There is nothing worse than friction and wear when it comes to keeping your construction equipment in tip-top shape. Water, dust, dirt and moving around heavy loads all contribute to the extra friction placed upon heavy machinery like cranes, excavators, etc. The only defense in this battle against friction is lubrication. The weapon of choice—the grease gun. If you don’t have the best grease gun for the job, you don’t have the best weapon in your arsenal.
Selecting the Best Grease Gun
There are several varieties of grease guns out there. A few of the most common types of grease guns are:
Hand Grease Guns: Hand grease guns come in two varieties, lever and pistol grip.
- Lever grease guns, by far the most common type, push grease out by manual pumping action. This method can deliver about one to one-and-a-half grams of grease per pump.
- Pistol grip grease guns take a little more strain off the hand by allowing a quick trigger-pull action to release grease. However, these types of grease guns release slightly less grease than lever grease guns.
- Air Grease Guns: Using compressed air and over 10,000 PSI, air grease guns release large amounts of grease from a barrel of grease. These are also known as pneumatic grease guns due to the fact that they utilize compressed air to operate.
- Electric Grease Guns: Similar in action to air grease guns, these guns have the advantage of being portable and run off of batteries. These grease guns can run off of as little as 12 volts and can generate high PSI levels.
The Best Grease Gun for the Job
What type of grease gun you should use depends on how often you plan on using the grease gun, what you’re using the grease gun for, how much grease you need to dispense and how quickly you need to dispense the grease. So, think about the job you plan on using the grease gun for and run some estimates of how much grease you’ll be using. Then, find the specs for the grease gun’s dispensing volume and run some simple calculations.
Using a Grease Gun: Things to Keep in Mind
Keep in mind that grease guns are no joke. In fact, grease guns can quickly become equipment killers if you aren’t careful. Considering that fact that some grease guns can deliver up to 15,000 PSI, you have to be cautious you’re not hitting something that cannot withstand that amount of pressure. For instance, lip seals can withstand around 500 PSI, if you hit it with 15,000 you’re going to blow out the seal almost immediately.
More grease is better, right? Wrong. Be selective in how much grease you use. The right amount of grease for a part is simply that, the right amount. Too much is too much and too little is too little. Generally, no more than a few targeted shots is required.
Too much grease can cause a lot of problems. If grease spills out of an area it can capture contaminants and moisture readily. When a machine then cools down, the contaminated grease reenters the area is originally spilled out from and now you have a contaminated area, much more prone to friction and corrosion.
Also, too much grease can actually create more heat, not less. So, be sure to use the right amount of grease for an area. If you are unsure of the correct amount of grease for an area, consult your equipment manual or contact the equipment manufacturer and ask. Also, be sure you are applying the grease at the right angle. On heavy construction equipment, for instance, grease is usually applied at a 90 degree angle leading from the load zone (source).
The weather is also another factor to keep in mind when it comes to greasing. As a rule of thumb, cold weather requires a lighter viscosity grease and warm weather requires a higher viscosity grease. Wet conditions also call for more frequent applications of grease to prevent rusting.
Last, but not least, make sure you are using the right grease for the job. Not all greases are created equal and there are often subtle differences between greases that need to be kept in mine.
11 Best Grease Guns
Best Lever Operated Grease Guns
1. Alemite Heavy Duty Grease Gun (1056-SE4)
Alemite has been around for over 100 years and is internationally known as a top manufacturer in lubrication technology, especially for making the most reliable grease guns. The Alemite 1056-SE4 grease gun is part of their “heavy duty professional series” and is top of the line in terms of quality and durability.
The 1056-SE4 is a lever action grease gun with a zinc-plated finish and a durable die-cast steel head. It has a 16 oz. capacity cylinder, as well as an extended 24 oz. version. It has a 1/8″ NPTF (National Pipe Thread Fuel) outlet for grease delivery and a vinyl handle for easy operation. This grease gun features 3-way loading by means of either cartridge, suction or fast refill from a loader fitting. Its patented follower allows for loading even without taking the gun apart. It also comes equipped with a bleeder valve for air ventilation.
This grease gun allows for two delivery modes with its dual-lever mechanism and delivers up to 10,000 PSI. The dual-lever mechanism allows for either a high pressure delivery or a high volume delivery, depending on the job. In high volume mode, the grease gun delivers one ounce of grease per 16 strokes. Using high pressure mode delivers one oz. of grease per 25 strokes.
Overall, the 1056-SE4 is one of the best grease guns on the market in the lever action category.
2. Alemite Grease Gun (500-E)
If you’re looking for something with the same amount of pressure as the 1056-SE4 (10,000 PSI), the Alemite 500-E delivers at a much lower price point. Unlike the 1056-SE4, it has a die-cast aluminum head and does not come with a dual-lever mechanism. That said, it’s still very durable and will do the job, but don’t expect it to last as long as the Alemite heavy duty professional series grease guns, like the 1056-SE4.
This grease gun comes with a vinyl cover on the handle for easy gripping and comes with an 18-inch hose and coupler. The coupler is easy to attach and reattach too. It has a 16 oz. capacity cylinder and can deliver grease at a rate of one ounce per 21 strokes.
Like the 1056-SE4, it can be loaded in three ways- by cartridge, suction or fast refill from a loader pump. It also has a bleeder valve for venting. Even though the head is aluminum the head still qualifies as heavy duty.
3. LockNLube Lever Grease Gun (LNL151)
There’s a lot to like about the LockNLube LNL151 grease gun. The company claims it is “world’s first leak free grease gun.” When combined with the company’s patented locking grease coupler* it is designed to be leak free. With LockNLube’s Lock & Storage design, where the hose loops and the coupler locks into place onto the gun, the grease gun can be stored conveniently and leak free too.
This capacity grease gun comes with a 20″ hose and the coupler, both which are free to rotate without having to spin the grease gun. It delivers up to 10,000 PSI of pressure and releases one ounce of grease in 21 strokes. The locking coupler also comes in handy when pumping the grease gun. All you have to do is loop and lock it in place, and then both hands are available for pumping the gun.
The grease gun is 16 oz. capacity and hold 14.5 oz. cartridges. It is also a three way loading grease gun. Options for loading are bulk, suction and cartridge. It includes a bulk loading port as well as an air bleeder valve for ventilation.
The coupler itself is a real gem. Not only does it have four locking steel jaws which lock through the use of powerful springs, but it is also designed to be rebuildable. This ends up saving you a ton of money because you can use this coupler for a lifetime of cost savings. And if the seals or jaws break the company will replace them completely free.
This grease gun also comes with a one year warranty and a spare seal kit.
*LockNLube’s locking grease coupler is compatible with all 1/8” NPTF grease guns and we highly recommend it.
Best Pistol Grip Grease Guns
1. LockNLube Professional Pistol Grip Grease Gun (LNL252)
The LNL252 Professional Grease Gun by LockNLube is a high quality grease gun with up to 8,000 PSI of power. It comes with a 20″ hose (rated for 14,000 PSI) as well as the LockNLube grease coupler, which makes for easy and clean storage.
This particular model is an upgrade to the popular LN152 by LockNLube. The previous model was only capable of 7,500 PSI. The LNL252 has an output of one ounce per 37 strokes. It’s extremely ergonomic to hold and the grip feels natural and comfortable. It’s also extremely easy to dispense grease so if you don’t have strong hands it’s great to use, especially when dispensing attached to a Zerk or button-head fitting.
For loading the grease gun there’s a simple locking notch on the bottom plate for the follower. Even if you accidentally bump the follower rod, the locking notch will hold it in place. It loads through cartridge or suction and has a 16 oz. capacity (14.5 oz. cartridges). It is also equipped with a bleeder valve.
This grease gun only weighs 3.5 pounds and comes with a one year warranty.
2. Alemite Pistol Grip Grease Gun (555-E)
The Alemite 555-E is a highly durable pistol grip grease gun with a heavy duty following spring. It’s design is optimized for delivering grease for construction and industrial equipment and comes with a standard fitting and an 18″ hose.
This grease gun is capable of delivering up to 7,500 PSI and features a dual leverage option. With the dual leverage option you can switch between either volume or pressure mode. It dispenses one ounce of grease per 30 strokes and has a 16 oz. capacity. This gun is capable of three-way loading including cartridge (14.5 oz.), loader pump or suction.
This gun is spring primes and has an air valve for bleeding as well. It uses a universal follower and features a rugged cast handle too.
Best Electric Grease Guns
The Milwaukee M18 grease gun is an industry leading grease gun with many notable features. It comes with two 18-volt batteries, a charging stand, case, carrying strap, 48-inch hose and a coupler. Operating at a max pressure of 10,000 PSI, it is powerful enough for even the toughest jobs.
The best thing about this grease gun is its ability to perform well in high volume greasing situations. It has a max volume of up to 10 ounces of grease per minute (mode 2) at 5,000 PSI. However, it can also be powered to 10,000 PSI and operate at 3.5 ounces per minute for other applications (mode 1). This grease gun can operates at temperatures down to zero degrees Fahrenheit.
It has a 16 ounce capacity (14.5 ounce cartridges) and can use up to 10 cartridges on one single charge (though it does have an extra battery for backup). It is capable of being loaded in three ways- cartridge, bulk or suction. There is also a dial to set output to a more precise volume. The dial can be set from 1 to 50 for a precise number of piston strokes, and is automatically reset after the trigger is released. The trigger can also operate in either a lock-on or lock-off position, depending on your preference.
It also comes equipped with an LED light for use as a flashlight for low light or dark conditions. The LED light is also used to indicated battery level activated by pulling the trigger pull.
All in all, a great electric grease gun in an all-in-one package. It has a lot of versatility and is one of the most durable grease guns on the market. If you only wanted to look at one grease gun and “pull the trigger,” you will not regret getting the Milwaukee M18.
The Lincoln 1244 grease gun is a 12-volt grease gun ideal for use in industrial settings. This kit comes with a 30-inch hose (7,500 PSI rated), two 12-volt batteries and a carrying case.
In terms of quality, it is equal to the Milwaukee grease gun system (above) but lacks in terms of overall power and battery life. However, it is still a very robust system that’ll last you for many years and comes in at a much more attractive price point.
As far as power goes, it is capable of operating at up to 6,000 PSI. In high output operation, it can output 2.6 ounces of grease per minute at 1,000 PSI. The battery will last long enough to dispense three tubes (14.5 oz.) of a grease at this pressure. It even comes with a fast charging system, and after only an hour of charging the battery is back up and ready for use.
Use of the grease gun at various PSI levels:
This grease gun operates at a temperature range of zero degrees all the way to 120 degrees Fahrenheit. It also comes with a 100-day satisfaction guarantee, a 2-year warranty on the battery and charger and a 5-year warrant on the grease gun itself.
Overall, for medium duty and some heavy duty applications, this is a great grease gun to have on hand. At such a low price point, it’s hard to go wrong and it’ll last you 5-10 years easy, or more if properly maintained.
The Alemite 596-A1 grease gun bests both the Lincoln and the Milwaukee in terms of power with its 20-volt battery. It even comes equipped with an LCD screen to view information about the grease gun in realtime. It comes with two 20-volt batteries, a carrying case, 36-inch hose and a carrying strap.
This grease gun is for those who use their grease gun heavily throughout the day. In fact, it can last through 24 grease cartridges on one single battery charge. It also easily changes between two flow rates with just the flip of a switch. It operates on high at 6 oz. of grease per minute and low setting at 4 oz. of grease per minute. It even has the the ability to operate at 10,000 PSI.
The multi-function LCD is a real highlight on this grease gun and makes using it much more simple than the Lincoln or Milwaukee. You don’t have to wonder if your battery is running low because you’ll see the battery level right in front of you the whole time. It’ll also show you the level of grease in realtime as well. And if the grease gun stalls the LCD will turn red and if the gun loses prime or runs out of grease, it’ll flash red.
It comes equipped with an LED flashlight for low light and night time applications as well, operated simply by the push of a button.
Overall, a top-notch quality grease gun and what you’d except from a quality brand like Alemite.
The LUB5130 Grease Gun by Ingersoll Rand is by far the most rugged and durable grease gun on this list. Not only is its housing both impact and chemical resistant, but it also comes with a heavy duty motor and steel reinforced gears for added durability. No matter how many times you drop this gun, it’ll still perform just as well as it did on day one.
This grease gun features a lightweight design at only slightly over seven pounds. It also has a comfortable molded grip which gives the gun a good feel when held and limits vibration when the grease gun is in operation. The soft-mount system also decreases vibration and makes this one of the best grease guns in terms of limited vibration.
This grease gun allows operation up to 6250 PSI, releasing 2.6 oz. of grease per minute at this pressure. It features three-way loading and holds 14 oz. cartridges. The LUB5130 grease gun also comes with a 30-inch hose to help you reach into tight places.
In addition to the hose, it comes with a carrying case, one 20V battery and a charging station. It also comes with a 3-year warranty, 2-year for the battery and 1-year replacement on the gun, battery and the charger.
Best Air Powered Grease Guns
1. Lincoln Air Operated Grease Gun (1162)
The Lincoln 1162 air powered grease gun is a fully automatic grease gun with a high level of durability. It featured a 30-inch hose designed for high pressure use and comes with a coupler that locks onto the gun. With its variable speed trigger, it gives you control over the flow and operates well under a wide pressure range.
This grease gun is designed to operate from 40-150 PSI and has a pump ratio of 40-to-1 (at 150 PSI). It can deliver grease at a max pressure of 6,000 PSI. It has a variable speed trigger so you can easily adjust the output if needed. It also has an anti-cavitation pump designed to virtually eliminate priming.
This gun also features a check valve for quick cleaning and easy maintenance. There’s also an advanced vent valve for smooth grease dispensing. It accepts bulk loading or grease cartridges, depending on your preference.
This grease gun comes with a one year warranty.
Overall, an extremely durable, well-built and reliable grease gun that is easy to setup and use, and it will last you a long time.
The LockNLube Dual Shot grease gun is just that, a grease gun with the option for either a single shot of grease or operation in continuous grease delivery mode. In single shot mode, it can deliver up to 6,000 PSI. In continuous mode, it delivers 5 oz. of grease per minute.
In continuous mode it operates at 2,500 PSI with an input pressure of 60-95 PSI. In single shot mode it requires an input of 60-120 PSI. It can be moved from mode to mode just by the twist of a switch, for easily changing between the two modes.
Made of solid metal it is extremely durable and built for the jobsite. It also has a very robust trigger with a solid feel to it. With the lock an lube coupler, it also stays firmly on the fitting.
It has a 16 oz. capacity for bulk loading and accepts cartridge loads of 14 ounces.
It comes with a highly durable 30-inch hose, LockNLube grease coupler and a free seal replacement kit. There’s also an in-line hose swivel that’s built-in to prevent the hose from twisting.
This grease gun is covered by a 30 day money back guarantee and a one year warranty.
The Best Grease Guns: Conclusion
The best grease gun is the one that’s best for the job at hand. Some of these are better for small machinery (lever action and pistol grip grease guns) while others are good for larger equipment (air powered and electric grease guns). However, if you buy the right type of grease guns for the job, any one of these grease guns will outperform any of the standard grease guns on the market. These are the best of the best grease guns and built tough enough for any job you decide to throw at them.