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10W 30 vs. 30 SAE – Choosing the Right Engine Oil!

Motor oil is an essential component for maintaining the engine of any power tool.

But with numerous options available in the market, choosing the right motor oil for your machine can be overwhelming.

But fear not!

One essential factor to consider when selecting motor oil is its viscosity rating, commonly represented by numbers such as 5W 30, 10W 30, or 30 SAE.

These grades represent different oil formulations designed to meet different types of engines.

Therefore, understanding the difference and finding the best engine oil is essential.

This article will compare the two most common engine oils, 10W 30 vs. 30 SAE, regarding their viscosity grade.

Let’s begin!

10W 30 vs. 30 SAE
10W 30 vs. 30 SAE

10W 30 vs. 30 SAE!

When choosing a motor oil for your lawn mower (or any other lawn equipment), you can come across these two most common oil types: 10W 30 and 30 SAE.

So, it is crucial to understand the detailed comparison between the two.

But before moving forward, you must have to understand these terminologies:


SAE stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers—a scale developed to measure engine oil viscosity.

It is written as numerical code.

Note: Every brand of motor oil uses SAE standardization. Both 10W 30 and 30 SAE oils are SAE rated.

Viscosity of Oil

Motor oils are classified according to their viscosity.

Viscosity refers to the oil’s resistance to flow at different temperatures.

It directly affects the oil’s ability to lubricate and protect engine components, especially during startup when the engine is cold.

Viscosity helps us understand how fast the oil flows in the engine and its other compartments.

The thinner the oil, the quicker it moves.

The viscosity of engine oil is standardized by SAE, which helps us to choose the most appropriate oil for our specific engines.

Finally, the moment has arrived to discuss the topic you eagerly await.

Here is a detailed comparison of both types of oils.

10W 30 vs. 30 SAE | Detailed Comparison!

Most people think 10W 30 and 30 SAE are the same, but they aren’t.

But why do they think so?

Well! Both oils are considered the same due to the parallel characteristics outlined on their respective labels.

Which include:

  • Both oils are petroleum-based lubricants with some additives to enhance their performance.
  • Both have a viscosity index according to the SAE grading system.
  • Both work well in hot climate areas.
  • Both are suitable for your lawn mowers without thermal breakdown.

However, these similarities do not make them the same.

It is because these two oils have several major differences that make them separate from one another.

Related Article:How Much Oil Does a Push Mower Take to Prevent Damaging The Engine?

Comparison Table

Let’s see in the comparison table:

Key points   10W 30 OilSAE 30 Oil
Viscosity  Multi-grade shows two viscosities. 10 at cold temperature and 30 at hot temperature. Single-grade oil shows only a viscosity of 30.
Hot Weather Compatibility  Work well in high temperatures, but its efficiency is less than SAE 30.This oil is specially designed for hot weather.
Cold Weather Compatibility  Have a 10 winter viscosity. Provides better engine startup during chilly weather.Not much effective in cold weather because of single high viscosity.
Maintenance  Frequent engine oil top-ups but long oil-changing intervals.Frequent oil changing intervals but fewer engine oil top-ups.
Engine Type  Mostly efficient for modern engines.Specifically, work well for old engines model.
Availability  Widely available.Limited availability.
PriceCostly as compared to SAE 30.Affordable.

Now, let’s discuss the pros and cons of both oil types.

10W 30 Motor Oil

It is a multi-grade motor oil with varying viscosity at different temperatures.

In its name, W represents the winter.

The “10W” represents the viscosity of oil in winter, and “30” represents the oil’s viscosity at high temperatures.

Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage with MaxLife Technology SAE 10W-30 Motor Oil 5 QT - 10W 30 vs. 30 SAE
Valvoline Full Synthetic High Mileage with MaxLife Technology SAE 10W-30 Motor Oil 5 QT | Image via Amazon

10W 30 | Pros!

Here are some pros of 10W 30 engine oil:

  • 10W 30 offers good cold start protection and adequate lubrication to your engine during wintry weather.
  • It works well during both cold and warm weather. It is commonly recommended if you live in an area where the weather changes significantly.
  • Because it is multi-grade motor oil, this quality makes it practical to use for big engines.
  • 10W 30 contains detergents and fumigants, which help the engine to remain clean and run smoothly.
  • It also prevents the buildup of sediment and other deposits, which helps improve the engine’s performance.

Now, let’s look at some of its cons.

10W 30 | Cons!

Here are the cons of this motor oil:

  • It shows less stability in very high temperatures than other single-unit motor oils. It is better to use it in cold or in moderate temperatures.
  • 10W 30 oil is commonly recommended for modern engines. After all, older machines are not compatible with this low viscosity because these engines have loose tolerance, which requires high-viscosity oil.
  • 10W 30 oil may show more oil consumption due to its low viscosity, resulting in frequently changing the oil to maintain its proper level in the engine.

Now, let’s move toward 30 SAE motor oil.

30 SAE Motor Oil

It is a single-grade oil with fixed viscosity.

It is not as versatile as 10W 30 oil and works for a specific temperature range. “30” is its fixed viscosity rate.

Royal Purple 06030 API Licensed SAE 30 High Performance Synthetic Motor Oil 10W 30 vs. 30 SAE 1
Royal Purple 06030 API-Licensed SAE 30 High Performance Synthetic Motor Oil | Image via Amazon

30 SAE | Pros!

Here are some pros of 30 SAE motor oil:

  • Due to its high viscosity, it provides better protection for the engines in hot weather.
  • It works for lengthy periods in elevated temperatures without breaking down.
  • Because it is designed to work for a single temperature, it is the best and pocket-friendly option if you live in a hot climate.
  • Due to its higher viscosity in hot climates, it lubricates the engine properly, and there is no need to top up the oil frequently.

Related Article: Too Much Oil in Lawn Mower? Take Care of It In 7 Easy Steps!

30 SAE | Cons!

The following are the cons:

  • Due to its high viscosity, it is difficult for the engine to start up in the cold, so 30 SAE is not a good option for living in a cold climate area.
  • Single-grade oil like SAE are not ideal for operating complex or large motors because they are not temperature friendly.

Nowadays, multi-grade engine oils are used in the market, and single-grade oils are used less and are less available.


Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions.

Can You Mix 10W 30 with SAE 30 Oil?

Technically yes, but it is not advisable to do so.

The main reason is that these two oils weigh differently; 30 SAE is lightweight, and 10W 30 is a heavy-weight oil.

Over the years, there has been an incomplete debate among people regarding the optimal choice for their lawnmowers.

As a result, many prefer mixing both oils, believing it provides good protection.

But the fact is that if you mix them, their viscosity difference could damage the lawn mover’s motor. Mixing the oils with the same viscosity index is advisable, like mixing two multi-grade or single-grade oils.

So, if you want to ensure the better health of your motor, it would be better to choose one.

Can We Use 10W 30 Instead of 30 SAE in Our Lawn Mover?

In many situations, you can replace 30 SAE with 10W 30 oil in your lawn mower, but here are some facts you should remember:

  • Initially, you must look for the manufacturer’s recommendation to see if the oil you use for your lawn mower is compatible. Some manufacturers suggest using specific oil, which you should follow to avoid engine damage.
  • Moreover, analyze the temperature range where you wish to operate your lawn mower. If the temperature is constantly low, 10W 30 oil is better than 30 SAE.
  • Additionally, if you are using an old lawn mower, 10W 30 oil is not recommended because of its less viscosity; you should consult the manufacturer before switching from 30 SAE.

Which Oil Should You Use for Your Lawn Mover, 10W 30 or 30 SAE?

Both oils are widely used in lawn mowers, and each has advantages and disadvantages.

Before choosing suitable oil for your lawn mower, you must consider some factors and specific requirements according to your climate, lawn mower type, and manufacturer recommendation.

10W 30 versatile oil works like a weather champion both in cold and hot weather. Low viscosity, which helps quick engine startup even in frigid winter. But it is somehow modern and advanced, recommended for modern engines, and is not very pocket friendly.

On the other hand, 30 SAE oil has the reliability and consistency of working in lawn mowers for years. It has a better experience of working in the heat, lubricating, and protecting the engine. But then come the chilliest mornings of winter, which reduce its working efficiency, and it’s hard for it to work efficiently at this temperature.

That’s all!

Now let’s wrap up all the discussion.


I hope this post has removed your worries regarding 10W 30 vs. 30 SAE.

The key factor that differentiates both oils is the viscosity.

The 10W 30 indicates that it can flow smoothly in cold and well as in warm temperatures due to its low viscosity.

Alternatively, 30 SAE oil possesses higher viscosity across a wider range of temperatures. This property makes it suitable for engines that can easily operate in moderate to high temperature conditions.

What you need to do is to consider the requirements of your vehicle while choosing between these two options.

Remember, choosing the right motor oil is critical to maintaining your vehicle’s health and efficiency. So, take the time to research, understand your driving conditions, and make an excellent choice.

Your engine will thank you for it!

Moiz Atiq.