Aluminum vs Stainless Steel Boat Propellers

a boat parked on land

If you're just considering getting into sailing then you will first need to choose the right boat, and the right boat propeller. There are a number of factors that you will have to consider when choosing the boat propeller for your new boat.

You will want it to be made from a non corrosive material because it will be submerged under the water for the vast majority of its life. The two most popular materials for boat propellers are aluminum and stainless steel because neither of these rust. But what's the difference between aluminum and stainless steel propellers and when should either be used?


Aluminum is a light weight and non corrosive material this means that it can be exposed to water for a long time without being affected. Aluminum is actually an alloy made up of various other metals. It's light weight also means that it's ideal for use in boats because they are more efficient.

Aluminum propellers are ideally suited to use in lakes which are freshwater, they are not suitable for use in salt water. This means that aluminum propellers are only to be used in freshwater, if they are used at sea then they will corrode. Aluminium propellers are cheaper and quite easy to buy however they aren't as durable as stainless steel propellers

Stainless Steel

Stainless steel propellers are more expensive than aluminum propellers, however they do have a number of advantages. Stainless steel propellers can be used in any type of water including salt water without the risk of corrosion. Stainless steel is completely corrosion resistant.

These boat propellers are longer lasting and worth the slightly bigger investment. They are also stronger and less likely to suffer from impact damage.

Composite Propellers

A cheaper alternative to using stainless steel propellers is using composite propellers. These are made from man-made material and are suitable for use at sea and in freshwater.

Choosing a Brand

As with everything else in life there are a number of different brands of propeller available. It's important to choose a brand which fits your type of engine. Choosing a better brand should mean that you get a much higher quality and more durable propeller.

Other Factors

When you are choosing a propeller there are also lots of other things that you will need to consider. This includes the number of blades, size of propeller and type of boat. All propellers are different and suitable for different applications. A tug boat would need a completely different propeller to a speed boat for example.


If you are only sailing in freshwater conditions then you should be able to get away with using a much cheaper aluminum propeller. However if you are intending to sail the high seas then you cannot hope to use an aluminum propeller. Using an aluminum propeller at sea will cause it to corrode which means that it will need replacing much sooner.

A completely non-corrosive material needs to be used to make propellers which can be used at sea. Stainless steel propellers are much stronger, durable and longer lasting. These propellers can be used in all types of water. Even though they are more expensive they are worth the additional expense.