SAE 30 VS 5W30- Which is Better Oil

When it comes to oil for your car or truck, you want to make sure you’re picking the right one.

But with all the different types out there, it can be hard to know which one is best for your ride. Today, we’re looking at two of the most common oils: SAE 30 and 5W30.

Both oil grades are popular with different vehicles. but you might be wondering which is better SAE 30 VS 5W30 oil?

Well, there are some similarities between these two oils. But some key differences make one slightly ahead of the other. And in this case, 5W30 will be the better choice.

But why? In this article, we will try to know what are the key differences between these two oils and why we pick 5W30 instead of SAE 30. So, let’s get started with it.

Overview of SAE 30

SAE 30 is a single-grade or mono-grade low-performance oil that has a viscosity rating of 30. But what does 30 mean here?

To be clear, this oil has a viscosity rating of 30 at 100 degrees Celsius. That means it works well at high temperatures.

It is also known as single-grade oil which is very effective in increasing engine performance.

This oil is suitable for everything from small lawnmowers to tractors and some vehicles.

Overview of 5W30

5W30 is a multi-grade high-performance oil with two viscosity ratings. One is 5 which is the viscosity rating in low temperature conditions and the other is 30 which is the viscosity rating in high temperature conditions.

It lubricates better than any other single-grade engine oil. The W in 5W30 stands for winter meaning it works best at lower temperatures.

It contains detergents, corrosion inhibitors, and other chemicals that help prevent corrosion as well as ensure engine longevity. This 5W30 engine oil can be used in everything from regular vehicles to lawnmowers.

Check: 5W30 Semi Synthetic Oil Vs 5W30 Synthetic

SAE 30 VS 5W30

Is SAE 30 the same as 5w30?

Simply put, these two oils are not the same. Yes, there are some similarities but that does not mean that these two are exactly equal to each other.

Although their viscosity rating is the same at normal temperature, but it can change due to weather conditions. Also, 5W30 is multi-grade oil whereas SAE 30 is single-grade oil.

Not only that, there are some other differences between SAE 30 and 5W30 which we will try to discuss in detail right now.

Key Differences between SAE 30 VS 5W30

There are several differences between SAE 30 and 5W30 that we have already mentioned. But what are they? Let’s find out.

Oil Grade

The first thing that you’ll surely notice when exploring the differences between these two oils is their grades.

Whereas SAE 30 is a single-grade oil, 5W30 is a multi-grade oil. It means that SAE 30 does not change its viscosity with temperature changes.

Having a viscosity of 30, it remains the same at any temperature. Being of high viscosity, it works well in hot weather.

But the 5W30 is completely different. Its most notable feature is that it can change viscosity with temperature changes. While it has a viscosity rating of 30 in summer, it has a viscosity rating of 5 in winter.

It means 5W30 is suitable for use in any weather conditions and can provide you with the best performance.


Additives are one thing you never want to avoid when it comes to oil selection. The equation is the same for SAE 30 VS 5W30.

SAE 30 uses fewer detergent additives and more anti-wear additives. This is mainly because SAE 30 is used in static engines such as mowers, tractors, and other similar machines that do not heat up as intensely as cars.

On the other hand, 5W30 has more detergent than SAE 30 because it can keep the engine clean of sludge and deposits for a longer period. It also contains anti-wear additives but in much lower amounts than SAE 30.

All of this means that 5W30 helps prolong the life of your engine. On the other hand, SAE 30 can operate static engines at peak performance and protect them from wear with high amounts of anti-wear additives.

Check: Importance Of Additives In Lubricant

Oil Changing Interval

You should use the oil for your vehicle that can serve you for a long time. And in this respect, 5W30 is far ahead of SAE 30. But why?

If SAE 30 is observed, it collects sludges much faster. There are no ingredients in this oil that are capable of breaking down these sludges. And because of this it gets dirty quickly and needs to be changed frequently.

On the other hand, 5W30 has many additives that break down sludges very quickly. This is why your engine is protected as well and the oil is useful to use for a long time.

Applications to Use

It is important to know which engine SAE 30 and 5W30 are suitable for. Because you can never use an oil in your engine that doesn’t support it.

SAE 30 is a single-grade oil suitable for small engines such as lawnmowers, tractors, chainsaws, and various garden tools. You can also use it on older car engines if the engine supports this grade.

Compared to SAE 30, 5W30 is completely different. This oil is best suited for larger engines. Also, newer engines that are available today usually support 5W30 oil. However, it is important to be sure before using.

Check: 0w30 VS 5w30 VS 10w30


Now, the final consideration is price. It’s something that you must check again and again.

SAE 30 is more affordable, as it’s a basic motor oil without any additives that can drive up the cost. It also has a much shorter lifespan than 5W30 and needs to be changed more frequently.

So, you may find yourself replenishing your oil sooner rather than later, which could mean incurring more costs in the long run.

On the other hand, 5W30 can be initially pricier due to the high-quality additives added to it. Thanks to its long lifespan, you’ll end up spending less on frequent oil changes in comparison to SAE 30.

If you’re looking for an option that’s cost-effective in the long run, 5W30 is certainly worth considering.

SAE 30 vs 5W30 Generator

A lot of people have this question which is better to pick for generator oil between SAE 30 VS 5W30? Basically running your generator in extremely cold temperatures will require a low-viscosity oil like 5W-30 so that it can start quickly. If your oil is too viscous in the winter, the cold will thicken it and it won’t circulate well around the engine. But if you don’t need to run your generator engine in the cold, then you can easily choose SAE 30 oil. But you should check the manual about the recommended viscosity rating.

Check: Can I use Diesel Oil In Gas Engine?

sae 30 vs 5w30

SAE 30 VS 5W30- Which is Better to Pick

By now you have got an idea about the differences between SAE 30 Vs 5W30 oil. Now it’s time to decide which one is the best of the two.

There is no denying that both these types of oils come with several features and benefits. But some differences between them put one slightly ahead of the other.

Although SAE 30 and 5W30 are both types of motor oil, their viscosity or thickness is different. Where 5W-30 is a thinner oil, SAE 30 oil is thicker.

SAE 30 oil provides excellent protection against tear and wear, but the protection level of 5W30 oil exceeds SAE 30.

In severe weather, SAE 30 oil may not provide a strong performance. Multi-grade 5W30 oils are perfect for automobiles that have to travel long distances because they can help your vehicle run smoothly no matter the conditions.

If you have a modern and heavy-duty vehicle and live in an area where temperatures are extremely low, then the SAE 5w30 is the best option for you.

On the other hand, if you have an older model or light-duty vehicle and live in an average temperature region, SAE 30 oil may be the best option for you.

But if you want our advice, we suggest you choose 5W30 oil. Because all things considered it is ahead of SAE 30 and it is suitable for long-term use which will also help you save cost.

Can I Use SAE 30 Instead of 5W30?

This is a very common question and it’s very important to have a clear idea of it.

Simply put, yes it can be used. But it is not recommended.

Since both oils appear to have similar viscosity for warm temperatures, you can use SAE 30 instead of 5W30 in your engine during warm weather.

However, if the weather turns cold, you may need to change the oil. Also, SAE 30 doesn’t come with multiple additives like 5W30 so you can never expect the same performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is equivalent to SAE 30 oil?

SAE 30 is a single-grade oil and is primarily suited for use in light engines. The equivalent to SAE 30 oil is ISO VG 100.

Q. What is SAE 30 oil used for?

SAE 30 oil is mainly used for light or air-cooled engines. They are used in small tractors, lawnmowers, and chainsaws.

Q. Can I use SAE 30 in my car?

Usually, SAE 30 is suitable for old engines but not for newer vehicles. Also, most new car engines do not support SAE 30. So it will not be an EDL decision to use for your car.

Q. What is 5W30 oil used for?

Due to its high adaptability to a wide range of weather conditions, 5W-30 oils are highly used in engines that require light-duty gasoline and diesel. They are suitable for different types of vehicles.

Final Thought

You already have an idea about the differences between SAE 30 and 5W30 oil and understand which one is better to use.

Ultimately, both these oils are great to use. But you must know which one your engine supports when using them. Thank you all.

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Emon is Lubricants specialist who studied on Petroleum Engineering in UAE. He have more than 10 years experience on different kinds of lubrication including automobile troubleshooting.