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Outboard Propeller Selection and Performance - Evinrude Parts -Technical Help by The Outboard Wizard.
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Part One: Basics: Size, Material,Recommended RPM's, and Performance.

General Rules to Follow:
A 1 inch reduction in propeller pitch will result an an increase of 150 to 200 RPM at full throttle.

If at full throttle, the engine RPM is too high, you will need to try a propeller with either a higher pitch or larger diameter. Conversely, if the engine RPM is too low at full throttle, try a propeller with a lower pitch or smaller diameter.

Due to the differences in hull designs, engines, and weight (and weight distribution) from one boat to another, finding the correct propeller for each boat will vary.

Finding the best propeller can only be accomplished by trial and error after determining what is most important to you (speed, handling, etc.) under specific water conditions (lake, ocean, rough seas, etc.)


Brands and Styles of Propellers:
First, we must say we recommend genuine OMC/BRP propellers for your Johnson and Evinrude outboard engine...

We have in stock almost ALL of the propellers listed in the Evinrude genuine parts and accessories catalog.
We do not stock propellers made and manufactured by Michigan, Aqua Power, or Stelitto.

OMC BRP Evinrude Johnson E-Tec models include:
Aluminum, Stainless Steel, SST = Stainless Steel Tough, SST II,
Viper, Raker, Rebel, Rogue, Renegade Bass, Renegade Offshore,
Electric, Weedless, SRX, Weedless Plastic, Plastic...

Stern Drive Models: Cobra, OMC Sea Drive & Sail Drive, Volvo Penta DuoProp, more.

There are some minor and major differences between the different prop models.

SST (Stainless Steel Tough) : The SST propeller is 5 times stronger than an ordinary aluminum prop. That means we can cast the blades thinner for a cleaner bite to achieve higher top end speed. The SST is a fast planing prop with thru-hub exhaust and cupped blades. With it's outstanding durability and high performance feature, the SST is unmatched as the best value in a stainless steel prop. More expensive than aluminum, but highly recommended for the serious boater.

VIPER:  Heat Treated Stainless Steel that provides protection from minor dents and dings; Swept-Blade that has a longer tip and larger diameter creating a better grip on the water; Optimum blade thickness.

RENEGADE OFFSHORE PROP: Four blade design, Left hand and right hand V6 sizes; Superior acceleration;Stays hooked up in rough water and is stable in all water conditions; Superior top end speed; Stays solidly on plane when running at minimum RPM.

REBEL (Polished Stainless Steel):  Three blade design, Left hand and right hand sizes; Highly polished stainless steel, Excellent fuel economy with longer cruising range. Faster speeds at lower RPM...View more Rebel information.
View Propeller Model Descriptions/Details...

The Size - Diameter and Pitch:

The diameter and the pitch (in inches) is very important information in choosing the correct propeller.

The correct propeller size (diameter and pitch), and material (stainless steel, aluminum etc.) will allow your boat's engine to operate at the engine manufacturer's maximum recommended engine RPM at full-throttle.

Diameter is the distance measured across the propeller hub line from the outer edge of the circle that is made by the propeller's blades during rotation. Pitch is the distance, theoretically, that a boat will travel for each revolution without any slippage. (The actual distance the boat moves forward for each propeller revolution is somewhat less, depending on the amount of propeller slip.) The diameter is listed first and the pitch is second. Therefore, a 14" x 21" propeller would have a 14-inch diameter and a 21-inch blade pitch.

A higher pitch prop will increase your top-end speed but reduce your acceleration (reduce your "hole-shot" power). Decreasing the pitch will increase your hole-shot but sacrifice some of your top-end speed. If the hole-shot speed is important to you, (Eg. water skiing) then you would want to go with a lower pitch prop and sacrifice some of your top-end speed but increase your hole-shot speed to get the skiers up faster.

If your propeller is either too large in diameter or too high in pitch (or both), your engine will not be able to reach the maximum recommended RPM at full throttle, (assuming your engine is in otherwise excellent running condition). This condition will cause strain on the engine and cause poor performance . If, on the other hand, the propeller is too small, either in diameter or pitch, the engine can be damaged by excessive strain.

What is your engine's recommended propeller diameter and pitch ?

Look at the inside of the hub of the propeller for either a serial number or the propeller size stamped into the hub. Consult your owner's manual. Review our OMC BRP Catalog Propeller information chart. (For recommended boat size, speed, HP, etc.). Call The Outboard Wizard - (631) 514-1525; Certified OMC technicians available 7 days a week to assist you in propeller selection.

Review The Outboard Wizard's Propeller Charts:  Small engines (Below 50 HP) - Midsize V4 engines - Large V6 V8 engines -

Material: Aluminum or Stainless Steel ?

Aluminum is good for general all-purpose recreational use engines. It is cheaper and less durable than stainless steel. Most pleasure boats are factory equipped with aluminum propellers. A good quality aluminum propeller will provide satisfactory performance for most family and fishing boats.
For ultimate top speed or better acceleration, a stainless steel propeller will probably be required. Stainless steel is much stronger than aluminum, and can endure far more abuse. If you can afford the higher price of stainless steel with the desire for top speed and acceleration, I would recommend stainless steel as the best choice overall.

For electric and selected small outboards (small fishing boats),OMC/BRP propellers are also available in weedless plastic.

Test for Maximum RPM:

Find the manufacturer's recommended RPM range in the owner's manual or ask your dealer. Ask the Outboard Wizard.

Using the existing propeller or a new propeller, make test runs to determine the maximum RPM and boat speed. This is known as "wide open throttle" (WOT). Vary the trim angle for optimum performance. If possible test different types of propellers. Test the propeller in a variety of water conditions, at a variety of speeds, under the conditions you will primarily use your boat (calm water fishing, rough seas, water skiing, racing, cruising, etc.).

Running your engine at the wrong rpm's can cause severe strain and lead to engine damage. An engine that revs past the manufacturer's recommended RPM will have higher than normal wear and tear.

3-blade or 4-blade Propeller?

Basically the difference between using a 3 blade or 4 blade propeller can be seen in the boat's handling and performance.
Three-blade propellers are the most popular and are good for general, all-purpose use. They provide good acceleration and control, and excellent top speed performance. Please note: Aluminum propellers are ONLY available in a 3 blade design.

The 4 blade design (stainless steel)is popular with boaters who are looking for a good hole shot, better acceleration, and better bow lift (higher trim angle) to reduce boat drag (too much of boat in water- reducing top end speed).
Important: 4 blade designs allow your boat to stay on plane at a lower rpm - Producing a slower cruising speed without loss of plane of the boat in rough seas and conditions.
Renegade props (4 blade) are of an excellent design -allowing better top end, speed, with minimal drag.

The newest Evinrude Johnson E-Tec Prop is The Rebel, with 3 large diameter blades and the Rogue with 4 blades.

Boating Activity -  Cruising, Fishing, Racing, Skiing...

The type of activities you do with your boat are important in determining what type of propeller you will need.
You may need to have more than one propeller if you use your boat for different types of activities.

The Truth:  No single propeller will be able to give you top speed and handling under all conditions.
The propeller that provides the best hole shot will probably not provide the best top speed for your boat.
A propeller that will give you absolute top speed, will probably provide uncomfortable midrange handling or ride.

If you use your boat often under a variety of conditions, you will probably decide that you need more than one propeller. Eg. one for cruising, one for speed and one for pulling skiers... of course, if your budget only allows one good quality propeller, you will need to select the propeller that provides the best compromise between the characteristics you are looking for.


The Outboard Wizard highly recommends the Rebel and Viper as the best prop for offshore, large runabouts and large pontoon boats. (E-tec's, Evinrude Johnson V4 with V6 gearcase, V6, V8, OMC Stern Drive, OMC Cobra etc...). 

This article cannot be reproduced or copied without prior permission from the author. Thank you.
Update 2007.






Selecting an OMC BRP Propeller for Optimal Performance:
- How To Chose The Correct Outboard Propeller -

Online Technical Advice By The Outboard Wizard.
Information on Johnson, Evinrude, E-Tec Motors.
BRP OMC repairs, maintenance and engine parts.

Why is the correct propeller selection so important?

-  Better Gas Mileage: Engines max rpm set at engine peak hp.
-  Top End Speed: Prop set at max rpm.
-  Best Cruising: Staying on plane at lower rpm.
-  Maximum Performance: Adjust pitch to achieve your engine rpm at peak hp.
For maximum performance, top speed and better acceleration, a stainless steel propeller is usually required. (Most pleasure boats are factory equipped with aluminum propellers, which are less expensive).

Important Facts:

Choosing the correct pitch and number of blades will allow your engine to operate within the RPM range recommended by the manufacturer.

- Increase propeller pitch to lower top RPM wide open throttle (WOT) Full-Trim.
- Decrease propeller pitch to raise top RPM wide open throttle (WOT) Full-Trim.
- Diameter is usually not adjustable.
- It is very important to choose the correct number of blades. Info on 3 blade vs. 4 blade listed below.
- Choosing a propeller with the incorrect pitch, can damage the propeller's blade surface due to excessive cavitation.

3 Blade vs. 4 Blade

Performance boats:  3 blade fastest but in some cases the 4 blade will deliver more bow lift to achieve faster speed.
Fishing Offshore boats:  3 blade is fastest.
3 Blade Raker: Has curved blades for better bite and hole shot and can be run at higher engine height.

Advantages of a 4 Blade:
A 4 blade can be trimmed high to achieve higher transom height, which will achieve higher speeds.
A 4 blade propeller has less slippage. Due to better hole, a 4 blade will stay on plane at lower RPM, and will improve gas mileage.

Definition of  Commonly Used Propeller Terms

Cavitation: A phenomenon of water vaporizing or boiling due to the extreme reduction of pressure on the back of the propeller blade.

Diameter:  The first number listed when describing a propeller. Is two times the distance from the center of the hub to the tip of the blade. Also can be described as the distance across the circle the propeller makes when rotating.

Pitch: The second number listed when describing a propeller.  The forward movement (distance) of the propeller after one revolution, assuming there is no slippage.

Details on Evinrude Johnson Propeller Types/Models


Article:  Outboard Boat Propeller Selection.
Article:  Propeller Selection and Performance,
By The Outboard Wizard
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5/25/2007 Boat Propellor Selection Article:
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