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Choose the Perfect Pontoon Boat Propeller [ Tips & More ]

If you are planning to purchase or rent a Pontoon boat, picking the perfect propeller for the boat is absolutely essential. But, how do you choose the right pontoon boat propeller for you boat?

For picking the perfect propeller for your boat, first, check the leveling. Then, choose the propeller made of stainless steel or aluminum. Then, check the RPM of the propeller, if it is between 800-1000, you can use it almost on any Pontoon boat. Next, check the thickness of the propeller, and finally, if it has three or four blades, buy it.

I’ve talked about how you can choose the perfect propeller for your pontoon boat, and now I’d like to provide some valuable insights into this topic.

One of the most common questions that I get asked is “What prop do I need for my pontoon?”, and here, I will extensively explain it.

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Choosing The Perfect Propeller 

If you have a Pontoon boat, it is very obvious that you’d want the best propeller on the market to enjoy seamless sailing. But the problem is, without field testing, determining the perfect propeller for your ride is very difficult.

Before going out to buy a propeller, keep in mind that the existing propeller of your boat is already pretty good, so it is merely a luxury.

Below, I will talk about some factors which you can use to get the best propeller for your Pontoon boat. If you follow my instructions properly, field testing won’t be necessary.

The factors are fairly complicated, but I will try my best to present them in a manner that is understandable to everyone.

Labeling

The labeling of the propeller indicates a lot of things and checking it should be the first step of buying. Manufacturers use two things to label a propeller.

Firstly they measure the diameter of it and then use that data to label it. Then they observe what pitch prop for a pontoon boat would be suitable and label that as well.

For example, if you see a propeller that has a label of 13 * 16, that basically means it has a diameter of 13 inches and the pitch of the propeller is 16 inches.

Now, how can you determine which propeller size would work best on your boat? Just check the manual of your Pontoon boat’s engine.

From there, you will find which propeller size would work best with the model of engine you have. Again, if you are confused, then sticking to the manufacturer-provided propeller would work fine. But if you want more than fine, then keep reading the article.

Material

I know many people out there ignore or just don’t know the importance of the propeller’s building material. If you go to a store, you will see mostly propellers made of aluminum.

They are the most common and widely used since they are very cheap. They work fine on almost all sizes of Pontoon boats.

But if you have a deeper pocket, then I will highly suggest you buy a propeller that is made of stainless steel. You might be surprised by the high price tag of this prop, but these are much stronger, more efficient, stiffer and you will get an overall satisfaction just by using them.

Now, if you are very tight on budget, then you can go for the plastic propellers, I will still recommend you to buy the aluminum one as plastic propellers won’t last long. They are very cheap and are mainly used as spear propellers.

Although, with the advancement of science, the new plastic propellers are getting better. Take the “Piranha” propeller as an example. They perform almost on the same level as its metal competitors, even though it is primarily made of plastic.

At last, aluminum propellers will be my suggestion for budget-oriented people and those who don’t have a budget problem should go for the stainless steel one.

RPM

The RPM of an engine basically determines the overall performance of the boat. So it is needless to say how important a role RPM plays.

Checking the RPM of the propeller you are willing to buy is very important. Now, how can you choose a propeller that matches the RPM of the engine?

RPM means the number rotation of the propeller every one minute. Just check the manual of your Pontoon boat’s engine and you should find a numerical range of RPM.

In general, the RPM of a Pontoon boat is around 800 – 1000. Pick the propeller that matches the RPM of the engine.

Diameter

Sailors frequently ask me “what size prop do I need for my pontoon boat”. One of the most important factors when it comes to a propeller is its overall diameter.

If you get a propeller that is too big for the boat’s engine, then it will overtax and as a result, the boat will run much slower than it should.

On the other hand, if you use a propeller that is too small, the boat’s engine will make the propeller rotate much faster than it should and eventually will damage it. Now, how can you determine the perfectly sized propeller?

It really depends on the cruising speed of your boat and its overall weight. Pick the propeller that matches the description of your ride. Usually slower boats like pontoons require large propellers.

Pitch

The Pitch of the propellers plays a vital role in how the boat will perform on the go. Pitch basically means the angle of the blades.

You will find a numerical value on the manual of every propeller right beside the pitch. The value determines how much further the fans of the prop will move on every rotation.

For example, if the prop has a pitch of 26, that basically means the fans will push the water 26 inches further while rotating. Now, what pitch prop for a pontoon boat is needed?

Well, there isn’t a straightforward way to determine that. Take your Pontoon boat out for a ride and check the speed at its full throttle.

A low amount of pitch will make the boat move faster and perform better. On the other hand, a high-pitched propeller will speed up the boat greatly when the engine is at its full potential but will need a lot more force initially.

So, if your boat is not reaching the top speed at full throttle, just buy a propeller that has a higher pitch than the existing one.

Although, you can go for a propeller that has a lower pitch to keep the boat’s engine good for a long time. But since you have bought a Pontoon boat, I am pretty sure you would like to experience the full potential of it.

Which propeller you choose is completely up to you.

Total Number of Blades

Now, how many blades are suitable depends completely on your preferences. In general, if you choose a 4- bladed prop, the overall speed of your Pontoon boat will be low but you will be able to control it easily.

Especially, while docking, you will have to take some sharp and near turns. In such situations, a four-bladed prop will help.

If you prefer high speed, then a three-bladed prop would be perfect. But they won’t have the same amount of turning ability as a 4 bladed prop.

If you are an experienced cruiser, then go for the 3 bladed one.

The inability to take sharp turns can be solved if the diameter of the 3-bladed props is increased. But again, the initial speed will be lower and fuel efficiency will be greatly reduced.

I have drawn almost every situation on the basis of the blade numbers. You will have to choose depending on your necessity.

The Thickness of the Blade

The thickness of the blade varies with the design and the materials used. In short, if the blade is on the thinner side, the drag of water while cruising will greatly reduce and overall efficiency will increase significantly.

But at sea or river, the water is not smooth and I can guarantee you will face some obstacles on the way. Those obstacles can easily break the prop and you may get stuck in the middle of the ocean.

So, for longer journeys, picking a propeller that is thick enough is essential.

Cupping

Cupping basically determines how much grip a prop has on water. Practically, the curl at the tail end of the prop helps to achieve some level of grip.

Now, a change in the pitch of the propeller might also change the cupping, so be cautious.

Increasing the cupping will increase the overall grip of the boat, but will put extra stress on the engine. It might also reduce the RPM of the prop significantly.

On the other hand, decreasing the cupping will increase RPM. Choose the cupping according to your cruising style.

Some of the Best Propellers for Pontoon Boat

Above, I extensively discussed how you can choose the perfect propeller for your Pontoon boat. Now, I will talk about some of the best-selling props of the market.

I dug deep and came up with three propellers that should meet the needs of most of the sailors out there. They are provided below.

OEM Volvo Penta Marine

If your preference is high-speed and 3 bladed propellers, then the OEM Volvo Penta Marine SX would be a perfect choice.

In general, a three-bladed propeller can have a higher RPM and thus a higher speed compared to a 4 bladed propeller. This propeller not only will meet your expectations but will also surpass them.

Usually, the manufacturer-provided propeller fits the boat perfectly and most of the third-party propellers needed some change in size before using.

Well, that is not the case with the OEM Volvo Penta Marine. All you have to do is plug the propeller on the boat and that’s it.

This propeller’s design is undoubtedly the best in the market and it is so strong that it will last more than 10 years. The craftsmanship of this propeller will surprise you and the price is also not very expensive.

Specs

  • Diameter: 16 * 8 *17 inches.
  • Number of Fans: 3.
  • Material: Stainless steel.

Features

Great Speed

Thanks to its stainless steel build and 3-fan design, the speed of this propeller is unmatched. If your Pontoon boat has the right engine, you will be pleasantly surprised by the performance of the OEM Volvo Penta Marine.

Long-Lasting

One of the most awesome features of this propeller is, it will last longer than most of its competitors’ thanks to the stainless steel built. Additionally, the design and appearance of this product are also fantastic.

Pros

  • Good appearance.
  • Factory-built equipment.
  • Awesome speed.
  • Durable.

Cons

  • Not suitable for sharp turns.

Quicksilver Black Diamond Propeller

Quicksilver Black Diamond Propeller is one of the best deals for those who are tight on budget. Again, if your prime necessity is reaching high speed, then this one would be perfect for most people. In spite of having a low price tag, it can carry a lot of load without any problem.

This product comes with different price tags and different specs, so you can choose the perfect one for your Pontoon boat and enjoy seamless cruising. Pick the variant that matches the pitch and RPM of your boat’s engine. If you do everything perfectly, you can reach the highest-rated speed of your boat without any problem.

The propeller is made of Aluminum which ensures pretty good durability. But there is one thing that you need to keep in mind. This propeller will not enhance the overall cruising performance of the boat. If efficiency is your prime choice, then you can skip it.

Specs

  • Diameter: 7.8 inches.
  • Number of Fans: 3.
  • Material: Aluminium.

Features

Variety of Choices

The company “Quicksilver” provides a variety of products so that most of the customers can find the perfect propeller for their Pontoon boat. This is a feature that is not easily seen on other products. Most of the manufacturers provide different models for different sizes and add a higher price tag.

Cost-Efficient

Unlike the previous product, it is made with aluminum which makes Quicksilver Black Diamond Propeller very cost-efficient. On top of that, this company did not sacrifice the durability of this prop. It should last longer than the propeller you got from the manufacturer of the boat.

Pros

  • Awesome speed.
  • Has a variety of choices.
  • Setting up is very easy.

Cons

  • Harder to control.
  • Not suitable for long-term cruising.

Turning Point Propeller

The previous two products were a great choice if you want to experience the full speed of your Pontoon boat. But, if your priority is control; not high speed, then Turning point 21501930 Husler 4-blade Aluminum propeller would be a perfect choice. You can smoothly take sharp turns and this propeller makes the process of U-turn very easy.

Although this propeller was specifically made to take sharp turns easily, its speed will not disappoint you. Even at the full throttle of the engine, the propeller will not hold back the boat and its performance will surprise you. Given the potential of this awesome prop, the price tag is pretty justifiable.

It is a common fact that a four-bladed propeller will not perform as fast as a three-bladed one. But still, the RPM rating of this prop is very high, it is very easy to control, and it is capable of taking turns very smoothly. So, a slightly lower speed on full-load should not be a deal-breaking problem for most of the cruisers out there.

Specs

  • Diameter: 14 inches.
  • Number of Fans: 4.
  • Material: Aluminium.

Features

Easy to Control

For those who look for smoother performance rather than high speeds, this prop will be perfect. Especially, if you have little experience in cruising, then I will highly recommend you to buy this propeller. It will make the whole sailing very easy and you will be able to take sharp turns effortlessly.

Fuel-Efficiency

Most of the 3-bladed props are not fuel-efficient at all. When you go out for a long journey in your Pontoon boat, the fuel will take a big bite out of your wallet. If you, however, use Turning point 21501930 Husler 4-blade Aluminum propeller, the overall cost of fuel will be greatly reduced.

Pros

  • Good speed.
  • Controlling is very easy.
  • Can take very sharp turns.
  • Pretty cost-efficient.
  • Doesn’t consume a lot of fuel.

Cons

  • Lower Speed.

Conclusion

As you can see, picking the perfect propeller for your Pontoon boat is not an easy task at all. “What prop do I need for my pontoon” is a common question and in this article, I have extensively answered it.

Hopefully, after reading the whole article, you are now able to find the prop that suits you best. Thank you for stopping by.

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Written by Water Diversions

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