Chainsaw Oil Essentials

Can I Use Vegetable Oil for Chainsaw? An Eco-friendly

Chainsaws buzzing, wood chips flying, and there you are, wondering, “Can I really swap out that petroleum-based chainsaw oil for vegetable oil?” The answer is a resounding yes! 

Vegetable oil is not only a safe and effective alternative, but it’s also biodegradable, non-toxic, and easier on the environment. And guess what? Your wallet will thank you too, as it’s typically less expensive. 

Delving deeper into this green switch, let’s explore why more folks are ditching conventional chainsaw oils for the humble vegetable oil.

What is vegetable oil chain lubricant?

It’s basically a greener alternative to the usual petroleum-based oils you see around. You know, the kind you often use for your chainsaw or bike chains.

So what makes it so special? For starters, it’s made from plant oils like canola oil, sunflower, or soy. Yep, the same stuff you might cook with!

The great part is that it’s biodegradable and non-toxic. So, if some of it spills onto the ground, you don’t have to worry about harming the environment. It breaks down naturally, and that’s a big win for Mother Earth.

Another plus is it’s often just as effective as traditional oils for reducing friction and wear on chains. You’re not sacrificing performance for eco-friendliness here.

So, if you care about the environment and still want to keep your chains running smoothly, vegetable oil chain lubricant is a solid choice. Give it a try next time you need to oil up your chains!

Benefits of Using Vegetable Oil for Chainsaw Lubrication


Environmentally Friendly

vegetable oil is a green choice. It’s biodegradable and non-toxic, so if you’re sawing near water bodies, you won’t have to worry about harming aquatic life. You get to keep those trees trimmed and still be the good guy for Mother Nature.


Vegetable oil is often cheaper than the usual petroleum-based chainsaw oils. Why? It’s a renewable resource. With money saved, maybe you can invest in some new chainsaw accessories!

Good Performance

Vegetable oil isn’t a slacker when it comes to performance either. It has a high viscosity index, which means it stays slick even at high temperatures. You’re basically giving your chainsaw bar and chain a longer life, and who doesn’t want that?

Safe for You

And don’t forget about you, the person behind the machine. Vegetable oil is skin-friendly. Unlike petroleum-based oils, it doesn’t contain any known carcinogens, so your skin stays irritation-free.

Ready and Easy to Use

You can find vegetable oil just about anywhere, and it’s a breeze to use. Just pour it into your chainsaw’s oil reservoir, and you’re good to go. No mess, no fuss.

The drawback of using vegetables for chainsaw

Lower Viscosity

While it’s good for many things, vegetable oil does have a lower viscosity compared to petroleum-based oils. This could mean it might not stick as well to your chainsaw’s chain, causing a bit more wear over time.

Might Gum Up

In colder weather, vegetable oil can get a bit sticky or gum up. But hey, every product has its quirks, right?

So there you have it. If you’re all about being eco-friendly and you love a good deal, vegetable oil for chainsaw lubrication could be your new best friend. Just keep an eye on that chain and maybe avoid the coldest days, and you’re all set!

How to Use Vegetable Oil as Chainsaw Lubricant


Step 1: Clean the Oil Reservoir

First things first, you need to clean your chainsaw’s oil reservoir. Trust me, a clean reservoir ensures that no dirt or old oil interferes with the new vegetable oil you’re about to use.

Step 2: Fill Up With Vegetable Oil

Now, go ahead and fill the oil reservoir with vegetable oil. Canola oil is my go-to because it has a high viscosity index and doesn’t easily gum up the system. But hey, you can use what you have on hand!

Step 3: Adjust the Oil Flow Rate

Once the reservoir is full, adjust your chainsaw’s oil flow rate. You’ll want to see a thin stream of oil coming out of the oiler port when the machine is running. This keeps the chain and bar well-lubricated.

Step 4: Start the Chainsaw

Fire up your chainsaw and let it run for a couple of minutes. Doing this helps distribute the vegetable oil all over the chain and bar. Your chainsaw will thank you for this!

Step 5: Keep an Eye on the Oil Level

Don’t forget to regularly check the oil level. If it looks low, add more vegetable oil. Your chainsaw runs best when it’s well-lubricated.

And there you go! You’ve just switched to a more eco-friendly lubricant for your chainsaw. Happy sawing!

Choosing the Right Vegetable Oil for Chainsaw Lubrication

you’re keen on using vegetable oil for your chainsaw lubrication. Let’s break down why each factor you mentioned is vital and recommend some oils you might like.

Viscosity: When it comes to vegetable oil, high viscosity is your friend. You want the oil to stick to the chainsaw’s chain and bar, right? Exactly. So, go for an oil with a high viscosity index. Canola oil comes out on top here.

Pour Point: Planning on cutting wood in cold weather? Your oil needs a low pour point to flow freely. Again, canola oil scores high. It stays liquid even when the temperature drops.

Additives: Tough job ahead? An oil with additives will serve you well. Additives help to reduce the chain’s wear and tear and prevent it from gumming up. So if your chainsaw’s tasks are heavy-duty, consider oils with additives.

You are wondering what specific oils to use. You have some good options!

  • Canola Oil: The all-rounder. A high viscosity index and a low pour point make it an excellent choice for almost any weather.
  • Sunflower Oil: This one has a pretty decent viscosity and works well in moderate climates.
  • Soy Oil: Not a bad pick, especially if you’re looking for something with additives.
  • Peanut Oil: While not the top choice for cold weather, it does a good job in warmer climates.
  • Grapeseed Oil: If you’re after a high viscosity index, this is your oil. Just note that it’s often more expensive.
  • Avocado Oil: High in viscosity but comes at a premium price. Good if you’re not on a tight budget.

Can I use vegetable oil in my electric chainsaw?

Yes, you can use vegetable oil in your electric chainsaw. Vegetable oils, such as canola oil, are biodegradable and non-toxic, making them a more environmentally friendly option than petroleum-based chainsaw oils. 

Mike Percival, shared his experience
I tried this – it did not have a happy ending! It goes very sticky and bungs up the lubrication system. Wash it out with kerosene/paraffin and use the correct chain and bar oil.

can I use olive oil for chainsaw?

Yes, you can use olive oil for chainsaw, but it is not the best choice. It is too thick and sticky, and it does not have the same lubricating properties as dedicated chainsaw oil.

Here is shared Clayton Mitchell his practical experience;
“It’s not a good idea. Olive oil is a ‘fixed’ oil, meaning it is a non-volatile vegetable oil. It makes work for a short while, but will then seize up like glue”

This can lead to increased wear and tear on the chainsaw chain and bar, and it can also make the saw more difficult to use. However, olive oil is biodegradable and non-toxic, so it is a more environmentally friendly option than chainsaw oil.

Frequently Asked Question

What oil can I use instead of chainsaw oil?

Besides commercial chainsaw oil, you can use vegetable oil, motor oil, or canola oil, but always check the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Can you use cooking oil as bar oil in a chainsaw?

Yes, cooking oils like canola or vegetable oil can be used as biodegradable bar oils.

Best vegetable oil for chainsaw?

Canola oil is often recommended due to its viscosity and environmental benefits.

Can you use vegetable oil for chainsaw bar oil?

Absolutely, vegetable oil is a greener option and works as a lubricant for the chainsaw bar.

Can you use vegetable oil as bar and chain oil?

Yes, it’s a suitable and biodegradable alternative to commercial bar and chain oils.

Final Thought

  • Environmentally Friendly: Vegetable oil is biodegradable and safe for aquatic life.
  • Cost-Effective: Generally cheaper than petroleum-based oils, offering potential savings.
  • Good Performance: Works well in reducing friction, increasing the lifespan of your chainsaw.
  • User-Friendly: No harmful chemicals mean it’s safer for your skin.
  • Easy to Use: Readily available and simple to apply, just pour it in.
  • Minor Drawbacks: Lower viscosity and can gum up in cold weather, but these are manageable issues.