Motor Oil vs Chainsaw Bar Oil

Last Updated on September 16, 2021 by Chris Ross

If you are a handyman or a one-off Chainsaw user, I am quite sure you know that oil is the food of the chainsaw engine. It lubricates the chainsaw and makes it function at a top level for a long time.

Buying a chainsaw is one thing, but maintaining it another thing and oiling the engine one of the very pertinent things to do to keep the health of the chainsaw engine in a good condition. There are several lubricating oil in the Market and they can all make cutting to be easy.

However, many users usually engage themselves in the debate of which oil is better. The motor oil and chainsaw bar oil debate have been very enduring and this article will unravel the key differences between them and which one is better when poured on the chainsaw chain.

[infographic] Motor Oil vs Chainsaw Bar Oil

The Motor oil vs Chainsaw bar oil debate

While trying to compare the chainsaw bar oil with the motor oil, it is safe to check their efficiency when used in a chainsaw.

Firstly, the chainsaw bar oil is more recommended for use in a Chainsaw because of its ability to maintain the engine and the chain’s health.

The motor oil is not ideal for use as a chainsaw lubricant because it acts as an abrasive. This is as a result of its metallic contents which has adverse effects on the chain of the chainsaw. These metallic items are even more dangerous since they are microscopic; they cannot be seen with the eyes.

They stick on the chain and adversely affect the free movement. Besides, the viscosity of the motor oil is in tandem with the required viscosity for chainsaw lubricants.

In summary, don’t use motor oil in your chainsaw to avoid damage to your engine or chain. Your engine will still work but then, you would spend a lot of money in replacing either the chain or motor oil every now and then.

The Chainsaw Bar oil

  • The chainsaw bar oil is devoid of additives, whereas, additives are major constituents of the motor oil. The motor oil is akin to the cooking oil, as it sticks to metals and does same on the chain. The Motor oil is commonly found in automobile shops in cities but the chainsaw bar oil is sold in more specialized shops.
  • Getting a chainsaw started, especially in the winter, can be a difficult task when it is old or rusted. So, rather than struggle all season with a stubborn chainsaw, give it some help with some chainsaw oil. Chainsaw oil helps lubricate any rusted, cold, or old gears in the chainsaw, allowing for a quicker and cleaner start every time.
  • The Chainsaw bar oil is perfect for both new and oil chainsaw engines. It assists in prolonging the life of a new chainsaw, reduces friction, adds more verve, and increase the cutting speed to get the job done within the shortest possible time.
  • The chainsaw bar oils are customized for chainsaws. Their formulation is specifically tailored towards boosting the life of the chainsaw and other chain-propelled machines. It is a mixture of minerals and specially formulated oil for lubricating the chain and bars of Chainsaws.
  • In addition, there are additives to curb wear and tear, rusting, and corrosion.
  • It is ideal for all weather conditions as the temperature ensures good viscosity and flow during winter, and summer.
  • The Chainsaw bar oil does not produce residues during lubrication. Electrically powered chainsaws can use it, likewise gas powered chainsaws. Users can pour it on the chains with ease and the bar oil creates a film around the chainsaw to curb friction during movement.
  • The chainsaw bar oil does not heat up as its temperature remains steady to avoid damage to the engine.
  • The Chainsaw bar oil adheres firmly on metallic surfaces. As such, they don’t evaporate or drain away from the chain during use. They stick to the chain and guide bars, keeping it safe and well-protected.
  • They have a reduced pour point
  • Chainsaw bar oil is applied based on the instructions of the manufacturing companies. Both the hand-held and mechanical chainsaws can be lubricated using the chainsaw bar oil. In the manufacturing industry, it is specified that a perfect lubricant must pour easily, protect, and cover the chain against wear and corrosion.

The Motor Oil

In the past, the motor oil was the darling of chainsaw operators. It served as the most popular oil for lubricating of engines and chains, but this changed during the long run. Today, the Motor oil is only perfect for cars and motor engines and not chainsaws.

  • No professional will recommend that you use motor oil for your chainsaw or any chain-powered machine. This is because of the metallic contents in the motor oil. They are abrasives and can quickly degrade your chain, thus calling for more expenses.
  • The motor oil is a broken oil and will not stay on the chainsaws for a long time. Hence, they cannot lubricate for long hours.
  • The motor oil does not contain the sticky additives that keeps that chainsaw bar oil firmly on the chainsaw.
  • If you use motor oil on your chainsaw, you will end up spending more money because the oil will not stick to the chain; hence you need to replace the oil more frequently.
  • The motor oil will spat and spill on other parts like the gear, hence, you will spend lots of efforts in cleaning the machine.
  • The Motor Oil is strictly an engine oil that protects and lubricates the engine and internal combustion section of cars.
  • It is composed of base oils, anti-wear substances, additives that stifles the effect of detergents in the engine and dispersants.
  • The Motor oil is not designed for chainsaws and guide bars. It is rather an engine protector. It fights sludge via the dispersants and quells the negative impacts of detergents via the varnish.
  • The engine oil is effective in quelling the negative effects of acids that emanates from fuel and anti-oxidants
  • The engine is a heat carrier within the confines of the engine. By so doing, it assists in cooling the engine and maintaining the temperature.
  • It is a booster for piston rings and an inhibitor of corrosion and oxidation.


What is the difference between bar and chain oil?

It is formulated specifically for this task, while other types of oil simply are not.

What is the difference between Poulan and STIHL bar oil?

These oils are formulated to work specifically for these brands.

Can canola oil be used for other purposes?

Some do-it-yourselfers advocate using canola oil straight out of your pantry as a bar and chain oil alternative.

Can I run a chain saw when the bar oil reservoir is dry?

Never try to fill your bar oil reservoir when your chain saw is running, and never run your chain saw when the bar oil reservoir is dry.

What are the environmental drawbacks?

As the chain spins, microscopic droplets of oil fly off the chain – so as you use the chainsaw, all the oil you put in the reservoir ends up in the environment.

What is the difference between hydraulic and motor oil?

Nonetheless, unlike motor oil, hydraulic fluids are considered less viscous.

What are the Benefits of Using Alternative Chainsaw Oil Substitutes?

The cost-saving benefits associated with using the different alternative bar and chain oils have drawn more chainsaw owners into using the oils.

What are the precautions?

Plus beware that use of alternative oils may void your warranty claim.

What is the best way to use tered motor oil?

If you intend to use motor oil as chain lube, ensure its warm during harvesting as this eases the filtration process that in turn results in cleaner oil.

How Do I Fill Up Bar Oil?

I just unscrew the cap and use a funnel to add a gallon of chainsaw bar oil to the used 1 gallon detergent tub.

Wrapping Up

To wrap it up, it would be fair to say that both Chainsaw bar oil and motor oil are excellent lubricators. While bar oil is perfect for chainsaws and guide bars, the motor oil is excellent in protecting combustion engines.

It is a matter of usage; I hope you are now on the known as per the differences and similarities between these two professionally-blended lubricants.

Leave a Comment

4 + six =