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Type Of Oil For A Lawn Mower : Choose The Right Type

Every power equipment needs engine oil to lubricate components so that they run smoothly without any friction. If you own a lawn mower, you should know that your machine needs motor oil for proper functioning and peak performance.

However, different grades and types of oils are available for lawn mowers. As a buyer, you need to have complete knowledge of types of oil for a lawn mower before purchasing a particular type as per your preference. Here is everything you need to know about the types of oil for a lawn mower.

Why Does Oil Matter for Lawn Mowers?

The basic purpose of oil is to reduce the friction between the internal components. It can also keep the temperature of the internal components under check when you are using the lawn mower for long. When the oil level in your lawn mower goes down, the following could be the consequences.

  • The engine can heat up.
  • The engine can get jammed.
  • The piston can get damaged.
  • The cylinder walls can get damaged.

Since oil is essential for the proper functioning of a lawn mower, you should know which type of oil is best for your lawn mower.

Various Grades of Oils

The grades of oil are done based on viscosity. Viscosity describes how fast the oil can flow through your motor at any given temperature. A thinner oil will flow fast, while a thicker oil will flow slowly. Oil can become thicker when the temperature goes down, but the flow will become slow. Based on this concept, here are the different grades of oils.

1. Single Grade : Single-grade oil works perfectly at normal and high temperatures. However, it chokes when the temperature comes near the freezing point. Therefore, it is suitable for areas that stay warm, and the temperature of the lawn mower will go up as you use it.

2. Multi Grade : Multi-grade oil works perfectly in all temperatures. Such oil has different flows for cold as well as hot temperatures. It stays thinner in cold temperatures while thickening in the engine’s hot temperature. Therefore, it is suitable for everyone, especially those in cold areas.

3. Conventional Oil : It is a mineral-based oil that is refined from crude oil. The cost of conventional oil is half that of synthetic oil. Conventional oil is readily available in the market. If you have an older version of lawn mower, conventional oil could be the only option because it may not take advantage of synthetic oil.

4. Synthetic Oil : Synthetic oil is based on petrochemicals and designed for specific applications. There are synthetic blend oil, where conventional oil is used as a base, and fully synthetic oil, where no conventional oil is involved. Synthetic oil is designed so that lawn mowers can perform at their peak even when it faces extreme temperatures. Synthetic oil is expensive, but it is going to last longer, and it is widely used in the commercial industry.

What are the Different Types of Oils for Lawn Mowers?

For a better understanding of the buyers, Society of Automotive Engineers(SAE) have classified and labelled the oils for lawn mowers as per their properties. While purchasing oil for lawn mower, you should watch out for the following labels to distinguish the different types of oils.

1. SAE – 30 : It is a single-grade oil which means it can work at normal as well as high temperatures. It is particularly suitable for smaller lawn mowers operating in warm areas.

2. SAE 10W – 30 : It is a multi-grade oil, meaning it can work at high and oil temperature. But the oil consumption could be on the higher side.

3. SAE 5W – 30 : It is a multi-grade oil which works best at low temperatures. But it can work well enough at high temperatures. It is particularly best suitable for lawn mowers operating in colder regions. But the oil consumption is lower than that of SAE 10W – 30.

4. Synthetic SAE 5W-30 : As the name suggests, it is a synthetic oil that operates perfectly at low as well as high temperatures. The oil consumption is also low; hence, it is better than the above-mentioned single and multi-grade oils.

5. Vanguard 15W – 50 : It is a synthetic oil with a wide range of temperatures where it can operate perfectly. It is particularly popular among commercial lawn mowers.

How can I check the oil in the lawn mower?

You have to keep an eye on the oil level of your lawn mower and refill timely. Here are the steps to check the oil in the lawn mower.

Step 1: Your lawn mower should be parked on a perfectly flat surface.

Step 2: Take off the dipstick cap followed by the dipstick.

Step 3: Clean the dipstick so that you can check the reading.

Step 4: Put back the dipstick and put back the cap properly.

Step 5: Remove the cap again and take out the dipstick for a confirmation reading.

Step 6: If the oil level in the dipstick is low, you have to add oil.

When you add oil, you have to wait for the oil to settle down, and thereafter, you can recheck using the above steps again.

How Often Should I Change the Oil?

Ideally, you should change the oil after 50 hours of operation. Depending on how often you use the lawn mower, you have to decide accordingly. In terms of the time period, you should change the oil annually for better performance of your lawn mowers in the long run.

How to Choose the Best Oil for a Lawn Mower?

In order to choose the best oil for a lawn mower, you have to first check the manual to find out if the manufacturer has recommended any oil type or not. Apart from that, you should consider the following parameters to choose the best oil for your lawn mower.

  • Temperature : Living in a cold area, you cannot buy single-grade oil. SAE 5W – 30 is the best oil as it can handle cold temperatures effectively without consuming excessive oil. If you are living in a hot region, you can opt for single-grade oil, preferably SAE-30.
  • Application : If you are using a lawn mower for personal usage, you are likely to use the lawn mower once a week or even a month. In that case, you should opt for conventional oil as they are readily available and will cost you cheaper. On the contrary, if you are using a lawn mower for commercial application, it is better to opt for synthetic oil for better equipment performance.
  • Engine : If you have a lawn mower with a 2-stroke engine, it is a small lawn mower. Therefore, you should lean toward single-grade or conventional oil. If the lawn mower has a 4-stroke engine, it is likely to be a medium to a large lawn mower, and you should use multi-grade or synthetic blend oil for a better outcome.


Oil for any lawn mower acts as a lubricant and is essential for smooth functioning. You have to be careful while choosing the oil for a lawn mower as there are different types available, and they have different applications and suitability. We have explained all the different types of oil for a lawn mower and how to choose the best oil for your lawn mower easily.

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