SAE30 vs. 10w30 [Our Recommended Lawn Mower Oil]

sae30 vs 10w30

Taking care of your lawn mower is essential to keep it running smoothly for years to come. You might have already figured out the fuel situation, but the oil you use is another crucial part of your lawn mower maintenance.

Today we are going to pit two oils, SAE30 and 10w30, against each other to see which is best.

As a quick bottom line up front, SAE30 and 10w30 oil will both work in your mower; however, 10w30 is the most versatile and will work at any temperature.

Choosing the right oil for your mower is an important factor, but don’t worry; you don’t have to make this decision alone.

In this article, we will delve into the world of lawn mower oil to figure out the difference between SAE30 and 10w30 and decide which one is best for your lawn mower.

Grow Your Yard Fact
Before you get to the oil stage, you will need fuel. Luckily, we have a guide for you about what gas to use in your lawn mower.

What is Lawn Mower Oil, and Why Do I Need It?

Like most engines, lawn mower engines need oil to function.

The oil’s job is to run throughout the engine and lubricate the moving parts. This stops your engine from seizing and suffering too much wear and tear as you use it.

Just as with your car, it’s vital to choose an oil that is specially made with your small lawn mower engine in mind.

Oil is classified based on its viscosity, which tells us what job it is helpful for. Lawn mower engine oil should be between 10 and 30 in viscosity, but what does this actually mean?

Oil’s viscosity refers to how thick it is and how easily it will move around the engine. The thinner the oil, the more easily it moves around the engine. Most motor oil will measure between 1 and 50.

Temperature plays a significant role in the oil’s viscosity since it thickens in colder weather; this is why choosing the right oil for the job is so important. It’s also important to know a little about the oil you are using, so you don’t risk seizing your engine in cold weather.

So let’s get into the specific oils which we recommend.

Grow Your Yard Tip
How you use the oil in your lawn mower depends on your engine. In a 2-stroke engine, you need to mix the oil into the fuel in a specific ratio, while, for a 4-stroke engine, there is a separate well for the oil.

SAE30 vs. 10w30: Which is Better?

As you can see, lawn mower oil is vital in keeping your machine running smoothly. But now you need to decide which oil to use: SAE30 or 10w30?

First, both of these oils are suitable for your lawn mower, but one may have some advantages.

SAE30 and 10w30 have some similarities but also some key differences that set them apart.

Let’s look at these two products side by side:

  SAE30 10w30
Grade Single grade Multi grade
Viscosity 30 10 in cool conditions

30 in warm conditions

Ideal Temperature Warm conditions Both

Just at a glance, it’s clear that the 10w30 is more versatile. It is worth noting, however, that both of these oils have the same viscosity at 100 C.

SAE30 is a single-grade oil that reacts very well in warm conditions, but it will be a different story if you are trying to mow in the winter. This is because the oil will be very thick due to the cold. However, if you find that you don’t mow your lawn in winter because of the weather, this may not be an issue for you.

10w30, on the other hand, is a multi-grade oil, which means it has a different viscosity depending on the temperature. This ensures that, no matter what the environment is like, it will be ideal for starting your lawn mower engine. This is an important element to consider if you don’t get frost and snow to prevent you from mowing in cold weather.

So which one do we recommend?

In most circumstances, we suggest using 10w30 because of its versatility.

However, we recommend checking your lawn mower manual to be sure, as some older models are designed to use SAE30 specifically while 4-stroke engines require 10w30.

If you’re looking for some oil, we recommend the Castrol 10w30 below:

Castrol 03093 GTX 10W-30 Oil
  • Superior protection against engine sludge, when tested in engines with a...
  • Advanced protection against viscosity and thermal breakdown
  • Premium quality base oils and anti-wear additives to help extend the life...
  • Helps minimize oil consumption
Grow Your Yard Tip
When you drain out the old oil,  we recommend using a sealed container with a lid so you can take it to your local gas station or mechanic to recycle it safely.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is SAE30 equivalent to?

If you are looking for a direct alternative, you can use 5w30 to swap for SAE30.

Both have the same viscosity of 30 at regular operating temperatures, which makes it a safe swap. However, we do not recommend mixing them because one is single grade and the other is multi-grade.

Can you mix SAE30 with 10w30?

Several circumstances could lead you to combine two oils, but this is not something we recommend, especially if you are mixing single and multi-grade oil.

For the best results, we suggest draining out all the old oil before adding the new oil to avoid mixing them and potentially damaging your lawn mower.


So, after looking at the two oils in great detail, which do we recommend for your lawn mower?

We recommend using 10w30 for most mowers because it is a multigrade oil that will work in all temperatures.

However, if you have an older mower, it is probably designed to run on SAE30.

Both of these oils are suitable for small lawn mower engines; it’s just about figuring out your climate to ensure you are using the one that is optimum for your engine.

After this little deep dive, we hope you have the knowledge you need to keep your lawn mower chugging along happily.

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