Liquid Wrench vs WD-40

Almost anyone can benefit from adding a penetrating oil to their DIY tool kit. Unlike other oils used to lubricate engines or for fuel, the primary goal of penetrating oil is to loosen stuck nuts and bolts. These oils are very low viscosity which enables them to work their way inside stuck nuts and bolts through the tiniest cracks and fissures to provide extra lubrication. Although many different brands of penetrating oil are available, two of the very best are Liquid Wrench and WD-40. Today, we’re going to compare Liquid Wrench vs WD-40 penetrating oils.

Crash Course: Penetrating Oil

Not all penetrating oil is created equal. Many different options are available from a variety of brands. And the actual make-up – and effectiveness – of each model is quite different. Our quick guide will help point you in the right direction of the best penetrating oil for your needs.

What Is Penetrating Oil?

According to The Family Handyman, penetrating oil is a low-viscosity oil. Sometimes referred to as penetrating fluid, the low-viscosity of the oil allows it to easily seep through small cracks. After time, many nuts and bolts become fused shut. Often this is through the process of rusting which can lock two metal parts together.

When it comes to the nuts and bolts of machinery or other objects, the rust on these metal objects can make removing them or replacing them incredibly difficult. The job of penetrating oil is to simply seep into these rusted nuts and bolts to make removing them much easier.

Pros and Cons

The benefits of penetrating oils are numerous. First and foremost, these low-viscosity oils provide great penetration and excellent lubrication, especially on rusted metal objects. In addition, they flow easily and are easy to use. A minimal amount of oil applied directly to the object in need of lubrication is all that is required.

On top of this, most of these products also help prevent rust and clean dirty objects in addition to their penetrating and lubricating benefits. Finally, penetrating oil is generally safe to use. It’s safe to get a small amount on your skin and there is little smell.

The only real disadvantage to this product is mess. Although most include a spray nozzle to effectively direct the spray of the oil, there’s a chance an oily mess will need to be cleaned up afterwards. This video from ChrisFix shows you how to make homemade penetrating oil (although both Liquid Wrench and WD-40 are so cheap there’s little reason not to buy them).

How to Use Penetrating Oil

The exact way to use penetrating oil depends on the specific task at hand. But because loosening a rusted nut or bolt is among the most common, that’s what we’re going to outline here. Simply install the precision spray straw, gently shake the can, and then spray the oil where you need it to go. Although you don’t need to apply a ton of the oil, make sure to adequately coat the object in question. The Family Handyman has an excellent guide on how to use WD-40.

Penetrating Oil Showdown

Both of these products are widely used in a variety of settings, including professional jobsites, mechanic garages, and for DIY projects. Now, let’s look at Liquid Wrench vs WD-40 head to head.

Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil

Liquid Wrench Penetrating Oil is available in several varieties. Not only do these varieties include specific applications, but also various sizes and application methods. This specific model is for penetrating and lubricating. It’s versatile and has multiple uses. Plus, it’s easy to apply thanks to the precision spray straw.

Apart from WD-40, Liquid Wrench is perhaps the best-known penetrating oil brand with more than 75 years in business. Their penetrating oils work very well, even on extremely rusted or otherwise corroded, metal parts. All of the ingredients used are completely safe, even when exposed to the skin. Note that although WD-40 only uses a single formula, Liquid Wrench offers six different formulas, each specifically designed for a different application.

What We Like:

  • Safe
  • Multiple types
  • Effective and versatile

What We Don’t Like:

  • Can be messy

WD-40 Penetrating Oil

It doesn’t get any more classic than WD-40 Penetrating Oil. The most well-known penetrating/lubricating oil on the market, It is known just as much for its classic blue, yellow, and red packaging as it is its time-tested effectiveness. Although WD-40 only uses a single multi-use formula (unlike other brands, including Liquid Wrench, that create specific formulas), it’s highly effective no matter the task at hand.

It works just as well for cleaning, degreasing, and preventing rust as it does at penetrating rusted metal objects to help you loosen then. Despite the single formula, WD-40 is available in a wide variety of sizes and application methods – as well as multi-pack specials that save you money. This product is a must-have for any home toolkit since you never know when it will come in handy.

What We Like:

  • Safe
  • Single multi-use model
  • Easy to use

What We Don’t Like:

  • Can be messy

Wrap Up

You can’t go wrong with either Liquid Wrench or WD-40. Both are versatile products with a large variety of uses, including loosening stuck nuts, bolts, and other objects. But which penetrating oil comes out on top? We have to hand it to WD-40. Not only is this the classic and most popular option, but it’s also the most effective.

It is easy to use. It penetrates quickly and deeply. It’s especially effective at cutting through rust to release rust-locked objects. Is it the best penetrating oil on the market? No, but it definitely is a step ahead of Liquid Wrench, and is among the most versatile penetrating/lubricating oils available. That said, Liquid Wrench is also a time-trusted and well-tested option. It’s not quite as multi-purpose as WD-40, instead focusing specifically on penetrating tasks. If you have to go with one or the other, we’d say add WD-40 to your toolkit now and then add Liquid Wrench at a later time. Or, better yet, add both to your toolkit since they’re both inexpensive and highly efficient products. Which product is your top pick? Leave a comment to let us know.

About Russ Thompson

Hey I'm Russ and I have been a contractor for over 20 years. I know what the cost of having the right tools and materials for the job. My passion for woodworking and helping others by workshops in my wood shop. I have beginner classes all the way up expert trade classes. Check out my bio for more.

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