Understanding NLGI

Does the NLGI grade matter?

Of course it does! That’s why it was invented and classed into different categories for various applications! NLGI stands for National Lubricating Grease Institute, they are composed of companies that manufacture and market all types of lubricating grease.

An NLGI grade can start at 000 (very fluid) to 6 (block like). However, there are different grades for different applications.

For instance, most trucks have a centralized lubrication system. As such, the grease needs to be almost fluid like to get to all the areas. In these cases, a “00” or even “000” grease may be used. However, the most common grade is a “2” grade which is seen frequently in cartridges, pails etc.  Some electric motors require a “3” grade grease instead of a “2”.

Here is a table that describes each of the grades, their applications and consistency.

Always check with your OEM to ensure that the correct NLGI grade is being used! Here is another graphic that likens these grades to more easily identifiable consistencies.