Best Oil To Use on a Hedge Trimmer: An In-Depth Guide

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A hedge trimmer is a handy tool to trim your hedges and shrubs while making beautiful shapes. Like any gardening tool that makes cutting more straightforward, the metal blades of your hedge trimmer need constant lubrication with oils, or else they start to rust and underperform. With many options, picking the best oil for your hedge trimmer can be tricky. 

The best oil for your hedge trimmer is SAE20 or 3-in-1 multipurpose engine oil. You can equally use any quality grade oil provided it can protect your tool from wear, tear, and corrosion. It’s best to avoid WD-40 or solvent oils because they are poor lubricants and can affect plant health. 

This post contains everything you need to know about lubricating oils for your hedge trimmer and other relevant information. 

Best Oils for Hedge Trimmer

Lubricating oils for hedge trimmers are surplus in the market, making it hard to find the best.

For starters, avoid WD-40 oils as they are not the best options due to their inability to sustain themselves on the blades. 

Secondly, look for oils that can adequately lubricate your trimmer blades against friction and protect them from rust. 

The following oils are best for lubricating your hedge trimmer (all are available on 

  • 3-IN-ONE Multi-Purpose OilThe 3-IN-ONE multipurpose oil protects your implements from rust and offers a handy spout for easy application. It’s been around for over a century and is a globally acclaimed lubricant for various tools. 
  • Pompeian Extra Virgin OilVegetable oil is one of the cheapest options to lubricate your hedge trimmer. The Pompeian oil offers lasting lubrication to your trimmers, protects them from rust, and is friendly to plants. 
  • Ingersoll Premium Grade Air Tool OilIngersoll oil protects all air tools and metals against corrosion. It’s a premium-grade oil that sustains lubricity, prevents friction, and will keep your blade working round-the-clock if you want. 
  • Quicksilver 2-Stroke OilWith a unique formulation for 2-stroke engines, this oil will keep your small engine hedge trimmer in good shape and active all day. It will also prevent friction, carbon deposits on the exhaust, and rust within your engine’s combustion chambers. 

Other effective lubricants you can use include; SAE20, silicone spray (not plant-friendly, though, so apply a little), and other quality grade oils. 

Infographic about the numbers on oils
Here are what the numbers on commonly available oils mean.

Why Lubricate Your Hedge Trimmer With the Best Oils? 

Using suitable oils to lubricate the blades of your hedge trimmer keeps it sharp and in good working condition. Ideally, you lubricate the trimmer before using it for optimal performance and after use to protect it from rust and other damaging elements.

Here are more reasons to lubricate your hedge trimmer. 

Oil Prevents Corrosion and Stiffening 

Since you use your hedge trimmer outdoors, you expose it to constant moisture. If you don’t oil it frequently, the excess humidity can react with the metal and lead to corrosion over time. Consequently, the blades will begin to rust, stiffen and become ineffective in trimming. 

Oil Improves Durability 

Using a suitable oil to lubricate your hedge trimmer is an essential maintenance process that extends the tool’s lifespan. While the process keeps the blade sharp and active, it prevents metal deterioration which can cause the hedge trimmer to become useless in a short while. If your hedge trimmer ever gets jammed, check out my article about how to fix it.

Oil Improves Performance 

The blade of a hedge trimmer is the most critical part of the equipment since it does the trimming. Hence, frequent oiling will prevent it from becoming dull—and keeps it sharp at all times to trim your lawns effortlessly. Since oiling also demands cleaning the blades first, you will remove saps, debris, dirt, and other elements lodging in them that can limit their performance over time. 

Lubrication Prevents Friction

Lubricating oils create a thin oil film layer on the blades that prevents them from rubbing against each other. Without the lubricating oils, friction will increase heat among the blades and cause them to bend. Friction between the blades can also lead to wear and tear, which makes them largely inefficient. 

Oil Saves Cost on Repair and Replacements

You cut down your repair and replacement costs when you use the best oils to lubricate your hedge trimmer. Lubrication will keep your equipment functional, in good shape, and durable. Consequently, you won’t have to worry about replacements or making repairs. 

Suitable Oils Preserve Your Shrubs 

One advantage of using the most suitable oils to lubricate a trimmer is that they are kind to plants and won’t endanger their growth. As you oil your tool, some of the chemicals in the oil will rub off on the plants as you trim your hedges. Some of them will inhibit the growth of plants. 

Info: If you’re ever in a situation where your electric hedge trimmer won’t start, check out my 7 possible causes and fixes.

How Do You Clean and Lubricate a Hedge Trimmer? 

You clean your hedge trimmer using soapy water and a dry cloth to wash off the dirt, sap, and debris clinging to the blades. You then lubricate the blades by applying oil to the edges of the blades—or soak the blades of manual trimmers in oil. 

For more thorough cleaning, soak the blades in warm water with detergent to kill germs and bacteria. After this, clean with another rag and allow it to dry before lubricating. 

It’s one thing to lubricate and another to lubricate the right way. 

Here’s how to properly oil your hedge trimmer:

  1. Clean the Blades: Ensure you clean the blades of your hedge trimmer with a dry rag to remove debris, specks of dust, organic residues, and other particles stuck in them. For the best results in cleaning, use a wire brush to clean the blades one after the other. 
  2. Apply the Oil: Use a rag to apply the oil to the edges of the blade. Most oils make the application process easy with an easy-to-use spout that allows you to apply oil droplets to the blades. Some also come in sprayers, so you spray the oil on the edges of the blades. You can also get a spray bottle and transfer the lubricating oil for easy application.  
  3. Soak the Blades in Oil: An alternative method to lubricate a hedge trimmer is to dip the blades in the oil. However, you can only do this for manual trimmers, not electric trimmers. While it provides a fast and easy way to lubricate, it can be messy.  

How Do You Grease a Hedge Trimmer Blade? 

You grease a hedge trimmer by switching off the power and using a dry rag to remove any dirt and debris. You then apply the greases to the blade edges with a rag or brush and wait a few minutes for the grease to work. 

Greasing your hedge trimmer’s blades will improve their performance and protect them from corrosion and other unhealthy outdoor elements. 

How Often Should You Lubricate? 

Hedge trimmers do not have an oil tank to store oil. Hence, lubricate as often as you use your equipment and lubricate even when not in use to protect it from rust. 

Ideally, lubricate 30 minutes before using it and after you’re finished using the trimmer. 

How To Grease the Gearbox of Your Hedge Trimmer 

A few moving parts of the gearbox are responsible for the effective functioning of the blades. So, they’ll require greasing to be in good working condition. 

Electric, battery, and gas-powered hedge trimmers all have gearboxes. It’s a compartment where the blade meets the body of the hedge trimmer. This gearbox needs periodic lubrication as well but with grease and not oils. 

Thankfully, greasing the gearbox is a relatively seamless process as you don’t have to remove the blade unless you want to sharpen it.  

All you need to do is take out the gearbox cover plate and apply the grease around the gear. The application should be minimal to give the lubricant more space for movement. 

In some models, you don’t have to remove the cover plate. Instead, you use a grease gun to inject the fluid into the gearbox. 

Sometimes, you may be lucky to find a model that’s self-oiled—you don’t have to grease the gear all through its lifespan. You’ll find this feature in most battery and electric trimmers. 

However, gas-powered hedge trimmers often require greasing, which won’t be as frequent as oiling the blades. Ideally, you will reapply the grease after 25 hours of usage for efficient performance. 

There are several grease types in the market, but the best option is a manufacturer’s recommendation. Yet, you can use the popular white lithium grease, which is effective for lubricating most gardening tools. 

Can I Use WD-40 To Lubricate a Hedge Trimmer? 

You can use WD-40 to lubricate your hedge trimmer—but it won’t be effective. This oil is more suited for indoor use—as the oil is not robust enough to endure outside conditions. They also contain chemicals that are not environmentally friendly and may harm your hedges and garden. 

Let’s explore why using WD-40 oils to lubricate a hedge trimmer is not ideal.

They Are Household Lubricants 

The WD-40 isn’t suited to protecting outdoor gardening implements as they are better suited for indoor use. They are thinner than most outdoor oils and won’t hold their viscous properties on the blades for long. So, they’ll evaporate soon after you apply them and won’t be able to prevent friction between the blades long enough. 

They Are Weak Lubricants 

These oils also lack the relevant chemical properties that make them excellent lubricants for lawn equipment. They are unstable in extreme heat and won’t sustain lubricity as the temperature in the hedge trimmer rises. 

They Can Harm Your Shrubs 

While they are excellent solvents and lubricants for other household tools, WD-40 oils contain chemicals that can harm the shrubs you’re pruning. When you use them to lubricate your hedge trimmer, these chemicals will negatively affect the growth of plants on your hedges. 

Scarce Information on Their Lubricity 

Information about their chemical formula, additives for rust inhibition, and safety on the Material Safety Data Sheet (MSDS) are rare. It’s best to know what you’re dealing with before purchasing. 

However, it’s better to use WD-40 oil than not oiling at all. It can serve as a lubricant in the meantime if you can’t find a suitable 3-IN-ONE or SAE20 oil. 

Using 2-Cycle Hedge Trimmer Oils

A gas-powered hedge trimmer will not use oil like a manual trimmer. It has a 2-Cycle Engine and a reservoir for oil in the engine like that of a chainsaw. However, the oil reservoir is the same as the gas, so you’ll have to mix the oil with gas before adding the mixture to the fill port. 

While you should source for oils according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, most single-grade oils like SAE30 will work well on a 2-Cycle Engine with the proper oil-to-gas mix ratio. 

Typically, 2-Cycle engines will use 40:1 or 50:1 ratios. To be sure you’re getting the accurate ratio:

  • Mix one gallon at a time.
  • If you use the 40: Add  25 ml or 3.2 oz of oil to 1 gallon (3.78L) of gas.
  • For the 50:1 ratio:  add 20 ml or 2.6 oz of oil to 1 gallon (3.78L) of gas.

Give the mix a hearty shake before you apply it to your hedge trimmer. 

Precautions To Take When Lubricating and Storing a Hedge Trimmer 

  • Ensure you switch off the trimmer and plug it out from the electrical source (for electric trimmers) to avoid injuries.
  • Clean or lubricate gently if you are applying the oil with a rag.
  • Cleaning your trimmer without lubricating it will make it prone to rust.
  • If you don’t use your trimmer for a long time, ensure you store it properly and away from moisture. 
  • Store your equipment on a cool and dry shelf or hang it on a wall.
  • If you’re using a 2-cycle engine, clean the oil fill port after a while.
  • Lubricating your blade with oils doesn’t mean you won’t sharpen your blades, as both processes have different effects on the trimmer. 


Using the best oils to lubricate your hedge trimmer makes trimming your hedges easier, faster, and your equipment; more durable. Some of the best oils for your equipment are the SAE 20, 3-IN-ONE Oils, and other quality grade oils. 

However, you will have to pay attention to the following to get the best results from your hedge trimmer:

  • Avoid WD-40 oils unless there are no options.
  • Always clean and dry your equipment before lubricating. 
  • Lubricate your hedge trimmer before and after use.
  • Store away from moisture when not in use.
  • Ensure the oil you are using is rust-proof.
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