Grease guns are used in a variety of applications—from automotive garages to household tool maintenance—to quickly and accurately distribute grease. The grease is applied to the moving parts of a system to provide a layer of lubrication that reduces friction between parts to prevent machinery from wearing out.
The best grease gun for your workshop or garage depends on several factors, including the type of gun and its grease-loading options, durability, and ability to prevent leaks while under pressure. Look at this list of top grease guns to learn about the variety of grease guns available and their abilities.
- BEST OVERALL: Lincoln 20V Li-Ion PowerLuber Dual Battery Unit
- RUNNER UP: DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Grease Gun
- BEST MINI: Astro Pneumatic Tool 101 Mini Grease Gun
- MOST VERSATILE: Lumax Heavy Duty Deluxe Pistol Grease Gun
- BEST HAND LEVER: Carbyne Grease Gun
- BEST PNEUMATIC: Lincoln Fully Automatic Pneumatic Grease Gun
- ALSO CONSIDER: GreaseTek Premium Pistol Grip Grease Gun
Before You Buy a Grease Gun
Grease guns are used to help lubricate tools, vehicles, and heavy machinery. Before buying one, learn how and when to use a grease gun. For instance, many parts of a car engine are lubricated with oil, which is much thinner than grease; attempting to apply grease to these parts can damage the vehicle. Use the correct amount of grease to avoid causing a range of problems, including friction wear and damage to the motor or complete failure of the parts.
Also consider how to use the grease gun. If used infrequently for small maintenance work, a battery-powered or pneumatic grease gun is probably too much of an investment. To maintain a boat, the grease gun should be water-resistant. For more frequent use in a professional garage or even a busy home workshop, stick to a powered grease gun: A hand lever grease gun will quickly tire out its user.
Types of Grease Guns
Depending on their power source, grease guns are separated into three types: hand lever, pneumatic, and battery-powered.
The traditional grease gun design uses a hand lever to pump out the grease through a narrow nozzle that increases the pressure and the accuracy of the grease application. Today’s hand lever grease guns include a mechanism that prevents the grease from coming out until the pressure has increased to the correct level. At this point, use the trigger to release the grease through the aperture. The least expensive, this type of gun doesn’t require a power source or an air hose.
A pneumatic grease gun uses an air compressor to send pressurized air through an air hose to push the grease through the nozzle. On smaller equipment, the pressure produced by the air compressor may be difficult to control.
Using a rechargeable battery-powered grease gun allows the user to walk freely to perform the maintenance on a vehicle, boat, or lawnmower. However, of course, the batteries must be recharged. Moreover, these grease guns typically are the most expensive option.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Grease Gun
When searching for a grease gun, first learn about some of their most important features, including their power source, ease of use, ergonomics, propensity to leaking, loading options, and durability.
A grease gun’s pressure output is measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI. Pressure output can range from as low as 3,000 PSI to more than 10,000 PSI; make sure to use the correct pressure for each application. If the PSI is too low, the gun won’t apply enough grease to maintain large equipment, while a very high PSI could damage smaller mechanisms, such as air tools.
Ease of Use
When looking for a new grease gun, find a product with an efficient, easy-to-learn, and easy-to-use design.
- Hand-lever grease guns are simple to use and control, making them a good option for those who have never used a grease gun. Reducing or increasing the grip on the lever adjusts the pressure and flow of the grease through the nozzle.
- Pneumatic grease guns must be attached to an air compressor. This tether can make it harder to move around a crowded workshop or garage, but you can control the flow of grease with the finger trigger, not your hand.
- Battery-powered grease guns aren’t tethered, and they operate with the same easy trigger control. However, these grease guns are usually heavier, and gauging the amount of grease may be more difficult. These devices may be best for individuals with significant experience.
The user’s hands hold, direct, lift, and control the area of application and flow of grease, so many users look for a product with an ergonomic design to make the gun comfortable to hold and operate. The design also can improve a user’s efficiency, allowing faster and more accurate control. Look for products manufactured with cushioned grips, lightweight materials, and multiple nozzle options to reduce hand fatigue.
Grease guns use pressure to push grease through a narrow nozzle. However, a grease gun with a low-quality or poorly designed plunger, head, or seal may leak. This not only creates a big mess, but it also reduces the pressure in the grease gun. To help prevent leaks, look for grease guns with durable metal barrels, hardened plungers, high-quality seals, and barrel heads with clean, tight-fitting threads.
Grease guns can have one of three different loading options: ibulking, suction, or cartridge.
- Bulking is a simple, but messy and time-consuming method of filling a grease gun. Using a scoop, putty knife, or even their gloved hands, users manually pack grease into the gun barrel. This method is best for small, hand-lever grease guns with small barrels.
- Suction uses the mechanics of the grease gun in reverse to fill the barrel. Remove the head of the barrel, place the open end of the barrel into a bucket of grease, and pull the grease up into the barrel by pulling back on the plunger rod to generate suction within the barrel.
- Cartridges are the cleanest, easiest way to load a grease gun, though they are also the most expensive. Just remove the old cartridge from the barrel, put in a new one, and get to work.
Look for a product that incorporates a high degree of durability into an ergonomic, easy-to-use design. Manufacturers also try to guard against leaks with hardened plungers that resist warping and air bleeder valves to release built-up pressure safely.
Our Top Picks
These grease guns were selected for quality and price with an emphasis on the important considerations outlined above.
While a hand lever may be easier for beginners, experienced DIYers and industry professionals appreciate the impressive information provided by this battery-powered Lincoln. The tool also provides an LED light to illuminate the work area.
The grease gun comes with a flexible 30-inch hose, two lithium-ion batteries, charger, and protective carrying case. It has a maximum pressure output of 10,000 PSI, but the speed adjusts from a high-volume output to a low-volume output.
This DEWALT 20V MAX Cordless Grease Gun includes 10 tubes with 14 ounces of grease per tube. The grease is water-resistant, and it contains rust and oxidation inhibitors to help increase the longevity and improve the function of the machinery. This 20V-grease gun is powered by a lithium-ion battery, and includes a battery charger and a shoulder strap for convenient carrying.
The grease gun has a maximum pressure output of 10,000 PSI, and the flow of grease is adjusted through the variable speed trigger. The gun comes with an extra-long 42-inch hose, and it has an LED light that illuminates dark spaces, improving accuracy and efficiency.
The Astro Pneumatic Tool 101 Mini Grease Gun has a classic, heavy-duty design. It must be bulk loaded manually, but after it’s loaded, the device can apply up to 3 ounces of lubricant from a single barrel to compatible small power tools.
It comes with a needle nozzle that helps control the flow of the grease, with a maximum pressure output of 2,900 PSI. The grease gun is compact, lightweight, and easy to operate with one hand.
Versatility is an important feature in any tool. This hand-lever grease gun from Lumax can be loaded directly with the bulking method, from a bucket of grease with the suction method, or with a 14-ounce cartridge.
The grease gun has a maximum pressure output of 7,000 PSI and a heavy-duty 18-gauge steel barrel and cap to help prevent leaks. Depending on how the grease is loaded, there may be pockets of air in the barrel. Vent these air pockets using the air bleeder valve and apply the grease through the included 18-inch flexible hose and attached coupler.
A hand-lever grease gun like this Carbyne grease gun has several benefits over a pneumatic or battery-powered grease gun, including its ability to be used with little preparation. Fill the grease gun using the bulk-loading, suction-loading, or cartridge-loading method, and take advantage of the secure grip provided by the innovative T-grip plunger and anti-slip rubber coating on the gun barrel.
The grease gun can accept 14-ounce cartridges, and it has a maximum output pressure of 4,500 PSI. The anodized aluminum barrel is capped with a die-cast head and air bleeder valve to aid in priming and eliminating air pockets.
This pneumatic grease gun connects to the air hose at the base of its ergonomic handle, which helps keep the hose out of your way. The pressurized air flows up through the air hose into the gun where it drives an air piston, which in turn pushes a grease piston, pressurizing the barrel and forcing grease through the nozzle.
Control the flow of grease with the variable-speed trigger. The Lincoln has a maximum pressure output of 6,000 PSI, and it boasts a check valve and air bleeder for easy cleaning and priming.
To regularly maintain pneumatic tools, small boat motors, and lawnmowers, most users need only a low-power grease gun, like the GreaseTek Premium Pistol Grip Grease Gun, which distributes grease at a maximum pressure output of 4,000 PSI. This grease gun is an affordable addition that also comes with an 18-inch hose and extension pipe.
The hose provides the ability to work in tight places, while the extension pipe reaches easy-to-access valves. Its hardened plunger helps resist leaks and improve priming. The top of the grease gun has a bleeder valve that can be used to alleviate pressure and facilitate priming by releasing air bubbles in the system.
FAQs About Grease Guns
If you still have questions, read on to find the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about grease guns.
Q. How do you load a grease gun?
Load a grease gun in one of three ways: bulk, suction, or cartridge.
- Bulking refers to using a small scoop or putty knife to pack new grease into the barrel.
- With suction, remove the head from the barrel of the grease gun, put the open end of the barrel into a bucket of grease, and pull back on the plunger rod while pushing the barrel down into the grease.
- Replace the old grease cartridge with a new one.
Q. What’s the best lubricant to use with grease guns?
Generally speaking, any good-quality lubricant that flows freely can be used with a grease gun, but don’t mix different types of grease to avoid damaging equipment.
Q. What can happen after under- and over-greasing?
If you apply too much or too little grease, you can cause significant problems with your machinery—and potentially cause complete failure.
Q. What is a grease gun coupler?
A grease gun coupler is an attachment that allows the grease gun to connect to the nipple of the machinery so the grease can be injected into the lubrication system.