Best Bike Chain Lubes: Help Your Bike Run Smooth

You need the right lubricant to keep your bicycle chain moving smoothly

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PUBLISHED ON October 23, 2019

If you ride your bicycle consistently, then you need to care for your bike’s chain. If you don’t, you face your chain wearing away faster and reducing the performance quality of your bicycle. You should find a bike chain lube that can protect against water and dirt. Here are some options to consider for your bike.

  • Best Overall
    Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube
    This lubricant will be a liquid when you apply it to your chain and then sets up to a thin wax-like film. This makes it a dry lube, which is perfect for riding through dusty or dirty environments.
    This lubricant comes in several different sized bottles to make it easy to buy the right amount for your needs. It also excels at not attracting dirt and preventing buildup.
    The aerosol version tends to have more issues with reliability, as the spray nozzle can get clogged. You may also find that the cap tends to get stuck on the bottle after a few uses.
  • Best Value
    White Lightning Epic Ride
    This lube is perfect for riding in variable conditions because it is a semi-dry silicone formulation. Features a non-petroleum based synthetic oil.
    This lube is easier to apply than other wet lubes and more durable than waxes. It’s also perfect for riding in all different types of weather conditions.
    This lube tends to be very thin, so you’ll need to be careful when applying it. The bottle tends to get damaged easily, which can cause leaks.
  • Honorable Mention
    Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant Drip Bottle
    This lubricant will protect your chain from rust and corrosion by displacing moisture. A formulation of high-grade petroleum oils will work under high heat and humidity.
    The lighter viscosity of this lubricant allows it to penetrate deeper. It also comes with a hose for precise application. It has a very low gunking rate.
    This lube tends to pick up dirt. It also doesn’t last as long as some other lubricants on the market. It’s easy to apply too much of this lube, which will require you to clean your chain and start over.

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  • Think about the environment that you plan to ride in. You need to choose between “wet” and “dry” lubricants. Dry lubricants have a thinner consistency to make them perform better in dry climates. Wet lubricants are thicker to protect against the increased moisture. A third option is to buy an all-purpose lubricant that will give you protection in both types of climates. 
  • Lubricants come in both a spray and solid form. The spray versions are easier to work with, as you point and spray to apply them. The solid form will have a harder time getting into the hard-to-reach places. 
  • You will see some products called lubricant and others called wax. While the formulations are different, they both protect your chain. The one you choose is purely based on your preferences. One isn’t inherently better than the other.


Q: Why do I need to lubricate my chain? 

A: Your bicycle chain is made up of several metal pieces linked together. The lubricant helps the links move against each other without creating friction or wear. Without the lubricant, you’ll notice that the links in your chain start to wear down and rust. 

Q: How do I lubricate my chain?

A:  To care for your chain, brush the links with a firm brush to remove the loose dirt. Apply the lubricant along the entire length of the chain. Allow it to soak into the links. Then use a cloth to wipe off any excess lubricant. Leaving too much lubricant on the links can cause more dirt buildup. 

Q: How do I know I need to lubricate my chain?

A: You should inspect your chain on a regular basis. Look at each link in the chain for dirt buildup, rust, or tight links. Another sign to look for is squeaking coming from your chain while riding the bike. If any of these conditions happen, then it’s time to care for your bike chain. 

Final Thoughts

The Finish Line Dry Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube is one of the best chain lubricants for preventing buildup and dirt from gathering on the chain. 

For a more budget-friendly option, the White Lightning Epic Ride is an excellent option.