Can Drone Propellers Hurt You? Here’s What You Need to Know


Drone Propellers are the blade-like projections attached to the motor of a drone. These propellers rotate at a very high speed when the drone is switched on. They often start off rotating gradually but soon gain momentum. So, can drone propellers hurt you?

Drone propellers can hurt you. These blades are sharp enough to cut through the skin. The propellers will probably not cause much harm when the drone is switched off, but when engaged, the rapid speed with which they rotate makes them dangerous. Your eyes, neck, and fingers are the most vulnerable. 

The severity of potential injuries depends on the size of your drone. Bigger drones with large propellers can cause deeper cuts and in the worst cases completely sever off a body part. To avoid injuries, take proper safety precautions when using drones.

Propellers are essentially the wings of your drone since, without them, the drone can’t fly. That said, let’s learn a bit more about drone propellers and how they work. Read on for more useful information on drone propeller speed, why you need to check your drone propellers, and how to prevent injuries.

How Fast is a Drone Propeller?

Drone propellers spin at an average speed of between 8000rpm to 9000rpm depending on the size of your drone. To illustrate, the propellers of an average-sized drone make about 9000 revolutions per minute (rpm). This translates to 150 revolutions per second.

A typical drone has a maximum speed of between 50-70mph. Larger drones have impressive speeds of 120mph. Drone propellers determine just how fast and smooth your drone will fly. For a drone to gain enough momentum for takeoff, the propellers may need to spin for some time.

For a drone to take off, the propellers need to spin at a certain speed to push the air down. As the propellers push down on the air, the air displacement pushes the drone up. Hence, the faster the propellers spin, the greater the lift.

Various factors affect the speed of a drone propeller. Here are a few examples.

  • Diameter: A large diameter means more contact with the air, hence more friction. This may affect the speed of the propeller. A propeller with a small diameter requires less effort to speed up compared to one with a large diameter
  • Motor: Motors power propellers. For this reason, a powerful motor increases the speed and efficiency of the propellers

Can a Drone Propeller Hurt You?

Injuries sustained from a drone propeller are not uncommon. If you are not careful when handling your drone, you risk damaging your propellers or hurting yourself. Drone propeller accidents have increased because of human blunders or technical glitches. Failure to adhere to safety precautions while handling your drone can lead to drone propeller accidents. 

Bigger drones with large propellers are more dangerous since these propellers are made of hard materials such as carbon fiber. Large drones also tend to have longer propeller blades, and more powerful motors, with the potential for more severe injuries. If you make any contact with a spinning propeller on a large drone, you are likely to experience severe injuries, and may even require stitches if the cut is deep.

A spinning propeller is hazardous if carelessly handled. Avoid sticking your fingers close to them. Always make sure that the path of your drone is clear to avoid any accidents.

Drone Falling Down

Before launching your drone, ensure all parts are functioning optimally. Technical malfunctions such as short circuits and dead batteries may cause the drone to crash-land and potentially cause bad accidents. If you are inside the drone’s airspace, you are at risk of being hit by a falling drone’s propeller.

The weight of a drone determines the intensity of its fall. That said, drones usually fall with the fore-front propellers first. Unfortunately, if you are in its path, these propellers can hit your head and neck causing concussions and other bruises or lacerations.

Drone Collisions

You can cause accidents if you don’t know how to steer the drone properly. Faulty steering is dangerous as your drone may collide with someone. When a drone hits something in its path, the front propellers will be the first to collide. These propellers, spinning at high speed, can potentially cause major harm.

Why You Need to Check Your Drone Propellers

Before launching your drone, you need to carry out a thorough inspection of every part of the machine, paying especially close attention to the propellers. Your propellers determine how well your drone will fly.

 Here are various reasons why you need to check your drone propellers.

1. Helps you diagnose any issues early

Small chips and cracks on your propellers may go unnoticed unless you carry out frequent inspection of your drone. These chips and cracks may cause your propellers to malfunction, resulting in accidents.

2. Helps you know when you need a replacement

Frequent inspection will help you note any worn-out parts of your propeller. You will be able to decide whether your propeller needs repairs or replacements.

3. Helps you tighten any loose propellers

It is very dangerous to fly your drone with a loose propeller. This is because the propeller may come off and hit someone, resulting in injuries. Propellers are attached to the rotor using screws. Ensure these screws are tight enough and won’t come off.

Additionally, use the correct size of screws to fasten on your propellers. An ill-fitting screw won’t properly secure your propeller.

Similarly, always use the right size of propellers for your drone. The wrong size affects the efficiency of your drone, leading to accidents.

4. Helps you to know when to clean your propellers

Regularly checking your propellers helps you know when to clean them. While flying your drone, dust and debris may collect on your propellers. If you don’t clean them off frequently, they may build up and cause your propellers to lock up midair. I suggest cleaning your propellers after every flight. You can easily clean them by wiping them off with a soft, clean cloth.

How to Prevent Drone Propeller Injuries

Thankfully, most drone propeller accidents and injuries are avoidable. It begins with taking extra safety precautions. That said, there are several measures you can take to prevent drone propeller injuries.

First and foremost, ensure your drone has built in safety mechanisms such as propeller guards. You can purchase these guards if your drone doesn’t come with them already fitted. These guards protect your eyes, hands, mouth, and other vulnerable body parts from injury while also protecting others.

Secondly, avoid using hard materials such as carbon fiber to reinforce your propeller blades. Granted, these materials are strong and durable. However, they also increase the risk of damage and injuries.

This is because the sturdy nature of these materials makes them unbreakable. On impact, your carbon fiber propeller won’t break or bend. Unfortunately, it will cause maximum damage to you.   

Consider plastic blades since they are softer and more malleable. If you collide with a drone that has plastic blades, you may not be badly injured.

Thirdly, avoid catching the drone mid-flight or while it’s landing. You risk injuring your fingers and hand. Mid-flight, the propellers are spinning at maximum speed and any attempt to catch it will result in serious injuries. While landing, although the propellers are decreasing in speed, they are still dangerous.

If your drone crash lands in the case of a malfunction, avoid sticking your hand out to save it from crashing. The chances of propellers severing your fingers are high.

Fourth, before taking your drone out for a spin, check the weather. The best time to fly your drone is when the weather is calm. Too much wind may make it fly out of control and crash. A strong gust of wind may also detach your propellers.

Furthermore, avoid flying your drone when the weather is misty and foggy. Ensure you can see your drone at all times, and that it is following your control signals as expected.

Choose an ideal flying area free from obstacles such as trees, tall buildings, and electric poles, as your drone might bump into them. Moreover, fly in an area with very few people. This minimizes the chance of your drone crashing on them in case of malfunctions.

Another way of preventing propeller injuries is ensuring that your landing area is safe. Make sure that the area is free from people, animals, and vehicles. You don’t want to collide with somebody else when trying to land your drone. The front propellers of your drone can easily hurt them.

Before flying your drone, I suggest that you go through the user manual and learn more about its safety indicators. Pay special attention to the propellers since they are notorious for causing injuries.

Likewise, keep in mind that your safety awareness needs to be heightened once your drone is armed. If your safety indicator shows that your drone is armed, it means that your drone is ready for flight and the propellers will start spinning. Avoid picking up an armed drone as the rotating propellers may injure your hand or fingers.

In summary, drones are essential machines in today’s society. As is with every machine, you must adhere to all the safety measures in place before you start using them to avoid unfortunate accidents.

Elizabeth Ciobanu

Editor-in-Chief. Elizabeth is a full-time (homeschooling!) mom of four, and serial entrepreneur in a variety of enterprises, one of which is producing content for Droneblog. If free time existed, she would love to spend more time on hobbies such as flying a drone.

Recent Posts