the manoeuvre, don’t seem to be affected by "settling with power"? can’t small propellers be stalled no matter what either?

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