Petrol Power Tools: Fuel Guide

Petrol-powered garden tools are still popular, despite battery tools arguably being the future. From lawnmowers to hedge trimmers and leaf blowers, petrol is seen as powerful and trustworthy when you don’t want to be tethered by cords.

But with the introduction of E10 petrol (which replaces E5) and rules around storing and mixing petrol for use in tools, it isn’t always as easy as just filling up a jerry can at the pump and transferring it to your power tool.

Below, we go into how to manage petrol for garden tools, and why moving over to battery power could actually be much better for your business or home life in the long term.


What is E10 petrol?

E10 petrol contains more ethanol than the previous E5 option. To be precise, it contains 90% regular unleaded and up to 10% renewable ethanol, compared to the 5% ethanol in E5.

This has been changed to help reduce CO2 emissions. E10 petrol is compatible with over 95% of the cars currently on the road, made after 2011.

In most cases, E10 from petrol forecourts can still be used in power tools, but some manufacturers, such as Mountfield, say that it is best to use Super Unleaded petrol (which still contains just 5% ethanol) or completely ethanol-free fuels.


Tips for petrol-powered tools

There is certain guidance around the use of petrol in power and garden tools, which prolong the life of your tool, and can decrease the risk of buying too much fuel which will be wasted.


Tip 1: Don’t waste petrol

Only add the amount of petrol you will need for the job at hand to the engine. You are better topping up the engine with petrol a few times compared to overfilling and needing to empty the tank.

Emptying a tank can be difficult but can also mean that petrol (and the money spent on it) is wasted. It also means you’re topping up with fresher petrol, which is good for the engine.


Tip 2: Store fuel properly

You should never keep fuel in the tool if it won’t be used for a few days. Most petrol will go stale after 30 days, so deterioration has already begun after this time.

Ethanol is also hygroscopic. This means it draws in moisture from the atmosphere, and condensation can develop inside the fuel tank.

If there is a risk of the fuel being left in the tank for a prolonged time, or you need the tool over a few weeks and constantly removing it will be a strain, it could be worth using a fuel stabiliser.


Tip 3: Use fuel stabiliser for long-term projects

A fuel stabiliser will delay the process of the fuel going off, prolonging the life of both the fuel and the tool.

Properly treated fuel can last for up to two years depending on the stabiliser used and storage conditions, but we would still always recommend removing it once the tool is no longer needed.


Tip 4: Choose your fuel wisely

You should choose the best fuel for the job. Some tools may need a specific fuel, and manufacturers may recommend particular types.

But for most people, there will be a choice between E10 or E5 petrol, available at forecourts, and non-ethanol petrol which is available to buy from specialists or hardware shops.

If you do have a choice, think about how long your job will go on, how long you have the tool and whether you commonly use petrol for power tools. If you will only use your petrol-powered hedge trimmer once per year, buying a speciality fuel which contains no ethanol and can be stored could be more economical.


Should I use speciality fuel in petrol tools?

You can buy fuel which contains no ethanol and is dedicated for use in power tools. Most of these fuels are specially designed to use in power tools versus cars and other vehicles, so will be able to be stored for longer timescales than petrol from a forecourt.

As they don’t contain ethanol, all of the downsides (such as absorbing moisture and going stale) are eliminated. Aspen fuel, for example, contains no ethanol, will stay fresh for up to 5 years and emits 99% less toxic emissions.

This is a better choice for anyone who doesn’t commonly use petrol power and would risk wasting any leftovers, or for anyone who wants to bulk buy their fuel without the risk of it going unused.


Should I choose battery-powered tools instead?

As mentioned, using petrol in power and garden tools comes with plenty of headaches:

  • Petrol eventually goes stale and can’t be used once this process has started
  • You can’t therefore bulk buy petrol, as it could be wasted before it can be used
  • Nor can you store any over winter during potential tool downtime
  • You should drain the tank after the tool has been used, which will prevent it from going stale or absorbing too much moisture
  • Petrol can be bulky to store, in suitable cans and in a safe area
  • Petrol is an ongoing cost

With advancements, there are now battery-powered garden tools which are just as good at the job as their petrol alternatives.

One example is the Milwaukee MX Fuel range, which is designed for use on sites and difficult jobs. But the power of the tools means they give just as good results as the original petrol models. Benefits to switching to battery include:

  • No need to store fuel
  • No need to mix fuel
  • A one-off cost, unlike fuel
  • Instant battery changes when power runs out
  • Easier to remove the battery when finished with the tool
  • No wasted, unused fuel
  • The ability to use renewable energy to charge the battery
  • Easier to store than dedicated fuel containers
  • Easier to transport and less bulky

This cuts out difficulties in managing fuel, and downtime from preparing the fuel or decanting it.




Thank you for reading our Speedy Services blog. We hope you found this guide on how to properly use and manage the fuel for petrol tools useful.

You’ll find all the power tools and hire equipment you need right here. Start planning your next DIY project today and open a Speedy account online or in-store for all your tool hire needs.

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