Best Bike Chain Lube Reviewed (2020 Buyer’s Guide)

Bike chains need their share of maintenance, as a chain that’s breaking off in the middle of the road can severely hurt. If you happen to find yourself in that kind of mishap, then your drivetrain probably lacked some lubricating.

So, how does a lube actually help and what kind will you need for your bike?

Today, I’m going to introduce you to the nature of bike chain lubricants and provide you with a guide to choosing the best bike chain lube.

Let’s get that much-needed maintenance mission started.

Product Review Table

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Things To Know About Bike Chain Lubes

A lubricant is basically any substance that minimizes the friction between gears and other machine components. A bike chain lube is made specifically for, well, bike chains.

Here’s what you need to know about them.

Benefits Of Bike Chain Lube

Lubing your bicycle chain has a lot of benefits. In fact, it’s an essential maintenance task that you just can’t ignore for the sake of your drivetrain.

In any case, you should have a regular schedule for lubing. Here are the benefits:

  • Reducing the resistance or friction between the chain and cogs
  • Making the bike easier to pedal
  • Suffering less wear and tear
  • Reducing rusting (the lubricant can serve as an anti-corrosion coating on the metal)
  • Preventing the chain from breaking
  • Eliminating the squeaking noise from the cogs and chain when pedaling
  • Extending the life of the chain and sprockets

Indeed, lubrication is necessary for any metal gear — whether it’s as simple as your bike chain or as complicated as a metal robot — as long as there’s a joint that moves.

Types of Lube

Three basic types of bike chain lubricants exist — the wet lube, the dry lube, and the more versatile ceramic lube.

Wet

The wet chain lube is, you guessed it, meant for wet conditions. Like being in a humid and damp environment or where snow pays a lot of visits.

To survive such conditions, wet lubes are going to be water-resistant and rather thick and sticky. And they are. Because they’re typically oil-based.

When applied, wet lubes can last longer in mileage compared to dry lubes.

Generally speaking, the thicker the lube, the more resistant it is to water. Thickness is good for surviving splashes, but a thick lube attracts a lot more dirt. 

That means a wet lube can fill your drivetrain with grime. And that also means you have to degrease your bike to prevent damages to the chain.

In any case, it only reemphasizes the recommendation: use wet lubes for wet conditions so you won’t have much dust to deal with. In the first place.

Dry

As the name implies, dry lube is for dry conditions. Yep, like spring and summer.

Usually, it goes on wet and simply dries on your bike chain, so it feels like a semi-liquid substance. It can protect the chain’s surface from dirt and grime while you’re on the ride.

Two types of dry lubes exist, namely Teflon (PTFE) and Wax (Paraffin).

Teflon is the more common kind in dry lubes today. The Teflon kind of lube can collect more dust and dirt compared to the wax type. Now, this doesn’t sound advantageous. But, a Teflon lube also has a very low coefficient of friction, which means that your chain can stay smoother with its use.

Overall, dry lubes are lighter and less sticky than wet lubricants, so they actually attract less dirt. This is a benefit, as it results in a cleaner chain. And you won’t have to clean it up as much.

And yet, dry lubes — being lighter — are easily washed off when the conditions are wet. Of course, this is why dry lubes are meant for drier seasons.

If circumstances can’t help it though, you may have to reapply the dry lube more often to prevent the squeaking in your drivetrain. About every 80 to 100 miles.

Ceramic

Ceramic lube is the newcomer in the scene. It offers a lot more but also charges you a little more than the previous two. Touche.

Well, a ceramic lube actually makes use of boron nitride in microscopic pieces. It can keep your drivetrain really frictionless.

It’s also water-repellent. It won’t get worn out as often, so you don’t need to reapply it again and again for an extended period of time. Sounds like it saves money, after all.

Now if you’re curious if there’s something even better, yes there is. A ceramic wax lube combines the best things about ceramic lubes and wax lubes. I’m including one example in my list of the best lubes for bike chains (later) below.

Ease Of Application

How easily you can apply a lubricant to your bike chain can depend heavily on the lube’s applicator.

A spray applicator is quite common, and it’s used in lubes that come in aerosol cans. Spraying itself is an easy thing to do, but it poses problems such as getting the other parts of your bike sprayed unnecessarily.

Fortunately, some of these spray lubes come with an alternative applicator — a straw one. This can make for a more precise application.

Even more excellent applicator nozzles are those that allow for more pinpoint applications, preventing wastage. These include “needle” nozzles that have pointed tips.

Meanwhile, some lubes come with a brush applicator tip. It can simplify your job in getting the lube where you would want it to be exactly.

Price

In most cases, for less than ten bucks, you may already get yourself a decent Teflon lubricant in a 4-oz bottle or an 8-oz aerosol.

A ceramic wax type of a similar volume would usually be available from a little over that range up to double that price level.

Meanwhile, some wet lubes can be (a little surprisingly) cheaper than any of both the above types.

Still, branding can matter. And those that have established themselves earlier in the chain lube industry will have reason to set their pricing a bit higher.

Top 6 Best Bike Chain Lube Reviewed

In order to make your drivetrain run smoother and last longer, you’ll need to use the best lube for your bike chain. If that means having to stock up on two types of lubes just to be ready for any riding condition, then so be it.

Here are my top picks.

1. Finish Line DRY Teflon Bicycle Chain Lube

Key Features

  • Type: Dry Lube (Teflon)
  • With Teflon fluoropolymer
  • Meant for dry, dirty, and dusty regions
  • Works in moderately wet seasons
  • Can withstand up to 100 miles of rides
  • Also suitable for: shifters, cables, derailleurs, and brake pivot points

The Finish Line Dry Teflon Bike Chain Lube is suitable for dry and dusty climates. It’s easy to apply and quick to dry.

Surprisingly, it can still hold up in moderately wet conditions. Well, that’s probably because it makes use of a dry but wax-like synthetic film.

Since the Finish Line Dry Lube includes Teflon fluoropolymer, it can last longer than other dry lubricants. It can also penetrate deeper into the corners of your drivetrain. Thus, it can help in sealing off the chains from grime and dirt.

As a result, this lube can make pedaling so much easier and your shifting so much smoother. So, it’s quite suitable for both road and off-road cyclists.

Tip: Be sure to clean up your chain first before applying this lube. You can use a degreaser.

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Perfect for normal to dry climates
  • Attracts only minimal dirt
  • Also suitable for derailleur pivot points and cables
  • Versatile
  • Great for dry and dusty regions
  • Can still hold up against moderately wet conditions
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Can gum up a little if you’re putting too much at one time
  • May attract road grime if you’re not reapplying as often
  • The nozzle has a wider opening that allows the lubricant to pour out too quickly (a decent amount of the lube can get wasted)

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

2. Finish Line Ceramic Wax Bicycle Chain Lube

Key Features

  • Type: Ceramic; wax-style that goes on wet but also dries to a wax
  • Meant for dry and dirty conditions
  • Reduces bearing and drivetrain friction
  • Builds a ceramic coating on frictional surfaces

If you’re a serious cyclist, then you might want to opt for the more premium Finish Line Ceramic Wax Bike Chain Lube. It can last much longer than your conventional wax lube — thanks to the boron nitride particles that provide a durable wax coating.

The resulting coating has a very low friction coefficient, so your drivetrain should be able to work more smoothly and run more quietly.

This ceramic wax lube strikes a good balance between what a Teflon lube does and what an oil-based lube can achieve. It lasts longer than Teflon (but not more than oil-based/wet lubes) and provides the protection of a wet lube minus a ton of mess.

Tip: Shake well before use. Apply this lube liberally and don’t wipe off the excess. Reapply if your chain gets significantly wet (but after getting it cleaned and dried first, of course).

Pros

  • Cleaner than a regular wet lube
  • Gets your chain running smoothly and quietly
  • Lasts longer than the Finish Line Teflon Lube
  • Great for dry and dusty conditions
  • Doesn’t build up gunk
  • Value for money

Cons

  • May leave a white film or stain in your stuff
  • The nozzle can easily get clogged
  • Can still attract some dirt (if not completely dried up before use)
  • May require you to reapply more than a wet lube

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

3. WD-40 BIKE: All-Conditions Lube

Key Features

  • Type: Superior PTFE Lube
  • Package Type: Aerosol
  • Meant for dry, wet, or varying conditions
  • No-wax formula

Strictly speaking, the “WD-40 Bike All Conditions Lube,” though marketed as being an “all-conditions” lubricant, is still a dry Teflon/PTFE chain lube. It’s also not the same as the traditional WD-40 you may have encountered before.

This lube is wax-free, which means it should not add build-ups inside your chain links and drivetrain.

It also has corrosion-inhibitors for an increased chain life and comes in an aerosol can. This means you simply spray to apply.

Tip: Apply only to a thoroughly cleaned chain. Otherwise, you’d see intense grime build-up.

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Works well with dirt bikes
  • Can keep the drivetrain clean
  • Can keep the chain quiet while on the ride
  • Protects against rust
  • Doesn’t stay sticky after you spray

Cons

  • May need to be sprayed more often
  • Spraying method of application can be wasteful
  • Requires you to use a rag to collect the overspray
  • May not be perfect for winter months

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

4. Motul C2 On Road 103244 Chain Lube

Key Features

  • Very sticky spray-type lube
  • With easy-to-use applicator
  • Colorless
  • Water and rust-resistant
  • Meant for high-speed cycling

Although Motul’s products cater more to motorcycles, some work with all kinds of chains — including bike chains. The Motul C2 103244 Chain Lube model, for instance, can protect the chains of dirt bikes and road racers.

Described as very “sticky,” the Motul C2 can indeed adhere to your chain well. After all, it’s been designed to stay in the chain even at high speeds.

It can also repel water and resist rusting, which is quite a useful feature if you’re really into rugged bike rides.

Tip: Shake before use. Apply this to the whole length of your (already clean) chain. Allow it to stay on and dry for a few minutes so that it completely adheres to the chain.

Pros

  • Easy to apply
  • Doesn’t drip or splatter everywhere
  • Stays on well
  • Clear and colorless
  • Comes with an extended nozzle for better accuracy when applying
  • Great product for its price
  • Comes with a straw as an alternative applicator
  • Doesn’t leave too much residue

Cons

  • A bit pricey
  • May not be the best for enduro/motocross bikes as it doesn’t leave a layer thick enough

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

5. White Lightning Wet Ride Bicycle Chain Lube

Key Features

  • Type: Wet lube (made of synthetic oils and water-repelling polymers)
  • Meant for extreme wet conditions, both in rain and snow
  • Waterproof and rust-resistant
  • Long lubrication intervals
  • Eliminates drivetrain noise

If you like the feeling of riding in the rain or gliding through a small pool of water on the road, or even just commuting during the wet season, then you might want to use this White Lightning Wet Ride Bicycle Chain Lube.

You can apply it to your drivetrain only sparingly, as it allows you to ride longer and with less friction. It’s great if your rides get regularly wet.

It can also keep your gear shifts silent and smooth.

But since it’s a thick wet lube, it does pick up dirt. In that case, you may need to wipe your chain off at the end of your cycling session for the day.

Even if you don’t ride in wet conditions, you may try it anyway. Others have tried and the White Lightning Wet Ride Lube worked fine. In my opinion, you should stick to the recommended riding conditions when using lubes so you won’t invite the trouble of picking up dust and dirt.

Tip: Switch to this kind of wet lube only when the season is truly rainy or snowy. That way, you’ll have fewer problems with attracting dirt.

Pros

  • Works great in winter rides
  • Allows you to ride longer
  • Lasts for multiple rides
  • Holds up in the rain
  • Can handle very wet conditions
  • Can keep up even with snow
  • Adheres to the chain well
  • Great for mud riding
  • Easy to apply

Cons

  • Has the tendency to attract grit
  • May require you to clean the chain after every ride
  • Not recommended for dry and dusty conditions
  • Can stain your clothes

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

6. Muc Off 872 Green C3 Dry Ceramic Lube

Key Features

  • Type: Ceramic lube
  • Meant for dry, dusty, and damp conditions
  • Eco-friendly, petroleum-free formula
  • Includes UV torch to let you check for 100% coverage
  • Ceramic coating offers drivetrain protection

The Muc Off 872 Green C3 Dry Ceramic Lube is quite a premium option — but note that it’s specifically a dry ceramic lube.

So, even if it works under damp conditions, it can easily underperform during a heavy downpour.

Still, this ceramic lube does a pretty good job when used according to what it’s designed for: dry and sandy conditions.

The small UV torch, by the way, looks like a quirky tool. But, it does its job of letting you see through how evenly you’ve done your application. Shine this little light and you will see the spots you’ve missed.

If you want to do away with petroleum-based lubes and still go out for summer rides, then this dry ceramic lube could be your best bet.

Tip: Clean your chain and cogs before applying the Muc Off C3 Dry Ceramic Lube.

Pros

  • Excellent for dry conditions and sandy areas
  • Very smooth and quiet shifts
  • Very low friction
  • Picks up less dirt overall
  • UV torch shows you the spots you’ve missed
  • Can make the chain easier to clean before the next application
  • Can help you go for a faster ride
  • Easy to apply
  • Thread on the bottle cap prevents leaking
  • Can last longer than typical dry lubes

Cons

  • Not suitable for wet conditions
  • Can be rinsed away in a rainshower
  • The price is a little on the higher end

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Which Is Best?

So, we’ve rounded up our top choices for bike chain lubes, and I’ve given you a few tips in making a choice from among them.

At this point, you should’ve already realized that it’s best not to stick with just one kind of lube — unless you’ve strictly confined yourself to just one kind of ride and just one riding condition.

I’d say you’d rather want a handy dry lube for dry, dusty, and dirt roads, and a separate wet lube for rainy and snowy seasons. If you insist on using just one lubricant for all conditions, then you might as well go ceramic — though, again, you’ve got to pay a little more for it.

Still, it pays to stick to a strictly wet lube if the conditions are extremely wet, and go with a truly dry lube if you want to minimize your efforts in taking grit and grime off your chain.

Last update on 2020-09-25 at 10:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Perry
Perry
Hello, my names Perry and I've been a freelance writer for the past 5 years and a cycling enthusiastic since I can remember. I love the road, but my main passion is mountain biking.