What Fuel Should I Use in My Lawn Mower

Have you ever been in the middle of landscaping your lawn, only to find that your mower is out of fuel? It’s a feeling all gardeners and landscapers know too well, but was it really necessary for our grass to look so good that we needed to run on empty?

The answer is yes. Choosing between gas, ethanol or oil can be confusing. Luckily, we’re here with the lowdown on what fuel will make sure you get through even the most complex of landscaping projects – punctuality not included!

Read on to decide which option is best for powering up your beloved lawnmower.

What is the Best Fuel for Lawn Mower?

What is the best fuel for lawn mower? And do lawn mowers take regular gas? Yes, they do. Actually, the best fuel used in lawn mowers is regular gas.

Regular gas, also known as “unleaded gasoline”, is a combination of light hydrocarbons that are blended together to create an ignition-ready mixture that can be used in engines.

Its octane rating ranges from 87 to 93 depending on the location, so make sure you use the right octane for your mower. For example, many newer mowers and generators require gas with a rating of 93 or higher.

Types of Fuel to Use on your Lawn Mower

When it comes to fueling your lawn mower, there are four main options:

Regular unleaded gasoline

As discussed above, this is the most common type of fuel and should be used for most lawn mowers. It has an octane rating of 87 to 93 and should be used in mowers that don’t explicitly require ethanol or oil.

It also has the benefit of being readily available and cost-effective, so you can get started on your projects without much fuss. Plus, it’s easy to store and won’t degrade or evaporate quickly.

However, it is important to remember that regular unleaded fuel should not be used in mowers with two-stroke engines as this can damage the engine and reduce performance. In addition, you should always check your owner’s manual for the best fuel recommendations.

Mid-range unleaded gasoline

Mid-grade gas has an octane rating between 87 and 89 and is usually a good balance between high performance and cost savings. The higher the octane rating of the fuel, the better it is for engine performance.

Mid-grade unleaded gasoline provides better protection against pre-ignition and knocking, making it the best choice for lawn mowers that require fuel with an octane rating between 87 and 89.

It’s usually more expensive than regular unleaded, but less expensive than premium. If you use mid-grade in your lawn mower, be sure to use a fuel stabilizer/conditioner, such as STA-BIL® Fuel Stabilizer, to keep the gasoline fresh and protect your engine from corrosion.

Premium unleaded gasoline

Premium unleaded gasoline has an octane rating of 91 or higher and is specifically engineered for high-performance engines. It’s a good choice if your lawn mower engine calls for fuel with an octane rating of 91 or higher, as it’ll give you the best performance possible.

Premium unleaded is more expensive than regular unleaded, so you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting the most bang for your buck. Also, remember to protect your engine by using a fuel stabilizer or conditioner.

Non-oxygenated gasoline

Non-oxygenated gasoline is a blend of hydrocarbons that don’t contain oxygen, which allows them to burn more efficiently. This type of fuel has an octane rating between 87 and 93, depending on the blend.

It’s usually used in older mowers with carbureted engines that aren’t designed for oxygenated fuel and can be found at most gas stations. But, if you do use non-oxygenated gasoline in your mower, make sure to use it within 30 days since it has a tendency to evaporate faster than oxygenated fuel.

If you’re not sure whether your lawn mower engine is designed for non-oxygenated fuel, check your owner’s manual. Some mower engines that require non-oxygenated gasoline are best able to perform when the fuel is blended with oil specifically made for the engine.

This helps lubricate and keep it running smoothly.

Small Engine Fuel Storage Tips

Regardless of the type of fuel you use in your lawn mower, it’s important to store it properly. This means keeping containers sealed and storing them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.

Also, always make sure to keep a lid on all fuel containers when they’re not in use. This will help prevent spills and keep combustible vapors from escaping.

Finally, if you can’t use up all of the fuel in a container before it expires, consider investing in smaller containers to help reduce waste. Doing so will also save you money and make sure your lawn mower is always running at its best.

Fuels You Don’t Want to Use in Your Lawn Mower and Why

Now that you know the types of fuel to use on your mower, it’s also important to understand which fuels you should avoid. Let’s take a look at some of the most common fuels that you don’t want to use in your lawn mower.

High ethanol content gasoline blends

Ethanol-blended gasoline usually has an octane rating of 87 or higher, but it’s not recommended for use in lawn mowers that don’t specifically call for it.

This is because high-ethanol blends have a tendency to form deposits on the fuel systems of engines that aren’t designed for them, causing damage over time. What’s more, ethanol has a lower energy content than other fuels, meaning it can’t provide the same performance as regular gasoline.

So, unless you know that your mower engine is built to handle high-ethanol blends, it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Diesel fuel

Diesel fuel, while widely available at many gas stations, should never be used in a lawn mower. This is because diesel fuel has a higher viscosity than gasoline and can cause clogging and damage to the engine’s components.

It also won’t allow the engine to ignite properly and will lead to reduced power and performance.

For these reasons, it’s best to stick with gasoline for your mower engine.


Knowing what fuel is best for your lawn mower can make all the difference in keeping your engine running smoothly and efficiently. So, when it comes time to fuel, make sure you know which type of fuel to use in your mower.

And, if you’re ever unsure, it’s best to check with a qualified technician or consult your owner’s manual for specific advice on the type of fuel that’s right for your mower engine.

​​Now that you know which fuel is best for your needs, make sure you have a battery charger for lawn mowers on hand so that you can keep your mower running in top condition all season long.

Kelsey Davis

With a background in Environmental Science from the University of Florida, Kelsey Davis has dedicated the last 10 years to mastering turf management. Her professional journey includes a significant tenure at a renowned botanical garden. Her experience spans from working with golf courses to providing consultancy for residential landscaping projects. Kelsey became a member of our team in 2020, where she combines her practical expertise with a passion for writing. Outside of work, she's an enthusiastic trail runner and wildlife photographer.

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