Sulfonate VS Lithium Complex Grease- Which is the Best to Use

Are you looking for a new grease to use in your machinery? You’ve come across two popular options- sulfonate and lithium complex grease. But which one is the best?

It can be tough to decide which grease is right for your needs, but we’re here to help. In this article, we’ll compare sulfonate VS lithium complex grease and help you choose the best one for your needs.

We’ll cover compatibility, oxidative resistance, shear stability, high-temperature characteristics, viscosity, and uses. In the end, we’ll recommend which grease is best for you.

Sulfonate VS Lithium Complex Grease

What Is Sulfonate Grease?

Sulfonate grease is a type of grease made from sulfonate soap. This soap is usually made from fatty acids, and it works to provide lubrication and protect metal surfaces from corrosion.

Sulfonate Grease is widely used in various industries, including automotive, marine, and manufacturing. It is also often used in heavy-duty equipment because it can withstand high temperatures and heavy loads.

One of the most notable benefits of sulfonate grease is its excellent film strength. It can form a strong barrier between metal surfaces, which helps prevent wear and tear.

Sulfonate grease is also known for its resistance to water and moisture. It is an ideal choice for use in wet or humid environments.


-Sulfonate grease has excellent shear stability and high-temperature properties. 

-It is also resistant to water washout. 

-This grease is often used in heavy duty applications such as construction equipment and off-road vehicles.


-Difficult to remove from surfaces. 

-For some metals, this grease can be corrosive. 

What Is Lithium Complex Grease?

Lithium complex grease is a type of grease that is made with a lithium soap. This soap combines with other thickening agents to create grease with a high melting point and excellent water resistance. Lithium complex grease is also very resistant to oxidation, making it a good choice for high-temperature applications.

This grease is also known for its shear stability, meaning it can maintain its lubricating properties even under high stress levels. This makes it an ideal choice for applications with high friction levels, such as bearings and gears.

Read Also: General Purpose Lithium Grease


-Lithium complex grease has a high dropping point, making it ideal for high-temperature applications. 

-This grease is also resistant to water and has good anti-wear properties. 

-Lithium complex grease can be used in various automotive, industrial, and marine applications.


-Lithium complex grease can be expensive. 

-This grease can also be difficult to find in some stores.

A Comparison between Sulfonate VS Lithium Complex Grease

There is no doubt that both calcium sulfonate and lithium complexes are excellent greases. But you need to pick only one between them. So, which is the best one between calcium sulfonate VS lithium grease? Just check this comparison and determine it.


The compatibility of greases is important in many applications. Greases are generally used in various industries, including automotive, food processing, manufacturing, and more. Incompatible greases can lead to equipment failures, downtime, and costly repairs.

Sulfonate greases are made of base oil and sulfonate soap. On the other hand, Lithium complex greases are made from a base oil and a lithium soap. Sulfonate greases are more compatible with other greases than lithium complex greases. Lithium complex greases can be incompatible with some greases, especially those made with different soaps. 

When choosing a grease, it is important to consider the compatibility of the grease with other greases that may use in the same application. Incompatible greases can cause equipment failures and downtime.

Oxidative Resistance

When it comes to oxidative resistance, both sulfonate and lithium complex greases are great. They’re both designed to resist oxidation. It means they won’t break down as quickly when exposed to oxygen.

However, sulfonate grease is typically more resistant to oxidation than lithium complex grease because sulfonate grease contains more sulfur, which gives it more antioxidant properties.

So if you’re looking for grease that will last longer and resist oxidation better, sulfonate grease is the way to go.

Shear Stability

The grease industry is constantly searching for new ways to improve the performance of lubricating greases. One area of focus is shear stability. Shear stability measures a grease’s ability to maintain its structure and properties when exposed to the shearing action of mechanical equipment.

Regarding shear stability, sulfonate and lithium complex greases hold up pretty well. They’re both designed to withstand high temperatures and heavy loads, so you can rest assured that your machinery will be well-lubricated no matter what.

However, sulfonate grease is slightly more stable than lithium complex grease thanks to its higher concentration of sulfur. It makes sulfonate grease a better choice for high-speed applications with a lot of friction.

High-Temperature Characteristics

Both sulfonate and lithium complex greases offer superior high-temperature performance compared to conventional lithium greases. However, sulfonate grease breaks down more quickly at high temperatures than lithium complex grease does. This is because sulfonate greases contain more organic ingredients than lithium complex greases. As a result, sulfonate greases are more susceptible to thermal degradation.

On the other hand, lithium complex greases can withstand higher temperatures for longer periods without breaking down. This is because the inorganic ingredients in lithium complex greases are more resistant to thermal degradation than the organic ingredients in sulfonate greases.

So lithium complex grease is the better choice if you need a grease that will perform well at high temperatures.


There are many different greases out there, each with its unique set of properties and uses. 

Lithium complex greases are some of the market’s most versatile and widely used greases. They offer a wide temperature range, good water resistance, and high load-carrying capacity. They are also used in various applications where other greases would not be suitable.

On the other side, Sulfonate greases are versatile and can be used in various applications. They offer good water resistance and high load-carrying capacity. However, they are less widely used than lithium complex greases because they have a lower temperature range.

So, which one is the best for you? It depends on your needs. Lithium grease is the way to go if you need grease that can withstand high temperatures. If you need grease for high pressures applications, then sulfonate grease will be ideal to choose from.

Sulfonate vs Lithium Complex Grease- The Winner!

So, which is the best one between Sulfonate VS lithium complex grease?

Well, it depends on what you need it for. Lithium complex is the way to go if you need grease that will hold up in high temperatures and high shear conditions. 

On the other side, if you need something more compatible with other materials and have better oxidative resistance, sulfonate is the better choice.

The main thing is that you need to know the properties of greases besides the application requirement. But usually, lithium complex grease is going to be more versatile and hold up better in tough conditions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Is lithium complex grease compatible with calcium sulfonate?

No, lithium complex grease is not compatible with calcium sulfonate. Calcium sulfonate is a type of salt that can cause corrosion in metal surfaces. When used in conjunction with lithium complex grease, it can cause the metal to deteriorate and wear down more quickly. For this reason, it is important to avoid using these two substances together.

Q. When should you not use lithium grease?

Most commonly, lithium-based lubricants are used in vehicles and machinery. This grease should use on plastic parts. Because lithium is petroleum-based, it accelerates the degradation of rubber and plastic materials.

Q. Is calcium sulfonate grease good?

There is no definitive answer to this question, as different grease formulations can be better or worse for different applications. However, calcium sulfonate grease is considered a high-quality grease that can be used in various applications.

Final Thought

Both greases have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. So, it’s important to choose the best one for your needs. In this article, we share a comparison between sulfonate VS lithium complex grease so that you can pick the right one.

Hopefully, this small effort will be very helpful for all of you. If you have any other questions regarding it, feel free to comment on us.


Rio is a car & motorcycle mechanic who is working with different kinds of problems relating to oil and grease. He is also a passionate technical writer.