There are plenty of factors to considering when you’re shopping around for the best log splitter. Do you want a manual, electric, or gas-powered model? How often do you plan on using it? You’ll also need to determine what size of logs you need to split, since these models have limitations in terms of log diameter and length. But if you’re tired of all the hard work that goes into splitting wood, then you’ll love what these powerful machines have to offer. However, doing your own research will take some time. That’s where I come in. I’ve reviewed the five top models on the market. Each model has something special to offer, whether it’s sheer power, or a beginner-friendly operation. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that lists the similarities and differences between each of these models.
Log Splitters Comparison Chart
|Boss Industrial ES7T20||106lbs||7||$$$|
|WEN 56207 6.5-Ton||98 lbs||6.5||$$|
|Goplus 6 Ton||102 lbs||6||$$|
|Champion 7-Ton Compact||143 lbs||7||$$$$|
|Sun Joe LJ10M||87 lbs||10||$|
Best Overall-Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter
This electric log splitter by Boss is commercial quality and comes loaded with some great features designed to make splitting logs an effortless job. This machine works well for small to medium-sized jobs and comes with a powerful motor that can handle a variety of wood types. The compact design doesn’t take away from the machine’s raw power. Overall, if you want a machine that’s going to last year after year and one that offers a beginner-friendly operation, then your search stops here.
Best Electric Log Splitter-WEN 56207 Electric Log Splitter
This best-seller by Wen comes with a tough optional stand and two large wheels for ultimate portability. If you don’t want to use the stand the included wheels can be mounted directly to the machine. Versatile, and durable, you’ll be impressed with its powerful electric motor and the auto return cylinder that ensures you get the smoothest, cleanest cuts every time.
Best Hydraulic Log Splitter-Goplus Hydraulic Electric Log Splitter
This is a leading hydraulic electric log splitter by Goplus, a company with a reputation for producing durable, tough log splitters that are as powerful as they are versatile. This model is available at a more affordable price, which is just one of the reasons it remains one of their best-selling models. This machine can handle a wider variety of log lengths, widths, and types, and features a beginner-friendly design that allows you to easily utilize the many features this model has to offer.
Best Gas Log Splitter-Champion Gas Log Splitter
As soon as you read gas-powered, you know this model is one of the toughest on my top five list. It’s true, gas-powered machines are often more powerful compared to electric, and in this case, you’ll definitely be impressed with what this machine has to offer regarding its performance and overall durability. Aside from its durable build and powerful performance, this model is also highly portable and features a compact design, allowing you to easily store and transport it from job site to job site.
Best Manual Log Splitter-Sun Joe LJ10M Hydraulic Log Splitter
If you’re looking for a greener machine, then you’ll love this manually operated log splitter by Sun Joe. Because you’ll be behind the power of this machine, you won’t have to worry about sticking close to an outlet or dealing with high fuel costs. Additionally, it also has low maintenance needs, a compact design that allows you to store and transport this model in the trunk of your car, and the popular automatic return feature that promotes a smoother operation and cleaner cuts every time.
If you’re tired of splitting logs the hard way every season, why not try an electric log splitter? A log splitter works by using a high level of pressure against a small surface area in order to split the logs in half.
Rather than wearing yourself out with an axe, you can split more wood with much less effort using a log splitter. If you know how to split wood with a wedge, then you’re also familiar with the type of arm power you’ll need to go through this type of demanding repetitive job. These machines are designed to make your life a lot easier and effortlessly plow through any log you throw at it, cleanly slicing through the wood in a matter of seconds. So, how do these machines work and what types of features should you keep your eye out for? Let’s find out.
The level of pressure applied to a log is called tonnage. Choosing a model with the right tonnage will depend on the following factors:
- The density of the wood
- Whether the wood is seasoned or green
- The diameter of the wood
When a wood splitter is in action it applies pressure that splits the wood along the grain, as opposed to cutting the grains short, which requires a specialized type of cutting tools such as a chainsaw. The thicker the wood, the more wood there is to split apart on each side of the grain. More pressure is needed for logs that are larger in diameter.
Because of this, a four-ton log splitter will work best for six-inch branches, however, a twenty-four-inch tree trunk will require the force of a twenty-ton log splitter.
Seasoned and Green Wood
When I say green logs, I’m referring to wood that’s still bright green and freshly cut. This type of wood contains a higher level of moisture, basically the same amount of moisture that it retained when it was part of a living tree. As wood ages, the moisture will evaporate over time, which can make it more brittle. The older the wood, the easier it is to split. It will also burn easily compared to freshly cut green wood. Older wood goes by a number of names, including:
Wood that’s properly seasoned will have had a minimum of six months to dry out and will look more brown than green.
Wood that’s freshly fallen is difficult to cut and very moist, which means it will take more tonnage to split. Most pros will recommend waiting to split the wood until it’s cured. If you plan on using a log splitter for green wood, then you’ll need a more powerful log splitter.
Knowing whether logs are seasoned or how thick they are will go a long way towards helping you decide on the right amount of tonnage you need in your next log splitter. Another factor to consider is the wood’s hardness and the type of wood you plan to split. Hardwood varieties are considered very dense, which means there will be a small amount of space between the fibers in the wood, while softwood is much lighter and will have a lot of space between the fibers.
Hickory and oak are both perfect examples of hardwoods, while cone-bearing trees such as pines are considered softwoods. Looking up the hardness value of the types of wood that you plan on splitting will help you figure out if you need a model that uses more force.
After you’ve figured out the amount of tonnage you need, you’ll have a much easier time choosing the type of log splitter that will work for you.
A manual splitter is by far the most affordable choice and it typically comes in vertical or horizontal designs. This more affordable option can usually provide around ten tons of splitting capacity and is powered by a two-speed pump. The pump allows the user to control the speeds via a lever, which will provide the amount of force needed when activated. The lower speed is usually reserved for the initial split, while the higher speed is used for following through. There is a wide variety of models to choose from, many of which are portable and easy to use. The only real downside to this style is the fact that they aren’t very beginner friendly and require more skill to use them correctly.
If you’re looking for a clean, easy, and safe way to split wood, then a log splitter can help you get the job done right and in a fraction of the time it takes splitting wood the old fashioned way. Using an electric log splitter will require the user to have access to an outlet.
A good electric model can split a log that’s up to two feet long and one foot in diameter. Since you’re using electricity, as opposed to a gas splitter, then you won’t have to worry about changing the oil or refueling. Best of all, there are no exhaust fumes to worry about so the splitter can be used in a shed, garage, or another type of enclosed space.
Most beginner-friendly models are available as electric powered, due to the lack of noise and fumes. These models are much quieter and don’t require the same level of maintenance that a gas-powered model does.
That being said, these models are usually capable of handling five tons of power, which is pretty common with the lower-priced models, while a high-priced splitter is capable of handling around ten tons of power.
Sometimes, the best tool for the job when it comes to splitting logs with a larger diameter is a gas-powered model. Like most types of power tools, for heavy-duty jobs, a gas-powered tool is hard to beat. It will come in handy for splitting harder woods such as cherry, elm, or oak, especially if the logs are a bit green. Of course, with a gas-powered model, you’ll have to worry about refueling, the extra cost that comes with it and you’ll also have to change the oil and keep a close eye on the oil level. If a gas-powered splitter has an electric start engine, it will make start-ups much easier, without the fear of cold start failures.
However, this type of tool isn’t without its drawbacks. Aside from having to pay extra for gas, worry about running out of gas during the middle of a job, and changing the oil, you’ll also have to deal with noise and fumes. Yet, the fact that you don’t need to have close access to a power outlet or worry about a cord getting in the way are both huge reasons to choose this power option.
If you decide to go with a gas-powered model, then make sure you choose one with four-way blades to get the most power out of your splitter.
Log cradles can also be a nice extra, since they work to collect all of the pieces of wood as they fall off the splitter.
A model that’s equipped with welded cylinder rods that have long strokes will allow you to choose from a wider range of log lengths.
Models with a two-stage hydraulic pump will ensure you get a faster cycle time and plenty of power, allowing you to process wood at a much faster rate.
When you’re looking for a new model, you’ll probably come across a rating for its cycle time. This refers to the time it will take the splitter’s ram to extend fully and return to the starting position. These power tools have cycle times that are expressed in seconds. A shorter cycle time equals a much faster splitting time. However, some models will come with extra features that are designed to help to split the logs even faster.
Two and Four-Way Splitting Action
Ram reduction or stroke limiting will prevent the ram from extending fully when you split shorter logs. The two-way wedge will allow the wedge to split logs when the ram returns to the starting position and when it extends.
A four-way wedge will allow the splitter to split one log into a total of four pieces, providing you with twice the log splitting capability. If getting your firewood split quickly is very important to you then you should look for a model with these features.
The parts, and features like tonnage, are what will distinguish one model from the next. When you’re shopping around, make sure you focus on the features that matter the most to you.
Most splitters are easy to set up and transport due to their lightweight design. However, more powerful models will be larger and heavier and may even need to be mounted onto tow-behind trailers. A smaller power tool can be wheeled or carried by hand.
Search for the following features that can make positioning the splitter much easier:
Wheels- A wheeled model is easy to tow and haul. The wheels can be made out of high-density rubber or plastic. Obviously, rubber wheels will provide a smoother roll.
Stand- A full length stand can be fixed or detachable and will allow the user to work with the splitter at a more manageable level, all without the tool taking up a lot of space on a workbench. Many higher priced models will come equipped with an optional stand. Wheels can be attached to the stand or they can be mounted directly to the machine should you decide a stand isn’t necessary.
These features will make it more convenient and easier to use your splitter.
When you use your new power tool, make sure that you do so on flat ground only. Before you begin, lock the wheels in place, or you can block them before you switch the machine on. Whatever you do, never use a splitter on slippery, icy, muddy, or wet surfaces. Never use one on a slope where it will be at risk of falling over. Be sure that the splitter’s bed has only the log between the wedge and the shoe and check for any personal items or debris before you turn on the splutter’s hydraulic action.
Always keep an eye on the splitter as it runs and make sure you place it in an area that’s well-lit. During use, wear gloves and eye protection. Keep an eye out for any splinters that can shoot out of the machine when it’s in use.
Because larger logs can be very heavy, it’s important that you practice proper lifting form when you’re carrying the logs to the splitter. If possible, wearing shoes with toe protection is also a great idea and one that will keep your feet safe during use.
Before You Buy
Before you run out and buy the first log splitter you find on sale, ask yourself the following questions:
- How often do you plan on using a wood splitter?
- Is the splitter for residential or commercial use?
- How many cords of wood will you be splitting?
- Is the wood freshly cut, semi-seasoned, or hardwood?
- Will you be splitting smaller rounds or larger ones?
- Will you be splitting knotty rounds or clean logs only?
- How fast do you need to get the job done?
- How much are you willing to spend?
- Will you be using the power tool in a remote location?
- Do you have access to outlets where you’ll be working?
The answers to these questions will help you narrow your choices down to the perfect machine that can help you tear through your woodpile in no time.
Important Usage Tips
A log splitter is primarily used to get logs split to the perfect size for fireplace or firepit use. But it can also be used by woodworkers who specialize in wood burning. If you already know what is the best wood for wood burning, then you know a log splitter is able to work with dry, hardwoods easily, so you can have work material that features a clean, smooth surface.
If you’re in need of a log splitter to take on that growing woodpile in your yard, then this machine will be a great investment. But before you buy, take a look at the type of wood you need to cut. Some machines cannot handle hardwoods or green wood. In fact, you may need to dry out the logs before you attempt cutting, a process that can take days. Additionally, the length and the width of the wood will also matter.
Another issue will be cost. Are you willing to pay a higher price for a more powerful model? If you only need a log splitter to grow your firewood stockpile for the winter, then a basic electric powered model will do the trick. If you plan on using this type of machine frequently, throughout the year, then I recommend paying more and opting for a gas-powered model. If you only need this machine to take care of a few logs or a felled tree or two, then a manual machine will be a more affordable option.
Once you’ve determined which type of machine will work for you, you’ll be ready to hit that buy now button and order a machine that can handle the type of wood you’ll be working with. In the end, the best log splitter will help you to complete your work efficiently and quickly and will do so based on wood type, length, and width. Sure, the model you choose should have enough force to easily split most types of wood that you’ll be working with, however, it should also be able to do so in a timely fashion and require minimal effort on your part aside from setting up the logs and placing the split logs in a neat pile. Many budget-friendly models will boast some high tonnage stats, however, the cycle time is typically much slower for these models. When you’re shopping around, take your time and pay attention to all of the important specs in order to find a model that will meet your log splitting needs and won’t hit your wallet too hard. I hope my buyer’s guide and my reviews of the best-selling models has helped you narrow down your choices to find the perfect machine to help you get the job done right.