What Can You Use as a Substitute for Bar and Chain Oil?

Because a chainsaw contains aggressively and consistently moving parts, it must be regularly oiled to make sure that it keeps functioning correctly. Traditionally, chainsaws have used bar and chain oil to address this issue. However, many people nowadays are actively looking for a substitute for this option. Potential replacements for bar and chain oil may include canola oil, motor oil, and hydraulic fluid.

  1. Canola Oil

Canola oil can be used as a substitute for bar and chain oil. Like chainsaw bar oil, canola oil is also versatile and thinner. It serves as a natural substitute for bar and chain oil. Furthermore, canola oil offers no danger to the environment as it is eco-friendly.

Since chainsaws run on high RPMs, oil misting can occur. As a result, the user of the chainsaw can be affected by inhalation or dermal absorption. Canola oil is a safer option because it contains a low amount of vapor pressure, which reduces the fume inhalation. Not to mention it is much cheaper as compared to bar and chain oil. The only drawback of canola oil is that you cannot use it during cold seasons.

  • Motor Oil

Motor oil is another reliable substitute for bar and chain oil. Motor oil lubricates faster than the traditional chainsaw oil, and it also gives an extra shine on the chainsaw blades. Furthermore, it provides a better grip on the chainsaw bar as well. Bars must be lubricated with motor oil to make sure that the chainsaw bars and chains keep working optimally.

Motor oil is highly flammable, so it should be used with caution. Petroleum-based motor oil is commonly available on the market. However, before you use it on your chainsaw, make sure that it is refined.

  • Hydraulic Fluid

Hydraulic fluids are not as viscous as most oils. Because of this, they dry up relatively faster. It is recommended that you mix the hydraulic fluid with other oil (preferably one that is supported by the manufacturer) to get a thicker consistency.

When choosing a hydraulic fluid, check whether it’s eco-friendly or not and also keep its lubrication properties in mind. Some oils need to be refined before they can be used for chainsaws.


In conclusion, there are several reliable substitutes available for bar and chain oil. If you must choose one, then it is recommended that you use a reputed motor oil because it is easier to find and safer to use as well. When buying motor oil for your chainsaw, make sure to purchase one that is light and slightly thinner as compared to other oils. It will provide the best results and keep your chainsaw functioning optimally.

Before you use any bar and chain oil alternative, make sure that using a substitute won’t void your chainsaw’s warranty. Most chainsaws are designed to work with their specific brand of oil for high efficiency and optimal performance.