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Lithium Complex Vs Calcium Sulphonate, Which One Comes Out On Top?

Posted by TEAM101 on 3rd Jan 2022

Lithium Complex Vs Calcium Sulphonate, Which One Comes Out On Top?

Lithium Complex Vs Calcium Sulphonate, Which One Comes Out On Top?

In this blog, we will be discussing the two most popular greases in our industry. What are the differences between them, what is best for my application and what do we recommend? Scroll on for the answers to all these questions and more!

We constantly get asked about our two most popular greases, so this blog will break down all the main points and see which one works best.


What Is Lithium Complex Grease?

This versatile grease is a popular choice used in such a wide range of applications. Commonly known as a soap grease (lithium soap stabilises and thickens grease) with higher complexity.

Complex greases have a lot in common with simple lithium soap grease. However, they have better capabilities in all areas, for instance, higher dropping points, enabling use at higher temperatures.

Some of the outstanding features of a lithium complex grease are:

  • Great water resistance
  • High operating temperature
  • Delivers a high level of performance under extreme pressure and anti-wear performance
  • A high degree of protection against corrosion
  • Mechanical stability, extending lubrication intervals
  • Good oil separation resistance

This grease is used within industrial and automotive applications such as:

  • Anti-friction and plain bearings
  • Automotive wheel bearings
  • Shackle, pins/ball joints
  • Construction and mining
  • General industrial applications

A lithium complex 400gm cartridge is around the £1.50 - £2.00 mark. The low price point is very affordable, giving it another plus under its belt!


How Is Calcium Sulphonate Grease Different?

This grease is a little different from a lithium complex, mainly due to the natural capabilities of the calcium sulphonate, without the need for additives.

As with the lithium/lithium complex, you may see two products that seem alike - calcium and calcium sulphonate. The first is what is known as a simple soap, and acids and performance-enhancing processes are introduced to make a calcium complex, in this case, a calcium sulphonate grease.

A calcium sulphonate grease is generally used in extreme environments, thanks to its excellent capabilities. The exceptional capacity to carry loads, extending intervals between relubrication. The following are the outstanding features of a calcium sulphonate:

  • Highly water-resistant
  • Saltwater resistance
  • Excellent protection against corrosion
  • Wide temperature range
  • Extreme pressure performance for protection against wear

What tasks are suitable?

  • All types of anti-friction applications, including plain bearings and sliding surfaces
  • Automotive, construction, mining, manufacturing industries
  • Chassis, ball joints, universal joints and wheel bearings

On average, a calcium sulphonate 400gm cartridge sits around the £3.00 mark. While it is the more expensive grease, the cost is due to the high performance.

Which one do we prefer? We recommend both greases, but it depends on your needs! We see both options as good routes to go down for multi-purpose options, as both have their benefits. However, we think that calcium sulphonate is the superior grease!

This grease outperforms Lithium Complex grease in almost every situation, and in an ideal world, everyone would use it!

Higher temperatures? Calcium Sulphonate. Salt water-resistant? Calcium Sulphonate. Higher load? Calcium Sulphonate.


So why should you choose a lithium complex? For the price. It's the cheaper option, a key concern for many consumers. There are limitations to consider with using calcium sulphonate, with the inferior pumpability, and being slightly more expensive. 

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