The Best Fuel to Use for Small Engines

Pouring gas for small engines

Whether you have a lawnmower, leaf blower, chainsaw, snow blower, or generator, these products all have one thing in common—their small engines. There are many things to take into account when it comes to maintaining your machines, but the number-one thing you should prioritize with your machines is what type of gasoline you should use.

Before we get into which fuel to choose, you will need to know that gasoline must stay clean and fresh. Gasoline can deteriorate within 30 days. Make sure to add fuel stabilizer if you aren’t using your engine daily. Without it, the gasoline may cause fuel degradation, and the damage from that isn’t covered by a warranty.

What is Octane?

When picking the right type of gasoline for your machine the most important characteristic is the octane rating. According to the US Energy Information Administration, “Octane ratings are measures of fuel stability. These ratings are based on the pressure at which a fuel will spontaneously combust (auto-ignite) in a testing engine.” The three main grades of gasoline in the United States based on octane rating include regular with an 87-octane rating, mid-grade with an 89-90 octane rating, and premium with a 91-94 octane rating.

When to Choose an 87 Octane Rating

For most engines like lawnmowers, leaf blowers, snow blowers, and generators, experts recommend that you use unleaded gas with an 87-octane rating and a max of 10% ethanol.  This is typically the regular gas you find at the pump. DO NOT use 15% ethanol or higher.

Your weed wacker will have a 2-stroke engine and will require a gasoline-to-oil mix of 40:1. These engines will also take unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87 with no more than 10% of alcohol.

When to Choose an 89 Octane Rating

Your chainsaw will need an unleaded, mid-grade gasoline with an octane rating of at least 89. This is one of the few times you’ll want to spend the money for premium gas. Unlike other small engines, most chainsaws us a high-performance engine. If the octane rating is not at 89, you risk knocking your engine. Chainsaws also use 2-stroke engines, which requires a mix of oil and gasoline. The ratio for this is typically 50:1 gasoline-to-oil.

An alternative you can use are canned fuel products, which combines ethanol-free gasoline and fuel stabilizer for you. However, it is more expensive (up to $20-$30 per gallon). You’re better off saving your money and buying from the pump.  

Adjust Fuel Type for High Altitudes

Depending on where you’re filling up, you may have to adjust for being in a high altitude (over 5,000 feet). In this case you’ll want to go with a gasoline with an octane rating minimum of 85. This will help you avoid decreased performance, increased fuel consumption, and increased emissions.

How Can EZ-POUR® Help?

Looking for an easier way to fill up your small engines? EZ-POUR’s® new spout extension, Bent Tips is perfect for all of your fueling needs.  Each tip is bent at a 45-degree angle, which allows you to easily fill up. This kit contains both an unleaded and HI-FLO® tip.

Already own an EZ-POUR® spout and looking for an adapter to fit your old can? We’ve got you covered. Take a look at all of our adapter options here.

So, now you know what type of gas you need to for all your small engines this summer. Buy an EZ-POUR® spout today and you’ll be set for years to come!