There are good reasons to just stick with Stihl MotoMix® (a premixed solution) vs. going with alternatives. But if you are wondering what your options are and how they stack up, you are not alone. I’ve done a lot of research on this for my Stihl KombiSystem and have learned quite a bit. Here’s the short and sweet of it:
There are multiple brands of 50:1 premixed fuel available on the market comparable to Stihl MotoMix®. Each offers an ethanol-free solution but Husqvarna XP provides the highest octane rating of all products we researched.
I’m going to try to provide you with all of the information that you need on viable alternatives to Stihl’s own premixed fuel. Let’s begin by establishing some level of standards to measure against.
Advantages Of Stihl Motomix Premixed Fuel
Below are some of the key perceived benefits of using Stihl Motomix:
- Synthetic Oil
- High Octane
- No Mixing Required
- Precise fuel-to-oil ratios every time
While it’s true that each of these features offers a distinct advantage compared to mixing your own fuel, Stihl is not the only company that offers ethanol-free, high octane premixed fuels that use synthetic oil. But first, let’s get clear on why just running to the gas pump for fuel and buying an off-the-shelf oil to mix yourself may not be a good idea.
Ethanol Wreaks Havoc On Small Engines
It is interesting to read the claims by the Department of Energy on the benefits of ethanol when compared to the numerous complaints against it when it comes to small engines. Hailed as a cleaner-burning fuel solution that is domestically produced, plant-derived, and actually capable of helping to keep your engine clean by burning completely (source), you would think we would want to use it in every combustible engine we had.
But ethanol does not play nice with small engines that are run infrequently. The metal corrodes, fuel lines degrade, and engines fail (source). In fact, ethanol has proven to be the enemy of small engines. Yet higher ethanol levels are becoming more prominent at the pumps.
The government lifted its summertime ban on 15% ethanol-blended gasoline (E15) in 2019 (source). Now, during the summer months when yard tool use is at its highest, the ethanol percentage in gasoline at the pumps is beyond the recommended maximum E10 rating for small engines.
And so, an ethanol-free solution is really your best choice when it comes to yard tools.
To learn more about the impact that ethanol has on small engines, read our complete report.
Alternatives To Stihl MotoMix®
With all of that being said, there are pre-mixed alternatives to Stihl MotoMix® that you can buy.
Probably the most well-known alternative is TruFuel 50:1. It checks most of the boxes compared to Stihl Motomix; ethanol-free and pre-mixed at a consistent 50:1 ratio. I reviewed a ton of blogs, forums, and user reviews on various websites and by and large, people are happy with the performance of their Stihl gas-powered yard tools using this product.
I have a complete review of feature comparisons between Stihl Motomix and TruFuel that you can read by clicking here.
TruFuel’s website promises a 92+ octane-engineered fuel, synthetic oil, and stabilizer that provides for up to 5 years of shelflife when unopened and 2 years for an open can (source). The site also lists specific engine brands, among them Stihl, that each of their products is recommended for (they have different mix ratios for specific engines).
You can check the latest pricing on Amazon for TruFuel 50:1 by clicking here.
Other alternatives exist as well. Husqvarna offers a pre-mixed 2 Cycle Fuel at a 50:1 ratio as does Echo. For the most part, these are apple to apple comparisons. Each offers a ready-to-use fuel solution at the recommended 50 to 1 ratio. But there are subtle differences in the mixtures.
Stihl Motomix, for instance, has the lowest octane level of all of the products. Husqvarna XP has the highest with a 95 high octane promise. (Update: Stihl has confirmed a minimum octane rating of 93 – Read this!)
All of the products use fully synthetic oil with the exception of Echo’s Red Armor line, which for some reason goes with a semi-synthetic option. I found all of the information referenced on the manufacturer’s respective websites. Here’s a simple breakdown.
Stihl Motomix vs. Premixed Alternatives: Feature Breakdown
|Echo Red Armor||Yes||Semi-Synthetic||93|
All in all, it’s a close race and chances are you will never notice a difference in engine performance between one product and the other. But it is interesting to compare these side by side and see the subtle differences in their offerings. If you were shooting for best-of-the-best based on this information, Husqvarna XP wins the race with its 95 octane rating, but it wins by a nose.
TruFuel stacks up as a comparable, and possibly superior product over Stihl’s Motomix, but that is based on the advertised “92+” octane rating compared to Stihl’s 92. Who knows what the “+” means in “92+” anyway? All I can assume is that it wasn’t enough to push the score to 93 or they would have stated that. Still, there is no denying that TruFuel, at least by these standards, holds its own against Stihl’s own pre-mix.
Update September 24, 2019: Stihl has recently confirmed a 93 minimum octane rating –read this.
But the bottom line is that when compared in this way, Husqvarna XP offers the same benefits as Stihl Motomix but with a higher octane rating.
You can purchase Husqvarna XP 50:1 fuel on Amazon at this link.
If you are looking for the highest octane alternative to Stihl’s premixed Motomix, Husqvarna XP is your best bet with its 95 high octane rating. Although Echo’s Red Armor product has a higher octane level that Stihl, it only exceeds it by one point and opts for a semi-synthetic formula instead of fully synthetic like the other products.
In the end, the differences are marginal and will likely have little to no impact on performance, at least to a point that you can objectively measure. Just heed the warning we’ve outlined and skip the pump. Mixing your own solution with an E15 gasoline is just asking for trouble.
It’s worth noting that Stihl has designed their Motomix fuel to the specifications that they feel best suits the products they make. While it may not offer the highest octane level, they recommend its use to ensure the longterm reliability of their products.
If you are considering a Stihl Trimmer, read my review to learn whether they are worth the cost. If you already have a Stihl Trimmer, make sure you know how to grease the gearbox with this simple step by step process.
If you are thinking about the Stihl KombiSystem that allows you to connect multiple attachments and turn your trimmer into a chainsaw, cultivator, and numerous other options, I’ve owned and used one for two years and have the inside scoop on this all-in-one yard tool.