Used airplane propellers vary in size and shape depending on the type of airplane they came from. Factors that dictate the size of propeller that must be used on an aircraft include engine type and power, cruise speed, revolutions-per-minute or RPM range, ground clearance noise abatement issues and recommendations and preferences of the aircraft manufacturer.
The size of the propeller directly impacts the performance of an airplane, making it a very important consideration in aircraft building. More thrust can be generated by a propeller with longer blades, but it does come with certain disadvantages such as ground clearance and noise.
Taildraggers can handle larger propellers if the engine can handle it. The upward tilt of this airplane type makes this possible. Meanwhile, smaller propellers are used on tri-cycle airplanes because of ground clearance considerations.Tri-cycle airplanes have flat nose tire and strut that could cause a too large propeller to hit the ground in certain situations.
In selecting a used propeller for an aircraft , use the static RPM test to confirm that the engine can handle the propeller. If the propeller passes the test, it's safe to assume that it can be used to fly the aircraft.
Aside from size, other considerations in used propeller selection include material, condition and balance. For reference, check the size and type of the propeller being used by other pilots with the same aircraft type and engine.