Next up in our “Ask Drone Girl” series is about upgrading your racing drone propellers. If you have a question for Drone Girl, contact her here.
I have a Kingdowin & Hitec 280’s quad racers, and would like to change the blades to nylon props. What do you suggest for these 2 prop quads? I was looking at GemFan & DALs.
I reached out to some of the world’s top drone racers to get you a better answer than I ever could (when it comes to drone racing, I’m a total novice).
First, you need to decide what more you want out of your propellers. Do you need more thrust? Are you a racer? Do you prefer freestyle?
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DAL 5045 Cyclones: These are durable, decently efficient, and a good mix of top end speed and low end “grip/torque” in the air.
“I don’t replace broken props- just heavily damaged ones,” Stumbaugh said. “They’re an incredibly durable material mix. You could even call them the original indestructible prop.”
“I started out on Gemfans but I found that DAL’s were more robust and didn’t break as easily,” said drone pilot Melissa Chambers.
GemFan 5x5x3 Glass Fiber Nylon Propellers: These are highly recommended for Freestyle, as the extra pitch and surface area of the prop makes it more “grippy”. It’s not as durable, but it is more rigid than DAL’s material, Stumbaugh says.
APC B5x4E-4-B4: This is one of the most efficient quad blade props, but by moving two of the blades closer together, it takes advantage of the air disturbance created by the blade in front of it. APC uses a custom material bled that is among the most rigid and high performance.
“It’s the smoothest acceleration curve of any prop I’ve flown,” Stumbaugh added.
Master AirScrew BN-3blade-FPV – 5×4.5 prop: This is another unique prop, great blend of efficiency and “thrust” with the wide, large, aerodynamically shaped prop. Taking advantage of unique properties the shape of the propeller provides for greater efficiency. This is among the smoothest props due to material and construction.
You may also want to look into HQProp propellers.
“For freestyle, it’s better to use more ‘flat’ props,” said drone pilot Lexie Janson in reference to the HQProps.
But if you’re into racing, you’re going to want something like Gemfan Flash.
“They’ve really improved their stock throughout 2017,” Janson said.
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Of course, the right propellers aren’t the only key to drone racing success. You want to have high-quality motors too, such as the SZ2207 FPV Racing Drone Motor (those ones are specific to 5-inch racing drones), and are designed to handle enhanced propulsion and speed for a faster start.
My best piece of advice when it comes to picking the best racing drone propellers? Don’t stick to just one set one. They are pretty inexpensive, so it’s worth doing some experimenting yourself.
“It’s best to try different props and decide which ones you want,” Janson said.
“All of the above props will most likely be an upgrade over what you’re using now,” Stumbaugh said. “They will add a good amount of thrust to your machine over the stock props. You might need to return the machine if you go that route, otherwise there are dual blade versions of all the blades listed that will be much closer to stock.”
Many, many thanks to Zoe Stumbaugh for helping with this post! Check out her site at HexinAir.com.