Lithium grease vs silicone grease: Which to use?

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Lithium grease vs silicone grease: Which to use?


Wondering about the differences between lithium grease vs silicone grease? In this video, Harley compares silicone grease vs lithium grease, explains the differences, applications and uses of each.

What is dielectric grease and why should I use it?

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For a written transcript, go to Lithium grease vs silicone grease: Which to use?

Music under Creative Commons License By Attribution 3.0 by Kevin MacLeod at
Intro/Exit: Hot Swing


Are you like Jeremy and wondering what the difference is between lithium grease and silicone grease?

We're talking about that right now in this video.


Hi. Harley here.

I recently had a comment asking about the difference between dielectric grease and silicone grease and also how that compares to lithium grease.

So let's talk about those differences today.

Lithium [grease] is:
  • generally petroleum based,
  • it adheres well to metal,
  • it's non-corrosive,
  • it's moisture resistant,
  • it handles heavy loads really well,
  • and it's resistant under high temperatures. It doesn't break down.

Silicone grease is:
  • of course silicone based,
  • it adheres to a wide variety of surfaces,
  • it inhibits corrosion,
  • resists moisture,
  • and comes in various formulations.

A couple notable formulations are ingestible ones where it's safe to be used in dental tools and plumbing for potable water.

Another formulation is dielectric grease where it's used in applications where you have high current and you need something that has insulation properties.

Because lithium grease is petroleum based, it's not recommended for use around plastics and rubber where it'll cause these to prematurely fail.

These applications are better served by silicone grease.

Silicone grease, on the other hand, works better in low temperature, low stress applications around plastics and rubber.

Common examples around the house for using lithium grease might be for garage door openers and hinges.

Whereas applications for silicone grease might be sliding doors and windows, seals around waterproof flashlights and plumbing fixtures.

So I want to get back to Jeremy's question about using silicone grease for brake caliper applications. In this case, neither lithium nor silicone grease is really ideal.

Lithium because it's petroleum based will cause decay in the rubber parts of the brake system and silicone grease isn't really designed for that high temperature/high stress application.

There are actually specially formulated greases for brake applications that are designed to handle both the high temperature and high stress and also coming into contact with the plastics and rubbers in the brake system.

Thanks Jeremy for the question and for everybody else for joining me on this creative journey we're on.

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