What kind of oil is used in snowblowers, saws, trimmer, other power equipment? Main Image

Being smart about the type of oil used in your power equipment can ensure that your machine runs with the greatest efficiency possible.


The recommendation for units with four-cycle engines would be to use 5W-20 or 5W-30 weight oil due to the thickness (viscosity) that it has. These oils thin properly causing it to lubricate the engine valves, cam shaft, and crankshaft which prevents overheating. When using your snowblower frequently, make sure to check the quality of the oil in your unit. Contaminants can cause the oil to darken or turn black. If this occurs, make sure that you change the oil immediately in order to prevent damage. Using the proper oil in your snowblower is essential for the functionality and life extension of your unit. For a snowblower equipped with a two-cycle engine, please make sure to read your engine owner’s manual for the proper two-cycle gas/oil mix ratio. Using the proper mixture is important to extending the life of your engine.


 Two-cycle and four-cycle trimmers function at high engine speeds which in turn cause a tremendous amount of heat and friction to occur. Therefore, it is essential to keep the crankcase properly lubricated by using the proper oil in a four-cycle engine and the proper gas/oil mixture in a two-cycle engine. These mixtures can range from ratios of 32:1, 40:1 and 50:1, so please make sure to check your equipment owner’s manual for the proper gas/oil two-cycle mix ratio. Always use the proper two-cycle oil designed for mixing with gas for two-cycle applications and never use standard SAE 30 or other standard engine oil in a mixture. It is a good idea to shake your fuel can containing the mixed fuel to ensure proper mixing before adding it to your equipment. On a four-cycle engine, it is important to check the oil frequently so that damage to the engine, piston, or crankcase does not occur.


Depending upon whether you own a gas-powered or an electric-powered machine, there is a two-pronged approach regarding oil. The majority of gas-powered chain saws on the market right now require the proper ratio of premixed gas and oil mixture in order to work properly. Similar to the section discussing trimmers above, please check your owner’s manual for the proper gas/oil two-cycle mix ratio, the most common are 32:1, 40:1 and 50:1. Using a thicker mix may cause the engine to run rich and using a thinner mix may cause the engine harm by overheating, so please be sure to use the proper gas/oil ratio. Electric chain saws do not require this oil mixture. On both gas and electric powered chainsaws the bar and chain need to be properly lubricated with a specific bar and chain lubrication oil. Many manufacturers will have this type of oil available. It is important to use the correct bar and chain oil on your chain saws. Trying to cut corners by using a cheaper type of oil may save you pennies now, but may end up costing more over time when damage occurs from using improper oil.

Lawn Mowers

It is recommended that 30W or 10W-30 oil be used within a lawn mower due to its thickness (viscosity). This type of engine runs similar to a car engine and therefore needs a high quality oil in order to prevent overheating. Using the wrong type of oil or not being diligent with checking the oil levels can lead to numerous problems within the unit including problems with the valve springs, piston and other essential parts.

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