It’s once again time to get our snowblowers up to speed – before the winter weather really sets in.
But something that’s often overlooked, is the type of oil you need to be using in your machine. Do you need special juice – or will any old lubricant suffice?
Read on to discover the best oil for snowblowers, with a full buyer’s guide and FAQ section to follow.
Let’s keep things moving as best as we can this winter.
Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. If you shop through the links on YardThyme, we may earn an affiliate's commission from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you. For more information, read full disclosure here.
- The Quick Answer to The Best Oil for Snowblowers
- 8 Best Oils for Snow Blowers 2021
- AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil – 5W-30
- Pennzoil 5W-30 Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil
- Briggs & Stratton SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil
- Toro 4-Cycle Winter Engine Oil 5W 30
- Castrol GTX 5W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil
- Husqvarna 4-Cycle 5W-30 Synthetic Engine Oil
- Explorer SAE 5W30 Synthetic Engine Oil
- Ariens Company 5W30 Wint Oil
- How to Choose the Best Oil For Snowblowers
- What is the best oil to use in a snowblower?
- Is there a difference between small engine oil and car oil?
- Do snowblowers need special oil?
- Can you use car oil in a snowblower?
- How often should I change the oil in my snowblower?
- How do you change the oil in a snowblower?
- Can I use 10W-30 instead of 5W-30 in snowblower?
- How much oil is needed in a snowblower?
- What happens if I put too much oil in my snowblower?
- How do you fix overfilled oil?
- Can you use the same oil for different stage snow blowers?
- Can I use 5w30 oil in my snowblower?
- Can you use synthetic oil in a snowblower?
- What kind of oil do you use in a two-stage snowblower?
8 Best Oils for Snow Blowers 2021
AmazonBasics Full Synthetic Motor Oil – 5W-30
We start with this option from the Amazon Basics range, a full synthetic motor oil that comes in a five-quart bottle and is rated as SAE 5W-30.
Formulated for longer drain intervals, it can help stop the build-up that causes rust and corrosion on your engine. With a high-resistance to thermal-breakdown, it’s ideal for winter use and offers excellent fuel economy while helping to reduce engine wear.
- Great feedback from other users of this oil.
- Great price.
- Helps reduce exhaust emissions.
- No fill marker on the bottle.
Pennzoil 5W-30 Platinum Full Synthetic Motor Oil
A full synthetic motor oil made from natural gas and not crude, it uses Pennzoil’s patented gas-to-liquid pure-plus technology and provides better fuel economy as a result.
Designed to keep the engine clean, it provides excellent protection from wear and tear and is ideal for use in snowblowers thanks to improved low-temperature oil-flow and defense when the engine gets hot.
And it’s even available in a 55-gallon size should you have a snowblower fleet. (Or just a lot of small engines to maintain.)
- Great price point.
- Great feedback from other users of this oil.
- Improved transparent packaging.
- Not as familiar as well-known brands.
Briggs & Stratton SAE 5W-30 Synthetic Motor Oil
Briggs and Stratton need little introduction when it comes to talking about engines, and in fact, they make some of the best gas-powered two-stage snowblowers on the market – just follow that link to see for yourself.
This oil is specially formulated to use with their machines, although it’s perfectly suitable no matter the brand you’re rocking.
100% synthetic and for use in all air-cooled four-stroke engines, the 5W-30 viscosity won’t let you down in winter. And if you happen to run a Briggs & Stratton small engine, they have a super-handy oil finder tool to help you choose exactly the right stuff.
- Name to trust.
- Designed for small engines.
- Perfect for B&G engines.
- Bottle level indicator.
- On the pricey side.
Toro 4-Cycle Winter Engine Oil 5W 30
Similar to Briggs and Stratton, Toro are a household name when it comes to outdoor power tools, and they have a couple of great options in this review of the best single-stage snow blowers. Check out that article if you have a smaller driveway to clear and need a new toy.
This could well be the best oil for snowblower engines out there, as it’s been specially designed for use with these machines. It provides cooling, lubrication, cleaning, and sealing of internal engine parts to ensure your snowblower runs smoothly all season long.
- Name to trust.
- Specially formulated for snowblowers.
- Perfect for Toro machines.
- Easy-pour container.
- Small quantity.
- Not synthetic.
Castrol GTX 5W-30 Full Synthetic Motor Oil
As far as motor engine oil goes, Castrol is up there with the number-one brands in the world, and they’ve been doing their thing since 1899.
This SAE 5W-30 oil is fully synthetic and is designed to dramatically reduce engine wear and tear compared to other brands and oils in this class.
With magnetic technology, the lubricant clings to critical parts of the engine as soon as you start things up, and provides long-lasting protection in extreme conditions. It’s also offered at a surprisingly pleasing price point (at the time of writing), so snap some up while you can and keep it in the shed.
- Market-leading oil brand.
- Great price.
- Magnetic technology.
- Nothing apparent – let me know if you find something.
Husqvarna 4-Cycle 5W-30 Synthetic Engine Oil
Swedish company Husqvarna are one of the world’s best (and oldest) power tool companies, and as well as a mean line on snowblowers, Husqvarna’s iconic chainsaws are things of beauty.
As such, they know a thing or two about small engines and the best oil to use, and this is their four-cycle 5W-30 option. A synthetic-blend oil, it offers superior cold-temperature performance, is designed for use in most two-stage snowblowers, and helps to reduce engine wear and scuffing.
And with friction reduction and improved start-up on chilly mornings, this stuff will surely get you going even in the dead of winter.
- Name to trust.
- Designed for small engines.
- Compatible with mineral oil lubricants.
- On the expensive side.
Explorer SAE 5W30 Synthetic Engine Oil
Here we have another fully synthetic SAE 5W-30 oil that has been specially designed for use in your snow blower/thrower – whatever you prefer to call it.
Like most oils out there, it offers to keep the machine clean and working at maximum performance throughout the season, with long-term protection for peace-of-mind if there are perhaps days without new snowfall.
Distilled for use in temperatures below 32-degrees, it’s suitable for all four-cycle engines that need to be run in colder climates.
- Perfect for snowblowers.
- Great price point.
- Versatile use in all four-stroke machines.
- Bulk-buy option.
- A bit of an unknown quantity.
Ariens Company 5W30 Wint Oil
Wisconsin-based company Ariens manufactures some of the best snow blowers in the world (I mean – they need to because of where they’re from), and so they’ve also developed their own, 5W-30 oil for use in our driveway lifelines.
Specially formulated to provide protection to all air-cooled, four-cycle engines operating in low temperatures, it’s designed to work efficiently while providing durable, long-lasting use. And the convenient and easy-to-use bottle should eliminate mess and spillages (providing you use a funnel, of course).
- Name to trust.
- Highly rated.
- Specifically designed for snow blowers.
- A bit more expensive.
How to Choose the Best Oil For Snowblowers
For some folks, understanding the fuels and lubricants required in different engines is second nature, but others might need a bit of a helping hand.
Read on for advice on things you should be considering before selecting the right oil for your snowblower.
Engine Oil Codes
On every bottle or container of oil, you can find a special code that represents the oil’s viscosity – or “thickness.”
It’s important to understand this as the type you choose is essential for keeping your snowblower engine running smoothly. Or, indeed, any engine throughout the year and in different temperatures.
These numbers are set by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) and are universal and internationally recognized measurements.
Look for the SAE number on the bottle. The first digit represents the oil’s viscosity in cooler temperatures, the second when the engine has heated up.
The lower the first number, the colder the temperature can be in which the oil will successfully lubricate your machine.
This is obviously important when it comes to running the best two-stage snowblowers for large driveways – or any gas-powered snowblower for that matter.
As such, engine oil with a low viscosity is more suitable for winter use. It’s not going to freeze or congeal up when you most need it. (The letter ‘W’ on the bottle literally stands for “winter,” so it’s pretty much idiot-proof.)
Check out the video below for further information and for a detailed explanation of engine codes.
Types of Oil
Two-stroke and four-stroke engine oil is available, and the type you choose depends on the kind of engine your machine has.
Two-stroke oils are designed to be mixed with gas and are more common in smaller engines, such as in these gas-powered leaf blowers.
While snow blowers also have small engines (certainly compared with motor vehicles) they use the four-stroke variety of oil (and ONLY the four-stroke variety) so there’s no need to be worried or confused when it comes to choosing the correct type.
However, you also need to decide between synthetic and non-synthetic oil. Your snowblower engine will be able to handle both kinds.
Non-synthetic oil is cheaper. That’s pretty much where the advantages stop.
Synthetic oil has been refined to remove impurities. It will offer your engine the best protection, but it’s more expensive than regular motor oil.
This is something of a moot point these days because as synthetic oil has become more and more popular for use in small-engined machines, the price has reduced significantly.
Also, it doesn’t need changing as much, and you can leave it in for longer if you so choose. (See the FAQ section below for more information on changing snowblower oil).
By their very nature, snowblowers are only used when the temperature drops – so you need an engine oil that will continue to keep the engine running in such conditions.
That’s where 5W-30 oil comes into its own, as it’s a lubricant that’s designed for use in anything lower than 40-degrees. It’s a winter oil, and not suitable for use throughout the summer.
Having said that, a 10W-30 oil can be used in temperatures as low as zero, and up to 100-degrees. So, if you’re in milder conditions – it’s possible to still use this type of oil.
But I’ll bet my bottom dollar it just won’t give you the same quick-start that 5W-30 offers through the winter.
Aside from that, 5W-30 synthetic oil will likely offer the best engine protection for your snowblower and will function anywhere from -20 to 120-degrees.
Oil is oil, right? To be honest, I would say-so. At the end of the day, so long as you’re using an oil with the right viscosity, the name on the bottle shouldn’t really matter.
And yet, it does, as many reviews will testify.
In the end, it comes down to customer loyalty, what has or hasn’t worked for you in the past, the type of machine you’re running, or what your neighbor has recommended.
The best brand for me might be totally different from your favorite one. It comes down to trial and error.
When in Doubt
If you’re still having trouble choosing the right oil to use in your snowblower – simply check the manufacturer’s instructions and it should tell you all you need to know.
If you’ve misplaced the owner’s manual – or perhaps you bought your machine second-hand – then a quick check online should suffice.
Still, for the most part, you can’t really go wrong with any of the oils in this review.
What is the best oil to use in a snowblower?
The very best oil you can use in a snowblower would be a synthetic lubricant that is rated for winter.
Look for the engine oil code 5W-30, which is a fancy way of saying it’s suitable for use in temperatures as low as -25 degrees.
After that, it comes down to personal preference or whatever your particular machine seems to enjoy running on – which is why I’ve included a selection of options in the review above.
Is there a difference between small engine oil and car oil?
There isn’t a great deal of difference, and you can use regular motor oil in a lawnmower or snowblower engine without problems.
Having the distinction is often just manufacturers trying to squeeze more money out of you.
So long as you’re using the right viscosity for the engine and the climate/conditions. Vehicles require a wider range of oil thickness/weights in order to run.
However, if you’re at all concerned about it – make sure you specifically purchase small engine oil for use in your snowblower and adhere to the owner manual for the exact type you need.
Do snowblowers need special oil?
No. Don’t be fooled by claims that the only oil that will work is a special blend designed for snowblowers.
While those products might well be very good for the snowblower, they’re not essential for the machine to run.
An ordinary, four-stroke, 5W-30 engine oil will do just fine. And make sure you go synthetic to really be on the safe side.
Can you use car oil in a snowblower?
Yes – as mentioned above – so long as it’s the correct viscosity/weight for use in colder temperatures.
How often should I change the oil in my snowblower?
Check with the manufacturer’s recommendations, and remember that you can leave synthetic oil for longer before it requires a change.
That said, it’s advisable that you change the oil once per year – usually at the end of the season before you “summer-ize” the machine.
However, it might be worth changing mid-season if it’s being used regularly, or it’s having a particularly tough workout.
Another school of thought is to change it out for every five hours of use.
How do you change the oil in a snowblower?
I’m so glad you asked. While you should always refer to your owner’s manual (if you’ve misplaced this you can always look it up online), it’s pretty much the same process regardless of the snowblower brand.
Check out this useful video below for a visual guide on how to change the oil in a snowblower. Alternatively, you could always search for a video guide for your particular machine.
Can I use 10W-30 instead of 5W-30 in snowblower?
Sure, 10W-30 will work just fine, as it’s still rated for use in temperatures down to around -15-degrees.
However, I would still strongly recommend using 5W-30 oil as the engine will purr a little sweeter for you when the Mercury drops.
How much oil is needed in a snowblower?
It depends on the size of the engine. Check with the manufacturer’s instructions to find out exactly how much oil your snowblower requires before attempting to fill it.
And always fill with clean, fresh oil – never reuse oil. Old oil should be taken to a recycling center – or it can be handed in to some local auto stores/garages.
What happens if I put too much oil in my snowblower?
Putting too much oil in your snowblower can result in the engine heating it so much it begins to bubble, likely causing excessive smoke and a serious reduction in its lubricating/protective qualities.
It will also damage the spark plug and impede the machine’s ability to start. Needless to say, overfilling is best to be avoided.
How do you fix overfilled oil?
You need to drain off the excess oil into an oil drain pan or another such container. You should also seek to clean up any spillages and mess as soon as possible.
This is especially true of the spark plug – as you need to clean and possibly replace this part if required.
Refer to your manual or online brand content for tips and advice on how to properly drain overfilled oil from your particular machine.
Can you use the same oil for different stage snow blowers?
Yes, it’s perfectly fine to use the same oil regardless of if you’re using a one, two, or even three-stage snowblower.
Check out this article on the differences between single-stage vs two-stage snow blowers as well as 2-stage vs 3-stage snow blowers for more information, with product reviews of each type for your consideration.
Can I use 5w30 oil in my snowblower?
Yes, absolutely. In fact, it’s the best viscosity/weight ratio for use in snowblowers – so you’re definitely on the right track.
Can you use synthetic oil in a snowblower?
Yes, and again – it’s highly recommended that you do so. Synthetic oil – while more expensive – will offer your snowblower engine better protection, and will keep it running more efficiently throughout the season.
What kind of oil do you use in a two-stage snowblower?
The same as you would in a one-stage or three-stage snowblower. Any of the oils in the review above can be used in a two-stage snowblower with no problems. Providing, of course, that it’s gas-powered.
You don’t need engine oil for a battery-powered two-stage snowblower (it might be obvious to some, but it’s worth confirming for anyone out there who is unsure).
While it might seem complicated at first, selecting the best oil for snowblowers isn’t too much of a headache once you’re armed with some basic knowledge.
Of the products in this review, I think the Pennzoil option is as good as any, highly rated, and offered at a great price.
Let me know which oil you prefer using in your machines and why.
I wish you first-time starts in all your engines this winter.