What Can I Use For Chainsaw Bar Oil: 8 Helpful Alternatives

What Can I Use for Chainsaw Bar Oil to Save My Money

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Good bar and chain oil is the key to the success of a long and high-quality operation of your chainsaw. Good bar and chain oil minimize friction when turning the chain. But if you do not lubricate the chainsaw, then increased friction can increase heat and create dangerous situations for the chain, which as a result will lead to breakage.

bar and chain oil, gear oil, canola oil, hydraulic oil, chainsaw oil

In this article, we will look at the best oil options to answer what can I use for chainsaw bar oil.

The chainsaw bar is also known as a guide for a chainsaw or chainsaw blade is a bent metal bar designed to protect the motion of the cutting element (the chainsaw) in the chainsaw the operation. It’s placed inside the chainsaw’s chain and turns chains of the chainsaw. Once attached to the chainsaw, it increases its overall performance. chainsaw.

Lubrication is crucial for the chainsaw bar to work properly. The chainsaw bar requires oil to provide that it is properly lubricated between the chain and bar while they spin during operation. It will prevent it from colliding with the chain and catching and causing extreme friction.

It also prevents the possibility of burning your chain and reducing use of fuel, and ensuring maximal efficiency for the chainsaw bar, eliminating injury risk as well as preventing the damage to the chainsaw.

The oil also keeps the sawdust from getting stuck in the chain, and blocking the engine. Chainsaw bars can last 20 times longer when they’re oiled. The oil is delivered to the bar via an oil reservoir hole in the chainsaw bar.

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Chainsaw bars and chains are essential components of a chainsaw. They make part of the cutting system in the chainsaw.

The chainsaw’s guiding bar and chain both work in tandem to cut easily through wood or other relatively more rigid or hard-wearing material. The chain moves around the guiding bar in order to get through the piece of wood when an electric source is connected to the chainsaw.

If the engine of your chainsaw is powered by electricity or gasoline, there’s the transfer of energy into the chainsaw chain as well as the bar that guides it, which causes both parts to rotate through a circular movement. There’s a throttle inside the engine of your chainsaw that regulates the amount of energy transferred into the engine, and also determines the chain’s and bar’s speed.

Many chainsaws will let you utilize the throttle to alter the speed of your bar and chain according to the task that you’re doing.

The circular motion produced ensures a sufficient amount of friction necessary for effective cutting of the hardwood or other material.

When operating the chainsaw’s chains move quickly around the bar that guides it creating extreme heat and friction. In order to reduce the friction and heat, oiling the bar and chain will reduce the friction created and will ensure proper functioning of the chainsaw bar as well as the chain.

How to Choose the Best Alternative

Which bar and chain oil is better for a chainsaw, there is no definite answer, since the market is oversaturated with lubricants for 2-stroke engines. But, according to the reviews of masters with experience, it is still better to trust lubricants from well-known manufacturers.

By buying bar and chain oil of reputable brands, you will be able to extend the life of your instrument and provide maximum engine protection.

It should be noted that there are fakes for well-known brands on sale, buying which, you can ruin your chainsaw. Therefore, lubricants must be purchased only from authorized dealers who have certificates for products.

Alternative lubricants for 2-stroke engines, bar and chain oil gear oil

What oil to buy if original oil is not available

According to some users, the chainsaw chain lubricant can be replaced with any mineral bar and chain oil with a viscosity of 15W-40 for the summer period and with an index of 10W-30 for the cold season.

Also, many chainsaw owners are starting to wonder if it is possible to replace the 2-stroke standard bar oil reservoir with something.

Bar and Chain Oil Substitutes - Alternative Chainsaw Lubricants

Are gasoline mixes safe

Experienced craftsmen strongly advise against adding other lubricants to gasoline, since it is possible to completely disable the engine of the unit, which will take as much money to repair as you will not save on lubrication.

Carefully follow these parameters:

Summer viscosity 15W-40, winter viscosity 10W-30

Moreover, if we calculate, then one liter of oil is enough to make 50 liters of fuel mixture, which can be spent only by working at a sawmill.

READ ALSO ➡  How to Store a Chainsaw So It Doesn't Leak Oil: 8 Steps to Proper Storage

Understanding the Properties of Oil

It is necessary to dilute gasoline with soybean oil in a tank resistant to petroleum products (plastic or metal canisters). It is not recommended to use plastic bottles of water, juice or milk for these purposes, since food-grade plastic decomposes under the influence of gasoline.

As a result of this process, the fuel mixture will change its properties, and it is difficult to predict what effect this will have on the engine.

In the Tools and Equipment category, you can find more useful things for your daily work around home and garden.

Chainsaw Bar Oil Alternatives, bar and chain oil, gear oil, cooking oil, oil reservoir

How to prepair combustible mixture for a chainsaw

Take the required amount of lubricant and pour it into the prepared container. It is not necessary to pour all the prepared gasoline into a container with chain oil substitutes, half of the required amount will be enough.

Shaking the container slightly, wait until the lubricant is completely dissolved in gasoline.

Now you can pour in the remaining gasoline by mixing it well with the mixture in the container. This completes the preparation of the fuel mixture for the chainsaw bars.

Before you fill up your chainsaw chain

Before each refueling of the chainsaw chains, the combustible substitute oils must be shaken. Also, do not forget to tighten the fuel tank cap well, otherwise it leads to depletion of the chain oil substitutes and engine failure.

It’s better to use the finished fuel chainsaw oil substitutes immediately. Therefore, it needs to be prepared in such an amount that’s enough for the expected work.

If the substitute oils remain, then it cannot be stored for more than 1-1.5 months. During this time, it loses a significant part of its lubricating properties.

It’s also a good idea to check the chain tension before starting work: What Is the Reason My Chainsaw Chain Is Slipping off: Find and Fix It.

Chainsaw bar and chain oil options, bar and chain oil gear oil

Chainsaw Bar and Chain Oil Alternatives: 8 options

#1 Motor oil

Sawing is carried out by a moving chain, the course of which overcomes the friction forces, moving along the tire. Without lubrication, the saw part will quickly become unusable. In addition, special chain and bar oil is necessary for the engine.

The small used motor oil of the tool is almost constantly running at full throttle traditional motor oil, so there must be no dry friction in the piston group and bearings, even for a short time.

The operating conditions of the saw mechanism and the drained motor oil are different, so these parts of the tool are lubricated separately with different lubricants.

Why lubricate your chainsaw

The motor requires special oil for 2–stroke internal combustion engines chain and bar. For the saw part, it requires grease for the chainsaw bar and chain.

The supply of lubricating components performs several tasks:

  • Prevents overheating of parts, that is, prolongs their service life.
  • Promotes the smoothest possible running of the headset.
  • Partially relieves the load from the device itself.

In each model motor oil, the consumption is determined individually. The motor oil supply can be adjusted if it is provided for in the instructions, or the amount of the mixture is fixed. The chainsaw chain is lubricated continuously throughout the sawing process thanks to a pump mounted in the tool housing.

Pros of motor oil:

  • Used motor oil is common in working places
  • Viscous
  • High flash point
  • High speeds

Cons of motor oil:

  • Harmful to plants
  • It contains other chemicals such as cleaners

Motor oil as an alternative for Chainsaw Bar and Chain

#2 Vegetable oil

Any chainsaw, even the lowest power, needs vegetable oil. Even with minimal loads, a large pressure is created inside the power plant, which aggressively acts on the mechanisms.

What happens if you don’t use your chainsaw oil?

Rapid destruction and the inability to further operate the chainsaw’s vegetable oil pump is what would happen if you didn’t put vegetable oil in the engine.

Vegetable oils act as a protective material for all parts of the structure, which, by creating a strong lubricating layer on them, prevents serious consequences. Thanks to the special composition of vegetable oil, the liquid is fixed on metal surfaces and does not allow them to come into contact with each other.

It would seem that if every engine and chain need stable lubrication, then you can pour any lubricant under the hood. But this is not the case.

Each power plant manufacturer sets requirements for lubricants:

viscosity, chemical composition and technical parameters of the liquid

Pros of chainsaw oil:

  • Operates in cheap temperatures
  • Biodegradable

Cons of alternative bar oil:

  • Low viscosity
  • Clump during the winter

Vegetable oil is an option to oil your chainsaw

#3 Canola oil

Canola oil practically does not contain sulfur, is environmentally friendly, fire-safe, and has good lubricating properties, which contributes to an increase in the service life of the fuel equipment and the engine itself.

The direct use of canola oil as fuel is impossible, the technology of preparing the fuel rapeseed oil is needed. The developed technological line chainsaw bar oil alternative allows obtaining a fuel mixture with a content of up to 75% canola oil.

Pros of canola oil:

  • Canola oils safe and biodegradable
  • Alternative oil best performance in low temperatures
  • High flash point
  • High speeds
  • Environmentally friendly

Cons of canola oil:

  • Not very sticky
  • Has a quicker expiration date than most oils

#4 Transmission fluid

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Transmission chainsaw bar oil substitutes are lubricating oils used to lubricate manual transmissions, transfer cases, main gears of drive axles, steering mechanisms, gear and chain transmissions of gearboxes.

Transmission chainsaw bar oil substitute consist of a basic base, which can be mineral or synthetic, and an additive package. Transmission regular chain oil differs in viscosity and quality classes.

Transmission oils are used only in manual transmissions, automatic transmissions use low-viscosity ATF (Automatic Transmission Fluid) fluids, which have completely different characteristics and properties.

Transmission oil performs several important functions:

  • Lubricates and prevents wear of rubbing surfaces
  • Protects from bullying
  • Reduces power losses associated with overcoming friction
  • Reduces shock loads
  • Provides anti-corrosion protection to transmission parts
  • Reduces the noise level from engaging gear pairs
  • Removes heat and wear products

Transmission oil viscosity is designed for the gearbox, transfer cases, axles, and differentials.

Pros of chain oil:

  • Dilutes with other oil

Cons of chain oil:

  • Harmful when inhaled
  • Lower viscosity than bar oil
  • Extreme heat

Transmission oil for chainsaw

#5 Power steering and gear oil

Proper safety Gear oil and transmission fluids chainsaw bar oil can also be used as an alternative to chainsaw bar oil substitutes. Like conventional proper lubrication, transmission oil and gear oil is light in weight and can prevent chainsaw manufacturers chains from jamming.

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This usually eliminates friction when there is not enough chainsaw oils on your chainsaw chains spin.

Pros chain and bar oil:

  • Lightweight
  • High viscosity

Cons chain and bar oil:

  • Gear oil stains bad on clothes
  • Unpleasant smell

#6 Hydraulic oil

Hydraulic oil viscosity is one of the important components of any hydraulic system. Its main function is to transfer mechanical energy from the source to the destination. Hydraulic fluid changes the value or direction of the applied force.

In order for the hydraulic fluid to work properly, the substitute oil should be selected taking into account the type of system, as well as follow the recommendations of the equipment manufacturer.

When using motor oils with reduced viscosity in equipment, operational losses increase, the lubrication of its working elements worsens, fatigue wear occurs. Liquids with high viscosity make it difficult for the nodes to work at low temperatures, increase mechanical losses and resistance during movement hydraulic fluid.

Pros hydraulic oil:

  • High flash-point hydraulic fluid
  • Works well even in low temperatures

Cons hydraulic fluid:

  • Dries faster, so you will need to re-apply often
  • Not environmentally friendly

#7 Coconut oil

Of all the vegetable oils that can be used as a chainsaw bar oil alternative, coconut oil is a non-toxic substitute that is recommended to be used even at high temperatures such as summer.

It is not a dangerous oil substitute for chainsaw rods, which works well in the long run.

Pros chainsaw bar oil substitutes:

  • Suitable on summer
  • High flash point

Cons chainsaw bar oil substitutes:

  • Unstable viscosity
  • Dilute with vegetable oil or motor oil to improve thickness

Coconut oil for chainsaw using

#8 Olive oil

If you run out of fresh olive oil, you can drain it from your motorcycle or car and use it to run the chainsaw smoothly without stopping or idling. Used engine oil can also be an alternative lubricant for the chain and rods of your chainsaw.

Before applying used engine oil to the chain oil substitute, make sure that it is filtered several times so that harmful fumes do not damage the rods and chains. Filtering the oil can make it cleaner, but still creates a risk of unstable lubrication.

Pros bar oil substitute

  • Nonhazardous and environmentally friendly
  • High viscosity

Cons substitute oil

  • More expensive than other substitute bar oil

#9 2-Cycle Oil

No, 2-cycle oil is not a suitable replacement since it is far too thin to lubricate the bar. It lacks the viscosity needed to adhere to the chain and serve as bar oil. 2-cycle is intended to be used in 2-cycle engines after being combined with gasoline. This oil is thus fragile by design, allowing it to mix with the gas. A heavier oil wouldn’t mix with the gasoline; instead, it would clump or pool.

  • Never substitute bar oil with two-cycle oil; only use it as an engine oil mixture.
  • Two-cycle oil won’t have sufficient tact to adhere to the chainsaw chain.

What Is the Best Chain Oil Substitute?

For chainsaw lubricant, it is recommended two-stroke oils. They are designed for two-stroke used oil air-cooled engines operating under heavy loads.

Motor oil for chainsaws consists of a basic base and an additive package filtered oil. Additives are used to better mix oil with gasoline and help prevent corrosion and deposits, maintain the cleanliness of engine parts, and reduce the amount of smoke in the exhaust gases.

For table saws, follow the manufacturer’s recommendations even more carefully! The table saw engine is not the same as the chainsaw one.

The chainsaw needs to lubricate the bar and chain

Important Tips for Using Alternative Oils

In order not to run into a fake, you need to check with the seller for a certificate that he is the official representative of this trademark.

The vegetable oil or other oils are specially painted in bright colors so that when mixed with fuel, the color of gasoline changes. Thanks to this, it is possible to understand whether the lubricant has been added to the gasoline.

Low-quality motor oil can lead to rapid wear of the entire piston group of the engine. The released carbon will not allow the rings to shrink, and hooks form on the crankcase. Due to poor-quality lubrication, bearings can overheat and jam.

As chainsaw bar oil, it is strictly forbidden:

  1. Do not run your saw with used pantry oils, diesel fuel or vegetable oils for the saw.
  2. Don’t add separate additives to the fuel. It is difficult to predict how they will interact with the rest of the oil components.
  3. Do not mix oils of different brands or different compositions. It’s cheaper to pour out the leftovers and pour a new one.
  4. Never mix mineral and organic bar oil, as their performance characteristics are significantly reduced. Therefore, it is recommended to drain the old substance, after which only the new one can be poured.

Points to consider before buying

Among the features of the choice of chain lubrication, we note the following points bar oil:

  • There are budget and expensive analogs on sale. The price motor oil may depend on many parameters, for example, on heat resistance.
  • The constant use of products of the same brand allows you to unlock all the possibilities of lubrication. Having picked up a quality product from a well-known manufacturer, you will be able to purchase it constantly.
  • It is impossible to purchase a lubricant with a bright sediment and fractional stratification. At the same time, such an offer is often much cheaper than branded options.

Flash Point

The oil’s flash point is vital in lubricating your saw chain. It allows the chainsaw bar and chain to withstand extreme speeds.

Before choosing a chainsaw bar and chain oil substitute, make sure that the chainsaw oil you use has similar properties to your manufacturer’s recommended bar oil.


When choosing an alternative bar and chain oil, always ensure that it’s fresh and clean to avoid possible damage to your chainsaw’s bar and chain. Over the years, I’ve observed that used oils can contain elements detrimental to the chainsaw bar oil reservoir.

Also, always switch off your chainsaw before re-filling the bar oil reservoir to avoid unnecessary accidents.

Stickiness Or Viscosity

Viscosity is important when choosing a replacement oil because the oil needs to be very sticky, so it holds to the chain properly. If it’s too runny, it might result in the oil spilling to the bar, which nulls the lubricant’s purpose.

Chain oils prevent the chains from drying up, but if it’s not sticky enough, the chains will still dry up.

Environment Concerns

During my operations, I’ve noticed that some oil inevitably sheds off the bar. Hence, the oil choice can inadvertently impact the environment, both locally and in surrounding areas. Always prioritize eco-friendly oils to mitigate potential environmental and health risks.

Should you believe online reviews?

If a product of a little-known brand is purchased, then consumer reviews are studied before that. On the Internet, you can find quite a large number of different blogs and services where you can find reviews.

Of course, not everyone needs to be believed, as some will be placed within the framework of an advertising campaign. Do not forget that good bar oil cannot be cheap.

There are often problems associated with the fact that it is impossible to find a suitable branded bar oil. Many experts recommend choosing bar oil an analog from well-known manufacturers that will ensure long-term operation of the device.

Why Your Chainsaw Chain Requires Oil + Dos And Don’ts Of Chainsaw Maintenance

The working part of any chainsaw is the cutting chain, which is similar in appearance to a bicycle chain, with saw teeth added. This chain passes around the saw’s “bar” with small extensions on the inner side of the chain riding in a slot in the bar.

This metal-on-metal contact will eventually cause wear, perhaps to the point of failure, if it is not lubricated. Hence the need for bar and chain oil. The oil also serves as a solvent for tree sap, preventing that sap from building up on the saw’s chain and bar.

This oil is pumped from a reservoir in the saw’s body to the hub of the drive sprocket, where it passes out through an orifice into the slot in the bar. As the chain travels around the bar, it spreads the oil, lubricating the entire chain and bar.

For this to work, a fairly heavy oil is needed, as a lighter oil will drip out, rather than sticking to the metal parts. It is slightly “tacky” as compared to other oils, to help it hold in place, doing its job. It is these characteristics that make bar and chain oil different than other oils that we can buy.

Dos And Donts

Increased Friction

To avoid burning your chain and guarantee the longevity of your machine, it is a must to apply proper lubrication on your chainsaw guide bar and the chain.

This will prevent the bar and chain from rubbing against each other, which can generate intense friction and risk damage to your engine. Bar oils will prevent unnecessary clogging and increase your chainsaw bars’ longer use. 

On average, a well-oiled bar can last up to 20 times more than if dried up.

Toxic Formulas

To preserve the manufacturer’s warranty, it’s crucial to use non-toxic oils and formulas for your machine. Your power tools may be your best friend, but proper maintenance is compulsory.

It’s no surprise to me that many in the forestry profession lean towards oils like sunflower or soybean – they’re not only safe but also have a lesser impact on our environment than options like used oil or gear oil.

Use the Right Oil but Substitutes Oil Are Available

If possible, try to use the bar oil that the manufacturer recommended to you. This way you can insulate yourself from unnecessary problems for you.

But alternative bar oils are also possible. When choosing alternative oils for a chainsaw, it is worth considering the individual qualities and characteristics of your chainsaw. Many alternatives give the same result as the original chain oils.

To find a good alternative, check out what the original bar oil by Stihl looks like:

Chapter FAQ

Can I use regular oil for chainsaw bar?

Yes, you can. Ordinary vegetable and olive bar oil are good substitutes for the original bar oils. But when using them, it is important to observe some of the criteria that we described earlier in the article.

What kind of oil do you put in a chainsaw bar?

Special bar oils from third-party manufacturers. Also a good choice. They are much cheaper than branded lubricants, but often they are almost as good in working qualities.

Can I use vegetable oil instead of bar and chain oil?

Yes, vegetable bar oil is one of the best substitutes for the original expensive bar oil. It does its job perfectly, besides vegetable chainsaw oil is an environmentally friendly product. The only disadvantage of such bar oil is that it is very dangerous to use it in winter.


Chain bar oil is consumed much faster than fuel, so there is a risk of not noticing how it ends and continuing to use the chainsaw without lubrication.

To prevent possible problems, when using the replacement oil for the first time, you must fill the bar oil tank and the fuel tank at the same time. Then it is necessary to monitor the lubricant consumption and be ready for topping up.

Increased fuel consumption may indicate increased friction between the tire and the chain, caused either by the lack of oil or its poor quality. Unsuitable lubricant necessarily needs to be replaced.

Follow our advice, choose only high-quality lubricants, and the saw will last a long time.