Best Low Cost Chainsaw Bar Oil Alternatives to Save Money

Best Low Cost Chainsaw Bar Oil Alternatives to Save Money

What are the Best Low Cost Chainsaw Bar Oil Alternatives? If you use a chainsaw, you know how crucial it is to maintain the chain and bar lubricated. This reduces friction as the chain rotates, and if you don’t keep the chainsaw oiled, increasing friction can lead to a dangerous buildup of heat that can harm the chainsaw bar and chain.

All chainsaws come with a manufacturer’s advice for which oil to use for bar and chain lubrication, but the right oil isn’t always accessible when you need it. Furthermore, the suggested oils can be costly; are there substitutes you can use in a pinch or to save money?

Yes, there are, so let’s have a look at some of the alternative chainsaw bar oil substitutes.

Chainsaw chain and bar oils require certain attributes that differ from the qualities of other oils in order to perform successfully – and this is true for electric and cordless chainsaws as well as gas-powered ones.


Because chainsaw chains spin at such high rates, the oil must be “sticky” enough to adhere to the chain as it travels. If an oil is not properly sticky, it will rapidly fall off the chain, causing the chain to dry out.

The oil must also act well as a lubricant, therefore it must have the property of “slipperiness” to do so.

This implies that a good chainsaw oil has the ideal balance of stickiness and slipperiness.

Temperature affects the viscosity of the oil (how thick or dense it is), therefore certain oils that are excellent stickiness and slipperiness at higher temperatures may be undesirable at lower temperatures.


Finally, chainsaw oil should be ecologically friendly because the majority of it will fall off the chain as you operate and end up in the environment.

If you wish to use something other than specialized chainsaw chain and bar oil, check your user handbook to see what sort of oil they recommend. With this information, you may then choose an option that is most similar to the suggested oil.

Alternatives to Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil

Alternatives to Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil

Motor Oil

If you find yourself in a position where you need to operate your chainsaw but don’t have the proper oil, one apparent solution is motor oil. The biggest advantage of adopting this is that if you own a car, you most likely have some nearby.

Motor oil, on the other hand, is petroleum-based and hence harmful to the environment. As the chain spins, minute droplets of oil fly off the chain, and all of the oil you placed in the reservoir ends up in the environment as you operate the chainsaw.


Another downside is that if you are trimming live trees, the oil will hurt the trees because it is not biodegradable.

If you are very desperate for lubricating oil, another option is to filter leftover motor oil from your car. If you do this, it is preferable to collect the oil while it is still warm from the engine, since this aids in filtering.

However, keep in mind that no matter how effectively you filter your car’s oil, it will still include small metal particles that might harm the bar and chain of your chainsaw, so this should only be used as a last resort.

Because of temperature fluctuations in oil viscosity, use summer oils like SAE30 in warmer situations and winter oils like SAE10 in colder conditions if you have the option.


Vegetable Oil

Vegetable oil is another option that may be utilized in a variety of ways and has several unique advantages: it is inexpensive, you most likely already have some in your house, and it is ecologically beneficial. If you spill any on yourself, it is also simpler to remove off garments.

Vegetable oil is very useful for trimming living trees since it does not harm the trees in the same way as petroleum-based oils do.

Another reason vegetable oil is a good substitute is that it has a high viscosity; nevertheless, in colder temperatures, it becomes too thick and cannot be utilized.

Canola Oil

Canola oil is a rapeseed oil that offers many of the same benefits as vegetable oil when used as a lubricant oil alternative.


It is safe for the environment, may be used to prune living trees, is affordable, and is widely accessible.

It’s thinner than standard vegetable oil, so it’ll fly off the chainsaw faster – but it has a better viscosity at lower temperatures, so it’s a decent replacement for chainsaw oil when vegetable oil isn’t available.

Important Chainsaw Alternative Oils Advice

Chainsaw Alternative Oils Advice

Chainsaws are constructed such that both the gasoline in the tank and the oil in the reservoir run out at the same time. This means you always top them up simultaneously, reducing the possibility of accidentally running your chainsaw without lubricating oil.

However, in order for this to function, you must use the proper type of oil; if you use a replacement, the oil may deplete considerably faster than the gasoline. As a result, you may continue to use an unlubricated chainsaw after the oil runs out without noticing it.


To avoid this, fill both the oil reservoir and the gasoline tank at the same time the first time you use a replacement oil, and then keep an eye on both while you operate. This approach, you can observe how rapidly the oil depletes and whether you need to replenish it.

Also, if you find that your chainsaw is burning a lot more gasoline than normal, this might be due to increased friction between the bar and the chain.

This is a solid indicator that your chainsaw isn’t properly lubricated, so make sure you have oil in the reservoir and consider trying a different oil if the one you’re using isn’t working.

Use the Correct Oil – However, Substitutes Are Available

The optimum oil for your chainsaw is generally the one recommended by the manufacturer; but, if you don’t have any on hand or want to save some money, alternative alternatives exist – and many of them can work almost as well as the genuine thing.



  1. Mark Rolfe

    As a frequent chainsaw user, I know how quickly the cost of branded bar oil can add up. The information provided in this post was really helpful to me, I appreciated the detail and transparency of the different alternatives discussed. I will definitely be trying some of these options in the future to save some money on my chainsaw maintenance. Thank you for sharing this valuable information!

  2. OldChainSawHack

    All listed are all to thin. Will not do the job needed with a long bar and hard wood. So yes go Canola and save some money and then spend a lot more on a new bar and chain set much sooner than needed.

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