Review: Best Spray Lubricants
Spray lubricants were first introduced to the marketplace in the form of WD-40 for application to all types of light machinery, as a replacement to machine oils that required long-necked cans,. The success of WD-40 encouraged other manufacturers to move into this field, to the point where today there are a number of companies providing spray lubricants.
These spray lubricants are light-weight machine oils, not heavyweight. When referring to oils, lightweight refers to a low viscosity or "watery" oil while heavyweight oils are high viscosity oils, more like molasses. In comparing them to motor oil used for automotive engines, lightweight machine oils are considerably lighter than even 5W30, the lightest of the standard automotive oils.
These oils are mostly designed for lubricating fine and small machinery, such as sewing machines and lock mechanisms (but not the lock itself). The lightweight oil wicks into tight spaces, thoroughly lubricating all parts of the device. As such, it is very good for seeping into the tight spaces between bearing surfaces, providing them with lubrications. They can also be used as penetrating oils, seeping in to loosen rusted or over-tightened bolts and nuts.
Most spray lubricants are petroleum based, although there are a few exceptions. Two of the most important deviations from petroleum are Teflon and silicone, both of which provide excellent lubrication as they are very slippery substances, which other materials will not stick to. Neither Teflon or silicone lubricants should be used in instances where the surfaces will later be painted, as they do not clean off. If they are applied to a surface that needs to be painted, they will prevent the paint from sticking properly.
Most spray lubricants come with a slender straw which can be inserted into the nozzle for precise application of the lubricant. This is important when the oil could cause damage to fine finishes or where oil in the wrong place might attract dirt. While some people get carried away putting oil on things, you are actually much better off pinpointing the oil where it is needed.
Correct lubrication means only applying the oil to bearing surfaces. That means surfaces where there is metal rubbing against metal. Lubricant applied anywhere else does not help protect the machine, but can attract dirt, ultimately causing other maintenance problems. We've compiled this list of the best spray lubricants in 2021
Slick 50 Spray Lubricant
3M Silicone Spray Lubricant
WD-40 Multi-Use Product Spray Lubricant
Liquid Wrench Spray Lubricant
Tri-Flow Superior Lubricant Aerosol
Best Spray Lubricant
Slick 50 is known for their engine oil additive which contains Teflon to reduce wear. An engine which has been treated with Slick 50 can have the oil drained out, and it will still run, without freezing. This same technology has been applied to their multipurpose spray oil. They call this product "One Lube" because it’s intended to be used for everything that might need lubrication. It's a little thicker than other spray oils but still works as a penetrating oil when you need to break loose corroded or frozen parts. The Teflon and other additives ensure that lubrication and protection are still provided to bearing surfaces, even after the oil itself dries up. As such, this spray lubricant is an excellent choice for many applications.
3M provides a number of different spray lubricants, including several silicone lubricants. This particular lubricant is a "dry type”, meaning it goes on without petroleum oil. That helps prevent contamination and staining of finished surfaces, as well as damage to rubber and other materials damaged by petroleum oils. The silicone provides superior lubrication to surfaces than straight oil will and also won’t dry out. It can also be used effectively at an extended temperature range of -28 to +350 degrees Farenheit. Being silicone-based, rather than petroleum-based, it will not become gummy and is excellent for use on electronic devices.
Even after all these years, WD-40 is still one of the top spray lubricants available on the market. Their proprietary formula works extremely well for a wide range of purposes, including lubricating, loosening rusted parts, freeing sticky mechanisms and driving moisture out of mechanisms. It’s excellent for use on rusted parts as it will keep moisture out and lubricate the metal, allowing rust flakes to be ground off. This particular package comes with their "smart straw" which keeps the straw permanently attached to the can, so you can't lose it. Flip the straw up for pinpoint accuracy or flip it down for area spray. This is the one spray lubricant that I use regularly.
Liquid wrench is another old name in this product lineup. They produce a variety of spray lubricants, but are best known for their penetrating oils. These are thinner than other spray lubricants as they’re intended primarily for use in penetrating the threads of rusted nuts and bolts, allowing them to be loosened without breaking. This formulation is faster penetrating than other spray oils, allowing you to get back to work sooner. Even so, it can still be used as a lightweight oil for fine machinery.
This is a pure petroleum product, designed for use as a combination penetrating oil and lubricant. Additives have been included in the formulation to help it to act as a solvent for dirt and contaminants. It also displaces any existing moisture, protecting metal parts from oxidation. The spray nozzle is designed for a tight spray pattern, even without a straw. While this listing is for a spray can, the product is also available in gallons, pump aerosol, and drip bottles.