Difference Wiki

Turbofan vs. Turboprop: What's the Difference?

Edited by Aimie Carlson || By Janet White || Published on February 20, 2024
Turbofan is a type of jet engine using a fan for increased efficiency; Turboprop is a jet engine with a propeller, offering better performance at lower speeds.

Key Differences

A turbofan engine combines a large fan at the front with a core jet engine, harnessing thrust from both the fan and exhaust gases. A turboprop engine uses a jet engine to drive a propeller, offering a hybrid of jet and propeller technologies.
Turbofan engines are highly efficient at high speeds and altitudes, commonly used in commercial airliners. In contrast, turboprop engines excel in fuel efficiency at lower speeds and altitudes, making them ideal for regional and cargo aircraft.
Turbofan engines typically produce less noise due to the fan, making them favorable for commercial air travel. Turboprops, with their distinctive propeller noise, are more common in smaller planes and in areas with less stringent noise regulations.
The turbofan engine’s complex design often leads to higher maintenance costs compared to turboprops. Turboprop engines, while still intricate, are generally considered simpler and more cost-effective to maintain.
Turbofan engines are predominant in large, long-range jets, reflecting their high-speed efficiency. Turboprops are often found in shorter-range, smaller aircraft, especially where short takeoff and landing capabilities are beneficial.

Comparison Chart

Engine Type

Jet engine with fan
Jet engine with propeller


High at high speeds
High at low speeds

Noise Level

Generally quieter
Louder due to propeller


More complex
Simpler and cost-effective

Preferred Usage

Long-range aircraft
Short-range, smaller aircraft

Turbofan and Turboprop Definitions


A turbofan engine is a jet engine variant that uses a fan for increased efficiency.
The Boeing 787 Dreamliner is equipped with high-bypass turbofan engines for long-haul flights.


Turboprops offer a balance of jet engine power and propeller-driven economy.
The C-130 Hercules military transport aircraft utilizes turboprop engines for versatility.


Turbofans are characterized by their large fan blades visible at the front of the engine.
The Airbus A350’s distinctive feature is its large turbofan engines, contributing to its aerodynamic efficiency.


Turboprop engines are efficient at lower altitudes and speeds.
Many cargo planes use turboprop engines for their ability to take off and land on short runways.


Turbofan engines are a common choice for commercial and military aircraft.
The F-16 Fighting Falcon uses a powerful turbofan engine for high-speed maneuverability.


A turboprop engine combines a turbine engine with a propeller for propulsion.
The ATR 72 is a popular regional aircraft powered by twin turboprop engines.


Turbofan engines combine aspects of both jet and ducted fan technology.
Modern fighter jets often use low-bypass turbofan engines for enhanced performance.


Turboprop engines are known for their distinctive propeller noise.
The Bombardier Q400, a turboprop airliner, is recognizable by the sound of its propellers.


This engine type provides thrust primarily through a ducted fan.
Commercial airliners prefer turbofan engines for their fuel efficiency and reduced noise.


This engine type is favored in smaller, regional aircraft.
Turboprop engines power many bush planes, ideal for rugged and remote airstrips.


A turbojet engine in which a fan supplements the total thrust by forcing air directly into the hot turbine exhaust.


A turbojet engine used to drive an external propeller.


An aircraft in which a turbofan is used. In both senses also called fanjet.


An aircraft in which a turboprop is used. Also called propjet.


(aviation) A turbojet engine having a (typically ducted) fan that forces air directly into the hot exhaust and obtains a portion of the thrust from the turbojet and a portion from the turbojet section.


(aeronautics) A type of gas turbine aircraft engine that drives and obtains essentially all thrust from an external (typically unducted) propeller.


Jet engine in which a turbine drives air to the burner


(aviation) An aircraft that uses a turboprop engine.


Airplane powered by a turbojet engine


An airplane with an external propeller that is driven by a turbojet engine


What is a turboprop engine?

A propulsion system combining a turbine engine and a propeller, efficient at lower altitudes and speeds.

What is a turbofan engine?

A jet engine type that uses a fan to improve efficiency, commonly used in commercial airliners.

Do turboprops offer better fuel efficiency than turbofans?

Turboprops are more fuel-efficient at lower speeds and altitudes.

Are turboprop engines simpler than turbofans?

Generally, turboprops are simpler and more cost-effective to maintain.

How does altitude affect turboprop performance?

Turboprops are less efficient at high altitudes compared to turbofans.

Where are turbofan engines mainly used?

Primarily in commercial, long-range jets due to their high-speed efficiency.

What types of aircraft typically use turboprop engines?

Smaller, regional aircraft and cargo planes, especially where short runways are common.

Are turbofan engines quieter than turboprops?

Yes, turbofans generally produce less noise due to their fan design.

Can turbofan engines operate efficiently at low speeds?

They are less efficient at low speeds compared to turboprops.

Do turbofans have a higher thrust-to-weight ratio than turboprops?

Yes, turbofans typically have a higher thrust-to-weight ratio.

Can turbofans be used on military aircraft?

Yes, many modern fighter jets use turbofan engines.

Are turboprops used in any military aircraft?

Yes, turboprops are used in military transport and surveillance aircraft.

Is a turbofan suitable for short-haul flights?

Turbofans are less ideal for short-haul flights than turboprops.

Can turbofan engines be used on small aircraft?

They are less common on small aircraft due to their size and complexity.

Do turbofans offer faster speeds than turboprops?

Yes, turbofans provide higher speeds, suitable for long-distance travel.

Do turbofans require more maintenance than turboprops?

Generally, turbofans are more complex and require more maintenance.

Is the operational cost of a turboprop lower than a turbofan?

For short-haul flights, turboprops often have lower operational costs.

Are turboprop engines more versatile than turbofans?

Turboprops offer more versatility for short-haul and rugged operations.

Why are turboprops favored in rugged terrain?

Their ability to operate on short and rough runways makes them ideal for rugged terrain.

How does weather affect turboprop performance?

Turboprops can perform better in diverse weather conditions, especially in colder climates.
About Author
Written by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.
Edited by
Aimie Carlson
Aimie Carlson, holding a master's degree in English literature, is a fervent English language enthusiast. She lends her writing talents to Difference Wiki, a prominent website that specializes in comparisons, offering readers insightful analyses that both captivate and inform.

Trending Comparisons

Popular Comparisons

New Comparisons