Can I Use Motor Oil for My Electric Chainsaw?

Electric chainsaws don’t need any fuel to run as they don’t have engines. However, the bar and chain are required to be lubricated to ensure optimal functioning.

All chainsaw manufacturers recommend a specific type of bar and chain oil. The best oil to use for lubricating the bar and chain is usually the one that is supported by the manufacturer. However, if that is not readily available in your area, then you will need to look for a substitute.

Fortunately, there are many substitutes available on the market which you can use to make sure your chainsaw is lubricated correctly. Motor oil is one of the most popular alternatives in this regard.

Can I Use Motor Oil for My Electric Chainsaw?

Yes, motor oil is one of the most popular and readily accessible substitutes for bar and chain oil. However, there are some things you should know before using motor oil as an alternative for bar and chain oil.

The first thing you should know is that not all types of motor oil are recommended for chainsaw bar and chain. SAE 30 oil is recommended to be used during summer to lube the chainsaw. On the other hand, SAW 10 is suitable for use during winter.

Since its actually a car oil, motor oil is relatively inexpensive as compared to other bar and chain oil substitutes. But remember always to use filtered motor oil for lubrication. Collecting the oil while it’s still hot will make the filtration process much more comfortable, and the resulting oil will be much cleaner.

Please stay away from used motor oil as it can sling off the chainsaw relatively faster as compared to other oils. This is because motor oil does not have the sticky additive that is usually found in bar and chain oil. This additive is crucial to keeping the oil in the bar chain and groove. Using used motor oil means you will have to replace it more frequently, which will surely eat up your savings in the long-run. Not to mention, you can also expect to find more oil spatters when using the chainsaw. Because of these reasons, using used motor oil is not recommended.

It is also recommended that you use refined motor oil as a substitute for bar and chain oil. This is because unrefined motor oil is harmful to blades and you as well. It can be dangerous for the environment, and it is also highly flammable.


The primary purpose of using motor oil or any other bar and chain oil substitute is to reduce the friction and avoid the risk of failure or damage. Proper oil ensures that the chain lasts longer, and the chainsaw performs better. While motor oil is still being criticized by many since its non-biodegradable, it has a negligible effect on the environment. The affordability and availability of motor oil have outweighed the disadvantages. However, it is recommended that you never use reclaimed motor oil as they lose their viscosity after use and contain other substances and particles which may harm the life of your chainsaw.