Lawn Mower Oil Type Helps Your

Did you know that if you use a lawn mower oil type that is not right for your lawn mower, this could decrease the efficiency of your mower or even damage its engine? But do you also know that if you use the right oil type for your mowing machine it will stay workable for a lot more years? If you want to know the best oil for lawn mowers based on your mower’s engine type, better stay reading because you will learn a lot about the different types of oils for your mowers and when to use them. Lawn Mower Oil Type

Lawn mowers only have two small types of engines: the 2-strokes and the 4-strokes. Each engine type has its features and capability but when it comes to oil usage, this is how they greatly differ. The 2-stroke engines need to mix up their oil with the gasoline so that it burns along the fuel while lubricating the engine. The 4-strokes have separate compartments for its gasoline and oil. Each engine type also compresses and burns fuel differently so in terms of engine performance there is also a variation.  Lawn mower oil type Engine oil is what makes the engines work better that without it, no machine can survive. If gasoline or diesel is the fuel for petrol-based machines, it is the oil that makes it their lifeblood. On the other hand, not all engine oil types can work better for all lawn mowers so you have to know which of these oils should give your mowing machine a better lubricating job.  

How Much Oil Does

Engine oil if it’s too much or too little can have a negative effect on the lawn mower. Too much can flood the engine and it will experience hard starting, overheating, oil leak and white smoke may come out from the exhaust. Too little oil can eventually put your engine also at risk because there could be a lot of friction on the engine parts. The engine will overheat, will experience hard starting and the worst scenario is engine damage. So how much oil does a lawn mower take for it to have enough?  Lawn Mower Oil Type

According to Briggs & Stratton, the typical oil capacity of the walk-behind mowers regardless of engine type is 15 to 18oz which is equivalent to .44 to .53liters of oil when you have drained all the old oil out. But to be safe, use the dipstick whenever you refresh the oil. There is a line in every dipstick that will tell you the right amount of oil needed by the engine.  Lawn Mower Oil Type

If you are not sure what kind of oil you need to put into your lawn mower, check the engine’s manual or contact the manufacturer. Engine oils are available in the conventional and synthetic formulation. However, the SAE 30 motor oil is  recommended by most lawn mower manufacturers for those who live in warmer countries. For those who have questions like “can I use synthetic oil in my lawn mower? Yes, you can. Synthetic oils are generally thicker and are formulated not only to lubricate but also to protect the engines from extreme temperature ranges.

What Weight of Oil for

When it comes to engine oil, viscosity is referred to as “weight”. Viscosity is defined as the state of thickness, stickiness and consistency of a fluid. The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) established the oil rating from 0-50 to help consumers identify the viscosity of the oil when exposed to hot or cold temperatures. So being high in weight (viscosity rating) means the oil is thicker and being  low means thinner. Lawn Mower Oil Type

Remember that oil with high viscosity ratings are the best for hotter weather while the thinner oils are more adaptable to cold weather. So that tells us that SAE 30 motor, for example, fits perfectly for warmer climates but not in a cold environment.   Lawn Mower Oil Type

Engine oils are all formulated and can consist of minerals, semi- or fully synthetic base oil and additional additives for more lubricating, cleaning and protective purposes. Multigrade oils have ratings that give you both the cold and hot viscosities. For example, the SAE 10W-30 engine oil can perform in hot conditions due to its 30 viscosity rating while its 10W cold rating will help it perform well when under cold conditions. W stands for “winter” and NOT weight. This goes to say that when choosing the best oil for lawn mower, you have to consider the climate where you will use your lawn mower.Lawn Mower Oil Type

Lawn Mower Oil Type

Lawn Mower Oil Type To further explain the different viscosity ratings of the engine oils that SAE has graded and to know what weight of oil for lawn mower is best for your mower, below is how the SAE developed its grading system to help consumers identify oil usage both for single grades and multigrade motor oils. 

List of weight of oil for specific temperature requirements: 

SAE 30 – Can be used by any small type engine and perform best on warmer temperatures.

SAE 10W-30 – Can be used on varying temperature ranges. Can improve cold-weather starting but could increase its consumption under low temperature. 

Synthetic SAE 5W-30 – Provides the best protection against all temperatures and can improve starting and with less oil consumption.  

SAE 5W-30 – Formulated only for cold temperatures.

SAE 15W-50 – Can be used on varying temperature ranges. Best choice for lawn mowers used for commercial purposes. 

Can I Use Synthetic Oil

Going back to the question, “can i use synthetic oil in my lawn mower?” and we said yes, it’s because synthetic oils are formulated to perform in varying temperatures. They are filling up the gaps which the single grade oils are lacking. However, conventional or standard oil also fares better when it comes to many aspects of lawn mower use. So why not  differentiate the two and you decide what lawn mower oil type will be best for your machine.

Lawn Mower Oil Type


The conventional oils are cheaper compared to synthetics since they carry only one formulation. However, these are choosy when it comes to weather preference. More so, since you only need to mow your grass during the warmer weather, these oils are better to be used either for your 4-stroke push lawn mower or riding mower and using synthetic engine oil may just be a waste of money.

You can also use the single-grade conventional oil on some of your machines with small engines such as grass cutters  and such. Unfortunately, it is not advisable to use the conventional engine oils to 2-stroke engine lawn mowers because this can produce a lot of smoke and can harm the engine. Synthetic or the multigrade engine oils are better for the 2-strokes because they provide additional layers of protection to engine parts. 

If your lawn mower is a 2-stroke, read the label of its oil requirement first before buying or inquiring from the store the best oil for your machine.

Synthetic Oil

So what weight of oil for lawn mower when it comes to choosing synthetic engine oils? 

Synthetic oils are generally thicker than the conventional oils which means they can provide better lubrication and can keep your engine efficient. These are formulated to lubricate and protect engines in varying temperatures. Unlike with the conventional oils, the synthetics can alter their viscosity based on the temperatures.

Another advantage of using synthetic engine oil is its capacity to collect debris and dirt in the engine which also means changing the oil is like cleaning the engine as the dirt in the engine also comes along with the old oil. 

The only issue that people think about synthetic oils is that they tend to burn faster because the engine uses it progressively. In this aspect, using the synthetics is a little costlier than the conventional oil types.

Best Oil Recommendations for Small Engines

Going back to the oil types, lawn care experts have some advice when choosing engine oil to perfectly reach the maximum capacity of your lawn mowers. As we have discussed above, certain engine oils work best for certain weather conditions. So what kind of oil do you put in a lawn mower?

The thing is, any synthetic oil would work well for all small engines but to be specific, let’s talk about what’s the best oil for lawn mower that will work best at certain temperatures.

 If your surrounding temperature ranges from 40 degrees Fahrenheit and higher (5 degrees Centigrade or higher)  use SAE 30 which works best on warmer temperatures. 


For an environment with very cold temperatures like -20 degrees to 120 degrees F (-30 to 40 degrees C), the synthetic oil SAE 5W-30 can be an ideal choice as it can protect the engine from stalling, can improve starting and oil consumption is much less regardless of the weather.

For other temperatures that range from 20 degrees F to 130 degrees F (-6 degrees C to 54 degrees C) the full synthetic 15W-50 engine oil can also be preferably used. This is much adaptable for commercial lawn cutting or even for pressure washing jobs that require the engine to continuously work.

Lawn Mower Oil Type and Engine Type

Let’s answer the usual question again, what kind of oil do you put in a lawn mower? There are only types of oil for lawn mowers and these are the conventional and the synthetic engine oil. However, some people say that motor oils are also capable of use on small engines. Based on a survey conducted by Briggs and Stratton, 48% of the people who own lawn mowers think that motor oils and the engine oils are the same. But according to the company, these oils are made of different compositions and so they should not be used interchangeably.

Motor oils are designed for bigger engines like the automobiles, riding tractors, lawn tractors and so on. Engine oils are designed for air-cooled engines such as the small lawn mowers. These small engines run their engines hotter than the automotive engines that could range from 280-300 degrees F (137 to 148 degrees C). The typical large engines  only get hot between 180 to 110 degrees F. This is why the engine oils are designed with multigrade because they are used by engines that develop too much heat.  So why motor oils are not highly suitable for small engines like lawn mowers?

Motor oils have very high viscosity ratings so they are too thick and that makes them not the best oil for lawn mowers. If used on small engines like the 2-stroke engines and mix the oil into the gasoline, its thickness can clog up the engine parts which can badly damage the whole engine. But take note that using engine oil on 2-strokes also has a precaution with the ratio. Usually, the gas and mix ratio is 32:1 or 50:1 depending on the type of your lawn mower’s engine. To be sure, if your engine is a 2 or a 4- stroke engine, refer to your user manual or check the markings on your engine. 

Tips to Identify 2-cycle from 4-cycle lawn mower engines: 

Check the fuel cap. If there’s the written ratio of fuel and oil mix, your engine is a 2-stroke. Also, the 2-strokes have only one cylinder for the gasoline and oil mixture.

Check for stickers, if your lawn mower is new, there would be writing like ‘Four Cycle” or “No Fuel Mixing” written on the side of the machine. 

Look for the fill cap. If there’s a separate reservoir for the oil and gas, this means the engine is a 4-stroke. Note that only use synthetic oil on 4-stroke engines for safer and better performance.


If you are buying a new lawn mower, we suggest that you read this article again to give you some pointers about how to choose the right lawn mower oil type for your unit. And as we have discussed, your choice for oil must be based on the type of your mower’s engine and also the type of weather or temperature you will be using your lawn mower. It’s as simple as that.

Lawn mower engine oil types have become so many these days. There are the latest types with added detergents and mineral additives. Detergents in oil can help your engine stay clean by collecting dirt inside the engine and breaking it down. Additives check and balance the oil so that it could prevent further friction and overheat the engine. 

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