As explained how to choose propellers before, in this post we will mainly focus on the type of material, how it could affect flight performance, and the value. Good props can improve your aircraft’s control-ability, increase the battery life, improve your video quality, and many other good things.
Carbon Fibre Propeller Cons and Pros
Is carbon fibre propellers better than plastic propellers? When choosing multicopter props, not only we need to consider the size and pitch of the props, we also need to choose the type of material: carbon fibre, plastic, fibre glass reinforced, wooden props etc. Carbon fibre props are almost twice as expensive as the common plastic props, and it’s promoted to have better performance than the cheap plastic ones. So is that true? What are advantages and cons with Carbon Fibre props? Here are what I found personally.
- Carbon fibre props produce less vibration due to its stiffness, and it sounds quieter too when spinning.
- Less jello in the video.
- They are lighter and significantly stronger than plastic when crashed, but not indestructible though.
- Come balanced straight out of the box (usually).
- Perform well under high RPM (work well with high KV motors.
- Light weight props means less inertia, thus faster motor speed change, and the control feels more responsive.
- Carbon Fibre props has slightly shorter flight time than plastic prop of the same size/pitch prop
- Less thrust than plastic props.
- Because it’s tough and hard to break, when crash, the motor bearing will take most the impact.
Experiments on Different Types of Props
Many tests have been done on how good the carbon fibre props are, compared to the plastic props. I have found people reported back with two different stories, one says carbon fibre props are better (for example this one), the other says, no, it’s not noticeably better. I think they might be both correct, for their own situations, and the brand/make of the props they have tested. But it’s really not fair to say, “Carbon Fibre props are better”, or “Carbon Fibre prop sucks”, only based on the 2 sets of propellers you bought randomly off the internet.
Also the propellers need to be balanced well before the tests, otherwise it would be meaningless. I notice many of these tests were using a cell phone for vibration measuring, which is not accurate at all (as it misses some vibration frequency bands).
Personally I have not tried this type or props. I don’t think wood props are popular either in the multicopter world, since it’s expensive, and heavy.
I think they might work well for FPV aerial photography with larger and more powerful multicopters, but might not as good for acrobatics, stunt flying because of the increase in rotation momentum due to heavier weight,and make them less responsive to changes in motor speed.
In my experience CF props are better, but there are so many cheap copies which have not properly tested might do more harms than goods. It’s worth a try on the carbon fibre propellers, so be careful when choosing, and only buy from good reviewed sellers.
The funny fact is, Carbon fibre props are actually plastic based material impregnating some carbon fibre, and plastic is also carbon base. I would recommend to try CF props out, if budget permits. It might improves your flight experience, but it’s not a “essential” upgrade. For beginners who are learning to fly, plastic props are more than enough, as you are likely to crash and break many props, before mastering the skills.