Splitting logs by hand can be a long, arduous task and there is a very real danger of hurting yourself, no matter how much control you believe you have. Log splitters are brilliant tools that allow you to split logs to the required size with maximised safety and minimised effort, all it takes is the push of a button or the pull of a lever.
Anyone who has an open fire or log burner will often need their logs to be of a certain size so that they burn well and are stored easily. To do this safely and quickly a log splitter will be your best bet. Even if you have a chainsaw a log splitter can be a very handy tool; chainsaws are good at getting logs to the right length, but ensuring they are the right diameter is hard without a log splitter. Log splitters work by directing a very large force to a very small surface area to split the logs apart.
- Top 10 Log Splitters
- How to Choose the Best Log Splitter
- What is in your Woodpile?
- Cycle Time
- Working Height
- Best Log Splitters Reviews
- 1. Champion Power Equipment 90720 7 Ton Compact Portable Log Splitter
- 2. Powerhouse XM-380 Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter, 7-Ton
- 3. Champion Power Equipment 100251 25 Ton Full Beam Towable Log Splitter
- 4. YARDMAX YS2865 28 Ton Half Beam Gas Log Splitter, 4-way wedge, Briggs & Stratton, CR950, 6.5HP, 208cc
- 5. Boss Industrial ED8T20 Electric Log Splitter, 8-Ton
- 6. Dirty Hand Tools 100408, 27 Ton Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter with 196cc Kohler SH265 Engine
- 7. Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25 Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter
- 8. Titan Towable Gas Powered Hydraulic Pivoting Log Wood Splitter 37 Ton Pull Start
- 9. WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter
- 10. Goplus New 1500W 6 Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter Wood Portable Cutter Powerful
- Our Pick
- Titan Towable Gas Powered Hydraulic Pivoting Log Wood Splitter 37 Ton Pull Start
Top 10 Log Splitters
How to Choose the Best Log Splitter
Log splitters are essentially mechanical axes. The difference lies in the way they work, axes use muscle, gravity and impact to split wood whereas log splitters rely on pressure. Pressure is a much safer way to split logs and is also more efficient. Log splitters use a motor and hydraulics to push logs into a sturdy, metal wedge which splits the wood. If you split logs and get tired or bored while doing it and wish you could do it more quickly and easily then you need a log splitter. Log splitters come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and picking the right one for you can be very difficult. To help you out, these are some things you should consider.
Your log splitter should be able to easily get through any wood that you require it to cut without straining. If you are constantly getting it to split logs that it can’t easily split then you will damage it and its lifetime will diminish. This doesn’t necessarily mean go for the largest, most powerful log splitter, though, as it all depends on what is in your woodpile.
If you have lots of large, fresh wood then a more powerful log splitter is what you need. For piles with more smaller, older wood a less powerful log splitter will do you well and be a lot cheaper. You should base the power of your log splitter on the hardest wood it will have to get through.
What is in your Woodpile?
The size, type and age of the wood you will be splitting are all important considerations when buying a log splitter as they determine how much tonnage you will need. Tonnage measures the pressure that the log splitter exerts on the wood; a higher tonnage splitter will be able to split bigger, harder logs than a lower tonnage one.
The age of the logs affects how easy they will be to split. There are two main categories, green and seasoned. Green wood is freshly cut and still contains some of the moisture from the tree. These logs will look slightly green or yellow when compared to seasoned wood which tends to look brown. The moister a log is, the harder it will be to cut as the water makes it thicker and heavier. When wood is left and ages the moisture inside it evaporates and the remaining wood is a lot more brittle and easier to cut. Therefore green wood requires more tonnage than seasoned logs of the same size.
As a rough guide, for seasoned logs of about 6 inches in diameter you would only need a 4 ton splitter. Seasoned 12 inch logs would require a 7 ton splitter. If you’re looking to cut 12 inch green logs then 16 tons of pressure will be needed. Seasoned logs up to 24 inches would be looking at 20 tons of pressure to be split. And green logs with 24 inch diameter need at least 30 tons of splitting pressure. You should always consider the largest and hardest to cut logs in your woodpile when determining the tonnage you will require, otherwise you could damage a low powered one on the bigger logs.
Keeping your log splitter protected from the elements when you are not using it will help to increase its lifetime and make the purchase much more worthwhile. With that in mind a splitter with wheels that can be moved by one person allows you to roll it into a shed or garage and keep it safe.
Towing your log splitter can also come in handy if your woodpile is far away from where you keep the splitter. Most machines do come with a ball hitch but be sure to check. Travelling with the log splitter at high speeds may be bad for it as well so ensure that you find one that can survive freeway speeds if that is what you want to do with it.
The split cycle time is how long it takes for the ram to travel to the log, split the log and then return to its original position. Faster cycle times allow more logs to be split in shorter periods of time. If you have a lot of logs to split then a splitter with a faster cycle time will be much more efficient for you. Some machines come with a spring loaded return which returns the ram more quickly.
If you require kindling or smaller logs, rather than splitting each log up to 3 times, it may be worth considering an accessory 4-way wedge to save a lot of time.
Hydraulic pumps are what push the ram into the log and, by extension, the log into the wedge. This uses force to split the log rather than impact and speed like when using an axe. This requires a very high-pressure hydraulic system and if the build quality is not amazing then there can often be oil leaks. Oil leaks can damage the motors so ensure that you look at reviews and try to buy a machine with heavy duty hydraulics and a decent oil filtration system to decrease the frequency of maintenance.
Lightweight splitters do not necessarily need be of a good height because, if need be, they can be placed on a table or something similar to raise it to the perfect height. Heavier log splitters should have higher worktables that make it a lot easier to work on. A raised worktable means you have to bend over less and can comfortably work the machine whilst standing upright. Adjustable worktables are often very convenient as you are more likely to get it at the perfect height.
Log splitters are very safe machines if they are used correctly. To be extra careful, though, log splitters with dual redundancy are a great idea. These require both hands protected and away from the wedge for it to work. This protects you from accidental operation when your hand is in the way.
Best Log Splitters Reviews
1. Champion Power Equipment 90720 7 Ton Compact Portable Log Splitter
The Champion Power 90720 is a small, 7 ton log splitter designed with mobility in mind. It is lightweight weighing only 143 pounds, has a handle so it can be moved easily and the tires are ‘never-flat’ tires. The cycle time is just 20 seconds which allows 180 logs to be split in just one hour. It also has a skewed wedge which allows it to split logs more quickly and efficiently.
The low-profile design of the 90720 means heavier logs can be more easily placed on the splitter as they don’t need to be lifted as high. It can split logs of up to 19.3 inches in length and an integrated log cradle makes it easier to keep logs in place. With an 80cc Champion engine and durable build this is a long-lasting, high quality splitter perfect for small-scale jobs and smaller logs.
- Portable and compact
- Low profile
- Skewed wedge
- Good quality
- Low tonnage
- Quite expensive for this tonnage
2. Powerhouse XM-380 Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter, 7-Ton
The Powerhouse XM-380 is an electric-powered log splitter which has a 3HP, 2500 watt motor that runs off the mains. As it is electric, it will never run out of gas, starts a lot more easily and requires a lot less maintenance that gas splitters. It is also a lot lighter and more portable, weighing 104 pounds. As it is only 7 ton it can’t split bigger, harder logs, however it can effectively split logs up to 20.5 inches long and 12 inches in diameter.
Its cycle time is only 12 seconds, meaning it can make quick work of large jobs, splitting well over 100 logs in under an hour. The two-handed safety operation means that both hands are required to operate it, eliminating the chance of it starting while your hand is still in the way.
- Very portable
- No maintenance
- Two-handed operation
- Weak motor, only handle smaller logs
- Not very sturdy build
3. Champion Power Equipment 100251 25 Ton Full Beam Towable Log Splitter
The Champion Power 100251 is a heavy-duty log splitter designed for bigger, thicker, harder logs. It can handle logs up to 23.8 inches long and 100 pounds in weight to easily turn almost any woodpile into perfect firewood. Its brilliant 12 second cycle time makes it very efficient and allows lots of wood to be split in not very much time, up to 300 cycles in an hour.
The 100251 has an integrated log cradle and log catchers on either side. With a 2 inch ball coupler and DOT approved wheels the splitter is capable of being towed at speeds approaching 45 mph. An extended tongue means it will fit most ATVs and UTVs. This machine can be switched from a horizontal splitter to a vertical splitter with little effort. This splitter is perfect for anyone wanting to split a lot of large, hard logs in not very much time.
- High-quality design
- Horizontal and vertical operation
- 12 second cycle time
- Very expensive
4. YARDMAX YS2865 28 Ton Half Beam Gas Log Splitter, 4-way wedge, Briggs & Stratton, CR950, 6.5HP, 208cc
Yardmax have created the YS2865 with a lot of clever engineering. It has a U-beam design which is patent-pending to make it a lot stronger than other I-beam splitters. It also comes with a patent-pending 4-way wedge to cut logs into smaller, easier to burn logs. With a 6.5 horsepower 208cc Briggs and Stratton engine is provides a pressure of 28 tons which allows it to split all but the biggest, hardest logs.
The splitter can be switched between vertical and horizontal operation and a longer table length means longer logs up to 26 inches long can be split. The machine is very tough, its oil filter is kept within the reservoir to prevent damage from falling logs and the steel build gives it a long lifetime.
- Great value for money
- Fantastic quality
- Excellent splitting ability
- Easy-to-connect 4-way wedge
- Powerful, 28 tons
- U-beam structure
- Very heavy
5. Boss Industrial ED8T20 Electric Log Splitter, 8-Ton
The Boss Industrial ED8T20 is an electric log splitter designed for horizontal use. Its 8 tons of RAM can split logs up to 20 inches in length and 10.5 inches in diameter. Its patented two-way splitting system allows you to split two logs per cycles, greatly speeding up the rate at which it can split your logs.
At 160 pounds it is quite portable and it can be wheeled around. It is, however, electric and therefore requires a nearby power outlet to be used. It is slightly more expensive than other splitters of similar tonnage; however its two-way splitting system and its log-splitting capabilities help make up for it.
- Two-way log splitting
- Splits wood well
- Less maintenance required
- Push button start
- Heavy for its tonnage
- Has to be close to mains
6. Dirty Hand Tools 100408, 27 Ton Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter with 196cc Kohler SH265 Engine
If you need a powerful log splitter that works both horizontally and vertically to cut through all types of very big logs then consider the Dirty Hand Tools 100408. Its 27 tons of splitting force and 196cc Kohler engine give it the power to cut through almost anything you could want it to. Logs up to 25 inches in length can be split with ease and a 14 second cycle time means you can quickly get through large, daunting jobs.
A built in log catcher makes collecting your split logs much easier and an auto return valve retracts the cylinder so you can keep your hands free to prepare for the next split and move logs. For larger, heavier, harder to split logs you just need to pull a pin and you can easily flip into the vertical position. A 2 inch ball hitch and 16 inch DOT approved tires mean you can tow it at high speeds on the roads.
- Towable at high speed
- Great value for money
- Well-made and sturdy, heat treated steel
- 14 second cycle time
- Great for big logs
7. Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25 Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter
Southland Outdoor Power Equipment offers a slightly cheaper 25 ton log splitter. It still has a 208cc gas engine, though, so it can power through harder and heavier logs with lengths up to 26 inches. Automatic returns in a 17 second cycle time make it easier to prepare the next log and get more done in less time. Well designed internal oil systems lubricate the engine bearings with oil to reduce internal friction and extend the lifetime of the splitter.
A two inch ball hitch and pneumatic wheels allow it to easily be towed to the woodpile. An easy system of changing from horizontal to vertical allows you to split heavier logs without having to lift them.
- Great value
- Internal oil delivery system
- Vertical and horizontal operation
- Very heavy
8. Titan Towable Gas Powered Hydraulic Pivoting Log Wood Splitter 37 Ton Pull Start
Titan has created an immensely powerful 37 ton wood splitter. With a 9HP 302cc engine and 37 tons of RAM this is the perfect log splitter if you are cutting a lot of large, green logs of hard wood. This will easily power through anything you can throw at it (or roll under it) and the 30 inch length allows you to have longer pieces of firewood. If the logs are too heavy you can simply flip the machine into vertical mode and roll the logs under it.
It is made of heavy duty steel and thick hoses and valves to make it very tough and durable, surviving a long time. A 14 second cycle time means you can quickly get shot of a large log-splitting job.
- Excellent value for money
- Incredible power, 37 tons of RAM
- Vertical and horizontal operation
- Strong and durable
- High splitting performance
9. WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter
The Wen 56206 is a cheaper, less powerful log splitter than most of the others on this list. It runs off electricity from the mains and so has to be close to a power outlet. Its reliable electric motor starts very easily and can cut through small, soft logs with ease. Two-handed operation provides added safety and its log cradle holds in logs up to 20.5 inches long and 10.5 inches wide. Its small size and low weight, 100 pounds, make it easy to move around and store.
- Easy to start engine
- Good quality
- Very cheap
- Log cradle
- Comfort grip handles
- Not very powerful
10. Goplus New 1500W 6 Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter Wood Portable Cutter Powerful
The Goplus 6 ton electric hydraulic log splitter is a 100 pound, small splitter which is easily manoeuvred and moved around. Its 1500 watt 6 ton motor can split most small, soft logs and is fit for use in any household with a fire. It can split logs up to 20.4 inches long and 9.8 inches wide.
- Very cheap
- Efficient motor
- Easy to start
- Weak motor
- Must be close to a power outlet