What’s The Best Petrol For My Lawn Mower? E10 vs Premium Fuel

Wondering what’s the best type of fuel to use in your petrol lawn mower?

In this guide, we’ll explain what petrol to use for a lawn mower in the UK.

We’ll also explain how to buy lawn mower fuel, and how to store it safely.

What’s the best petrol for a lawn mower?

Man refueling lawn mower.

The best petrol for your lawnmower is unleaded petrol, with an octane rating of at least 87 (91 RON). Importantly, the petrol cannot have an ethanol content of more than 10% (E10 petrol). If there’s too much ethanol in the fuel, it can attract water, which sinks to the bottom of the fuel, allowing bacteria to breed and causing corrosion to your lawn mower. E15 petrol should not be used in your lawn mower.

Most people use “Super Unleaded” 97 or 98 RON petrol in their lawn mower, because it has just a 5% ethanol content. There is little benefit in using premium fuels (such as Shell V-Power) in small engines such as your lawn mower.

Can you use E10 petrol in a lawn mower?

Your lawn mower will run on E10 petrol, but it’s not the best type of fuel to use. Ideally, you want to use fuel with as little ethanol as possible, because ethanol attracts water, causing corrosion and possible engine damage over time. You can use E10 petrol occasionally, but 98 RON Super Unleaded is a better choice if you can get it where you live.

E5 fuel (with a 5% ethanol content) is better than E10 for your engine over the long run, especially if you have an older lawn mower. The older your mower, the worse it will perform with E10 fuel, especially for lawn mowers made before 2010 or so.

Also, ensure not to leave E10 fuel in your petrol tank for extended periods, as it can begin to go thick over time.

The dangers of stale petrol

To keep your mower running smoothly, the lawn mower fuel you use must be fresh. Old petrol can become stale in as little as a few weeks if left in contact with the air. Using stale petrol in your lawn mower can result in poor performance, will make the engine run rough, and may make the lawn mower difficult to start with the starter cord.

Petrol can also become stale inside the lawn mower engine. After your finish mowing your lawn, it’s a good idea to clear any petrol out of the engine and fuel system – if the fuel is stored in the fuel tank, it won’t become stale as easily as it does inside the engine itself.

To clear fuel out of the engine when you finish mowing, switch the fuel valve to the off position and start up the motor. Leave it running for a few minutes until it cuts out – when it stops, this means that all the fuel has been purged from the carburettor and fuel system.

How to store lawn mower fuel and prevent it from going stale

Green British jerry can.
This is the 5 litre jerry can used to store petrol in the UK.

To prevent your lawn mower fuel from becoming stale, you should store the petrol in an airtight jerry can, out of direct sunlight.

If you need to store gasoline for an extended period of time, you can use a fuel stabiliser, which is a type of fuel treatment product. Essentially, you treat the fuel with a stabiliser prior to storing it. The fuel stabiliser then helps to prevent gum or varnish buildup, and prevents these deposits from entering the fuel system and carburettor. This helps to prevent engine damages and makes the mower much easier to start.

Most petrol will begin to go stale after 30 days, but with a petrol stabiliser used, the fuel should last in storage for two years or even longer.

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For safety, you should keep the petrol in a well-ventilated area far away from your dwelling. Petrol should also be kept away from any potential ignition triggers such as sparks and electronic equipment. A garage or shed is a good place to store petrol for most people.

There are also rules about the amount of gasoline you can keep at home – the current rule in the UK is a maximum of 30 litres, which is a lot more than you need to keep a lawn mower running. You probably only need to buy two or three litres of fuel for your mower, unless you have a very large garden.

How to make your mower run smoother

Other than ensuring that you use fresh unleaded petrol with the right octane rating and not too much ethanol, there are some other steps you can take to make the motor run smoother, and make it easier to start.

  • Clean the fuel filter – it might be clogged up with gunk if the mower is more than two years old. You can wipe any dirt or debris off and then spray the filter with a cleaning product, or you can replace the fuel filter completely.
  • Change the spark plug – it might be dirty or worn out.
  • Run fresh fuel through the system with an additive applied. If you’ve previously used old petrol or low quality fuel, flushing it out can help the motor to run more smoothly.

These tips can also be helpful for increasing the longevity of your mower. Although petrol lawn mowers are very tough, it’s important to maintain them properly to extend their lifespan.

2-stroke vs 4-stroke mower fuel

Man refueling a 4 stroke mower.

2-stroke and 4-stroke lawn mowers can use the same type of fuel – unleaded petrol with at least an 87 octane rating and no more than 10% ethanol (ideally 5%). This applies to both self-propelled and push lawn mowers.

The difference between the two types of petrol mowers is how you use this fuel.

With a 4-stroke lawn mower, you simply pour fuel into the fuel tank, just like with your car.

However, with a 2-stroke lawn mower, you need to mix fuel and oil together, separate to the fuel tank, before pouring the mixture into the mower. This is because the gasoline in a 2-stroke mower helps to lubricate the engine internals, rather than the motor drawing oil from a separate reservoir.

How do I get petrol for a lawn mower?

You can buy fuel for your petrol lawn mower at most petrol stations. They should sell the correct type of jerry can, which should be a green plastic container, for you to store the petrol in safely.

When transporting fuel, there are no laws about how much gasoline you can store in your car. However, the police can stop you if they think the amount of petrol or the way in which you’re transporting it is hazardous.

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6 thoughts on “What’s The Best Petrol For My Lawn Mower? E10 vs Premium Fuel”

  1. Very helpful article. I have a number of petrol fuelled garden machines, all of which are likely to use E10 in future. One predates 2010 and is only used occasionally in the peak growing season. Your article has reminded me to buy ‘Fuel Fit’ as this has previously allowed me to store fuel in the machine tanks.

    Reply
  2. Interesting article. Filling stations near me only sell E10 and diesel. The odd garage sells premium unleaded as well. Is it worth mixing premium with E10 for lawn mowers? I have started doing this in my 2007 Toyota Aygo car as I can no longer get E5 unleaded and keeping my fingers crossed !! Any thoughts ?

    Reply
    • Hi Stephen,

      Fuel mixing is a good idea if you can’t get plentiful E5 where you live. It’s certainly preferable to using pure E10, especially on a slightly older lawn mower.

      Reply
  3. Hi, I have a ride-on lawnmower but can no longer get ordinary unleaded petrol as my local garage has changed to the new fuels. Can I use e5 in my mower without it damaging it?
    Was any of this taken into account when they decided to change the fuels as lots of people have expensive garden equipment?
    Don’t know who else to ask about this. I would appreciate some help. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Hi Diane,

      Provided the quality of the fuel is otherwise good (it’s not stale for example), you should be OK to use E5. We say this on the basis that E5 is only causing issues with very few classic cars, whereas E10 is affecting a larger number of vehicles (around 8%). However, we would recommend contacting the manufacturer for advice if possible – if the mower is quite old, they may prefer you avoid ethanol fuels, although this is unlikely to do a significant amount of damage.

      Thanks

      Reply

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