7 Best Substitutes for Dielectric Grease

7 Best Substitutes for Dielectric Grease

7 Best Substitutes for Dielectric Grease

Dielectric grease is an essential lubricant intended to protect high-voltage connections all around the car. It is used in various devices from small home electrical appliances to the world of aeronautics. 

There are many different lubricants out there and people naturally think that there are exceptions to the use of dielectric grease. In this article, we are going to list the best substitutes for dielectric grease and tell you why some are better than others.

The key to always using the correct lubricant is to choose the one that is specifically designed for the purpose. If you are planning to lubricate mechanical components, it makes sense not to use dielectric grease.

On the other hand, if lubricating electrical components is your only goal, and you need to protect those components from corrosion, heat damage, and wear and tear, there is a good reason why dielectric grease is the number one choice.

Be sure to read this article to find you why and when you should consider using a high-quality dielectric grease alternative.

7 Best Substitutes for Dielectric Grease

What is dielectric grease?

Dielectric grease is a type of lubricant that is electrically insulating and thermally conductive. 

The primary purpose of dielectric grease is to prevent the formation of arcing and shorts in electrical connections by filling any air gaps and creating a barrier between the metal contacts.

Best Substitutes for Dielectric Grease

We are now going to list all the best substitutes for dielectric grease and tell you how they stack against each other.

Silicone-Based Grease

Likely the best substitute for electric grease is silicone-based grease as it is decently fluid, offers high thermal conductivity, and has sufficiently low instability properties.

Going for a type of grease is always a good idea when wanting to combat water, but not all silicone compounds are the same, which means that you should do your homework before buying.

Also, silicone-based grease compounds can serve as really effective sealants, which further protect from water intrusion and keeps your connectors dry and safe.

Silicone-Based Grease

White Lithium Grease 

In the commercial and heavy-duty world, many mechanics believe that white lithium grease is a perfect substitute for silicone-based grease.

Because white lithium grease works like a gel, it has shown superior metal-on-metal lubrication, which is why you can see white lithium grease being used on commercial machines such as bulldozers. 

White lithium can withstand really extreme temperatures, offers top-notch insulation, and is typically manufactured from lithium soap fatty acids. 

Conductive Grease 

Conductive grease compounds are also effective substitutes for dielectric grease because they act as perfect insulators from dust, water, dirt, etc.

However, as the name might suggest, they are fairly conductive which means that there is a chance they could cause a short circuit if used improperly. 

The main benefit dielectric grease has over regular conductive grease is that it can’t conduct any electricity and thus is safer against short circuits.

To avoid this, you will have to do your homework before buying and be sure to apply the grease carefully.

Synthetic Grease

The main benefit of synthetic dielectric grease alternatives is that they don’t contain any petroleum, which in turn safeguards the surrounding plastic and rubber from dissolving. 

Another reason why synthetic grease compounds are a good alternative is that they are environmentally friendly, which makes them sustainable and more in line with the current trends in the automotive industry.

Synthetic grease is non-toxic and can usually endure temperatures ranging from -45 to 450 degrees.

Even some governmental bodies such as USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) have stated that some synthetic grease lubricants are food-grade lubricants.

These are not sticky, they don’t evaporate, they don’t melt, roll, or should separate from the surface, which ensures consistent protection against all forms of contaminants.

Synthetic Grease

Vaseline / Petroleum Jelly 

Believe it or not, even your household vaseline can be used as a substitute for dielectric grease, but it’s not recommended to use it for anything else besides short-term applications.

The benefits of vaseline are that it works as a decent lubricator and isolator, but the drawbacks are that vaseline isn’t all that heat resistant.

Moreover, vaseline/petroleum jelly is made out of petroleum, which means that it isn’t ideal for rubber and plastic, which could dissolve if in near vicinity to petroleum jelly, especially at higher temperatures. 

Bulb Grease

Bulb grease is also a heat-resistant, non-conductive lubricant that is commonly used to make it easier to install and remove headlight bulbs. 

Non-conductive properties are essential for these applications as bulb grease does not interfere with its electrical connection.

These are designed to protect the socket and the bulb from moisture, salt, and similar corrosive elements and are typically made out of silicone-based lubricants.

Powdered Graphite

Powdered graphite is a dry lubricant solution that is typically used to lubricate locks, hinges, and other similar mechanical components.

Even though powdered graphite can be used to lubricate electrical connections, it is usually a fully suitable dielectric grease replacement as it’s not designed to lubricate electrical components thanks to its fairly conductive properties.

Powdered Graphite

What are the benefits of dielectric grease?

  • Electrical insulation: Dielectric grease has high dielectric strength, meaning it can prevent the flow of electrical current. This property makes it an effective insulator that helps to prevent short circuits, arcing, and electrical fires.
  • Corrosion resistance: Dielectric grease provides a protective barrier against moisture, dust, and other contaminants that can cause corrosion and oxidation of electrical contacts. 

This can help to extend the life of electrical components and prevent costly repairs. 

  • High-temperature tolerance: Dielectric grease can withstand high temperatures without breaking down or evaporating, which makes it ideal for use in automotive and industrial applications that involve high heat.
  • Water resistance: Dielectric grease is water-resistant, which means it can help to prevent water from entering electrical connections and causing damage. 
  • Lubrication: Dielectric grease can also act as a lubricant for electrical contacts, which can help to reduce friction and wear over time.
What are the benefits of dielectric grease

What are the differences between dielectric grease and its substitutes?

After familiarizing yourself with what dielectric grease is and what can be used to substitute it, we are now going to compare dielectric grease with all of its substitutes in greater detail.

Dielectric Grease vs Silicone Grease

Dielectric grease is typically better for electrical applications, while silicone-based grease is better for mechanical applications.

Dielectric grease is specifically designed to insulate and protect electrical connections while silicone-based grease is typically better for lubricating mechanical components such as o-rings, bearings, and other moving parts.

Dielectric Grease vs White Lithium Grease

White lithium grease is better for mechanical purposes, as it forms a thick white paste and is conductive. Dielectric grease isn’t conductive — it’s translucent and thinner and is better for electrical purposes. 

Dielectric grease is also typically silicone-based while most white lithium grease compounds are petroleum-based lubricants, which aren’t ideal for plastic and rubber.

Dielectric Grease vs Conductive Grease

The main drawback of using conductive grease over dielectric grease is, as the name might suggest, its conductive property.

Therefore, conductive grease is the better option if you want to improve the conductivity of a specific component (battery terminals, spark plugs…) while also protecting it.

Dielectric Grease vs Conductive Grease

Dielectric Grease vs Synthetic Grease

Dielectric grease is a silicone-based lubricant, while synthetic grease is formulated using synthetic base oils and additives. 

Dielectric grease is non-conductive, while synthetic grease does not have specific electrical properties.

This also means that synthetic grease tends to be the better choice for mechanical lubrication while dielectric grease is better for electrical lubrication.

Dielectric Grease vs Vaseline/Petroleum Jelly

Vaseline or petroleum jelly is not specifically designed for use in electrical applications, but it is sometimes used as a substitute for dielectric grease due to its low cost and availability.

Vaseline is made out of petroleum which isn’t ideal for nearby plastic and rubber, it is conductive while dielectric grease is not.

Vaseline can attract nearby contaminants which countereffects the protection from moisture and corrosion.

It also isn’t particularly heat resistant whereas dielectric grease is heat resistant and a much better shield against corrosion.

Dielectric Grease vs Bulb Grease

Bulb grease is intended to lubricate the base of light bulbs and fixtures in order to remove and install them more easily while dielectric grease is designed to lubricate electrical connections.

Therefore, these aren’t fully interchangeable even though both are similarly heat-resistant and non-conductive.

Dielectric Grease vs Powdered Graphite

The main difference between these two lubricants is that dielectric grease is a wet lubricant while powdered graphite is a dry lubricant. 

The former is used mostly for electrical components while the latter is used mostly for mechanical components.

Powdered graphite is a bit more difficult to handle due to it being dry, which means that it can get messy if you don’t apply it properly. Whereas dielectric grease typically sticks to a surface much more consistently.