The choice between a three-blade and a four-blade propeller depends mostly on the desired performance characteristics of the boat. In general, a three-blade propeller usually offers better top-speed performance in a non-surfacing piercing application. In contrast, a four-blade propeller provides better acceleration and smoother cruising operation.
The growing frequency of propellers being run at an increased height and or in tunnels and are surface piercing, four and five-bladed propellers have become more popular. They suppress the higher level of vibration and improve acceleration by putting more blade area into the water. They can also help to make the rake more effective in lifting the bow of the boat for added speed.
In recent years, there has been an increase in popularity among propellers which run at an increased height, in tunnels, and are surface piercing. As such, it is not uncommon to see four and five blade propellers which surpress the higher level of vibration and improve acceleration simply by putting more blade area in the water. In addition, these propellers often help make the rake more effective in lifting the bow of the boat.