SAE 30 VS 10W30

Choosing the right motor oil can be a pretty complicated decision for heavy-duty vehicles like lawnmowers. If you are looking for motor oil, SAE 30 and SAE 10w30 are the two best choices. However, some critical features like viscosity or thickness make them different from each other. 

The SAE 30 is suitable for small motor engines like lawnmowers or small generators. The reason is that they produce comparatively low temperatures. But the SAE 10w30 is relatively thicker and works excellent on high-temperature motor engines.

To learn their complete comparison, read our article about SAE 30 Vs. 10W30 thoroughly and judge yourself.

What Does It Mean by SAE 30?

Society of Automotive Engineers classifies engine oils into different grades. Therefore, SAE 30 means a type of motor oil that has a viscosity level of straight 30.

Usually, the engine oil ratings differ from 0 to 50 according to their viscosity level. So, SAE 30 has a viscosity level of 30 which means the oil thickness is pretty high compared to other oils. This oil is non-detergent and suitable for small motor block engines.

People use the oil regularly in many small block engines like mowers and small generators. It is also popular among stroke engines and commonly used in garden tools.

What Does It Mean by SAE 10W30?

This oil type signifies that it has the viscosity of SAE 10W but at a low temperature. The viscosity level is 10, and the “W” letter indicates best for the winter season. The relative viscosity of the 10w30 oil is quite interesting. That is because the oil starts to get thinner when it is heated instead of getting thicker. 

Another vital thing to notice is that the number 10 indicates viscosity level at low temperature, and the number 30 indicates viscosity in operating time.

This type of oil is commonly used for heavy-duty engines because it can last longer and outstand any calamitous condition.

Are the SAE 30 And 10W30 the Same?

They are not the same. In lower temperatures, the SAE 10W30 has the viscosity of SAE 30. But in higher temperatures, it obtains the viscosity of SAE 30.

On the other hand, the SAE 30 can give its usual performance at high temperatures. But in the winter season, it won’t give a proper performance. Or we can say the viscosity of the oil is not enough to perform in lower temperatures.

Where Are the Differences?

The difference between SAE 30 and 10w30 can be classified into different sections. 

Viscosity Differences

The viscosity is also known as the weight or the thickness of the oil. If the viscosity is the same for every type of oil, it can’t reach specific engine parts. That’s why there are always differences in viscosity.

The SAE 30 has a higher viscosity, but it can change in higher temperatures. On the contrary, the SAE 10W30 has low viscous properties in excellent conditions but higher viscous properties like SAE 30 in warm conditions.


The SAE 30 is famous for being used in smaller block engines, lawnmowers, air cool engines (2-cycle), tractors, push mowers, etcetera. But in 4 stroke engines, the SAE 30 can’t give the desired performance. Therefore, the SAE 10W30 is your ideal choice.

Performance Differences

It is the most critical factor to be concerned about. Therefore, you will choose the oil that performs well in operating conditions. For example, the SAE 30 can maintain its performance at high temperatures like 150-degree Celsius.

But what about winter? The oil of SAE 10W30 is perfect for winter setup because it can withstand up to 10 or 20 degrees.

Oil Economy

When you look at the oil economy, you must choose the oil that is economical for you. The SAE 10W30 should be your pick in this category because the SAE 30 is consumed more.

Can You Use 10W30 Instead of SAE 30?

Yes, you can use the 10W30 instead of SAE 30 if you keep in mind the facts of the engine and temperature. Also, you can mix the same graded oils at a time. For example, you can mix 10W30 with 10W40 or SAE 10 with SAE 30. But it is not applicable for different grade oils.

SAE 30 Vs. 10W30: Which One Is A Better Choice?

Both are very popular as engine oils, but it’s not a task to decide when you have to choose between them. 

From the discussion, you must have acknowledged that the 10W30 is perfect for winter or cold conditions, but it can’t handle such high temperatures as the SAE 30.

With a higher viscosity level, the SAE 30 can operate in warmer conditions like 150-degrees. It is also usable for tiny block engines where the 10W30 is not appropriate to use. 

Therefore, the choice depends on your engine type and your vehicle’s operating temperature.

Comparison Table

Here is a short table to take a glimpse of the differences between SAE 30 and 10W30.

Topic SAE 30 SAE 10w30
Grade Monograde Multigrade
Viscosity Dynamic viscosity Kinematic viscosity at lower operating temperature
Sustainability at different temperatures Performs better in warm weather Performs better in winter and cold regions
Thickness Thickness is average Gets thicker with the temperature rise
Applications Small block engines, lawnmowers, generators, table saws Heavy-duty engines like 4 cycle engines.
Oil Economy Very economical Comparatively, oil consumption is higher
Oil density 869 kg/m3 871 kg/m3


After the discussion, it should be cleared by now which one is suitable for your vehicle. Hopefully, the article on SAE 30 Vs. 10W30 has been proven helpful to you.

There won’t be any confusion if you read this article thoroughly. We hope you can now take care of your vehicle and use the best motor oil for optimum performance and longevity.

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