Thanks to HQ Props for sending me a huge box of props, so I get to try some of their best mini quad propellers. It’s going to take me a while to go through all of them, but I want to test them thoroughly and do my best to comment on which one I like the most and why.
Take a look at this article to learn more about mini quad propellers.
Disclaimer: There is no “Best Propeller” – The prop choice is very much a personal preference. And it depends heavily on your flying style, components, and even the environment you fly in.
My Testing Quad
I am going to test these props on this particular 5″ mini quad setup:
- Motors: BrotherHobby R6 2306 2450KV
- ESC: Flycolor 40A 4in1
- FC: CLRacing F7
- Frame: Martian V2
- Dry Weight without Battery is around 320g, runs on 4S 1500mAh LiPo battery
What’s the Difference Between Cyclone and HQ?
Cyclone 5045×3 was my go-to props in the last couple of years. They are affordable, “punchy” and durable. I bought 30 sets and lasted me a whole year :) Performance is acceptable and works just fine when you are used to their flight characteristics.
Buy Cyclone 5×4.5×3:
However when I compare them with HQ props back to back, there is a noticeable difference in the handling as well as other performance attributes.
First of all, HQ props are some of the lightest props out there with thin airfoil. For example, each of the 5×4.3×3 is 1.7g lighter than the Cyclone 5×4.5×3, that’s nearly 7g weight saving for 4 props!
Lighter prop allows for faster RPM change – motor can spin up or slow down faster. And so they feel extremely responsive and have less prop wash than other heavier props, even for a quad that isn’t tuned perfectly.
But less “meat” means they are more bendy, and less durable against crashes.
Another advantage for a propeller being light weight, is that it would work well on a wider range of motors. A heavier prop requires more torque to spin it, so you’d have to take into account the motor stator size and KV as well.
HQ 5×4.3×3 V1S
The HQ 5×4.3×3 are some of the smoothest props I’ve flown. Although they lack the punch and durablility I like (bend easily and become out of balance).
I do like the throttle response though, it’s way more linear than the Cyclone. But it doesn’t have the grip like the Cyclone, and they feel a bit “loose” when doing extreme maneuver. Some people might actually prefer the softer stick feel :) It’s just personal preference.
Another amazing thing with the 5×4.3×3 V1S, is that I get little to none prop wash even recovering from a dive! It’s just magical :)
I think this prop suits a wide range of motors and setup, since it’s one of the lightest prop with relatively low pitch :) And a very good option too if you are going for efficiency.
HQ 5×4.8×3 & 5x5x3
Buy Other HQ 5″ Props:
What about increasing the pitch, since I want more “punch” and grip right?
So I tried the 5×4.8×3 and 5x5x3 next, only for a couple of batteries and I knew they weren’t for me. These two felt pretty similarly, both are very edgy but lose the throttle curve linearity that the 5×4.3 has. When you go through tight spaces, a tiny bit of throttle up it just “jumps” and surprises you :)
They also don’t handle prop wash as well as the 5×4.3. But man, they have great punch for sure and amp-hungry :) Racers might like them?
Maybe it takes time to get used to the control feel, or perhaps the pitch is a bit too much for me, I need to try the HQ 5×4.5×3 next and report back.
HQ 5.1″ Line-up
HQ recently released a new lineup of props, the 5.1-inch: 5.1×3.1×3, 5.1×4.1×3, 5.1×4.6×3, 5.1×5.1×3. These have just 0.1-inch bigger diameter than the typical 5-inch, but it made a very noticeable difference.
So far my favorite is the HQ 5.1×4.1×3. Very linear throttle response with easy throttle management. For example when you fly under and through low trees, you don’t get surprised by adjusting your throttle stick and hit the branches like you would with the higher pitch 5″ (e.g. 5x5x3).
Buy HQ 5.1×4.1×3:
It is about a gram heavier than the 5×4.3×3, at 4.8g each prop. And yet the responsiveness and grip are just awesome, the quad is snappy and feels very connected to the sticks.
The downside is the prop size. You might not be able to use this prop in some frames if the clearance is tight, 5.1″ might hit the standoffs.
They might not be the fastest prop for racing, but I really like how they perform for freestyle flying.
HQ also offers different pitch variants too. 4.1 pitch is a good middle ground I think.
Buy Other HQ 5.1″ Props:
Do I Balance Props?
No need to balance anything smaller than 7 inch in my opinion. 5″ props for mini quad these days are very well balanced out of the box (or bag).
I still have another 3 or 4 props from HQ sitting here I haven’t tried yet. I will come back and update this post :) Also some new props from Cyclone too.