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Selecting A Boat Propeller

Our Goal at Overton’s is to make choosing a boat prop as easy as possible. Overton's has a huge selection of boat props & prop accessories at great prices! Feel free to browse the information below to gain a better understanding of how to select the right boat prop for your boat.

If you want to skip this information and go on to our boat propeller selector tool, click here.

If you already know the item number for the boat prop you need, please enter the item number into the search box at the top of the page.

Selecting the right boat propeller is an important factor in maximizing your boat’s performance. Determining the correct size and style of boat prop will keep the engine operating within its recommended rpm range and allow it to apply its maximum horsepower to the water.

Michigan Match Aluminum Boat Propeller Stiletto Stainless Steel Boat Propeller Comprop Composite boat Propeller
Michigan Match Aluminum
Boat Propellers
Stiletto Stainless Steel
Boat Propellers
Comprop Composite
Boat Propellers
     
     
Apollo 3-Blade Stainless Steel Boat Propeller Solas Stainless Steel 3-Blade Boat Propeller Solas Aluminum 3-Blade / 4-Blade Boat Propeller
Apollo 3-Blade Stainless
Steel Boat Propeller
  Solas Stainless Steel
3-Blade Boat Propeller
             Solas Aluminum
3-Blade ⁄4-Blade Boat Propeller


Not All Props Are The Same!

Size — Prop size is described by referring to diameter and pitch. Diameter is twice the distance from the center of the hub to the tip of any blade. Generally smaller diameter props correspond with smaller engines and boats, while larger diameter props correspond with larger boats. Pitch is the forward movement of a boat propeller through one complete revolution measured in inches. Lowering prop pitch will increase acceleration and pulling power. A higher pitch prop will make a boat go faster as long as the engine has enough power to keep the rpms in the optimum range. If the engine doesn't produce enough power to run a higher pitch prop all performance suffers and engine damage can result. So - select the prop size that lets your engine operate at WOT within its correct rpm range.

Number of Blades — When the number of blades are changed, diameter and pitch may require a minimal adjustment to keep the RPMs in the proper range. For most purposes, 3 and 4-blade boat propellers can be used interchangeably on outboards and sterndrives without much of a change in performance

Material — We offer propellers made of composite, aluminum, and stainless steel. Composite boat props offer good performance, are durable, and inexpensive. They also offer some protection for your lower unit during a prop strike. Aluminum props are the most common and are suitable for the widest range of applications since there are so many models and styles available. Stainless steel props offer the highest performance and best durability.


  Weight Flex Repair Cost
Composite Boat Propeller Least Little Not Possible Least
Aluminum Boat Propeller Medium Little Easy Medium
Stainless Steel Boat Propeller Greatest Least Difficult Greatest

Cupped Boat Propellers — Special curved trailing edges enable the prop to maintain performance at highertrim levels and in tight corners. Cupped boat props allow most boats to achieve a higher top-end speed or at least the same speed at a lower engine RPM. They also promote more efficient fuel consumption.

Wide Open Throttle (WOT) rpm Range — When selecting a boat prop, the goal is to choose one that allows the engine to reach its optimal WOT. This is generally between 5000 and 5500 rpm for outboards, 4400 to 4800 for sterndrives, depending on engine type. This information is included in the owner’s manual of a new boat or engine.


Replacement Considerations

If your current prop’s performance is acceptable (WOT is within manufacturer’s guidelines) -- Choose a replacement prop that is very similar to the diameter and pitch of your current boat prop. You might consider upgrading to a different material such as stainless steel or trying a 4-blade prop instead of a 3 blade.

If your current prop is unsatisfactory — What if your engine operates at the wrong rpm at WOT? Pitch and rpm have an inverse relationship. Increasing pitch reduces rpm and reducing pitch increases rpm. A 1" change in pitch will usually result in a 200 RPM change in engine speed. Therefore, if your engine operates below the optimum proper rpm, you should consider a boat propeller with less pitch. If your engine over-revs, consider increasing the pitch.
Example: Your sterndrive tach limit (red line or rpm limit) is 4800. Your motor at WOT with full trim only turns 4300 rpm. Buy a prop with 2 less pitch to bring it up within 100 rpm ofyour tach limit. Your acceleration will improve and your top end will stay the same or improve because your engine puts out more power closer to its rev limit.

You might also consider changing the propeller size to affect a specific performance attribute. A lower-pitch power prop makes it easier to pop skiers out of the water. Tournament bass boats may need more top end speed and should use a boat prop with a higher pitch. Houseboats and cruisers care more about efficiency at displacement speeds, therefore they require a lower pitch to achieve low-end power and the largest diameter their lower unit can handle.


What’s New With Boat Propellers? Modular boat propellers are becoming increasingly popular. In fact many engine manufacturers are now selling modular boat props as original equipment. Our current offering of modular boat props includes Michigan Wheel XHS Boat Propellers in both Vortex Aluminum and Apollo Stainless Steel.


How To Order A Modular Prop
When ordering a modular prop, you'll need to order both a hub kit and a boat prop housing. First find your engine in the charts and order the hub kit that matches your application. Then select a propeller housing from the corresponding series that suits your boating style or is the closest replacement for your old prop.


Different boat propellers for different applications If you regularly run your boat at different altitudes, you know the importance of using boat props with a different pitch to match your engine performance. Maybe you have several different uses for your boat weekend cruising, wakeboarding, fishing, etc. Having two props pitched 2" apart lets you optimize the power of your engine. Modular props allow you to save money on that second boat propeller.

Be Prepared Always have an extra propeller on board with tools to change your boat propeller. If you have a prop strike or spin out a hub you will only be delayed a few minutes and not miss out on all the fun.

Let Overton’s Help
If you need help in selecting the correct boat propeller, try our online boat propeller selector tool or call us at 1-800-334-6541, and one of our friendly technicians will gladly assist you. When calling, please have the following information available: engine year and horsepower, rpm range at wide open throttle (WOT) with loaded boat, and any numbers stamped in the hub of your current boat propeller.