Best Grease Guns: Great Solutions to Lubricated Fittings
Our top picks for properly lubricating machinery bearings and fittings
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PUBLISHED ON May 21, 2019
Vehicles and other machines require proper lubrication to run smoothly and efficiently. A grease gun is a great tool for lubricating fittings, bearings, and other components, making it easy to keep everything in perfect working order. Read on to find out everything you need to know about finding the best grease gun for your needs.
- Best OverallLincoln 1162 Air Operated Grease GunSummarySummaryBest in the mid-range, this Lincoln air-powered grease gun works like a charm and offers up excellent grease flow control.ProsProsVariable speed trigger; continuous operation; 6,000 PSI; 30-inch flexible hose; air bleeding valve; and easy operation.ConsConsNeeds to be used with an air compressor. The plunger in the main bore can seize up from time to time.
- Best ValueLumax LX-1152 Heavy Duty Pistol Grease GunSummarySummaryA heavy-duty pistol grip grease gun that’s perfect for the hobby user. It works like a charm and comes at a great value price.ProsProsHeavy-duty design with cast iron fittings; 7,000 PSI; easy to use; follower rod lock to prevent accidental discharge; and an 18-inch flexible hose.ConsConsThe overall quality is not as high as some more expensive models, which can become problematic if you plan to use the grease gun frequently.
- Honorable MentionDeWalt DCGG571B Battery Powered Grease GunSummarySummaryThe battery-powered motor delivers 10,000 PSI, making this one of the most powerful grease guns on the market.ProsProsCordless motor; high pump volume at up to 5 ounces per push; extra long 42-inch flexible hose; LED lights to work in darker spaces; and anti-mar foot to rest the tool while working.ConsConsLarger and heavier than competing models, making it a possible hassle in some applications. It also doesn’t come standard with a battery.
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Benefits of a Grease Gun
- Waste prevention. Proper lubrication is a necessity for any vehicle or machine, and a grease gun is an efficient delivery system for that grease, oil, or lube. Since you’re able to measure out exactly how much is dispensed per stroke, you’ll prevent waste from overflowing product.
- Product longevity. Not only will proper lubrication of car parts keep your vehicle running smoothly for longer, a grease gun that is properly maintained will also stand the test of time. That’s especially useful if you’re a hobby or professional mechanic who frequently uses grease.
- Better saturation. Many delivery systems spray grease into the general area of a component. A grease gun will allow you to deliver grease with a lot more precision, saturating the part properly.
- Accuracy and speed. A grease gun helps get grease where it needs to be quickly and accurately. This is especially useful if you’re a shop owner, where every minute of work time counts. A grease gun allows you to grease the entire underside of a car in about a minute, which is significantly faster than using a push can or another delivery system.
- Money Saving. Because grease guns are so accurate, they allow you to save a lot on the extra product, as well as on components. Properly-lubricated parts will last a lot longer than poorly-maintained ones, saving you money on replacement costs.
Types of Grease Guns
As the name suggests, hand lever grease guns are manually powered. They’re able to build a decent amount of pressure (up to 10,000 PSI in some cases) and are best suited for grease fittings and parts were precision is not critical.
Grease guns that use air pressure can build up to 6,000 PSI and can be calibrated for precision. You can adjust the amount of grease dispersed per stroke on some models, while others will deliver a set amount. Pneumatic grease guns are best suited for more precise tasks where a super-high PSI isn’t needed.
Cordless grease guns are battery-powered, delivering convenience and power in a lightweight package. Typically, battery-powered grease guns can deliver the highest pressure of all and have variable flow rates to easily adjust the amount of grease dispensed per stroke. For heavy machinery and precision applications, battery-powered grease guns are the way to go.
Founded 95 years ago and headquartered in Towson, Md., DeWalt is one of the biggest names in power and hand tools worldwide. Frequently among the top sellers in a number of product categories, DeWalt produces quality equipment that lasts. Among the top sellers is the 20V Cordless Grease Gun.
Headquartered in West Lebanon, N.H., LockNLube has been making a name for itself in the past decade. Specializing in grease solutions for automotive and heavy machinery, LockNLube’s product selection is unrivaled. The company’s best selling product is the Lever Grip Grease Gun.
Since 1910, Lincoln Industrial has been making quality automated lubrication systems, manual lubrication equipment, and industrial pumping systems. Given the company’s worldwide reach, you can rest assured that its products stand the test of time. Among the best sellers is the Air Operated Grease Gun.
Grease Gun Pricing
- Under $20: At this price point, you’ll have a few basic grease guns to choose from. Most of these will be lever action with either straight or flexible nozzles. The quality can vary greatly, so if you’re looking for something at a low price point, make sure the company making it is reputable.
- $20-$70: In the mid-range, you’ll find a couple of good, quality options. Many of these will also be lever action, but a small number of air operated grease guns are also available at this price.
- Over $70: The high-end includes pressure and battery-operated grease guns, many of which are best suited to industrial purposes. A couple of products are also suited to automotive applications but are still a better investment for professional mechanics than for the at-home repairman.
The type of nozzle is critical for proper grease delivery. Grease guns tend to come equipped with one of two styles: a straight, short nozzle or a flexible metal nozzle (these are available in several different lengths). For hard-to-reach places, the flexible nozzle is the way to go, as the accuracy will be greatly improved.
Depending on the main purpose of the grease gun, the barrel size will matter. If you’re looking to deposit a lot of grease in a short amount of time, you’ll want a grease gun with bigger barrel size. On the other hand, if you’re looking for small specialty applications only, a smaller barrel will do the trick.
- Ergonomics: Grease guns come in a wide variety of different shapes and sizes. You’ll want one that fits well in your hand and feels comfortable to use. For that, look for cushioned grips with divots to make holding onto the grease gun easier.
- Action Types: Try to keep in mind what purpose you’ll be using the grease gun for most commonly. Are you oiling up car undersides? Are you greasing components on a lawnmower or chainsaw? Or maybe you need something truly multi-functional. This is an important thing to keep in mind, as different types of grease guns work best for different kinds of projects.
- Tube Length: We’ve mentioned it before, but it’s worth mentioning again. The length of the nozzle tube is really important to ensure the proper delivery of the grease to the site it’s needed. Longer flexible nozzles are available in a range of lengths to suit your needs.
- Quality: The higher the quality, the smoother the operation. High-quality grease guns will feature working parts that make using the product a joy. You’ll want one that is easy to use, dispenses grease evenly and precisely, and eliminates air pockets through a bleeder valve.
- Materials: Most grease guns on the market are fashioned from metal, a durable material that will withstand the pressure built during use. Low-quality options may feature plastic components as well, which are prone to wear and breakage.
Best Grease Gun Reviews & Recommendations 2019
Best Overall: Lincoln 1162 Air Operated Grease Gun
Designed with a variable speed trigger, this Lincoln air-operated grease gun provides excellent grease flow control. The trigger is also fully automatic, making continuous operation effortless, and the advanced pump design eliminates priming issues otherwise common with pneumatic grease guns. With a max PSI of 6,000, this model is suitable for a number of different applications. The 30-inch hose is flexible enough to reach most bearings, even the ones located in the hardest-to-access spots.
Keep in mind that you’ll need an air compressor to make this grease gun work. It needs about 80 PSI of air capacity to function properly. When in use, the grease cartridges can easily be swapped, making it ideal for a variety of lubrication jobs. Air bleeding is also really easy, which keeps in tune with the overall user-friendly design. It’s also designed to prevent spills, keeping your work zone free of messy grease, and it’s among the fastest grease guns on the market, so you’ll get your work done quickly.
The only drawback we found is the plunger in the main bore. On occasion, it has the tendency to jam up, requiring a re-prime of the grease gun, which can be a hassle. Other than that, this model works like a charm. It’s also backed by a one-year warranty.
Best Value: Lumax LX-1152 Heavy Duty Pistol Grease Gun
Lumax may be a lesser-known brand, but their manual grease gun works like a charm, rivaling some of the bigger names out there. Its rugged cast head develops up to 7,000 PSI, making it an ideal tool for many of your machinery lubricating needs. You can load this model three different ways, via standard cartridge, suction, or bulk fill. It’s also equipped with an air bleeder valve to vent air pockets and to help prevent priming issues.
The heavy 18-gauge steel barrel offers durability, and a follower rod lock prevents accidental discharge, making it a great choice for seasoned professionals and newbies alike. It also features an 18-inch flexible hose and nozzle, which is a little shorter than the competition but still plenty to reach most bearings, fittings, and other components. A deluxe, oil-resistant grip is contoured for comfort, and the chrome plating finish on the handle protects the tool against corrosion. Its output is 115 grams of grease per 100 strokes, which translates to a flow rate of about 1.15 grams per push.
Keep in mind that you do get what you pay for. The overall quality of this value pick won’t match up to a grease gun in the mid-range, and there have been reports that this model can occasionally leak a bit of grease in random spots. That can make it difficult to handle as well as messier than necessary. If you’re going to be using your grease gun a lot, we suggest investing in a little more quality. Otherwise, this model will likely work well for you.
Honorable Mention: DeWalt DCGG571B Battery Powered Grease Gun
This DeWalt battery-powered grease gun features a powerful motor that delivers up to 10,000 PSI. The cordless motor is powered by a lithium-ion battery that can push 16 cartridges per single charge. Ideal for high-volume pump pushes of up to 5 ounces, this grease gun is best suited for heavy machinery and large vehicles. A 42-inch extra long, flexible hose and nozzle make reaching those hard to access bearings super easy, and a variable speed trigger allows for precision grease application.
Also among the feature set of this model are bright LED lights for working in darker spaces and an anti-debris filter that protects the pump mechanism from dirt and other contaminants. Since this grease gun is a bit on the heavy side, it also features an anti-scuff foot to let you set down and rest the tool on flat surfaces while in use. It’s also easy to load and handle. Overall, the battery-powered motor and long hose make greasing go by much quicker.
We noticed two cons with this machine. One, it’s larger and heavier than competing models, making it a bit of a hassle to work within some applications. Two, it doesn’t come standard with a battery, so it has to be purchased separately unless you already have a 20-volt battery on hand. That can add to the overall price of the machine.
- Be careful when loading grease into a grease pump. You’ll want to prevent introducing contaminants or foreign particles that might damage the machinery.
- Always check that the dispensing nozzle is clean before using it. To do this, pump a small amount of grease through the nozzle and wipe it off with a clean rag. Now, you’re good to go to lubricate any fittings or other parts without accidentally also adding dirt.
- Make sure you use the correct grease for each fitting or part. Grease comes in a variety of weights and formulations, making it important that you pick the right one for the job.
- Before introducing new grease to a fitting, make sure you clean off the fitting itself to remove some of the built-up grime. This will help the part work more smoothly.
- If your grease gun is pressurized, make sure to store it unpressurized when not in use, preferably in a horizontal position to prevent oil leaking out of the grease.
Q: Which type of grease gun is best for automotive use?
A: That depends on what type of vehicle you have, how often you want (or need) to use the grease gun, and where you want to deposit the grease to. In most cases, a pneumatic or hand lever grease gun is a good fit if you only occasionally need one. For frequent operation, we’d recommend a battery-powered one, just to make things easier on you.
Q: How much pressure do grease guns put out?
A: This varies by model. In general, they put out anywhere between 0 and 15,000 PSI. Keep in mind that most bearing seals can’t handle more than 500 PSI, so anything in excess of that is wasted power in most cases.
Q: How do you properly store a grease gun?
A: Cartridge tubes should always be stored upright to avoid bleed and separation. If you’ve already loaded a cartridge into a grease gun and want to store it as is, depressurize the gun, wipe it clean to remove contaminants and store it in a horizontal position.
Q: How much grease is dispensed with one pump?
A: The output of a grease gun varies by model, typically between 0.8 and 3 grams per stroke. Some grease guns can be calibrated to adjust the amount of grease dispensed, which is important for proper lubrication.
Our top pick is the Lincoln 1162 Air Operated Grease Gun. It’s made from high-quality materials and features an efficient grease delivery system.
If you’re looking for something a little cheaper, check out the Lumax LX-1152 Heavy Duty Pistol Grease Gun. As a hand lever grease gun, it’s easy to operate and delivers high-pressure.