How to Use a Grease Gun

One of the most useful and common garage and workshop tools is a grease gun. Used to lubricate with oil or grease through a grease nipple, this device is quite easy to use. Once you come to know how to dismantle the gun and know the parts, it is easy to load and use it.

Types of Grease Guns

There are different types of guns and each has its own method to load the grease. These three types are most popular though newer variations are coming up making greasing easier.

  • Hand-powered grease gun – The pressure is built up by hand-cranking and the trigger mechanism—a spring mechanism—applies pressure to the lubricant to come through the opening. Another type of hand-powered gun has no trigger mechanism, just a piston in the body of the tool forces the grease out when pressure is applied on the piston.
  • Pneumatic grease guns - Air powered gun where compressed air in the gun—directed by hoses—forces the grease through the outlet.
  • Battery-powered grease guns - Used for high pressure, high volume lubrication.

Types of Lubricants

There are many commercial lubricants and oils available. Mostly a thicker and heavier type of grease is used for best results. Some are available as refill cartridges that can be directly loaded or others need to be filled manually.

How to Load the Grease Gun

Unscrew the barrel where the grease is to be loaded from the handle or trigger/injector part of the unit. Position the barrel’s opening in line with the mouth of the grease tin/tub. Use suction principle to pull up the grease into the barrel by alternatively pushing down the barrel with the plunger and pulling up the plunger into the barrel. Once the barrel is filled with grease, after cleaning the barrel end, attach the barrel to the unit.

Best check the manufacturer’s instructions.

How to Apply Grease

Connect the grease nipple by clamping it in place with the jaw like portion of the grease gun. You should use the hand-crank to create pressure in the gun and when you feel sufficient pressure has been built, pull the trigger and direct the nipple where you have to lubricate; the lubricant will pour out from the opening in the nipple.

Alternatively just applying pressure at the barrel end will push the piston down and force the lubricant through the nipple.

Pneumatic grease gun is easier because this uses hoses and compressed air to force the grease more steadily and is used by professionals in workshops garages etc.

Maintenance of Grease Gun

For smooth functioning, clean the grease nipple, thoroughly rinse in warm water and let completely dry. Also clean the gun well and let dry before storing the grease gun.


  • Do not mix up lubricants. Use separate guns for different lubricants.
  • Working with grease guns, especially grease nipples can be messy. Wear an apron or change in to work clothes
  • Be careful when building the pressure as lubrication with excess pressure may damage bearing seals/shields etc.