SAE 30 Vs. 10w30: Which is Best For Pressure Washers And Lawn Mowers?

If you own various automotive, you most probably know the importance of using the right oil that is compatible with your desired machine. In simple words, oil is an instrument that determines the functionality and operation of your hydraulic machine. If you are wondering which oil to use for your home lawnmower and pressure washer, you are at the right place.

Well, it is largely determined by the engine construction and its operational requirements. The most commonly used oils here are SAE 30 and SAE10W30, considering their intelligent composition and ability to withstand a variety of temperatures. To save your day, here is a detailed and logical explanation of SAE30 Vs. 10W30, which is best for pressure washers and lawnmowers? So, dive right in for more.

What is the Meaning of SAE?


In simple words, SAE means the Society of Automotive Engineers. This is primarily used as the code-based system for the measurement of the viscosity of the oil. To define viscosity, it can be said that it is the measurement of how long it takes for the fluid to reach machine components. Hence, the longer it takes the fluid through components, the less viscous it is.


As the name suggests, the thickness of this oil can be determined by the code it has been given by the association. Hence, the viscosity of the SAE30 is 30 ratings on a scale of 0-50. It is non-detergent motor oil that can be used for small engines like lawnmowers, 4-stroke engines, and even generators.

SAE 10W30

In contrast, the SAE 10W30 is a type of low-temperature viscosity, and the W in it stands for winter. In simple words, this oil can be thinned on heating. Hence, in cool conditions or low temperature, the viscosity is measured in 10 ratings, and 30 is the code given to it when the oil is being used in operation. It is largely used for heavy engines, considering its ability to withstand warm temperatures without any serious consequences.

What is the Main Difference Between SAE30 and SAE 10W30?


The first and foremost difference between these two oils is characterized by their viscosity grade. Here, the main difference is whether the oil is single-grade or multigrade. For SAE30, as it is only present in warm temperatures, it is only a single-grade oil that can be used for conventional and oil engines. In contrast, the SAE 10W30 has the ability to withstand different ranges of temperatures; it is categorized as mono-grade oils and can be used for a wide range of applications such as motor oils, conventional engines, and more contemporary engines.

What Can Each Be Used For?

Following are the sectors where both of these motor oils are used;

  • Engine Oil: here, older engines are primarily used with SAE30 oil (at high or warm temperatures), while 10W30 is used for modern engines in a wide range of temperatures, including colder climates. Compared to traditional or conventional oils, both these SAE oils offer superior protection and better working of the engines.
  • Lawn Mowers: for machines like lawnmowers, tractors, or even push mowers, having any oil that performs well at 30 degrees can help you in improved lubrication. Here, SAE30 is a great choice to be used for two-stroke engines; however, when it comes to four-stroke engines, there is a dilemma associated with the SAE30. For engines that are heat-sensitive or function at low temperatures, using a graded oil such as 10W30 would be a wise choice.
  • Temperature: the viscosity of the SAE 30 works best when it is used in warm temperatures. In contrast, the 10W30 is used when the engine is in cool conditions, and it also has the ability to maintain its viscosity at low temperatures.
  • Cars: Here, the most appropriate to be used would be SAE30, all thanks to its ability to be kept under 50 degrees celsius. It is primarily because this oil is less slippery and can withstand 25 C temperature when cool down.

Finally, I hope that you have an idea of when to use which oil based on their viscosity ratings.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which grade is oil ideal for lawnmowers?

Lawnmowers and pressure mowers usually are used in warm environments, and hence, it would demand oils that work great at this range of temperature. Here, SAE30 and SAE 10W30 are both impressive for these conventional engines, all thanks to their ability to withstand warm temperatures. These oils also don’t thicken so much, making them great for lawnmowers.

Why isn’t SAE 30 no longer used for cars?

Although SAE 30 is not disastrous to be used for cars, it is not recommended by experts. This is because the oil is only single-grade that is relatively lacking when it comes to protection. In contrast, mono-grade or multigrade oils such as 5W30 and 10W30 are preferred to be used for modern and contemporary cars because of their ability to provide you with enhanced and superior protection.

Can I use SAE 10W30 instead of SAE30?

Yes, it is perfectly suitable to use SAE 10W30 in place of SAE 20. However, it still depends on the type of machine you are using and its operational temperature. For instance, SAE 30 is primarily used for old and conventional machines and vice versa. Changing the oils and mixing both is a terrible idea as it can have seriously damaging consequences for the engine.

Final Thoughts

In the end, are you wondering whether to use SAE 30 or 10W30 for your contemporary or old lawnmowers, as both are extremely popular among users for their composition and intelligent formulas? Well, it is largely determined by the engine construction and its operational requirements. Finally, I hope that this detailed guide can help you understand which is best for pressure washers and lawnmowers.

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