How to Choose a grease: Top 3 Factors to look for

Posted by TEAM101 on 12th Jan 2022

How to Choose a grease: Top 3 Factors to look for

What To Look For When Buying Grease

We all get the importance of having the correct lubrication for the application, so choosing the right one can be a bit daunting right?

When selecting the lubrication suitable for the specification needed, there are heaps of things to consider. For example:

  • thickener type & concentration
  • consistency
  • dropping point and operating temperature range,
  • oxidation stability

In this weeks blog, we cover the basics of how to go about looking for the best grease for your application, starting with the main fundamentals. If the terminology used goes straight over your head don't worry! We have a blog covering common words we hear daily or are common to our industry.

Factor 1: Base Oil Viscosity

Firstly, start with BASE OIL VISCOSITY (thick oil, high viscosity / thin oil, a low viscosity). This is seriously important as it dictates the film strength and efficiency in preventing friction between moving parts.

If a lubricant is too thick, there is more heat, and more energy gets used as the machine has to work harder. On the other hand, if a lubricant is too thin, there won't be enough protection from friction, creating unnecessary wear and tear.

Operating Temperature:

  • Higher operating temperatures require a higher viscosity lubricant
  • Lower operating temperatures require a lower viscosity lubricant

Operating Speeds:

  • Higher speeds generally require a lower viscosity
  • Lower speeds should require a higher viscosity

Factor 2: Base Oil Type

BASE OIL TYPE has a massive impact on which grease you select too! The base affects how well your grease performs in different environments. There are distinct differences between performance advantages when comparing two different bases.

For instance:

  • Synthetic base lubricants will be better over a wide range of temperatures and conditions,
  • A mineral base is better in a more consistent running environment.

Another factor to consider is THICKENERS, one of the foundations in grease formulation. These are fibrous particles that act like a sponge, giving it a more viscous quality by holding it together!

Thickeners aid in performance requirements, so choosing which is best suited for your application is vital. They dictate the operating temperature, operating load and speed and material compatibility. The most common you often see on the shelf would be,

  • lithium complex
  • lithium
  • aluminium complex
  • polyurea.

Factor 3: Cost

COST is what the conversation almost always diverts to when choosing a grease. Quality is generally based on price, so we get what we pay for! Going for the ‘cheapest’ or ‘most cost effective’ grease is never a good idea - by settling for inferior quality to save money, the unseen costs of breakdowns, downtime and replacing equipment almost always outweigh the initial price on the cartridge.

However, there's always space for cheaper grease. The application may not always need the highest quality grease with superior performance additives.

For instance to compare: A multi-purpose lithium for £3.00 a cartridge is perfectly adequate for agricultural machinery, or simple applications like plain bearings however would be no use in a seriously wet, high load environment such as a hub bearing.

No matter which grease you opt for, we have the perfect option for you. Here at TYGRIS, we offer a massive range of specialist greases. Browse our selection, or get in touch with TEAM 101 to find the right one for your application.

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