An argument that pops up all the time in the drone community is about whether a 2 blade prop drone is better than a 3 prop drone and vice versa. We’ll be joining the debate in this article and talking about which of the two (2 blade prop and 3 prop drones) is better in which scenarios and conditions. Continue reading to decide for yourself which is better.
When speed and efficiency are prioritized, 2 blade props make more sense, and they tend to be used in lightweight drones with less powerful motors. If flight stability and more thrust are desired, such as in heavier drones, then 3 blade props will be more suited.
For you to better understand and appreciate the differences in 2 prop and 3 prop drones and also know which one is better suited for you, we’ll be talking about the characteristics, pros, and cons of each of them. Our objective is that by the time you are done reading about both 2 prop and 3 prop drones, you’ll be able to make your own well-informed opinions about them. So let’s get started.
2 Blade Propeller
As the name clearly implies, 2 blade drone propellers have two blades. All other things being equal, the mechanical efficiency of the propellers of a drone increases as the number of blades decreases, and it is for this reason that 2 blade propellers are more efficient than 3 blade propellers.
However, it’s not efficiency that lifts a drone, it’s thrust, which is needed for the drone to overcome drag and it’s own weight and eventually climb into the sky. So while a 2 blade prop is more efficient, it generates less thrust and thus does not operate well on heavy drones featuring powerful motors.
2 blade propellers will perform especially well on drones where a fast motor response is required and the total amount of thrust is not as crucial. That is why you’ll find many ultralight racing drones have 2 blade propellers – because the drones are so light that the amount of thrust required is minimal and using 2 blade propellers will result in higher response and speed.
We must also talk about the durability of 2 blade propellers which is one of their factors that is often overlooked. Crashing is a common occurrence for folks that are into FPV, and beginning FPV enthusiasts will do well to start with 2 blade propellers. Why? In the event of a crash with a three blade prop drone, it’s not possible to hit the ground without contacting two blades before the motor hits the ground. This is in contrast to 2 blade propellers which are capable of rotating out of the way, reducing the risk of the propeller getting damaged.
Pros and Cons of 2 Blade Propellers
In summary, here are the pros and cons of drones with a 2 blade propeller configuration.
|Higher efficiency||Makes more noise.|
|Faster speeds||More affected by wind.|
|It’s a lot easier to make a folding design for drones with 2 blade props.||Not as stable as 3 blade propellers.|
|Easier to carry around due to its slick design.|
|More durable than a 3 blade prop especially in event of a crash|
3 Blade Propeller
3 blade propellers have three blades, which work to bring about the generation of more thrust. As we mentioned earlier, it is thrust that lifts your drone and it is because of this that 3 blade propellers are able to carry more weight.
Manufacturers will often install 3 blade props on heavier drones because these drones have more powerful motors and a very high thrust is needed to create lift. 3 blade props also have the advantage of being more stable thanks to the high thrust they generate, and this is why 3 blade prop drones feel more grippy when doing quick maneuvers.
Another characteristic of 3 blade props is that they can fly smoothly without being perfectly balanced. This is in contrast to 2 blade props that have to be perfectly balanced and in top condition to fly smoothly, or else they’ll start creating nasty vibrations when spinning.
|Provides the best balance of efficiency, thrust, and grip.||Not as efficient.|
|Very stable and can do quick maneuvers smoothly.||Not as fast.|
|Creates less noise.||Not as portable.|
|Less affected by wind.||More susceptible to damage in a crash.|
|Blade tips have better tracking with 3 blades.|
Are 2 Blade or 3 Blade Props Better?
As you can see from the characteristics, pros, and cons of the 2 blade and 3 blade props above, one isn’t necessarily better than the other. It’s the flying conditions as well as the type of drone you are flying that will determine the one that suits you the most.
If speed and efficiency are prioritized, as in racing drones, then 2 blade props make more sense. Provisions will then be made for the 2 blade props to perform optimally such as making the drone lightweight and using less powerful motors.
But if stability and more thrust are desired, then 3 blade props will be more suited. Also, 3 blade props will be needed to provide the thrust needed to lift heavier. If you are flying in an area where you’ll need to make several fast-flowing turns and need more grip, 3 blade props will also be more appropriate.
Why Don’t Consumer Drones Use 3 Blade Props?
3 blade props don’t seem to be as popular as 2 blade props among recreational drone users and the reasons for this aren’t hard to understand. As you know, there is a demand on manufacturers, regardless of the industry, to produce compact and more portable items. And the drone industry is no exception. Using 2 blade props makes it easy for manufacturers to produce foldable and portable drones.
To use 3 blade props for a drone, the drone must have powerful motors that are capable of driving the prop. And most consumer drones do not have motors powerful enough to support the use of 3 blade props. Also, we mentioned that 2 blades are faster, and that automatically makes them the prop of use in racing drones. So expect to encounter more 2 blade prop drones than 3 prop drones among consumer drones.
3 blade props have their applications. Wherever stability is desired, say some aerial photography, or the ability to perform maneuvers, 3 blade props are the prop of choice.
Best 2 Blade Prop Drones
There are many quality 2 blade prop drones on the market. In fact, the 2 blade feature defines most drones on the market. I’ll just mention one or two of them below.
DJI Mini 2
The DJI Mini 2 is a high-quality drone. DJI is well-known for producing high-quality drones and the Mini 2 is one of their finest inventions.
The Mini 2 is one of DJI’s smallest, lightest, portable folding drones. The 2 blade props contribute to the minimal form factor and folding design of the Mini 2. You’ll also be blown away by the long flight time.
Thanks to GPS and GLONASS transceivers incorporated in this drone, it’s able to pinpoint its location on a map and hover perfectly in place. Features such as Find My Drone and Return to Home improves the safety of your drone.
There is a 4k camera capable of capturing images in RAW on the DJI. Photography professionals like to work with raw as it gives more room for editing.
DJI Mavic Air 2
Small and lightweight, the DJI Mavic Air 2 is easy to store and transport. It’ll easily fit into most camera bags and there are a lot of safety features that DJI incorporates into this drone. DJI claims that the Mavic Air 2 has a flight time of about 34 minutes but you can expect this to be slightly lesser in real life.
There’s GPS integration as well as running lights on the Mavic Air for improved visibility. The Airsense feature, which uses an ADS-B transponder, warns you of manned aircraft in the region of the drone.
Best 3 Blade Prop Drone
There aren’t a lot of consumer drones out there that use 3 blade props due to the reasons we explained earlier in this article. However, there are a few quality 3 blade prop drones, of which the DJI FPV is one of the very best.
The DJI FPV is a different beast compared to the DJI products you are used to. This drone is designed for fun seekers and racing enthusiasts. That’s why high speed is the hallmark of this drone. Yes, it comes with a camera and can be used for aerial photography. But this is still as not great as its speed and the flight performance.
This drone uses a 3 blade prop which makes it easy to maneuver. This drone, although portable, will still need to be carried in a backpack or carry bag.
The remote control of this drone is designed like a traditional two-handed video game-style remote controller. If you’ve piloted a drone before, you’ll have no problem controlling this drone.
There are three high-speed flight modes such as normal and sport modes. The sport mode turns off all the obstacle detection features and increases the maximum speed limit to about 60mph.
Image Credit: DJI