Whether you are a professional lumberjack or a DIY family man looking to rid your yard of overgrown trees, you will need the best chainsaw bar oil to run your machine if you want to have a remarkable experience cutting and save on repairs.
Having endured some frustrating experiences with rust myself, I figured it would do some good to publish a list of the chainsaw bar oils on the market today, it certainly would benefit some people right?
Best Chainsaw Bar Oil Review – (Updated List)
1. Oregon 54-059 Chainsaw Bar Oil
This high-quality lube is often regarded as the market’s best; its unique composition is perfect for any chainsaw, whether you are running a 2-cycle or 4-stroke engine.
The oil leaves little or no residue, as its components combust at an optimal temperature.
The high film strength of the Oregon chainsaw bar oil protects against chain link scuffing and rust.
The oil has high tackiness which reduces throw-off in extreme weather conditions, and it also helps to deliver maximum efficiency with reduced cutting time.
If for some reason you still are unsure why you need chainsaw bar oil when motor oil could provide the same service, know this: Motor oil, just like most other non-biodegradable oils, exposes your chain to faster wearing. Meanwhile, your biological environment (human and plants) is exposed to health risks from the dangerous fumes the chainsaw emits.
If you are running a 2-cycle engine chainsaw, this oil may work better for you than ester oils.
This is because ester oils are essentially designed for 4-stroke engines, and certain additives fail to combust at the ignition temperature of a 2-cycle engine. An example of such additives is zinc.
Zinc is a great anti-wear additive in ester oils, but it’s dangerous for engines that are designed to run with more polybutene instead. People often consider flashpoints to be the major determinant of a lube’s film strength. This isn’t entirely true.
Research has revealed that flashpoint is not an oil property, but a solvent property instead.
This means the fuel that runs your engine determines the flashpoint, while the oil determines its ability to lubricate under conditions of extreme pressure and heat.
The Oregon 54-059 has a perfect polybutene composition that allows it to run any engine in any weather conditions.
What We Like:
- It works well for both engine types: 2-cycle and 4-stroke.
- The exhaust leaves no residue making it eco-friendly.
- It has high film strength which protects your chainsaw links from scuffing and rusting.
- It has high tackiness, which reduces throw-offs.
What We Didn’t Like:
- It dries out faster than an average lube if it is not used in time.
2. STIHL 2.6 Ounce High-Performance Bar & Chain Oil
As you already might have figured, this lube runs quite perfectly for 2-cycle engines, but it will still be effective in a 4-stroke as well.
On the other hand, if you are using a 4-stroke engine lube in a 2-cycle, it damages the machine.
This oil has incredible engine cleaning effects and lubrication; being biodegradable, it’s safe for the environment and leaves little or no fumes running around.
You can use it to run your snowblower and weed wacker at the same 50:1 oil mix it runs the chainsaw.
To be honest, I’m not a loyal user of this brand, but a friend of mine, Jake, never stops feeding it into his 4-mix engines. He says it just runs more efficiently.
While I can’t argue with his result, I’ll suggest you use this only for 2-cycle engines, but just as Jake has found out what works for him, you could also try something different to see what works best for you.
The STIHL oil could seem a bit pricey when compared to others, but I haven’t seen any complaints about its efficiency, so if you don’t mind spending a little more for quality, you may want to try out STIHL bar and chain oil.
What We Like:
- Its fumes leave no residue.
- It is biodegradable.
- It runs other power tools other than chainsaws.
What We Didn’t Like:
- It dries out faster than average lubricants.
3. Maxpower 337045 Bar and Chain Oil
This is a 1-gallon oil that saves a ton on cost. It’s quite a quality lube, and it’s the kind that you get to use for a very long time.
It contains an anti-wear additive, which is pretty sticky to touch, and typically would be an indication of viscosity, but that is not the case.
It’s a rather like the old Husqvarna oils with high tackiness and yet gets slung all over.
However, it’s a great backup plan for times when you realize the quarter you had purchased the previous month dried out on the shelf already.
It also allows you to handle a good load of lumber in one go and it’s pretty cheap. Every once a while, we all wish we could save a few bucks, right?
Despite the limited quality, people still commend its effectiveness with cordless chainsaws, which underscores my point about specific oils being most effective with specific engines; you just have to discover what works best for yours.
I met a loyal user once; he told me he buys it with confidence. Despite the low tackiness complaints, said it beats his Husqvarna oil.
I tried to convince him there were better lubes; all he did was smile and nod. This prompted me to agree he had what he needed. Therefore this Maxpower chain and bar oil should make the list of the best chainsaw oils this year.
You might want to try it out yourself and see what the debate is about.
What We Like:
- It’s pocket-friendly
- This lube works well with cordless chainsaws
- It contains anti-wear additives that lengthen chain life.
What We Didn’t Like:
- The oil’s sticky nature makes it seem viscous and tacky but it’s not.
4. NV Earth Biodegradable Bar and Chain Oil
I bet this oil will attract you if you are a big fan of green products.
We should all be fans of green products, as life itself practically depends on them.
The NV earth biodegradable oil rightfully brags about its preference by the USDA, as it’s made from American-grown seed oils and it performs just as well as conventional petroleum oils.
Before you wonder how many seeds go into making a gallon of oil, you might want to check out the North Dakota farms where the seeds are grown. It’s almost like those things thrust up to the Earth from some science-defying underground reserve.
The oil producers, Dynamic Green, said it is the future for all forest machinery as it reduces the health risk exposure of its biological environment, and when people come to understand that fully, they’ll reduce their use of petroleum products and join the green train.
This biodegradable oil has a relatively low carbon footprint and offers high tackiness, which makes it sling around very rarely.
It’s okay to not want to try out all the products, quite an expensive adventure for me myself. However, you might miss out on better performance and time-saving if you don’t try all of the products.
Imagine how annoyed you would be if after a few trials you realized you could have been running through three logs in the same amount of time as you have constantly had to spend on one, all because of a few ounces of lubricant.
I’ve heard people complain about the sour burning smell when they are cutting with a chainsaw running this lube, and it’s a bit expensive. Apart from these two issues, I have no other complaints. This is a perfect lubricant for your chainsaw.
What We Like:
- It’s made from canola seed oils. Therefore, it’s biodegradable and USDA certified.
- It has high tackiness, it’s nontoxic, and it has lower emissions than other chainsaw bar oils.
What We Didn’t Like:
- People complain of an unpleasant burnt sour smell that gets into your mouth while in use.
5. Poulan Pro 952030204 Bar and Chain Oi
Last on my list is the Poulan weed-eater. This oil provides the experience of industrial lubrication at a pocket-friendly price. It resists rust and high temperature and also flows freely at low temperatures. It has anti-wear properties too and helps keep the chain from jamming.
It has a bit of a red tint, and it is mineral oil. While some users find the red dye unnecessary, others appreciate its inclusion, as it visibly assures you that the chain is getting oil while you cut through logs like hickory wood.
It lasts a bit longer than regular engine oil since metals are not entirely solid; they have tiny pores on them at the molecular level.
This oil will penetrate the pores and remain there for quite a while. Therefore, you don’t have to start from scratch with dry metal the next time you are about to use your chainsaw.
We understand the “same machine same oil brand” concept; practically all companies do that.
However, that’s not really my thing, not only because I want a bit of everything, but also because I’ve learned over the years that lubricants are designed to maintain certain features, and at the end of the day, one company’s machine may run better on another company’s lube.
The Poulan Pro bar and chain oil run perfectly with any 2-stroke engine. However, this doesn’t mean it’s the best for 2-stroke engines; you could try other lubricants and see how they perform.
What We Like:
- Helps prevent chain jamming and wear.
- Has a slight red tint that allows you remain assured that the chain is receiving lubrication.
What We Didn’t Like:
- The red tint seem unnecessary .
How to Know Which Lube is Best to Buy
Having many varieties of the same commodity available for purchase could be a bit of a hassle, especially if they have different attractive features.
Most of the time you don’t just get to pick one and ignore the rest.
That is why I’ve included this segment: so we can see which choice suits you best, but first, we have to answer the following questions.
What’s your budget?
Sometimes you don’t mind paying a little more for premium quality, but other times you just feel like the inexpensive stuff is good enough. Either way, there’s a place for you.
As far as chainsaw bar oil is concerned, the Oregon lube beats the rest; it’s the outright best, but also the most expensive. It runs both engine types smoothly.
On the other hand, if you want a less expensive product that effectively serves the lube purpose, I’d suggest you look at Maxpower bar and chain oil. Maxpower may not offer all the same properties as Oregon, but it will do.
The other oil products on this list fall somewhere between these two in terms of price.
What engine type does your chainsaw run?
To a large extent, the kind of engine your chainsaw runs determines your choice of lubricant.
If your chainsaw runs a minimal combusting engine, avoid lubes that contain high combusting additives such as the so-called “multifunctional ad pack” that 4-stroke oils run with. These usually are ester oils. The notorious additive to look out for is zinc.
So, if you own a 2-stroke, buy the STIHL. It has very few non-combusting additives, making it the most efficient.
How often do you use your chainsaw?
If you are a professional lumberjack who regularly uses your chainsaw, you should always have a lube stock somewhere in the store, especially in extreme weather conditions.
Too many times I have met an empty tank when I didn’t expect it. For this reason, I suggest you get a variety of brands. both high-grades and medium grade.
On the other hand, if you only use your chainsaw occasionally, try smaller volumes. This way, you avoid waste due to drying out of the polybutene solvent in the lube.
Frequently Asked Questions & Answered
Can I Use Regular Oil instead of Chainsaw Bar Oil?
Well, regular motor oil is something you should avoid in your chainsaw, especially if it’s used oil that was drained out of a car engine.
By its nature, motor oil does not meet the “high tack” standards needed to run chainsaw machinery. This means that during operation, motor oil slings around uncontrollably.
It gets worse if the lube was drained from a car engine. You expose your chainsaw to faster wear if you practice this, as the oil will contain micro-bits of metal, which is abrasive for your chainsaw.
Bottom line: Regular oil works, but I suggest you avoid it.
Is There a Substitute for Bar and Chain Oil?
Yes, there are substitutes, but they aren’t ideal substitutes. I’d call them “improvised lubes” instead.
Examples include canola oil, vegetable oil, and other biodegradable oils. These oils would be perfect lube substitutes if they were efficient in that primary job, but alas they are not.
They have high tackiness; they are eco-friendly, but for the primary job of lubricating, not the best. So, I think you should just stick to the recommended brands. However, in certain circumstances, like if you don’t have immediate access to a standard bar and chain oil, you could try it out.
Can I Use Bar and Chain Oil In my Lawnmower?
Some multipurpose bar oils are useful for other machines, including your lawnmower. An example is the STIHL 2 cycle bar oil. Since a lawnmower runs on the same principles of combustion and pistons, other chain oils may work in them just fine, but could just as easily force you to visit a lawnmower repair shop.
Do Electric Chainsaws Need Oil?
As long as it’s a chainsaw, yes, it needs oil.
Electric chainsaws are powered by electricity, unlike the classic gas-powered chainsaws. The purpose of lubrication is not only to run the chainsaw engine but mainly to lubricate the chain as it pierces the girth of the wood, so the cutting speed will not be reduced by sap or fiber.
We have seen that lubricants designed for 2-stroke engines don’t work well with 4-stroke engines, but if it’s the other way around, it works just fine.
There doesn’t necessarily have to be a match in the lube and chainsaw brands. Find what works for your chainsaw and you are good to go.