Best Two-Stroke Oils: Get Your Engine Running Smoothly
Keep your bike or boat running smoothly with the best two-stroke engine oil.
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BY Noelle Talmon / LAST UPDATED ON June 15, 2021
Some motorcycles, lawnmowers, chainsaws, and other equipment have two-stroke engines that require two-stroke oil. These machines need regular maintenance in order to function properly, and manufacturers have developed motor oil that is specifically designed for their application. There are a lot of brands available online and in stores, so it can be challenging to choose the best one for your needs. We include some top options in the buying guide below.
A great all-rounder oil, this one is especially suited for oil injection systems where no fuel or oil premixing is required.
- Smokeless, clean burn, low ash production, and easy to mix
- Also boasts ISO GD and JASO FC and FD standard certifications
- Not the best option for yard tools or other similarly small motors where mixing ratios of 32:1 are required
Available in a number of different packs and sizes, this Pennzoil two-stroke oil is our best value pick.
- Easy mixing, blue dye for optimal detection, and increased detergency
- Suitable for a wide range of premix systems
- Makes for a great low-scuff oil
- Designed for boat engines, making it more suited to those kinds of applications
Great stability and awesome performance make this oil deserving of an honorable mention.
- High temp stability, clean burning, reduces scuffing and buildup
- Dyno with proven gains of up to 5 percent
- Suitable for a wide range of motors
- The price point is a little high when compared to competing brands and products
Why Trust Us
All of our reviews are based on market research, expert input, or practical experience with most products we include. This way, we offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.
Benefits of Two-Stroke Oil
- Prolong engine life. If you want to minimize wear and tear on your engine, it's a good idea to change the oil on a regular basis. It's designed to lubricate the various parts of the engine, so it's less likely to get damaged. New oil cleans and lubricates the engine so it operates more efficiently.
- Clean the engine. When oil works its way through your engine, it accumulates dirt, grime, and other contaminants which can build up over time. This can cause some serious headaches if it's not addressed in a timely manner. Changing your oil regularly is good for preventative maintenance.
- Boost gas mileage. If you ride a motorcycle, you know it's advantageous when it comes to fuel economy compared to a four-wheeled vehicle. If you want the best mileage possible, it's important to properly maintain the engine so it runs as smoothly as possible. One way to do this is by doing regular oil changes.
This Houston, Texas-based company has been around since 1913, creating innovative formulations for all your motor needs. As an international company, Pennzoil is one of the market leaders in manufacturing motor oil, gear oil, and transmission fluid. One of the most popular products is the Marine XLF Engine Oil.
A company that manufactures only synthetic motor oils, Royal Purple makes a variety of performance products to help your bike’s engine run smoothly. Based in Porter, Texas, the company’s specialty products include high-quality two-stroke oils. The best seller in the lineup is the HP 2-Cycle High Performance Oil.
Based in sunny California, Red Line makes exclusively synthetic oil products that are designed for cars and motorcycles alike. Its philosophy is to keep your engine running smoothly and performing optimally through the use of its quality products. Check out the 2-Stroke Race Oil.
Lucas Oil was founded in 1989 and is based in Corona, Calif. It produces a wide range of products, from heavy-duty oil stabilizer and upper cylinder fuel lubricant to power steering stop leak. We recommend the Lucas Oil Semi-Synthetic 2-Cycle Oil.
Valvoline has been in business for over 150 years. It’s one of the top car motor oil brands in the world, and it operates around 1,400 quick-lube locations. The company produces a number of lubricants and automotive chemicals, such as the Valvoline 2-Cycle Multi-Purpose TCW-3 Motor Oil.
Two-Stroke Oil Pricing
- Under $15: We suggest being a little wary of motor oils at this price point. Although you can find a couple of decent options, you’re running the risk of ending up with a substandard product that might do your engine more harm than good.
- $15 to $35: At this price point, you’ll find a variety of good to really good motor oils, from a variety of brands. Packaging sizes range from small quart bottles to bigger gallon jugs, so you’re getting plenty for the money.
- $35 and up: If you’re looking for the highest-quality performance oils, this is the price range you’ll be shopping in. It’s worth the investment to keep your sports bike running smoothly, as most products at this price will be extremely effective at doing their job.
Synthetic vs. Natural
Most two-stroke oils are available in synthetic and natural forms. Synthetics make up slightly more of the market, as they tend to work better, making them overall more popular. Their improved resistance to heat, cold, shear, and oxidation has led many manufacturers to discontinue organic-based compounds.
If you’re looking for high quality, you’ll want your oil to carry an ISO-I-EGD or Jaso FD certification. Cheaper oils tend to be certified to API-TC standards, but you’ll want something a little bit better than the basics. That’ll keep your engine running at peak power, protecting it from damage and keeping it clean.
- Bottle Size. Although motor oil doesn’t “go bad” in the traditional sense once the cap is cracked open, you want to avoid buying significantly more than you need. Not only is it more money, but you run the risk of accidentally getting dirt or grime mixed in with the un-used oil that’s going to be sitting on your shelf. It’s better to use a fresh bottle every oil change.
- Multi-Pack Options. Some brands of two-stroke oil are available in multi-packs of small bottles. This is a great option to save money in the long run, especially if you’re looking to do your own oil changes.
- Use Case. Whether you’re using two-stroke oil for a motorcycle engine, a boat, or a chainsaw makes a difference. Be sure to check that you’re buying the proper viscosity for your motor and that the oil is OEM approved.
- Additives. Anti-corrosion additives in your two-cycle oil work to keep the inside of your engine rust free. If you want to make use of this feature, look for engine oils that contain these additives.
- Stabilizers. A slightly different type of additive, some two-stroke oils contain fuel stabilizers. This keeps the gasoline and oil mixture stable, improving its longevity.
Best Two-Stroke Oils Reviews & Recommendations 2021
- It's vital to read the manufacturer's directions when premixing the oil into the gas in order to get the proper fuel/oil mixture ratio.
- Measure the fuel/oil mix in a bottle or other container. Shake the premix, and then add it to the gas tank.
- When choosing oil for your motorcycle, pick the highest-quality oil possible. With the proper surface tension and adhesion, it will leave a coating on the motor after you turn the bike off, which will prevent corrosion.
- If you race your motorcycle, look for oils that are specifically designed for racing. They are formulated to lubricate the motor but are also lightweight, so they don't produce too much drag, and may actually increase horsepower.
- Avoid cheap, poor-quality oil for your motorcycle. It can cause deposits to build up on the piston and spark plug, which will affect your engine's performance and power.
Q: Is two-stroke oil the same as two-cycle oil?
Yes. Two-stroke oil is also known as two-cycle oil or 2-T oil. You can use items that are labeled this way in your two-stroke engine.
Q: Can I get away without using oil in my two-stroke engine?
It can be tempting to think that the smaller size of two-stroke engines and their low oil concentration means that the engine can run without oil. That’s just not the case. As it is an engine with lots of moving parts, oil is a basic requirement for it to function properly.
Q: What is the best oil for 2 strokes?
Fortunately, there are a lot of excellent two-stroke oils available online and in stores. We include many options in this buying guide.
Q: What 2 stroke oil smokes the least?
People have different experiences when it comes to how much their two-stroke oil smokes. It’s a good idea to read reviews to see what other users say, and you may need to experiment a little bit to find the best one to suit your needs.
Q: Is all 2 stroke oil the same?
No. Make sure to choose a formula that's designed for your type of engine. Some are designed for outboard motors, while others are best for dirt bikes.
Q: What is the best oil to gas ratio for 2 stroke outboards?
Two-stroke outboards may require a 50:1, 25:1, or 40:1 premix of oil/gas. Just make sure to use a product that's designed for use with outboard motors that is certified by the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
Our top pick for the best two-stroke oil is the Lucas Oil Semi-Synthetic 2-Cycle Oil. It comes in a wide range of different sizes and works well in a number of different two-stroke engines.
If you’re looking for our best value pick, check out the Pennzoil Marine XLF 2-Cycle Oil. It features a smooth formulation that works especially well in boat engines.