SAE 30 Vs 10W30 | Is SAE 30 the same as 10w30?

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The SAE 30 and 10W30 are similar motor oil on the market. There are many arguments about whether SAE 30 is the same as 10W30 motor oil. Many people think they are the same, but this is not true. There are several differences between these two motor oils.

Viscosity is one of the most critical factors when choosing motor oils. SAE 30 and 10W30 are two of the most common types of engine oil, but they have different viscosity. Society of Automotive Engineers introduces motor oil grading based on the oil viscosity.

This article will discuss, “is SAE 30 the same as 10W-30 engine oil“? What are the differences? Moreover, can I use SAE 30 instead of 10W30? And much more in-depth details?

SAE 30 Vs 10W30

What Is An SAE 30 Motor Oil?

The SAE 30 motor oil is a single-grade oil commonly used for lawnmowers, small generators, household devices, and other small outdoor equipment engines. The Society of Automotive Engineers grades the motor oils based on the kinematic viscosity (cSt) at 100°C (212°F); this grade cSt viscosity is 30. This SAE 30-grade oil does not have cold flow properties; therefore, it gets thicker and flows slowly in a cold climate. Therefore at cold engine starts, oil slowly flows into the crankcase.


What is 10W30 Motor Oil?

The 10W30 motor oil numbers are the viscosity at cold and hot operating temperatures. The 10W is the viscosity of oil under 0°C (32°F), and 30 (SAE 30) is the oil viscosity at 100°C (212°F). 10W30 is the combination of SAE 10W and SAE 30.

The 10W30 oil performs better in cold and hot temperatures. It flows more easily at low temperatures (when the engine is cold) and slowly thins at high temperatures. This multi-grade oil performs better in a wide range of temperatures, making it a better choice for a wide range of driving situations. At the cold engine start, oil quickly flows and lubricates the moving metal parts, and in extremely hot operating temperatures, oil slowly thins out. This better lubricity reduces premature wear of metal parts.

This multi-grade oil suits most modern cars, including turbocharged engines or variable valve timing systems. SAE 10w-30 engine oil is also backward compatible with many older engines.


Is SAE 30 the same as 10w30?

SAE30 is engine oil equivalent to 10W30 oil, but SAE 30 oil has a higher viscosity (thickness) rating than 10W30 oil, meaning it is thicker and less likely to flow at low freezing temperatures. These two oils are used for

  • SAE 30 – Suitable for warmer temperatures, where there is no winter season. Generally used for smaller engines.
  • SAE 10W-30 Performs better in high and low temperature ranges. Provide excellent protection in extreme climates.


SAE 30 oil has a higher viscosity rating than 10W30 oil, meaning it is thicker and will flow more slowly at low temperatures. It is likely to freeze this oil in extremely low temperatures. As a result, this is a better choice for engines that operate in high ambient temperature regions.


Different Commercial Products Comparison
PropertiesUnitsCastrol EDGE High Mileage 10W-30Castrol Motor Oil HD 30Valvoline Daily Protection SAE 10W-30Valvoline Daily Protection SAE 30WFormula Shell
Formula Shell SAE 30
Viscosity, Kinematic 100°Cmm²/s10.51010.510.310.511.6
Viscosity, Kinematic 40°Cmm²/s6570718769.895
Pour Point°C-39-28-33-18-33-30
Flash Point, PMCC°C225237N/AN/A228232


As you can see the above table, some of the full synthetic SAE30 engine oil can flow at extremely low pour points like -27.4°F or -45°F. These oils are specifically designed for small 4-stroke engines with chemical additives to operate at low pouring temperatures.

The 10W30 oil, on the other hand, is designed to provide better performance both in colder and warmer climates. It is thinner than SAE 30 oil, making it easier to flow at low temperatures. SAE 10W30 is a good choice for engine oil that performs colder and warmer climates.

If you’re looking for engine oil that will perform better in colder and warmer temperatures, SAE 10W30 is the way to go. If you live in an area with warmer weather that never drops below 32°F (0°C), SAE 30 is a better choice.

Is SAE 30 the same as 10w30


SAE 30 Vs 10w30 Specifications.

The Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has introduced a system for rating the viscosity of engine oils. This system uses single and two numbers like SAE 30 or SAE 10W30.

Multi-grade oil’s numbers before the W letter are its kinematic viscosity (cSt) at 0°C (32°F) temperatures, the “W” stands for winter (not the weight), and the last digits are the kinematic viscosity (cSt) at 100°C (212°F) temperatures. Oils with a higher viscosity rating, such as SAE 30, flow more slowly than oils with a lower viscosity rating.

For this SAE 30 vs 10w30 motor oil comparison, I use temperature range, thickness, thinness, and performance.

SAE GradeSAE 3010W30
Grade TypeSingle-grade.Multi-Grade.
Temperature rangePerform in a warmer climate.Work in a colder and warmer climate.
SuitableSmaller engine and motors.Heavy-duty engines.
ThicknessThicker in a cold climateNot a thick in a cold climate.
ThinNot too thin in hot temperatureNot too thin in hot temperatures.
PerformancePerform slightly lower than multi-grade oils in a warmer climatePerform better in a colder and warmer climate
Minim Temperature range23°F (-5°C)-13°F (-25°C)


The oil must be thick enough at high temperatures to provide adequate lubrication for your engine. It should also be thin enough to quickly drain the cylinder and return to the oil pan after use. If it is too thick, it will slowly coat the crankcase parts of your engine and reduce its cooling efficiency. Moreover, it wastes the engine’s horsepower.

The oil needs to be thin enough to flow freely through your engine at low temperatures but not so thin that it cannot provide adequate lubrication. This thinness is especially important in a cold climate because thicker oils take longer to drain back into the oil pan and can cause your engine to seize.

The SAE 30 oil has a viscosity rating of 30 at 100°C (212°F), which means it is thicker than the SAE 10W30 oil. However, this does not imply that the SAE 30 oil is better for your engine. The SAE 10W30 oil may be better for colder climates because it is thinner and will flow more easily at low temperatures.


Can I use SAE 30 instead of 10W30?

Yes, you can use SAE 30 instead of 10W30 motor oil. However, it is not the best practice. These two motor oils’ viscosity grades are significantly different. The SAE 30 is thicker, and SAE 10W30 is thinner. The oil’s viscosity measures how easily it flows at a given temperature. The lower the viscosity, the easier it flows at a low temperature, and vice versa.

Since the engine is metal on metal, when using thicker grade engine oils, the engine’s metal parts slowly lubricate at the start (cold engine start). Therefore this slow lubrication increases friction and wear. Also, the engine’s efficiency is sometimes wasted due to the slow oil flow. Thus this lack of lubrication can reduce the overall fuel efficiency (fuel economy).



Can you use 10W30 instead of SAE 30?

Yes, you can use 10W30 engine oil instead of SAE 30. 10W30 engine oil has a lower pouring temperature and works well in colder and higher operating temperatures. This multi-grade engine oil added anti-wear, anti-corrosion, and many more additives during the manufacturing process to enhance its performance. Moreover, ensure that your new oil meets the engine manufacturer’s recommended API service category rating.


Is SAE 30 better than 10W30?

At colder temperatures, SAE 10W30 is better than SAE 30. However, when the engine reaches operating temperature, both oils provide similar protection. In colder climates, 10W30 oil flows faster than the SAE30.


Is SAE 30 thicker than 10w30?

Yes, SAE30 is thicker motor oil, but when the operating temperature gradually increases, there is no significant thickness (Viscosity) difference in both engine oil. As you can see in the above SAE 30 and 10W30 products “Viscosity, Kinematic 100C” value range is 10-11.


Can you mix SAE 30 and 10w30 oils?

It is not recommended to mix two different types of engine oils together. These two engine oils have different base oils and additives. Therefore mixing completely different engines’ oil can clog and may reduce oil thickness at high temperatures and increase friction. Therefore you should not mix different engine oil viscosity together.


Can you use 10W40 instead of SAE 30?

Yes, you can use the 10W40 engine oil instead of SAE 30. The 10W40 oil can perform better in colder temperatures than the SAE 30. Moreover, 10W40 has higher viscosity in hot temperatures. This high viscosity means that 10W40 oil does not thin out in higher temperatures than SAE 30. But never mix two different grades of engine oil together.


What is SAE 30 oil is and where can it be used?

The Society of Automotive Engineers has tested and graded SAE 30 oil as motor oil. This oil can be used by air-cooled motors like lawnmowers, portable generators, chainsaws, pressure washers, water pumps, small tractors, and household equipment. This high-viscosity oil is suitable all year in warmer climate regions.


What is SAE oil best for a lawnmower?

The SAE 30, SAE40, and SAE 50 are good lawnmower oils. But, SAE 30 oil is the most common type of oil used in small engines such as lawnmowers because it’s lighter and flows more easily at low temperatures than the other two options. SAE 40 and SAE 50 oils are thicker and provide better protection against wearing at high temperatures but can be more challenging to start in cold weather.


What is the difference between SAE 30 and SAE 40 oil?

The primary difference between SAE 30 and SAE 40 oils is their viscosity at high temperatures. SAE 40 oil is much more viscous than SAE 30. SAE 40 oil will not flow as easily in the engine and may cause excessive wear to components such as crankshafts, camshafts, and bearings due to the lack of lubrication.


What temperature range is SAE 30 oil?

The SAE 30 viscosity rating is between 23°F (-5°C) to 212°F (100°C). The SAE 30 thickness of the oil will increase as the temperature decreases and vice versa.


SAE 30 vs. SAE 10W-30: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between SAE 30 and SAE 10W-30 is that SAE 30 has a higher viscosity rating. This high viscosity means it will be thicker at high temperatures and thinner at low temperatures. Sometimes this oil thickens in cold weather, which can cause the oil to not flow appropriately at the engine start. This lack of lubrication leads to increased friction and results in metal wearing. Because of this, SAE 30 is better suited for equipment that experiences higher ambient temperatures, and SAE 10W-30 is good for work in both cold and warmer climates.



In this SAE 30 vs 10w30 comparison, you can choose the best lubricant for your engine. The main difference is that SAE 30 has a higher viscosity than 10W30. This higher viscosity means it takes more effort to flow the oil when starting an engine at a low temperature. However, it provides better lubrication once it’s up and running (after engine heating).

10W30 has a lower viscosity, making it easier to start an engine. However, it may not offer as much resistance to wear and tear over time. If you’re unsure which type of oil to use in your lawnmower, consult your manufacturer’s recommendations or speak with a local auto parts store professional.

  1. The two types of oil have different viscosities.
  2. SAE 30 is a heavier oil, while 10W30 is a lighter oil.
  3. SAE 30 is better for high-temperature applications, while 10W30 is better for colder temperatures.
  4. 10W30 has a higher “w” rating, which flows more easily at low temperatures.
  5. SAE 30 is less likely to thin out and cause damage at high temperatures.

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