A Comprehensive Guide to Bar and Chain Oil Substitute 2024

Bar and Chain Oil Substitute is a product that can be used for lubricating any chainsaw. It has been designed and created with the intention of being environmentally friendly while also giving excellent results.

This post will cover the benefits of using this oil substitute as well as how to use it correctly. Moreover, we will discuss if you guys can use motor oil for bar and chain oil.

Well, of course, motor oil is one of the most popular things people use to lubricate their chainsaws; but it has its downsides. One downside to using motor oil is that it can make your saw overly sticky, which can cause more friction and, in turn, create more heat.

Also, this type of oil will create an unbearable odor when burning, which is awful for you and anyone else in the surrounding area.

Luckily, there are some things you can do about this issue. For one, make sure to allow your saw to cool off before attempting to operate it again. Also, use a thinner motor oil that will evaporate more quickly after application.

What is the Viscosity of Bar and Chain Oil?

This oil is relatively thin and light, making it perfect for staying on the bar and chain while also providing enough lubrication to make long cuts. It will also evaporate quickly, which makes it great for warm days.

This oil does not work well in freezing temperatures, though. If you are cutting wood at shallow temperatures, make sure to bring your favorite motor oil with you instead of this product. When it comes down to it, this product has many benefits.

It’s environmentally friendly, non-toxic, smells decent, and provides the same results that motor oil would in terms of chain lubrication.

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What are Some of the Bar and Chain Oil Substitutes?

Overall, this product is an excellent buy for people who want to cut down on the noise and potential odor that comes from using motor oil. It also works better than bar and chain lubricants such as 3-in-1 oil or chainsaw lube.

What are bar and chain oil substitutes

Combined with all of the benefits previously mentioned, it would be beneficial for you to give this product a try. You won’t be disappointed!

What is the Weight of the Bar and Chain Oil?

This oil is extremely light and thin, which makes it very easy to apply to the bar. Depending on how much friction reduction you would like, it can be put on as thick or as thin as you’d like.

The thinner the oil, the more potential for it to drip off of your saw and onto the ground.

However, this potential problem can easily be avoided by using a thinner coat of oil instead of applying it too thick.  If you are looking for a product that can stay on your bar and chain for several days, this won’t be the best option.

It will only last a few hours at most. This is because it is not made with petroleum products, while most oil-based lubricants are.

Running chainsaw without bar oil:

At first glance, it may seem like there is no problem with running your chainsaw without bar oil. This isn’t the case. If you run your chainsaw dry of all lubricants, you will notice a significant decrease in its overall performance.

It will make a lot more noise and vibrate a lot more than usual as well. If you see that your chainsaw bar is beginning to burn, you must lubricate it as soon as possible. While there are multiple ways to use this product, the safest way is to dip the tip of your bar directly into the canister or container before applying it to your saw.

This will ensure that your entire saw is covered in this product.  Now we will discuss what you can expect from using this product. This is great for people who have multiple wood-cutting tools!

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What can I use for Chainsaw Bar Oil?

You should be able to find this product in most hardware stores. It is sold in small cans, usually around $5-10 depending on where you go. This oil can be put on your chainsaw bar with both hands or by dipping it directly into the canister.

What can I use for chainsaw bar oil

This makes it very easy to get the right amount of lubrication for your saw. However, this also makes it more challenging to prevent the oil from dripping off your chainsaw bar.

You can also put it on in streaks so that you get the same amount of lubrication without having to worry about excess dripping out. You can use any type of commonly available oil for this purpose, including motor oil, vegetable oil, or canola oil.

Best biodegradable bar and chain oil:

Now we have discussed what you can use for bar and chain oil. But what if you want to choose a biodegradable product?

Unfortunately, there is not really a direct alternative for this purpose. In order to meet the requirements of being organic, most products would need to be diluted with water. This will make it too thin to be effective on your bar and chain.

It would be beneficial for you to stick to an oil-based lubricant, but if they lack biodegradability is too important for you, it may be better for you to just treat yourself with a can of motor oil every now and then.

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6 best biodegradable bar and chain oil:

Now let’s discuss a little about six of the best bar and chain oil on the market. We will only be discussing organic products, as there is simply no purpose in discussing motor oil or other petroleum-based lubricants.

The following are the 6 best bars and chain oil in the industry:

  1. Oregon 54-059 Bar and Chain Lube
  2. NV Earth Biodegradable Bar & Chain Oil
  3. STIHL 0781 516 5009 BioPlus Bar and Chain Oil
  4. Husqvarna X-Guard Premium Bar & Chain Oil
  5. Makita 181116-A Bar and Chain Oil
  6. Sun Joe SJW-OIL-GAL Premium Bar and Chain Oil

How to make 100% biodegradable bar and chain oil?

Now we will see step by step how to make your own 100 percent biodegradable lubricant for chains. This procedure has been tested and works well in several cases, having an essential material: vegetable fat (vegetable oil). The essential oils and fats we will use are sunflower oil, rapeseed oil, and olive oil.

How to make 100% biodegradable bar and chain oil

The procedure is as follows:

  • Mix the vegetable oils in equal parts (so if you have two cups of vegetable oil, take 2 cups of each).
  • Pour all the mixed oils into a pot and heat them slowly at low temperatures. As it heats up, it will turn into a clear liquid.
  • Now that the oil has turned into a clear liquid, remove the pot from heat and allow it to cool for 1 hour at room temperature.
  • Once cooled, pour the mixture through a strainer cloth (a clean piece of fabric or net). Cloth can also be a good paper towel.
  • Add 5 to 10 drops of essential oil of your choice (lavender, thyme, rosemary, juniper). If you can not find any essential oils at the moment, don’t worry. You will still have a good substitute for bar and chain lubricants.
  • Pour the mixture into a bottle, and use it as a lubricant for your bike chain

The use of this biodegradable lubricant is simple:

1. Wash them with a dishwashing liquid and warm water the chain. If you have a brush for washing dishes, it will make a good brush for cleaning chains as well. Never clean the chain with gasoline or solvents because they have toxic ingredients that can damage it.

2. Squeeze a little of the biodegradable lubricant on the chain, and with a rag or cloth, spread it slowly throughout the length of the chain, avoiding leaving excess oil that attracts dirt.

The biodegradable bar and chain lubricants are very good substitutes for classic oil. The only difference is that they need 10 minutes to be put into place instead of 5 seconds with the classic lubricants.

3. Leave for 10 minutes. During this whole procedure, you can use a cup of vegetable oil as an alternative to each of the oils above. The quantity will also depend on how much biodegradable lubricant you want to make (an easier way is to take equal parts).

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List Some Bar and Chain Oil Alternatives:

The following is the list of bar and chain oil alternatives that are compatible with chainsaws.

  1. Synthetic Oil
  2. Castrol Syntec
  3. Valvoline
  4. Vegetable oil
  5. Mineral Oil
  6. Canola oil
  7. Motor oil

List Some Bar and Chain Oil Alternatives

1. Synthetic Oil:

Reduces friction and heat generation to increase performance and adequate protection under extreme conditions.

Closed-system – can be used for both bars and chains.

Dissolves easily in the cold oil – but be careful not to contaminate your chain with too much synthetic oil! This could reduce its life span.

2. Castrol Syntec:

A high-performance lubricant for all modern four-stroke motorcycle engines, with superior resistance to wear and corrosion. It is a fully synthetic oil that can reduce friction to provide better heat dissipation and thus improve efficiency.

Gets hot easily, so check the starting temperature in different weather conditions before you ride your bike.

3. Valvoline:

Very thin oil high in synthetic content. Preferable for the hot weather conditions. Value for money, no need to change your chain that frequently.

Risks are higher if contaminated during the maintenance period while changing the engine oil, so clean up well after you have finished changing it. Thickens in a cold climate; check up on this oil before riding.

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4. Vegetable oil:

An excellent lubricant for all kinds of bikes. Greater torque and engine vibration is lesser than that of what you would usually feel with the existing oil in the engine. Viscosity is low, suitable for reducing friction and heat generation inside the bike engines, especially once your bike is at idle speed.

Vegetable oil 

Effects on the environment even if disposed of properly.Not a professional choice of oil substitute for your chain drive system as you would need to purchase an additional chain lubricant once finished with the vegetable oil.

5. Mineral Oil: (Best alternative)

  1. Mineral Oil contains a high percentage Of Paraffinic molecules which makes it good as a chain lubricant and has good penetrating abilities.

It is also a Non-Toxic, Low Odor Mineral oil, which you can find at any pharmacy as Baby oil. It can remove your rust, and if you put it on your chain with a brush, it will look like new.

  1. Mineral oil is used by many people as an alternative substitute for bar and chain oil, with some outstanding results. A lot of people have been able to get away from using commercial lubricants altogether because the same result can be achieved with mineral oil.
  2. Mineral Oil works great when you are cutting metal because it helps prevent heat from building up on the saw blade or chain. This is especially helpful in cold weather when keeping the blade teeth heated for lubricant penetration is more challenging.

6. Canola oil:

  • Light and bright yellow in color, which stands out in comparison to the other lubricants.
  • As a primary solvent, it dissolves easily when you try to clean up after changing your oil.
  • If not used for long periods of time, it can go wrong, so store well when not in use.
  • Cheap substitute for bar and chain oil.

Canola oil

Canola Oil as a lubricant can be used while cutting metal. For this purpose, it helps prevent heat from building up on the saw blade or chain. This is especially helpful in cold weather when keeping the blade teeth heated for lubricant penetration is more challenging. Canola oil works great when you are cutting metal.

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7. Motor oil:

If you want to use a substitute for your bar and chain lubrication, then the best oil to use is a good quality motorcycle engine oil. Some people choose not to change their bikes’ engine oils at all when using this type of product instead.

It will withstand high pressures under heavy loads in extreme weather conditions. It can get really hard to push through your system and harder for the lubricant to penetrate deep into the chain if it’s too thick.

Avoid using vegetable oils, kerosene, or diesel oil because they will cause excessive wear on your chain and sprocket, which you don’t want if you want your bike to last long.

NOTE: I recommend mineral oil because it is cheap, readily available, and most of all, non-toxic, so you don’t have to worry about your children or pets drinking the stuff.

Bar and Chain Oil Substitute – FAQs

What can I use if I don't have a bar and chain oil?
There are many oils that work well as bar and chain oil substitutes. You’ll have to experiment with what works for you, but some good options include cooking spray, vegetable oil, 3-in-1 oil, or gear grease. Be cautious, though, when using these alternatives since they can affect the functioning of your drivetrain more than bar and chain oil. It would be wise to consult an expert before using any alternative.
Can you use 10w30 for bar and chain oil?
Certainly not. You’ll want a thinner oil for bar and chain oils, as the thicker oil won’t be able to penetrate small spaces between parts of a machine’s moving pieces. This can lead to damage that will needlessly wear the equipment out over time. 10w30 is best left for engine oils where those gaps are much broader and less sensitive.
Do Electric chainsaws need bar oil?
Yes. Every electric chainsaw needs to have a bar oil reservoir that is made especially for the manufacturer, size, capacity, and type of unit. In order for efficient lubrication to take place, bar oil must be injected between the chain and chain-guard before the engine starts automatically.
How to oil a chainsaw chain?
The thing to remember when using this product is not to overdo it. A thin coat of oil on the bar and chain will give you just enough lubrication to have a smooth, clean-cut. Remember, this is a non-toxic product, so you can use as much or as little of it as you’d like. However, if you use too much of it at one time, it will begin to drip off the sides after a few minutes. This is not only gross-looking but also ineffective because the excess oil dripped onto the ground instead of staying on your bar and chain. Use both hands when trying to put this product on your chainsaw for the best results.


Bar & Chain Oil Substitute – Buying Guide:

It is definitely important to select the best bar and chain oil for your chainsaw. However, there are many options available on the market today that can make it challenging to choose. To help you shop around more efficiently, here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind before making a purchase.

How to select the best bar and chain oil:

Bar and chain oil is an essential tool for chainsaw operators. Keeping your equipment lubricated helps reduce wear of the engine, bearings, sprockets, bar nuts, chains, cutters, and guide bars. This ensures the extended life of chipper parts as well as allows saws to perform to their peak performance.

To keep your chainsaw running in top-notch condition, here are some factors that you need to consider before buying bar and chain oil for it.

Temperature rating:

The temperature rating measures the maximum temperature at which the lubricant remains stable under extreme conditions.

High-quality oils must have a high-temperature rating, which means that they can be challenging even when exposed to a higher temperature for long periods. This prevents the breakdown of oil within your engine due to overheating after extended usage.


Viscosity is a measure of how thick a liquid is. The consistency can resist flowing at a particular temperature.

Viscosity is measured in centistokes (CST), and the higher, the better for bar and chain oil. A high-viscosity lubricant offers more protection to your engine as it absorbs more heat than a lower-viscosity lubricant does before boiling over.

Cold flow performance:

Cold flow performance refers to the ability of bar and chain oil to prevent it from gumming up when exposed to extremely cold temperatures. This is essential for springtime use when temperatures can drop below freezing.

Wear protection:

A high-quality oil should provide sufficient wear protection in order to keep moving parts such as bushings, op-rod guide bearings, and fillet welds on saw chains from wearing out too fast. A high-quality oil should have the ability to seal these parts, preventing metal-to-metal contact.


It’s important to select an environmentally friendly bar and chain oil to not contribute to pollution in our surroundings.

Tested by third-party lab:

Look for test results from third-party labs. It ensures the oil is of high quality and truly meets the claims stated in marketing materials.

Environmentally friendly:

A good quality bar and chain oil should be able to meet two goals. One, it is safe for the environment with little to no VOC emissions. Two, it is safe for your health with no animal fats or heavy metallic elements that can lead to skin irritation or breathing problems.


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