SAE30 Vs. 10W30: Understanding Oil types

by Mario Garcia
SAE30 vs. 10W30

Those who own cars or any automotive know the importance of oil to their system. Oil is entirely instrumental in the functioning of any machine as long as it has a hydraulic system. 

For your machine to run efficiently, you have to use the correct type of oil. In this article, we put the SAE30 and 10W30 to find out which one is better. 

We also want to know if they have the same level of effectiveness. The article will give you a complete comparison of the features of the two types of oil. 

Take your time and read through the decisive facts given to make an informed decision when selecting the oil for your engine. 

SAE30 vs. 10W30

The significant difference that can be seen between these two oils is thickness. The 10W30 is more balanced compared to the straight SAE30. 

However, it would be best if you didn’t make your decision based on oil thickness alone. When dealing with engines, you have to look deeper into the features of oil and the engine’s needs. 

What is SAE30?

SAE are initials for the Society of Automotive Engineers. SAE30 is single-grade non-detergent oil suitable for small motor engines such as lawn mowers and generators.  It can also be used on four-stroke garden tools.

What is 10W30?

It’s a double-grade oil best for heavy engines. It can withstand the warmest temperatures for a relatively long time without having disastrous effects on the engine. 

Here are some comparisons between the two:


This is the visible difference between the two oils. Viscosity is the oil thickness and strength. It’s about how oil flows at various temperatures. In oil grading symbol W means “winter,” in other it stands for “weight.” 

While the number before W cites oil viscosity, viscosity helps you know how the oil behaves when the engine is heated or the oil startup nature in cold environs. 

When the engine gets heated, the oil thickens and cannot flow with the same viscosity to all engine parts. 

Modern vehicles need oil that can change their viscosity under different temperatures. This means the oils should flow with the same speed at different temperatures to all the engine parts. 

The oils used in vehicles usually have ratings of between 0-50. SAE30 has a viscosity of 30. Its viscosity varies with temperature. However, a perfect 30 tends to thicken under high temperatures. 

In contrast, the SAE 10W30 has a viscosity of 10 when subjected to cool temperatures and 30 when at high temperatures. 

The high temperature is when the engine is in operation. As a result, the 10W30 tends to thin when the oil is heated instead of thickening.


Deciding on the type of oil to use on your automotive is daunting. It becomes more problematic when choosing between SAE30 and SAE 10W30. 

SAE30 is the best fit for two-cycle air-cooled engines. It is also effective on lawnmowers, tractors and push mowers, and any other engine that requires oils with straight 30 viscosities. 

However, it cannot be as effective on four-stroke modern engines. Because the oil cannot maintain the required viscosity, it becomes thicker when in cold temperatures.

Therefore, SAE 10W30 is the ideal choice for modern four-stroke engines. It has a higher viscosity grade for low temperatures. 

Oils are rated according to sets. The first one is for cold temperatures: 0W, 5W, 10W, 15W, and 20W. While the second is for high temperatures: 8, 12, 16,20,30,40, and 50. 

Note, both SAE 30 and 10W30 function similarly at 100 degrees. You cannot see any notable difference at this temperature. You should select oil-based on compatibility and engine type. 


Machine owners know the usefulness of oil to various engine parts. It offers lubrication and prevents rust. 

So why chose an oil type that cannot retain its viscosity at different temperatures. It will be disastrous to the engine parts. 

The SAE30 works bests at high temperatures, which means when the engine is heated and running.

It can retain the required viscosity and is measured at 150 degrees. While SAE 10W30 is ideal for both cold and hot temperatures.

You can start your engine without trouble during cold weather. At 100 degrees, both oils are pretty efficient.


Most people go for oils with lower consumption rates and offer superior performance. Such oils offer more excellent benefits for longer mileages. 

SAE30 consumes a lot of oil compared to 10W30. It needs slightly more oil to retain its viscosity. 

However, SAE30 is more economical when used with additives. Therefore, most people prefer using it that way.

Factors To Consider When Choosing Engine Oil

There are many issues you need to look into to select the proper engine oil. This guide will help you make the right choice in your quest to get the best oil.

1. Environment

For vehicles, you should be considerate about the climate and the type of roads. For example, certain oils are best for cold climates while others are not.

Know your climate and choose a type of oil that best fits it. The type and condition of the roads are other factors.

Are the roads paved or unpaved? Unpaved roads put different strains on your vehicle, such as frequent oil changes. Where you live and drive is a solid factor that you should consider when choosing an oil type. 

2. Viscosity Grade

The grades are the confusing codes and numbers on the oil packaging label. Viscosity is well explained in the article. 

Two numbers define viscosity, and there is a W after the first number. W means winter; it shows the flow of oil at freezing temperatures. 

At the same time, the second number shows the oil’s viscosity at high temperatures or when the engine is running. 

3. Oil Type

There are two types of oil: synthetic and mineral oil. Firstly, you have to know your engine type to choose the right type of oil. 

The two types have their different advantages and disadvantages. Therefore, knowing them will be so beneficial to you. 

4. Mineral Oil

It offers excellent lubrication and is so affordable. But, on the contrary, this oil contains a lot of impurities that can cause the buildup of sludge. It also requires frequent changing. 

5. Synthetic Oil

It offers excellent engine protection and perfect thermal and chemical stability. On the downside, the oil is highly-priced and has a relatively low solubility.

6. Oil Standards

The different standards are indicated on the packaging label. The various standards are identified by the following acronyms: ACEA, ILSAC, and API.  It means that the oil meets or exceeds the set standards by these organizations. 

7. Manufacturer and Series

Applicable to vehicles, the first thing you should know is the model of your vehicle. Many modern engines require double-grade oils such as SAE 10W30. 

This ensures efficiency. However, some models do have oil-specific and can only function efficiently with their recommended oil.

Signs You Need Oil Change

The first and vital maintenance activity on your engine is a regular oil change. It ensures efficient and effective engine function. 

However, older engines will need frequent oil change compared to new engines. So, here are some of the signs that tell your engine needs an oil change. 

1. Increase in engine noise

The primary role of oil in engines is lubrication. When the oil becomes old, thin, or poorly texture, you might hear noises from the engine. For example, the engine makes a knocking or ticking noise. 

2. Engine shakes while idling

It happens when friction is high on the engine parts. In vehicles, it affects your ride quality. If the shaking is too much, you’ll have to change the oil soonest. 

3. Low oil level 

Always check your oil levels. If the level is low, take your vehicle for servicing. Running an engine at low oil levels can have detrimental effects on your engine. It can make the engine break down or even stall. 

4.  Irregular oil texture

Naturally, oil becomes darker with time as it runs through the engine. Therefore you shouldn’t use oil as a factor for changing oil. 

But, on the other hand, a change in oil texture means you need to do an oil change. As oil runs through the engine, it tends to pick particles.

 After months of not changing, it will feel gritty. If the oil has a lot of grit, you have to change it.

Which Oil Grade Is Best For Lawn Mowers?

Mainly, lawnmowers do operate at warm temperatures. Therefore you will need an oil type that best fits this type of climate. Both SAE30 and SAE10W30 will ensure the efficiency of the lawnmower. 

It’s because they offer the best conditions even at higher temperatures. The lawnmower is light machinery. This means that SAE30 and 10W30 can be used on any other light machinery such as a generator. 

Which Oil Type Is Recommended For Cold Temperature?

Any oil with the “W” initial can function well under cold temperatures. The various types of these oils are SAE 10W30 and SAE 5W10. The lower the number, the lesser the oil thickens in cold environments.


The article has given the notable differences of two oil types: SAE30 and SAE 10w30. The information is quite helpful and will help you make an informed decision when selecting oil for your engine. 

However, it would be best if you also learned about the different oil grades and their usability. Always choose the suitable oil grade for your engine. 

This will ensure its effectiveness and efficiency. In addition, oil has other benefits to your engine; it lubricates the engine parts and prevents rust. Therefore be keen when selecting the oil type for your car or lawnmower’s engine.

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