There are probably many people out there still thinking that the best wood splitter is the trusty axe. The axe has been used for splitting wood for a very long time indeed, but the process can last a long time and is also very tiring. These days, technology improved a lot, and various machines have been created for this purpose.
Table of Content
- 0.1 How does a log splitter function?
- 0.2 How do I decide if to buy?
- 0.3 How do I select the tonnage?
- 0.4 Vertical or horizontal?
- 0.5 Petrol or electric?
- 1 Best 10 Log Splitters
- 2 Some last thoughts
How does a log splitter function?
Such a tool needs power to function, that can come from electricity or gas. It uses hydraulics to push the wood against a blade, or wedge, made of strong metal. This wedge can be simple, like an axe to split logs in two or cross shaped to split them in quarters. They can be used either horizontally or vertically, and some models allow both positions. Many models can also be towed behind, being equipped with at least 2 big wheels.
With these devices you can split wood much faster, and with a lot less effort. Depending on the model, such a machinery can deliver up to 32 ton of force, though for home use, around 10 ton or less is more than enough. The smallest tonnage possible is around 4 or 5.
How do I decide if to buy?
The first thing to think about is how much will you use the hydraulic log splitter. Here you’ll have to consider the amount of logs you have and whether you’ll be splitting wood every year, as well as how many times per year. The main reason for this consideration is its high price. It might be cheaper to rent a machine if you have little wood to split and you’ll only do it once per year.
If you consider splitting wood for others, as a job, you might want to consider a stronger machine, that can be towed behind and that can be used both vertically and horizontally. A more powerful device will help you split a wider variety of wood.
How do I select the tonnage?
The secrets here are to keep in mind the diameter of your largest logs, whether they seasoned or not, and their type. For instance, if your wood has a width or about 6 inches you’ll be just fine with a 4 ton machine. On the other hand, if the logs measure about 2 feet, you’ll have to consider heavy duty units, like the ones producing a force between 20 and 30 tonnes.
You should also keep in mind whether the wood is seasoned or freshly cut, or green. By reading some log splitter reviews, you’ll learn that the 6 ton machine works best with seasoned logs, while the really strong ones will easily split green wood too. This is because freshly fell trees still retain a lot of water, making them very difficult to turn into firewood.
You should know that the weaker models can split a bit larger logs, but you’ll have to have a few tries. These devices won’t be able to deal with knots in the wood or with really hard wood. Therefore, you’ll have to think about the type of wood you have, too.
Vertical or horizontal?
You choose the vertical or horizontal use of the splitter based on the size of the logs. The vertical ones are better at dealing with larger or even more resistant types of woods, while the horizontal models are a better choice for the smaller logs. The vertical ones can be stored easier, as they occupy less space.
The horizontal ones can be operated directly on the ground, though mounting them on a solid table or special stand is possible too. These models do require you lift the logs the ground and you might want to avoid it if for instance you have problems with your back or arms, or if the logs are too heavy. The hand log splitter could be one of the easiest models to use by anyone, though the logs must be smaller and seasoned.
If you split wood for money, you’ll want a horizontal one that uses petrol as fuel as they’re some of the most powerful. They can also be towed behind an ATV or tractor for easy transportation to the site.
Petrol or electric?
We already mentioned the petrol models are the most powerful. Their disadvantage is that they can only be used outside. The electric ones are weaker, but they can be also used indoors if space allows it. The electric ones can also be more quiet than their petrol counterparts. We have to mention the models using human muscles as well as a hammer at times, to get the job done.
Best 10 Log Splitters
Hopefully the above guide will help you find the log splitter best suited for your needs, as you know know what features to check out. Let’s have a look at some models that would make a good acquisition for most, and hopefully you’ll also find the best electric log splitter for your needs.
Sun Joe LJ10M Log Splitter
This Sun Joe log splitter is made of resistant steel, and fits logs with a dimension of up to 18 inches long and 8 inches wide. This item features 2.48 inch wheels that make it easy to carry around, and a cradle that does not allow the split wood to fall.
The log splitter package does not include cords, oil or gas which must be purchased separately. Its manual 2-speed pump can give out up to 10 tons of driving force which makes wood splitting easy and fast. This log splitter includes 2 handles, from which one can be used to split difficult wood. You will also receive a 2 year warranty upon purchase in case anything goes wrong.
Thanks to its durable built, this product can last for years without getting damaged or broken. Furthermore, the splitter can be stored pretty much anywhere you wants thanks to its compact size despite its 87 pounds weight.
- Pump with 2 speeds
- Manual splitter
Kindling Cracker Log Splitter
If you are looking for a convenient way to split wood, have a look at this Kindling Cracker small wood splitter. This product offers additional safety compared to others as it doesn’t include a moving blade. The item is ideal for beginners or people who don’t have a lot of time on their hands due to its easy maintenance and light weight.
You will find this product splits wood less forcefully than an axe, so it is best being used on easy firewood. The item was patented by the brand and has won an award for its safe and convenient design but durable built. Fully made of iron cast in Australia, the splitter features a 12 inch iron frame and a 6.5 inch inside ring. It can be easily used by placing wood inside the ring and striking with a hammer. The product weighs 10 pounds and includes a 5 year warranty.
- Very safe for your hands
- For making kindling
- You need a hammer
Yardmax YS0552 Log Splitter
The Yardmax YS0552 could be everything you need to split difficult wood for your backyard. The splitter offers a 5 ton ram force that allows you to split wood faster than before. However this is not the best gas log splitter, but gets the job done.
With a log capacity of 20.5 inches in length and 10 inches in diameter, the product is known to offer both convenience and good performance. The splitter is easy to operate due to its 2 handles that minimize the risks of getting injured. Featuring electric motors and a lightweight, compact design, the item can be safely used indoors during winter.
Its wheels measure 7.5 inch in diameter, and its short cylinder cycle lasts for 16 seconds. Beside its 2 handles, the splitter features a stand that makes splitting wood more secure. This product can also be used by beginners as it does not need assembly.
- Indoor use
- May leak after a few uses
Goplus Log Splitter
Goplus designed a machine that produces 6 ton of power then splitting wood. This is one of the few models available that can be used both indoors and outdoors. There are a handle and 2 big wheels equipped to the machine to help you move it around, to where the wood will be split. Speaking of the logs to split, they should be 14 inches in length nor 10 inches in diameter, at most.
Given that this model isn’t one of the heavy duty log splitters, try to use wood that is not very knotty. Additionally, the wood has to be dry too for the best results. To operate the splitter presented here, you need both your hands, and while it is inconvenient, it’s safer than many other models. You should also know that the unit can get quite hot during operation, even for 1 cord of wood.
- Indoor and outdoor use
- Doesn’t split knotty wood
WEN 56207 Log Splitter
Here you have a splitter that comes with a 34 inch tall stand, that can be removed. This also means the item can only be used in a horizontal position, which could be inconvenient for some folks. Its engine produces a force of no more than 6.5 tons, and is powered with electricity.
It is equipped with wheels with a diameter of 5.5 inches and they never go flat. Additionally, there’s a handle to help you pull it from storage to working site. The largest logs this machine will split measure 20 inches in length and 10 inches in diameter.
You might like this unit because it’s more quiet than other models. However, it tends to use the oil rather fast, so you’ll have to pay attention to this aspect.
- Uses more oil than other models
Powerhouse XM-380 Log Splitter
If you consider getting this powertool, do know this is not a vertical horizontal log splitter. Make sure your logs are shorter than 20 inches and 12 inches across. It takes about an hour to split a bit over 100 logs with this device. However, you have to use both hands to operate it, as it has two handles, to prevent injuries. Many users welded a metal bar to both to allow single hand use.
The cycle is of about 10 seconds with logs that are the maximum accepted size. This model is also portable and can towed behind too, if needed. One has to pay attention to the type of terrain they pull this over, as it can easily tip over. The most issues with the unit was actually the user’s manual which has poor instructions and the translation is poorly done as well.
- Uses electricity
- A short wedge
- Wheels too close together
Champion Log Splitter
To ease the process of loading the logs, the model was designed with a low profile. The Champion log splitter has an engine with an 80cc power, producing 7 ton splitting power. The logs shouldn’t be longer than 19 inches or to weigh more than 50 pounds. Additionally, this is a good quality log splitter for it deals with woods with a diameter of about 25 inches, even though it takes more tries.
You should be warned that it might not work well with harder woods, but it will go right through most knots. That being said, will cut through ash, but apple will be a bit of a challenge. Assembly might need two people and for some parts you might have to stay in weird positions.
- Splits logs up to 25” in diameter
- Two people for putting it together
- Works only horizontally
Boss Industrial ES7T20 Log Splitter
The log splitter designed by Boss Industrial has a splitting power of only 7 ton and can easily deal with logs that are 17 inches in diameter. If the log is larger than that, you might have to use the machine a few times more than usual. It can pass through all types of woods, as long as their diameter is not larger than what it accepts. You won’t have to worry about disturbing your neighbors as this machinery is not very noisy.
This tool can’t be used vertically, and it generally avoids knots in the wood, splitting to the side instead. The machinery is pretty small too, and its cycle is about 10 seconds, which is faster than larger and more powerful models.
- Pretty quiet
- Not a professional wood splitter
NorthStar Log Splitter
Noise is a big problem when splitting wood. The engine of the NorthStar splitter, a Honda GX270, idles down between log loading. With this feature, you’ll also save fuel. The splitter has a cycle of maximum 14 seconds helping you finish the task faster. Its engine produces a splitting power of 32 tons.
This device can be fitted with a special part that can split the wood in quarters in a single move, instead of 3, saving even more time. The splitting part can be placed either horizontally or vertically, according to your preferences.
You have to be warned though that the blade is not sharp enough, despite the unit being brand new. With the right tool, like an angle grinder, the blade can be sharpened fast. Another drawback that could make the process longer is that it can’t split logs over 2 feet long. However it can split wood with a diameter of 1 foot.
- Vertical or horizontal use
- Logs must be shorter than 2 feet
Ariens 917001 Log Splitter
Here you have a machine that can produce 27 tons of split power to help get through really though logs as well. It has a 16.5 seconds cycle so that you’ll finish the job faster. All this is possible thanks to the Subaru SP-170 engine installed on it. The engine is able to produce 8.34 ft. lb. of torque which enables it to have such a powerful split power.
The controls, including the on and off switch are positioned in a very convenient spot and are also very easy to use. Additionally, the user can stay on either side of the splitter to operate it, including its controls. You should know that the splitter will can deal with any type of log. The most difficult spots are cut through if splitting isn’t possible.
The machinery can also be towed behind a vehicle for it has its own wheels, but the speed shouldn’t exceed 45 mph. Additionally, unlike other models, this one can be used both in a vertical or a horizontal position.
- Good positioning for the controls
- Vertical or horizontal use
- Poor assembly instructions
Some last thoughts
Hopefully now you’re better informed when it comes to what a log splitter can do and how to choose one. As you were able to learn, the best log splitter for home is a small or even a manual one.