What Can I Use for Chainsaw Bar Oil? Here Are 4 Affordable Alternatives

Chainsaw bar oil is essential to use for lubricating your chainsaw. It helps your chainsaw work smoothly. If you do not keep the chainsaw well-lubricated, increased friction will take place. It can damage your chainsaw or affect efficiency.

Your chainsaw usually comes with the manufacturer’s recommendation about using a specific type of oil to use for the lubrication of the chain and the bar. However, what if the recommended oil is not available? It is also possible that the recommended oil is costly.

So, what are you going to do? No, do not get disappointed. There is a way out. And that is using a substitute for chainsaw bar oil. Firstly, this will save you money. And secondly, you can use any of the bar and chain oil substitutes at a pinch. Interested to find some of the alternatives? Just keep reading this post.

In this article, we are going to explore the recommended oil for chainsaw bar oil and some chainsaw bar oil alternative. Keep reading.

What is the Recommended Oil for Chainsaw Bar by Manufacturer?

There is a specific type of oil made exclusively for the chainsaw bar. This is the type of oil most of the manufacturers recommend. There are many options to choose from such as Oregon, Maxpower, Poulan Pro, and more.

If you can afford, buying the chainsaw bar oil recommended by the manufacturer is the best for your chainsaw. It is because the chainsaw will give you the highest output and efficiency.

Another reason is that chainsaw bar oil exists because it contains certain elements in the appropriate proportion that help to keep your chainsaw smooth. This is helpful, especially when you work for a longer period.

One of the key qualities of a standard or recommended oil is that it should be sticky so that it stays on the chain when it spins. Slickness is another quality that standard chainsaw bar oil comes with. It helps the chain spins fast without any interruption.

So, we recommend you to read the user manual of your chainsaw to find out the recommended oil.

What Oil Can Be Used For Chainsaw Bar Oil?

Well, if you do not find the recommended oil for your chainsaw near you, you should try a chainsaw bar oil alternative. Motor oil, canola oil, hydraulic oil, and vegetable oil are some of the alternatives to chainsaw bar oil.

However, note that any oil except the recommended chainsaw bar oil can void the warranty as you are supposed to use only the specific oil recommended by the manufacturer. On top of that, long term use of alternative oil is not so good for your chainsaw.

So, we recommend you using any of the oil we are are going to mention below only when you do not find the recommended oil or when you are at a pinch. And make sure that you use any alternative oil only for the short-term and not otherwise.

4 Chainsaw Bar Oil Alternatives

Vegetable Oil

Vegetable Oil

Apart from being used in cooking, vegetable oil can be a good chainsaw oil substitute. It is one of the most affordable oils that you can find anywhere at any time. First of all, it is friendly to the environment.

Vegetable oil is effective because it contains some natural elements that do not wear the chain or bar over time.

When it comes to oil misting, vegetable oil tends to be safer compared to petroleum-based oils. Even if the oil spills, you can easily remove it from your body parts or clothes. It is also safe for pruning the live branches of the trees. 

One of the advantages of vegetable oil as a chainsaw bar oil substitute is that it is cheaper than the original chainsaw bar oil. What makes it more attractive is that it is readily available at any grocery shop.

The drawback of vegetable oil is that it is not usable in winter or cold weather due to its high viscosity.

Canola Oil

Canola Oil

Being produced from rapeseed, canola oil is also a good alternative to standard chainsaw bar oil. It comes with the similar benefits of vegetable oil. It is cheap, good for trimming live trees, and easily available.

It is a good substitute for vegetable oil when it is cold as it has maintains the perfect viscosity even when it is winter. So, it should be chosen if you are more active in winter when the outdoor is colder.

Canola oil is also capable to handle a high amount of heat. If you lubricate your chainsaw with the canola oil, you can stay relaxed that your chainsaw bar and the chain will stay protected from harmful friction.

However, one drawback is that due to being thinner than vegetable oil, this type of oil is more likely to fly off the chain more often and quicker compared to the vegetable oils.

Motor Oil

Motor Oil

Do you own a car? If yes, the chance is that the motor oil that you use for your car can be a pick for the chainsaw as well if you have no other alternative available.

If it is winter or cold, you can use SAE 10 weight motor oil to lube the chain. On the other hand, if the weather is hot or it is summer, you should use SAE 30 weight motor oil.

However, the use of motor oil for the chainsaw is quite debatable. It has a lot of downsides.

Firstly, it is not friendly for the environment as it is petroleum-based. As the droplets of the oil fly when the chain spins rapidly, the environment starts to become polluted.

Secondly, the motor oil is harmful to the trees when you trim the branches of any live trees with chainsaw lubricated by motor oil.

And finally, microscopic metal particles may prove to be damaging for the chain and the bar of the chainsaw. So, we recommend you to use motor oil only as your last resort.

Hydraulic Oil

Hydraulic Oil

Hydraulic oil has a lot of things in common with motor oil. If you possess any machinery that comes with hydraulic pumps, you do not need to go anywhere else.

However, like motor oil, this is also not environment-friendly. On top of that, hydraulic oil dries up pretty soon than any other alternatives mentioned here.

Due to the negative impact it has and lesser efficiency when it comes to lubricating the chain and the bar for a longer period, we recommend you use this type of oil only when no other alternative is available to you.

Important Things to Remember While Using Chainsaw Bar Oil Alternatives

  1. Use the chainsaw alternative oil only when you have no access to the standard oil recommended by the manufacturer of your chainsaw.
  2. Using alternative oil might void the warranty of your chainsaw.
  3. The lubricant oil in the tank and the fuel in the reservoir might not run out at the same time when you are using alternatives to the standard chainsaw bar oil. So, make sure that you have filled the tank and the reservoir at the same time. And also keep a careful eye on both the tank and the oil reservoir to see when any of those become empty.
  4. If any of the above-mentioned oil does not work for your chainsaw, try other alternatives to find the best match.

Final Thoughts

So, can you use regular oil for bar and chain oil? If you have read this article, you know that the answer is, yes. However, we always suggest the recommended oil (if you can manage) so that you can claim the warranty and get the best out of your chainsaw.

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