Can I Use 10w30 In My Air Compressor?

In present times, an air compressor is becoming a need in every home or business, whether they are in large or small size. People are using them in daily life and getting a lot of jobs, doing DIY projects, and washing away the dirt. Most of them also face some issues; their tool is not building pressure, running too loud, keeps tripping breaker, and other stuff.

Mostly, folks have oil lubricated compressors. There are always a bunch of questions in their minds about compressors, how to improve performance, tips to make the unit quiet, & others. People get confused when the time comes to change the compressor’s oil. They are beginners and don’t know which oil will suit their unit. A common question also arises, can we use 10w30 oil in the compressor? We are here to briefly discuss this topic and guide you on which oil will perfect your device.

Most of you haven’t a clear idea about 10w30; what is it, and can we use it in our tool? Let’s dive deep and know everything about it.

What does 10w30 mean?

10w30 is a term that is used for telling the viscosity of the oil. It helps us identify the viscosity when the temperature is hot and when it is cold. In 10w30, 10 is the number that tells the oil viscosity is thin. The 10 number is attached with W, which represents winter. Similarly, in the end, the number 30 speaks for oil’s thicker viscosity.

Let’s understand better with the help of the viscosity scale. The viscosity scale includes numbers 0, 5, 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60. If the number on the scale is smaller, it means the oil has thin viscosity. On the other hand, if the number is big, the viscosity increases.

Stop if you are thinking of using 10w30 oil in your air compressor! We cannot use this oil because it contains detergents that disturb the working of the compressor pump. The tool won’t be able to lubricate appropriately; the piston inside the air pump fails to move freely, and it will not build the desired pressure. You should always use the oil that the compressor manufacturer recommends.

  • Note: The life of the air compressor is directly proportional to the quality of the oil. More good oil quality you use, the more time you will run the unit.

The best oil type for your unit is also mentioned in the owner’s manual guide, but specifically, we will guide here on which oil is best for your compressor and its characteristics.

Characteristics of Good Air Compressor Oil

Oil is the most important element in air compressors, especially those that are oil lubricated. It helps in keeping the friction less between components of the unit. Here we have listed some characteristics you must see before buying oil for the tool. It includes temperature dependency, viscosity, and the ability to protect from corrosion.


When we use the air compressor consistently for hours, it gets heated, and there are chances of affecting the compressor’s health, resulting in motor failure. Here good quality oils help in keeping the temperature maintained. Usually, people face overheating issues, especially in the summer, because there is heat in the surroundings. Oil lubricated compressors can perfectly deal with this situation.


Viscosity describes an oil how much thicker. Viscosity depends on weather conditions, too; if you have the winter season, you should go for low viscosity, and for the summer season, you should go for thicker oil. For thicker oil, you can use synthetic oil for your compressor as these oils are more viscous and suitable.


Oil for your compressor should be Anti-Corrosive, which prevents corrosion and make your unit run long-lasting. With protection from corrosion, it should also avoid friction as it is not a good thing for metal components inside the compressor.

Use the Best Oil for your Air Compressor, but Which One?

The best oil for the air compressor is also mentioned in the owner’s manual guide; you should always consider it a perfect option. But, if you haven’t the guidebook, we will guide here which oil will suit your unit.

Synthetic Oil

Synthetic oil is special oil made for professionals who use it daily and have more usage of air compressors. These oils are the best if you use your compressor for commercial purposes.

Synthetic oil provides the best protection from overheating and enables your compressor’s work to run smoothly. It also makes your compressor work quieter. This type of oil will be a good recommendation if you use your compressor during summer.

Hydraulic oil

Hydraulic oils are steady viscosity, and these oils are good, especially for the winter season. The hydraulic oil will enable your compressor to work smoothly while protecting from corrosion because they are anti-corrosion. It will be a good choice or opinion to use hydraulic oil for your compressor if you use it in the winter season.

Wrapping Up

Never use any other motor oil for your air compressor because they have a high amount of detergents that can ruin the proper functioning of the compressor. In addition, we have experienced thin viscosity oil helping the compressor to operate effectively.


When Should We Change Oil of Air Compressor?

Oil in our air compressor protects from overheating, provides lubrication to motor components, and decreases the friction between different components. We should change the oil in our compressor every 3 to 4 months because, with the passage of time and usage, this oil becomes dirty and unable to provide the required performance.

Can I use SAE 30 oil in my air compressor?

Yes, you can use SAE 30 or SAE 20 oil for your air compressor because most manufacturers recommend using them. They contain no detergent and much suitable for hot and cold temperatures. These oil types won’t cause any problem on starting if you want to use the unit in winter.

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