What is a Nail gun oil substitute? 

Nail Gun Oil Substitute: Best Recommendations & Helpful Review
17 Jan

What is a Nail gun oil substitute? 

Now nails guns, regardless of whether a pneumatic tool, an air tool or cordless nail gun, are being used more and more, especially in everyday life, as this is a less traumatic and faster way than manually hammering nails into the wall with the ceiling.

However, for many users, the nail gun stops working properly, due to the wrong choice of nail gun oil substitute.

If you are the owner of nail guns and do not understand what oil substitutes are, why they are needed, and which oils are suitable for nail guns, then this article will help you. We will fully analyze the different types of oil suitable as a nail gun substitute as well as the correct oil air tools.

nail gun oil substitute

Why should you lubricate a nail gun?

Many users might have a question when choosing oil for a nail gun, why lubricate it in general? To begin with, this device consists of many mechanical parts that can wear out faster without lubrication, thereby degrading the performance of nail guns.

Also, the oil helps to keep the nail guns in good condition, as it prevents rust, corrosion, and calcium deposits.

Air guns need lubrication even more than other nail guns, as they directly interact with moisture and air hose, which causes dirt to spread inside the mechanical system.

And finally, you will no longer encounter emergency stops, which are especially annoying during repairs.

What are Nail gun oil substitutes? 

Finally, we come to the most important topic, namely, what are pneumatic or air tool oil substitutes? Below you can find different types of oils for lubricating the nail gun, such as hydraulic oil, and a brief description of each type.

Hydraulic oil

The first kind of air tool oil or pneumatic tool oil is hydraulic oil. It is especially well suited as a replacement for conventional lubricants for air or pneumatic tools due to the peculiarities of its knitting, using hydraulic oils you can not worry about the deterioration of the power of the tool. 

Hydraulic oil will perform especially well in critical temperatures because due to its viscosity this oil allows the tool to work properly. However, when buying and using hydraulic oils, you must consider the weight, as over-lubrication can cause the air or pneumatic nail gun to malfunction.

At the same time, if you use hydraulic oil correctly, you will be able to use the gun calmly and for a long time, since hydraulic oils prevent rust and is immune to sealing and oxidation.

Automatic transmission fluid

The next type of pneumatic or air tool oil is automatic transmission fluid or ATF. This oil contains many ingredients that make it an ideal lubricant for nail guns, such as anti-wear agents. Moreover, it is this oil that allows, thanks to its detergent qualities, prevent the appearance of deposits and rust inside the mechanical system of the tool.

However, despite the ideal structure of automatic transmission fluids oil, if you smuggle it, but do not check whether its components are suitable for your nail guns, then you can ruin the tools. For example, there may be a component inside the oil that corrodes the material from which the parts of the mechanism inside the gun are made.

If you have chosen the right ATF oil, then you have nothing to worry about. This oil prevents not only breakage from dirt, but also the adverse reaction of the tool to excessive heat generation. And of course, ATF oil completely protects the tool from wear, as it fights against any contamination and the causes of their occurrence inside your gun.

Synthetic oil (motor oil)

Another type of air tool oil is synthetic oil or motor oil as it is also called, which is used to lubricate parts inside the engine. Precisely because these oils are already used for lubrication, they have all the components to prevent contamination and tool wear.

Synthetic oils are suitable for both high and low temperatures, the main thing is to choose the right one depending on the level of viscosity, for warm climates 30w and for cold 20w. One of the distinguishing qualities of synthetic oils is the fact that it makes the nail gun work silently.  

However, you need to immediately check whether synthetic oil is effective for your gun, otherwise, it can simply harm the mechanism inside.

3-in-1 Oil

3-in-1 kind of oil is one of the best of other oils analogues of lubricant for air or pneumatic nail guns, as it is designed specifically for lubricating tools. However, it is better to carefully study the composition and in no case use oil with silicone, as then it will corrode the parts of the mechanism inside the gun.

Marvel mystery oil 

Marvel mystery oil is a type of air tool oil that increases the power of nail guns while preventing rust and dirt. Like 3 in 1, this type of oil is ideal for extending tool life.

Are these types of oil suitable as air tool oil? 

Some users of air or pneumatic tools, wanting to save money, intend to use not a special air tool oil, but an analog from everyday life, but is this possible?

Below you can see different types of oils and whether they can be used for nail guns.

Vegetable oil

The first is vegetable oil. To begin with, this oil will not do any good to lubricate the mechanical parts of the gun, as it will itself leave and attract dirt.

What’s more, after using vegetable oil as a lubricant for air or pneumatic tools, you may ruin the operation of the nail gun beyond repair.

Compressor oil

Compressor oil has already ceased to be used as pneumatic tool oil. Primarily due to their weight, this oil is too heavy and will simply slow down the nail guns.

Compressor oil can be used as a lubricant only for special compression devices that need a fairly heavy type of lubricant.

Regular oil

It is also undesirable to use as a lubricant, as it creates sticky stains of dirt inside the tool.

More than this, the use of light conventional oil does not provide the necessary protection for mechanical parts, from which some parts, such as o-rings, can be destroyed.

Of course, there are exceptions among light oils, but only in the industrial development of air tools or pneumatic tools.

Is mineral oil suitable?

Unlike all oils of the past, the use of mineral oil can be quite normal for air or pneumatic tools lubrication. For the most part, this is because it is mineral oils that prevent the growth of dirt inside the pistol mechanism.

Instruction on how oil air tools 

After we figured out exactly what types of oils can be used for lubrication, we can now figure out how to properly lubricate a pneumatic or air tool.


The first thing you need to do is make sure the oil feed system is absolutely clean. To do this, you can simply wipe it and remove small residues of dust by blowing air.

Lubricate air fitting 

Now we move on to the lubricant itself. It would help if you lubricated the air fitting first, which uses a maximum of 5 drops of oil. You can repeat this process any time you feel like the mechanical parts inside are starting to seize, when there are crashes, or the power just gets a lot less.

Lubricate o rings 

After you have lubricated the air fitting, you can turn your attention to lubricating the O-ring.

To do this, as mentioned earlier, use silicone-free oil.

You need a couple of drops and lubricate the ring with your finger, the main thing is not to overdo it here, since the O-rings are made of rubber, and with an excess amount of lubricant they can work worse.


And finally, let’s discuss how often you need to lubricate all parts of the nail gun. We can say that as needed, however, lubricate every day or several times during work, if you feel that the power of the gun is decreasing, this is also normal. The main thing is to use a rational amount of oil. 

What should substitutes contain? 

Also, when choosing oil for lubricating your nail gun, understand what fluid properties you should pay attention to so that the oil is harmless to the gun mechanism.


The first thing you need to pay attention to is the chemical compounds that are added to nail gun oil. See if any components will harm the surfaces of the tool parts or, on the contrary, improve the power of the gun.


The second is the level of viscosity.

You can tell the viscosity level from the density of the oil, as the denser the nail gun oil, the better the viscosity.

Also, keep track of which viscosity figure is right for your gun, for example, if the gun overflows a lot, then oil with a viscosity of 30 W will do.


And finally, it is worth understanding the temperature, which will directly change the viscosity of nail gun oil. That is, if your tool is constantly in a cold climate, then you should choose oil for lubricating parts at cold temperatures, most often it is 20W. 


What can I use for oil in my nail gun?

You can use oils made specifically for lubricating air or pneumatic tool oil, as well as alternatives like ATF or engine oil.

Can I use WD40 on my nail gun?

WD40 is not a good idea to use on air tools or pneumatic tools as it can cause dirt to build up.

Can I use 3in1 oil in my nail gun?

This oil can be approached, the main thing is to follow the composition and make sure that its additives do not spoil the material of the mechanical system of the nail gun.

What kind of oil can you use for air tools?

You can use special oils for lubricating the nail gun, as we have already said, but automatic transmission fluids, synthetic oils, and hydraulic oils are considered to be the best analogues.


Lubrication is a very important process for any tool, such as a nail gun, which has a large number of mechanical parts connected inside, but it is very important to understand which type of pneumatic took oil or air tool oil substitute is right for your tool.

We hope that after reading this article, you will have a much better understanding of which oils are suitable for lubricating nail guns, which ones are best not to use, and how to properly lubricate your tool in order not to harm it and at the same time increase the power of work.

Read on site: Best Staplers for 50 Pages (2024)

ByColby B

Colby is from Eureka Springs, AR and started his career as a teenage laborer working on construction sites. A little bit older and wiser now, ​he has a passion for home improvement.

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