A grease gun is a tool that you’ll find in pretty much any workshop or garage, however, it is one of the most overlooked. Despite this fact, a grease gun is an incredibly handy tool and any facility worth its mettle will surely have at least one in its arsenal.
They are used primarily to add lubrication to machines that include moving parts to ensure that the assets do not rub against one another and create too much friction. Selecting the right kind of tool for the job is the first step to doing it well!
The Best Grease Gun
Because grease guns often need to be used in hard to reach spaces, some manufacturers are opting to fit brilliant features such as lights on them, and that’s exactly what DeWALT have done with this tool.
With a highly powerful motor, able to release 5 ounces of lubricant per minute, this grease gun is perfect for busy workshops. Featuring a variable speed trigger for ultra precision and LED lights for use in low light, it also has an anti-debris filter in order to protect the pump from dirt.
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- Brand DEWALT
- Model DCGG571M1
- Weight 14.8 lbs
This pneumatic grease gun by Lincoln features a variable speed trigger for superior control of lubricant flow. With an innovative pump design that prevents priming issues, it includes a pumps ratio of 150 pounds per square inch and a maximum grease of 6,000 pounds per square inch. In addition, the air pressure ranges from 40 – 150 pounds per square inch.
It comes with 30 inches of high-pressure hose complete with couple and attachment clip and also includes a completely automatic, variable speed trigger with a continuous operation. Furthermore, the gun consists of an accessible check valve assembly and is designed to have unrivaled flow performance. This is truly one of the best air grease guns out there, ideal for the pros!
- Brand Lincoln Electric
- Model 1162
- Weight 4.5 lbs
For heavy duty work, you need a heavy duty tool! This durable, pistol style grease gun boasts a strong steel barrel and chrome-plated handle for protection against corrosion. Equipped with 18 inches of flexible hose, it can reach anywhere you need it to and is easily transported. Another great feature of this gun is the three-way loading system, you can choose to use cartridges, suction or a grease pump, the choice is yours!
The unique ergonomically designed T-handle offers easy handling in any position while the follower rod provides a brilliant seal, preventing any grease bypass. Along with the 18 inches of extension pipes, the grease gun also comes with four hardened jaws hydraulic coupler with ball check and non-drip cap. You can expect an output of 4 ounces or 115 grams of lubricant per 100 strokes from this tool.
- Brand Lumax
- Model LX-1152
- Weight 2.5 lbs
Pistol style grease guns are by far the most popular on the market, and it is clear to see why. Durable, easy to handle and reliable, these handy little tools are a fail-safe for any mechanic. This GreaseTek Premium Pistol Grip Gun includes an 18-inch hose complete with coupler and an additional extension piper complete with the coupler.
This nifty tool also features a unique plunger design, which makes for simple loading and priming, and has a dual positioning grease loader, perfect for getting into all sorts of different positions. An automotive grease gun with plenty of features, this simple but brilliant grease gun is a must-have.
- Brand GreaseTek
- Model 910100
- Weight 2.65 lbs
Sometimes, bigger is not always better. There are times when you’ll need to reach into tight spaces, and this is where a smaller tool may come in handy. Fortunately, there are a few options for miniature sized grease guns out there, and we’ve picked out one of the best. This durable grease gun is available is available in both manual and both batteries operated varieties. It allows for a 3-ounce cartridge and is inclusive of a fully flexible 12-inch extension hose, alongside a 4-inch rigid one. Small but might, this heavy-duty grease gun is great for beginners and experts alike.
- Brand Legacy
- Model L1305
- Weight 1.6 oz
Wires and cords can really get in the way – you might be trying to reach a piece of machinery high up when you’re suddenly pulled back, or worse, a trailing cord could trip a co-worker. Cordless options are something to consider for busy workshops, for both convenience and safety purposes.
Another stellar choice from DEWALT, this powerful 18-volt cordless grease gun boasts a powerful motor that provides 9,000 psi so it can power through gunked up grease fittings with ease. An anti-debris filter stops dirt from contaminating the pump mechanism and air-bleeder valve aids in pump priming after cartridge changes.
In addition to all these great features, this DEWALT Cordless grease gun also comes equipped with a super bright LED light, perfect for working in low lighting. To top it all off, it includes an extra long 42-inch flexible hose and a carrying strap. The ultimate workman’s tool!
- Brand DEWALT
- Model DCGG570B
- Weight 5 lbs
The latest addition to Lincoln’s PowerLuber range, this Lincoln grease gun is built with a new heavy duty high torque motor, which is specifically designed for hectic working environments. Crafted in a durable yet lightweight composite material, the gun is guaranteed to last through rigorous workloads without compromising performance. Better still, the 18-volt battery is able to deliver up to a whopping 10 grease cartridges. It comes in a handy carry case and, with a 120-volt unit, holds the title of the first of its kind in the industry.
- Brand Lincoln Electric
- Model 1844
- Weight 17.6 lbs
Boasting up to 25% more run time and pressure than any other grease gun on the market, this Milwaukee grease gun is able to disperse as much as seven grease cartridges per each battery charge. Its ergonomic handle makes its ideal for prolonged use and the onboard hose storage make tidying away quick and simple. It’s cordless design and powerful motor make this an essential for any mechanic.
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- Brand Milwaukee
- Model 2446-21XC
- Weight 10.9 lbs
This kit is a must for all garages and workshops! Including common lubing attachments, a 12-inch flexible hose, a short grease gun adapter, grease injector needle and pretty much any zerk fitting you could ever need plus a plethora of other essentials, this box of goodies has it all. Everything comes in a heavy-duty, reusable case.
- Brand Tooluxe
- Model 61077L
- Weight 1.88 lbs
This everyday grease gun is reliable, affordable and does what it says on the packaging. Although it is priced at the usual cost for a manual grease gun, it has been designed to exceed the industry tool standards. With a rubber coated handle for maximum grip and comfort, it uses a standard 14-ounce cartridge. It includes a 5 and a half inch metal extension complete with coupler and a 12-inch flex hose.
- Brand Powerbuilt
- Model 940798
- Weight 3 lbs
What is a Grease Gun?
A grease gun is a tool that applies grease or some other form of lubrication to machinery. The purpose of a grease gun is to simply apply lubricant to a specific area, which is why they will usually come equipped with a special grease fitting or ‘nipple’. There are three different kinds of grease guns available on the market and these are:
- Hand powered with a trigger mechanism.
- Hand powered with no trigger mechanism.
- Air powered, or pneumatic.
- Battery powered
Grease guns can be used for a multitude of different jobs, such as reducing friction, oiling parts and many more. The unique design of the grease gun means that they can be used in heard to reach areas and can be applied with pinpoint accuracy, due to the tapered aperture.
Types of Grease Gun
- Hand powered with a trigger mechanism. In these, the grease is forced through by the back-pressure that is built up by the action of the hand pulling the trigger mechanism of the gun. This applies pressure to a spring mechanism behind the lubricant, which then pushes the grease through the aperture.
- Hand powered with no trigger mechanism. The back-pressure built up by pushing on the butt of the gun which slides a piston throughout the body of the tool is what forces the grease through the aperture.
- Battery Powered. These use electricity to power the grease through the mechanism and out of the aperture.
- Air powered, or pneumatic. These work by using compressed air which is directed to the gun using hoses. It is the air pressure that forces the grease through the aperture. The inventor of the air powered grease gun, Russell Gray, founded the world-renowned manufacturers of fluid’s and grease guns Graco based on this invention.
What to Consider when Buying a Grease Gun
There are many different things to consider when choosing the correct grease gun for your project, such as what kind of machinery you need to lubricate and how much grease you need to apply. One of the first things to think about is what kind of gun you would like to purchase – the most popular ones on the market are generally manual powered, pneumatic and battery operated options.
Another thing to keep in mind best practice basics to make sure you are getting the most out of your grease gun. One of these basics is to consider what kind of lubricant you are going to use. Always label all of your different guns with the lubricant they contain and also how much they dispense per stroke. You can label up your grease guns in several ways, for example, colour coding. Some applicators are pre-coloured coded and use the body colour to show the kind of lubricant that is in the grease gun, these will also have a label or tag with the lubricant name on the inside of the gun. An applicator with a clear body will show the tube’s label inside the grease gun.
In order to work out how much grease is released per stroke, simply pump out a small amount onto a scale and divide the weight by the number of strokes. By doing this, you will end up with the average amount of grease per stroke. You can also determine this by adding a metre to the end of your applicator, this will give will also give you a more precise amount.
Benefits of Using a Grease Gun
Before you make a decision, you need to weigh up the pros and cons of the choices. Manual grease guns often use a lever and pistol grip and are usually the best choice for low-volume greasing. In addition, they also work great for in ultrasonic greasing programs which convert vibrations into frequencies that can be heard by the technician, which will alert them when they have applied the right amount of lubricant. This lever style often releases more grease per stroke, however, it requires two hands, whereas the pistol grip option only needs to be used with one hand.
Manual grease guns will also allow grease to be distributed at a more gradual, slower speed, which offers the user much control and precision over the lubricant. They are lightweight and tend to be smaller than the pneumatic and battery operated options, so are able to get into tight, small spaces more easily. Perfect when working on difficult, awkward jobs!
The other options to consider are the battery operated and pneumatic grease guns. These are great for preventing the user from getting fatigued whilst working and are best on larger jobs when a greater amount of lubrication is needed. Despite these benefits, there are some issues with using these kinds of grease guns. Unlike manual grease guns, they are not the best choice for ultrasonic greasing. This is because the amount of control of the grease released in limited by the machine as opposed to the user. Furthermore, they are not as convenient to carry around. For example, if you are using a pneumatic style grease gun, it’s not easy to pull the air hose around the entire workshop all day!
How to Maintain a Grease Gun
Just like every tool in your repertoire, your grease gun will need to be cleaned, looked after and possibly repaired. But, improper care and maintenance could end in disaster, and you could end up making a minor issue a major one! It’s important to understand how all the components in your grease gun work, and how you can properly take care of it to ensure it lasts you as long as possible.
- Thoroughly wipe down the fitting to ensure it is clear of debris.
- Familiarise yourself with proper grease gun operation and be aware of the amount of grease per stroke. Properly calibrate your grease gun regularly to ensure the correct amount of grease is released.
- Inspect the grease fitting for damages of defects, and replace if necessary.
- If possible, standardize on fitting style.
- Avoid using a different grease than the current lubricant being used. If possible, mark the fitting with the type of lubricant so you know for next time.
- Be cautious not to over pack your grease gun, some can develop the pressure of up to 15,000 psi. and this can lead to seal damage.
- Avoid lying your gun down on dirty surfaces, designate a clean, safe area for it. When not using it your grease gun, always keep it covered to avoid dust and debris finding its way into the mechanism.
- Always change damaged or old looking piping to avoid danger.
- When repacking a grease gun from a pressure line, be sure to clean down both the fitting a pressure this as this will limit the risk of contamination. Move the tubes to a controlled area to repack or replace them.
Best Grease Gun FAQ:
Q: How do I load my grease gun?
A: As we’ve discussed, there are several different types of grease gun, however, the loading process is quite similar throughout.
Method 1: Reservoir Grease Gun
- The first step to take is to separate the head of the grease gun from the barrel. For clarity, the head is the part which has both the handle and applicator tube attached. Unscrew the head from the cap. Be sure that the handle on the back of the barrel, which is the handle of the pistol grip, is completely depressed into the barrel, or else some grease may be sucked through accidentally.
- Next, you must fill the barrel with grease. To do this, hold the open end of the barrel into the vat of grease and gradually pull back the plunger rod, this will fill the reservoir. Once the rod has been withdrawn, you can take the open end of the barrel out of the grease. At this point, rotate the barrel to remove any excess grease that may be hanging on to the barrel, it’s a good idea to give it a wipe down use to be sure.
- Lastly, reattach the barrel to the head of the grease gun. Each gun is different, and therefore, may attach in different ways. Be sure that you are familiar with the way that your gun works, for example, it may simply need the cap screwing back on, whereas as other might be more complicated. If in doubt, always check the manual! If you have a bulk container of grease, this process will be made a lot easier. These are available to purchase at hardware and auto parts stores.
Method 2: Cartridge Grease Gun
- These grease guns consist of two main parts, the cartridge, and the dispenser or nozzle, where the grease is administered. Unlike reservoir grease guns, the cartridge is actually the grease, when it runs it, a new cartridge will need to be purchased. It is extremely easy to remove the cartridge, you need simply unscrew the cap the cartridge is held in with by turning it clocking, whilst simultaneously turning the dispenser nozzle counter clockwise.
- Where the cartridge is held, there should be a metal handle, or plunger, at the end of the barrel. This is what you push down to force the grease out of the nozzle, only this time, you need to pull it back until it is fully withdrawn from the barrel. Pulling on the handle on some grease guns will cause the cartridge to expel automatically, making life a whole lot easier! If there is a lot of built up grease inside, the cartridge may only come out half way.
- Next, hold the piston rod securely and remove the cartridge. Most grease guns will allow you to move the piston rod slightly sideways, this helps you get a good position on the barrel so it can’t move forward. On others, the retracted piston rod will latch into a completely backward position, with a release tab to allow the rod to move when you are ready. Once the rod is secured, you can pull out the empty cartridge.
- Now your grease gun is ready for a brand new cartridge. You can find these at any reputable auto part or hardware store and they are usually between 14 and 16 ounces, or 414 and 473 millilitres. Before you load in a new one, it’s wise to clean up your gun with a cloth or rag. Pay close attention to the end of the barrel, as excess grease may have leaked out during the removal of the empty cartridge. Take off the plastic cap from the new cartridge so the grease will be able to dispense normally. Lots of people store their grease cartridges upside down so that the lubricant settles near the nozzle and flows easier. However, if it hasn’t been stored this way, shake it hard a few times before inserting it into the gun.
- Using the end of the cartridge that had the plastic cap on it, push it firmly into the barrel. Insert it so that the cartridge connects with the end of the gun barrel. Finally, remove the metal seal from the uncovered end of the cartridge.
- The last thing to do is to reattach the head of the gun to the barrel. Screw the barrel on halfway, two full rotations should do it. Next, release the piston rod from the fully retracted position and force it into the barrel whilst pumping the handling at the same time. This will pump air flow through the mechanism and help to get the grease going. When you see the grease start to appear at the nozzle, you can stop pumping the trigger.
Finish up screwing the head and barrel together. Test the grease gun by pumping the handle once to ensure the grease is coming out effectively.
Q: What’s the Best lubricant to use with grease guns?
A: When using your grease gun, always select a high-quality lubricant that will flow freely throughout the gun and not build up in the nozzle. It is also good practice to choose a dedicated grease gun for each specific lubricant. This is because the potential damage if these are mixed up could be dire, not so much for your grease gun, but more to the machinery you are putting the grease into. Cross-contamination is a concern – if you do not fully purge and clean a gun properly and there is an incompatibility between the two different lubricants, this could have a detrimental effect on the performance of the grease.
Best practice suggests that as long as you choose a good quality lubricant, any kind will do, provided it is suitable for the job at hand. Just be sure to calibrate your gun every year to make sure it is performing at its best. The method of calibration is simple, all you need to do is pump the trigger ten times onto a scale and divide the weight of the grease by ten. This will allow you to work out the average volume of grease per stroke. Label your gun with the number of grams or ounces per stroke, this is important to make sure when you are working on a job, you release the right amount of grease needed for lubrication.
Q: What are the signs of under and over greasing?
A: Lubrication is no doubt an essential part of maintaining any machinery with moving parts, however, over greasing and not enough grease can cause issues. There are several signs to look out for, and steps to take to prevent over and under lubrication damaging machinery in the future.
- Over greasing
So, how do you know you are over greasing? Too much lubrication can cause an asset to jam and damage seals and motor windings, so if you notice these issues, there’s a good chance too much grease much have caused the problem.
Make sure areas to be lubricated are fully cleaned and free from debris and hard crust, or anything else that might block the access. Pull back when you feel any abnormal pressure when greasing and use grease guns with pressure gauges or shut off fittings that will automatically turn off when there is an issue. Instead of greasing continuously, gradually pump every few seconds, using quick lever action might cause damage and stop the grease stop from dispensing throughout the machinery properly.
- Under greasing
If an asset is under greased, it will usually fail, so the problem shouldn’t be too hard to detect. Other signs to look out for are excessive heat and odd sounds coming from the machinery. You might also notice friction wear or bearing starvation. If it gets to the stage of failure, it will need immediate maintenance, as the friction between the moving parts without proper lubrication is not good for the machinery.
Q: What is a grease gun coupler?
A: A coupler is a pipe that allows the grease gun to attach to the grease of a mechanical component, enabling the moving parts to be lubricated. It is often of a quick release nature and will usually come with a grease gun.
Our Top Pick
Our favourite grease gun from the list is the super DEWALT DCGG571m1 20V MAX Lithium Ion Grease Gun. The powerful motor and LED light really swung it for us, as many mechanics have to work in trying conditions and such for small, hard to reach assets in dark settings. The reviews on Amazon also speak for themselves!