Finding the correct gas to oil ratio for a string trimmer is not as easy as it should be. Although the industry is moving slowly toward a consistent 50:1 ratio recommendation, there are still variations between manufacturers.
Recommended gas to oil ratios for the most common string trimmer brands:
|Brand||Gas To Oil Ratio|
It’s important to note that some brands have models that use different ratios than those stated above. It gets ridiculous with some brands that have two or three different recommended ratios depending on the model of your equipment.
As such, it’s always best practice to check the owner’s manual but these represent the bulk of each brand’s offerings.
Stihl doesn’t mix words when it comes to mixing gas and oil. They maintain a consistent 50:1 ratio with all of their 2-stroke equipment (source). I appreciate this level of consistency.
Note that older owner manuals for ECHO products recommended strange, sometimes impossible gas to oil ratios such as 32:1. But in 2019 ECHO revised their recommendations to allow for a 50:1 ratio for all ECHO two-stroke engines using their branded two-cycle oils (source – see page 23).
** Husqvarna’s older manuals used to call for a 40:1 ratio. I contacted Husqvarna for clarification and they verified that newer models all use 50:1 but some older models do in fact require 40:1. I did not receive any specific guidance on the year that this change occurred so I recommend checking your owner’s manual if you have an older model string trimmer just to be sure.
McCulloch equipment uses 40:1 per the Husqvarna website (source).
Virtually every model of Craftsman string trimmer that I looked at used 40:1 gas to oil ratios, though I was unable to find a definitive source that could confirm that this is true of all of their equipment.
Does Gas To Oil Ratio Really Matter?
Two-stroke engines are designed to run on specific gas to oil ratios. Straying from the manufacturer’s recommendations can result in various engine problems and potential damage.
Examples of problems that can be encountered from inaccurate gas to oil ratios include:
But these are just symptoms. The real issue is the potential damage that can be caused to the engine itself.
A two-stroke engine requires lubrication directly in the fuel since it does not have a separate oil compartment to draw lubrication from. Using an inaccurate gas to oil ratio means you are either not providing enough lubrication, or you are giving it too much.
Either way, the motor will not run as efficiently as it is designed to if you alter fuel ratio from the manufacturer recommendations.
Can I Use 4-Stroke Oil Instead Of 2-Stroke?
You should never use 4-stroke oil in a 2-stroke engine. 4-stroke oil will gum up over time when mixed directly with the gas, causing longterm motor issues and potential damage.
Some people have claimed success with using 4-stroke oil but short-term testing does not allow for adequate evaluation of longterm impact. There is absolutely no reason that you should place your 2-stroke equipment at risk with this unproven theory.
Should I Buy Premixed Fuel Or Just Mix The Gas And Oil Myself?
For ease of use, premium ingredients, and precise gas to oil ratios, commercially-prepared premixed fuel is a better solution than mixing the gas and oil yourself.
I spent years mixing my own fuel, priding myself on money saved in the short term. In the end, I was being penny-wise but pound-foolish. The gas I was using was from the pump at a local station. Pump fuel contains ethanol which can damage small engines.
In my case, it caused the inner lining of the fuel lines to dissolve resulting in a lot of work rebuilding the carburetor and trying to get the darn thing to run again.
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I made the transition to premixed fuel and have never looked back. There are several quality products available on the market and I’ve already done a lot of the research by comparing the best premixed fuels so have a look at that before buying.
And yes, premixed fuel does cost more when you look strictly at price but you have to factor in that you are getting ethanol-free gas mixed precisely with 2-stroke oil and extended shelf life that far exceeds a homemade mix.
Where Can I Find My String Trimmer Manual Online?
The first place to look for a string trimmer manual online is the manufacturer’s website. Companies generally provide a directory of owner manuals in PDF format available for download.
Here are the direct links to owner manual directories for several leading string trimmer manufacturers:
|Manufacturer||Owner Manual Directory|
If your brand is not listed, try a simple Google search. Any reputable manufacturer will have an online directory that is usually searchable. You can search for your specific string trimmer model and view or download the owner’s manual.
This manual will provide a definitive answer on the correct gas to oil ratio for your specific string trimmer model.
String trimmer gas to oil ratios vary by manufacturer but most are moving toward a 50:1 ratio. It is likely that in the years ahead this will become the defacto gas to oil ratio for 2-stroke yard tools.
In the mean time, it’s important to make sure that you are abiding by the recommended mix ratio specific to your brand and model. This will ensure that your string trimmer runs as efficiently as possible and receives the proper amount of lubrication, preventing damage and poor performance.