Best propeller for Cobra 2204 Motor – Mini Quad Prop Choice – Thrust Test

.So yesterday I tested a few popular propellers on my favourite mini quadcopter motor, the Cobra 2204 1960KV brushless (not affiliated saying that! :D ). The propellers I tested was Gemfan 5030, 5040, 5045, 6045, and HQ 5045 Bullnose, 6045.

For 4 inch propeller tests, check out this post.

Best prop for Cobra 2204 2300KV motor

All mini quad props were tested under 3S and 4S at 100% throttle. The motor was brand NEW!.

3S @ 12.4V @ 50% Throttle

Props Thrust – g Peak Current – A Max Power – W Efficiency – g/W
Gemfan 5030 169 2.7 33.48 5.0
Gemfan 5040 222 3.0 37.2 5.96
HQ5040 183 2.8 34.72 5.27
Gemfan 5045 207 3.1 38.4 5.4
HQ5045 Bullnose 230 3.2 39.7 5.79

3S @ 12.4V @ 100% Throttle

Props  Trust – g Peak Current – A Max Power – W Efficiency – g/W
Gemfan 5030 404 7.2 89.3 4.5
Gemfan 5040 466 8.8 109.1 4.3
HQ5040 425 9.5 117.8 3.6
Gemfan 5045 480 10.2 126.5 3.8
HQ5045 Bullnose 544 14.4 178.6 3.0

4S @ 16.6V @ 50% Throttle

Props Peak Thrust – g Peak Current – A Max Power – W Efficiency – g/W
Gemfan 5030 263 3.6 59.8 4.4
Gemfan 5040 310 3.9 64.7 4.8
HQ5040 270 4.1 68.1 4.0
Gemfan 5045 298 4.3 71.4 4.2
HQ5045 Bullnose 330 4.8 79.7 4.1

4S @ 16.6V @ 100% Throttle

Props Peak Thrust – g Peak Current – A Max Power – W Efficiency – g/W
Gemfan 5030 596 11.1 184.3 3.2
Gemfan 5040 670 12.5 207.5 3.2
HQ5040 652 13.7 227.4 2.9
Gemfan 5045 710 14.8 245.7 2.9
HQ5045 Bullnose 810 20.5 340.3 2.4

Best prop for Cobra 2204 1960KV motor

All props were tested under 3S and 4S at 100% throttle. The motor was brand NEW!.

3S – @ 12.4V

Props Peak Thrust – g Peak Current – A Max Power – W Efficiency – g/W
DragonFly 5030 385 6.1 75.6 5.09
Gemfan 5030 370 6.0 74.4 4.97
Gemfan 5040 395 7.0 86.8 4.55
HQ5040 403 7.8 96.7 4.17
Gemfan 5045 435 8.2 101.7 4.28
HQ5045 Bullnose 480 12.1 150.0 3.2
Gemfan 6045 644 14.5 179.8 3.58
HQ6045 620 14.3 177.3 3.50

4S @ 16V

Props Peak Thrust – g Peak Current – A Max Power – W Efficiency – g/W
DragonFly 5030 560 8.8 140.8 3.98
Gemfan 5030 533 8.8 140.8 3.79
Gemfan 5040 587 10.4 166.4 3.53
HQ5040 598 11.2 179.2 3.34
Gemfan 5045 675 12.6 201.6 3.35
HQ5045 Bullnose 710 17.6 281.6 2.52
Gemfan 6045 860 20.7 331.2 2.60
HQ6045 970 21.0 336 2.89

For 4S setup, 12A ESC setup, the best props looks like to be the Gemfan 5045 prop, excellent thrust and very good efficiency. But if you are after flight time, go for the Dragonfly 5030.

For 20A ESC setup, I would go for the HQ6045 prop for the outstanding lift power.

Lots of people use bullnose with this motor, but it didn’t look like it’s very efficient. It does generate more thrust though than the Gemfan due to the larger surface area. And from the video, you can clearly hear the lower RPM motor sound with this prop.

If you want to see more tests like this to be done on different motors, please let me know and I will try to make it happen.

Where are the HQ5030 and HQ5040?

I have already compared Gemfan 5030, with HQ 5030 and 5040 before. Unfortunately I don’t have either HQ5030 nor HQ5040 at the moment, so they are not tested this time. Anyway the conclusion was HQ5030 was smoother, but less efficient and less thrust than the Gemfan 5030, also very easy to break too, so not worth the money really. HQ5040 is also very smooth and efficient, and has slightly more thrust than the Gemfan 5030, so that’s definitely a good prop if you have the budget.

Testing Equipement – Thrust Measuring Stand

At the beginning i was using the DIY thrust stand I made however it was not the most precise tool. The power data (current / voltage) is definitely accurate since they are measured on a watt meter, but the thrust data might be off and not giving the best absolute values. That should be good enough to give us an idea of how those props compared to each other, and find the best props for our mini quad or motors. (Good relative values)


Therefore I repeated with a much more professional motor thrust stand. The data should now be very accurate.


33 thoughts on “Best propeller for Cobra 2204 Motor – Mini Quad Prop Choice – Thrust Test

  1. RC pilot

    Hi Oscar

    I am looking to make my own quad and i am comparing some motors. Your motortest help me a lot altough i think there is still missing some important information. Efficiency is also important for my build and you give also an efficiency rating. For example a cobra 2204-1960kv is more efficient than a cobra 2204-2300kv with the same prop and lipo, but the 1960kv gives less trust. For the same amount of trust for both motors, i need to take other props. So wich motor would be the most efficient if i would like to have the same amount of trust?

    For example, my quad weighs 400g so for a hover i need 400g of trust (ratio 1/1), so 100g/motor (am i right?) Wich motor would use the less amps for giving (for example) 100g of trust? This motor has the greatest efficiency in comparison of speed and trust. (So the prop in combination with the motor makes a difference in efficiency, not only the motor)

    For example (see table above for values):
    Cobra 2204-2300 kv (12,4V-100% Throttle) with GF 5030 gives 404g of trust for 7,2 amps. (the 1960, same setup gives only 370g trust for 6 amps) So if i needs only 370g of trust of the 2300kv, how many amps does the 2300kv use?
    For reaching 404g trust with the Cobra 2204-1960kv (12,4V-100% Throttle) i need a HQ5040 prop. Then i receive 403g trust but i am using 7,8 amps so this is even less efficient in comparison of the 2300kv!!

    (for the same amount of trust) In this case the Cobra 2204-2300kv with a GF5030 gives the best efficiency for the speed/trust (404g trust) it gives. It would be nice to make also comparisons from the same amount of trust with different motors en props setups and do then a comparison in how many amps the use. This would give a better idea of efficiency i think.

  2. Paul Green

    Hi Oscar,

    Thanks a lot for funny these tests and being such a valuable source of info for the Rc community.

    I wanted to ask are these props tests all with the standard abs plastic props? Or are any glass or carbon reinforced? Thanks


  3. Louie G

    Hi Oscar

    Have you tested the T-motor 2205 2000kv? Trying to decide on motor for my next build and it’s between the new T-motor vs Cobra 1960kv.


  4. Error Ash

    Hi Oscar
    You should really do these tests with a proper ESC. With RG20 or KISS or Littlebees you will get very different results. The 2204 2300kv will draw WAY more than 20A on those ESCs with 5045 BN props and subsequently will also increase thrust quite a bit. Also I am missing the HQ 5×4 triblade props, they are really awesome and by far my favorite prop on those motors, you should give them a try! Other than that nice article

  5. Otis

    Hi Oscar,

    I am worried about the max amp draw of the 1960kv’s on 4s with the HQprop 6045. Have you ever flown with that setup? Because the max amp draw of the 1960’s is 12A and on 4s you can go easily beyond that… Argh, I think I’m going insane… :p

    1. Oscar Post author

      Yes i have flown with this setup, it works for me perfectly. 12A is the official recommendation, of course you are always doing it at your own risk.

      1. Otis

        Okay, I guess there is only one way to find out. And that is to just fly with the 6045’s.
        Thanks for the reply man!

  6. Justin

    Hi Oscar,

    I would have liked to see a 6030 prop tested on the 1960kv motors, either Gemfan or HQ. I am currious how this would perform compared to the 5045 props.

    Thanks for the data!


    1. Oscar Post author

      sorry i only tested the props that I am using… not using DAL props because i have heard too much bad things about them…

  7. Bill

    Hi Oscar, some of the values in your tables don’t seem to match up.
    Shouldn’t the g/W column always be equal to the thrust column divided by the Watts column?
    E.g. The first row in the article this is not the case.

    1. Oscar Post author

      haha… thanks Bill, I use excel table formula to calculate those values, and somehow i put a wrong voltage value in the formula causing mistakes to the whole lot… but thrust/amp value still valid… will correct the watt values now! Thanks for pointing that out!

  8. sevet

    I recently found that these test can just show you the relative differences between props on the same setup.
    Different ESCs will give better results specifically Kiss ESCs with the best results followed by RG20, SN20 for example fall way behind.

    Was this with BLHELI 14?

    1. Oscar Post author

      i think it’s just the difference in ESC itself, some give out more power than others with the same signal. But the main focus here was trying to find the relatively best props for this motor :)

  9. xeno010

    Thanks your for post, very helpful and interesting!
    Can you add the HQ5045 (non bullnose)? That would be pretty cool.
    A good comparison: HQ5045 vs HQ5045 Bullnose and HQ5045 vs Gemfan 5045

    Thank you very much

      1. DeepestMode

        Hi Oscar Did you actually made the comparison with the none HQ 5040 non BN as xeno010 asked? I am really curius of the results against the other props that are lined up.
        Thanks :)

  10. Kata

    Hi Oscar
    I don’t use Gemfans anymore,
    all the gemfans 5040, 5045 and 6030 i used on my cobras just exploded at full throttle causing bad crashes… HQ for ever!

    Also… according to this page using 4S on cobra 2204 2300kv and hq6045 drawns 29A… very very far from your test in 4S (even if you are using the 1960kv version the difference is still too much). What do you think about the rotorgeeks results?

    1. Oscar Post author

      not sure, i don’t have the 2300 to compare the result. 2300 version wasn’t designed for 4S anyway in the first place.

    2. Ben

      the 2300kv doesn’t have the torque to spin the HQ6045 as fast as it wants to, and the windings are pulling excess current. Similar to holding a motor still while it wants to spin, the current increases disproportionately to the output. 6045 is a very poor prop for the 2300kv and will lead to failure.

  11. Eric

    It looks like the picture shows a 20 A ESC in your test setup. Did you use a 20 A ESC for all the tests or did you use the 12 A ESC for the first 3 tests?

    1. Oscar Post author

      It’s a 30A ESC.
      Current rating isn’t going to affect the end result. I am using big ESC just for safety.

  12. Darren

    Oscar I have been reading your blog and was impressed with your knowledge of cameras. I was wondering if you would be interested in consulting or collaborating on a project.

    Please let me know

    1. Oscar Post author

      sorry not really my knowledge in camera isn’t much better or worse than any average FPV hobbyists :) But if you have any questions me and other people that read your comment will try and help you out with your project!


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