Vacuum Pump Oil Substitute

Substitute for Vacuum Pump Oil

In this world of machines, we need a variety of oils to keep them running- Vacuum pump oil is one of many; it keeps your vacuum pump lubricated and running.

It is a mineral oil that is- refined until the necessary vapor pressure is- achieved and collects moisture and contaminants from the machine.

Machines have tons of components working nonstop, and they need lubrication for smooth running. Vacuum pump oil provides this lubrication- so that none of the parts grind on one another. It helps machines to protect themselves from corrosion.

Another crucial work vacuum pump oil does is seal your pump. It helps keep the pressure at the right level so that your machine is always ready for up and running. A vacuum pump machine has so much work to do.

But there are times you cannot find the exact oil that you need for your vacuum pumps. It is the time when you have to think about its substitutes. In this article, I will discuss substitutes for vacuum pump oil.

What are the usages of vacuum pump oil?

Some of the foremost usages of this vacuum pump oil are:

  • Sealing
  • Lubricating
  • Corrosion Protection
  • Noise Reduction
  • Cooling etc.

How to Find a Substitute for Vacuum Pump Oil?

There are some substitutes for Vacuum pump oil, but you have to select them carefully. While finding it, you have to consider a few factors- they are:


Characters of the oils are crucial because a vacuum pump has particular features and requires a level of viscosity; you will have to choose a substitute that offers the closest one to the vacuum pump oil.


Again, a vacuum pump needs oil with a fixed thermal rating. A vacuum pump oil offers the perfect thermal rating for it- if you are looking for a substitute, it should have a similar or close thermal rating to the vacuum pump oil.


It cannot be a good substitute if the price is more than the vacuum pump oil- always- go for cheap to moderately expensive fluids.

Why Do I Need to Know about a Substitute?

A question may arise in your mind, “what can I substitute for vacuum pump oil?” Substitution is what you use instead of the main product, and if there is a scarcity in supply of the main product- a hike in price also forces you to pick up a substitute product.

If you are looking for a substitute for your vacuum pump- you are not getting the original oil in the market, or the price has become very high; you need to have an alternative oil to run your pump.

If you know the substitutes, you can easily pick one- it will save your time and your vacuum pump- learning about it, you can select the right oil for your pump; as a result, there will be no chances of damage.

How to Choose the Right Substitute?

Vacuum pump oil has some standard features- no other oil can give a better result than this oil because it is specifically- made for vacuum pumps- but some are close to vacuum pump oil, and you can use them as your substitute.

Here are some of the substitute oils:

Hydro-treated Oil

Hydro-treated oil can be a vacuum pump oil substitute– it is very close to the original oil. It is- made of hydrocracking vegetable oil and offers low-temperature properties.

Hydro-treated Oil

Refrigeration Oil

You can use refrigeration oils as a substitute for vacuum pump oil- they offer constant thermal conductivity, viscosity, and chemical stability.


It is synthetic oil. It has a high viscosity index, therefore, is closer to the vacuum pump oil. Besides, it offers thermal-oxidative stability, low volatility, etc. The temperature ranges between -60 to +125 degrees Celsius.

Motor Oil

Motor oil is very close to the vacuum pump oil- it has a high viscosity, thermal stability, and oxidation stability; the temperature is between 100 and 107 degrees Celsius, and it is cheaper.

How to Get the Substitute?

Do you know what kind of oil a vacuum pump use? Well, I’ve discussed it already; we have also talked about its substitute; now we know which the best substitute oils for the vacuum pump are.

Now, the questions arrive, how to get them- these are oils for machines, you will get them in mechanical stores- have a look at your nearest mechanic shops and supermarkets. They will have these oils. You can also purchase them online. Always go for the cheaper one. It will save you some money for later use.

How to Apply the Substitute?

Applying substitutes in the vacuum pump is similar to how you do it with your original vacuum pump oil; here’s how you will pour substitute oil into your vacuum pump:

  • Firstly, drain all the existing- oil from the pump; do it when it’s hot.
  • Make sure no oil is- left in the pump; Let it sit for a few minutes.
  • Now open the intake, run your pump for 5 seconds, and shut it down.
  • Finally, pour the substitute oil into the pump.

How to Maintain the Substitute?

Marinating a substitute is as necessary as maintaining the original vacuum pump oil while using it in your pump; because if you do not do it properly, both your substitute oil and your vacuum pump can get damaged.

Make sure- you have drained all the existing oil from the pump while pouring your substitute oil into the pump; store it in a safe place, away from heat and light, and make sure they do not contaminate with other substances.

What if You Cannot Find a Substitute?

If you cannot find a substitute for your vacuum pump oil, I think there is nothing much you can do- we use it if the original product is not available. In this case, we use a substitute oil if the original vacuum oil is not available near us.

But if you fail to find a substitute, there is nothing much left that you can do- you will have to shut your vacuum pump until you find a vacuum pump oil or its substitute oil.

How to Measure the Effect of the Substitute?

A substitute is all you will get as close to as the original product. Although there are some substitutes for vacuum pump oil, you better measure its effect very carefully; because, unlike the exact product, you don’t know how this substitute oil will affect your vacuum pump.

After using the substitute oil in your pump, closely monitor how is it working? If it is running smoothly, you are good to go. But if you find any abnormality, you should immediately shut down the vacuum pump and see if or how much damage has been- done.

What to Do If You Have Used the Substitute?

If you are using substitute oil in your vacuum pump, you have to remain careful from the beginning. If the oil suits well, you can continue running the pump.

If you have used up all the substitute oil while running the pump, you will have to refuel your pump- use original vacuum oil if available otherwise, you can keep using the substitute. Make sure you have drained up all the existing ones from the pump. Do it while your pump is still hot.

Is the Substitute Safe?

Have this question ever pooped up in your mind, “why is vacuum pump oil- used instead of refrigerant one, or any other oil in that matter?”  Vacuum pump oil is the most suitable oil and the safest one for your vacuum pump. It is- designed to use here.

But sometimes- you might have to use a substitute. No substitute is 100% safe- there can be an issue at any moment. So, you should keep a close look at your vacuum pump while it is running with substitute oil.

Oil vacuum pump working principle

An oil vacuum pump is a complex machine with a lot of components- the pump works smoothly when all these components work together. Oil vacuum pumps are also known as rotary vane pumps; it uses two rotors in a series.

A rotary vane pump consists of a cylindrical housing, two rotors, and free moving vanes. Rotors are- placed in rotor slots, and when the rotors turn- the centrifugal force throws the vans against the wall and creates a chamber between the rotor and the cylinder.

A vacuum pump operates in four stages- they are:

  • Induction
  • Isolation
  • Compression, and
  • Exhaust

A rotary vane pump is- considered a wet pump because the gas it pumps is- exposed to the oil it uses as a lubricant. The lubricant provides the seal for the pump. That is why it is prudent to select it very carefully. You should choose the exact vacuum oil- designed for this application only.


What can I use instead of vacuum pump oil?

What can I use instead of vacuum pump oil? Vacuum pump oil is best- suited for vacuum pumps. It works in various ways. For example, we use them for lubricating, cooling, sealing, noise reduction, moisture collecting, etc. But there are some alternatives to this oil. You can use other oils like Hydro-treated oil, Polyalphaolefin, Refrigeration oil, Esters, Motor Oil, etc. instead- of vacuum pump oil.

Can you use vegetable oil in a vacuum pump?

You can virtually use any oil in your vacuum pump. Similarly, you can use vegetable oil as well. But I don’t think it will work very well because oil is all about boiling point. Vegetable oils have a high boiling point, meaning it requires a higher temperature to burn at their best. But inside a vacuum, vegetable oil will boil at a lower temperature. As a result, it won’t be very well and for a long time.

Can you use engine oil for a vacuum pump?

Yes, you can use engine oil for a vacuum pump. Oil in a vacuum pump is used for lubrication so- that it does not break down. It will not be a good idea to use any oil. A vacuum pump requires a high thermal rating. Generally, the thermal breakdown point should be around 250 degrees Celsius for vacuum pump oils.

Can I use hydraulic oil in my vacuum pump?

Unfortunately, you cannot use hydraulic oil in your vacuum pump because it is quite the opposite of vacuum pump oil. Hydraulic oil is bound to survive high pressure. It cannot break down or form any chemical reaction in low pressure. That is why it is not suitable for vacuum pumps. Besides, it is a very cheap fluid and will damage your vacuum pump.

What kind of oil should I use in my vacuum pump?

Have you asked yourself, is all vacuum pump oil the same? The answer is No- they are not. For example, a liquid ring vacuum pump generally needs an ISO 22 or ISO 32 viscosity. A rotary vane vacuum pump needs an ISO 68 or ISO 100 viscosity oil. Other vacuum pumps use ISO 220 oil. Vacuum pumps generally use oil with low vapor pressure.

What is the difference between motor oil and vacuum pump oil?

There are many subtle differences between motor oil and vacuum pump oil: motor oil contains rust inhibitors and gummy residues. Vacuum pump oil contains corrosion-resistant, anti-oxidation, and anti-foaming materials. They have differences in their viscosity as well. Vacuum pump oil is mineral oil, but motor oil can be mineral or synthetic.

Can I use baby oil in my vacuum pump?

As I said, you can use any oil in your vacuum pump. But it will not necessarily work well in the machine. It is the same for baby oil too. A vacuum pump oil has a corrosion-resistant additive to protect it from corrosion and moisture, other additives like anti-oxidation, anti-foaming materials, etc. You will certainly not get them in baby oil.

What is the ultimate vacuum of a vacuum pump?

The ultimate vacuum of a vacuum pump in the US is 29.92 Hg. On the other hand, the max pressure for a vacuum pump is a theoretical value; if you operate your vacuum pump at ultimate pressure, the pump speed will be zero. However, base pressure is used nowadays instead of the ultimate one.


A vacuum pump is a delicate machine, and there are specially designed accessories for this machine. It requires oil- to power it up and lubricates its components. There are specially designed vacuum pump oil for these reasons. But, there is some substitute for vacuum pump oil too, in case you have to use them someday.

I hope after reading this article- you have come to know about vacuum pump oil and its substitute- now you can use them confidently if you have to.

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