Initially, axes were used to split logs into chunks of wood. Then, splitting wood was a tedious, time, and energy consuming task packed with risks. Came the log splitter and most if not all the inefficiencies of the manual axe were taken care of. The best log splitter will not only save you time, but it will make the whole experience much more enjoyable.
Your time is valuable, I understand that. This is why I put below three navigational links that will take you to the main sections of the article.
The log splitter is quite simply a mechanized axe powered by electricity, gas, or manually making it possible to tackle the splitting task faster, safely, and more efficiently.
These handy units come integrated with a hydraulic pump whose function is to push the log against a wedge to split it up when their power is turned on.
The force that the splitter generates to push the log against the splitting rail actually rates its ability so that the higher the force, mostly 25-tons splitting force or more, the more efficiently it will tackle thicker and tougher logs.
Our quick-scan summary table will help you compare and contrast the features of the best log splitters at a glance; otherwise what follows are detailed log splitter reviews and a buyer’s guide that should equip you for that one-time investment
Top Log Splitters in 2017 – Comparison Table
|Log Splitter||Type||Power||Max Cutting Length||Splitting Force||Cycle Time||Operation|
|Boss Industrial ES7T20||Electric||2HP Motor||20.5 Inches||7 Tons||14 Secs||Horizontal|
|WEN 56206||Electric||2HP Motor||20.5 Inches||6 Tons||25 Secs||Horizontal|
|Powerhouse XM-380||Electric||3.5HP Motor||20.5 inches||7 Tons||20 Secs||Horizontal/Vertical|
|Champion Power Equipment 90720||Gas||80cc Champion OHV Engine||20 Inches||7 Tons||20 Secs||Horizontal|
|Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825||Gas||208cc Southland OHV gas engine||26 Inches||25 Tons||17 Secs||Horizontal/Vertical|
|Earthquake W1200||Electric||1.75 Hp||20 Inches||5 Tons||22 Secs||Horizontal|
|Sun Joe LJ10m||Manual||N/A||18 Inches||10 Tons||N/A||Horizontal|
Best Log Splitter – Reviews
Best Electric Log Splitter REVIEWS
1. Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter
This electric log splitter by Boss Industrial makes it top of our reviews and because of its power and great performance. It is power-driven by at 2 HP 1500 Watts motor along with a 5.25 feet power cable, you are assured of portability. With a quick easy push-button electric start, you will have the easiest time with tough wood logs.
- Powerful 2-HP electric motor
- Quick single push electric start
- One Handed Operation
- Automatic RAM return for faster completion of tasks
- Professional-grade hydraulic system
- Lightweight at 106 lbs for ease of mobility
- 7-ton splitting force for faster and more efficient splitting
- sturdy tube log trays / legs
- max splitting length and diameter at 20.5 inches and 10.5 inches respectively
- High quality steel constructed wedge for toughness and durability
A great performance feature the Boss Industrial ES7T20 comes with is a professional-grade hydraulic system which yields 3500psi pressure to offer 7 tons of splitting force which is ideal for small and medium tasks.
Additionally the automatic RAM return feature makes it (The RAM) return to its original position faster with a 14-sec cycle time meaning you will be better positioned to load the logs faster on the splitting rail.
Speaking of capacity, a max cutting length of 20.5inches, a max cutting diameter of 10.5 inches as well as 0.75-gallon hydraulic capacity, you can work on big logs for a remarkably longer period before refuelling. To top off convenience, a one-hand operation means your other hand is free to perform other basic tasks.
2. WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter
This unit from WEN has garnered some great reviews not only because of its tough durable, heavy-gauge steel construction but also because it is powered by a 2HP motor at 15 Amps.
In addition, it is one of the safest splitters to use as it is designed for a 2-hand operation thus managing RAM-related safety risks.
- 2HP Copper-wound motor powered by household current
- 2-handed operation to prevent RAM related accidents
- Integrated log guide for precise splitting
- Max cutting length of 20.5 inches and max cutting diameter of 10.5 inches
- Comfortable grip handles that are soft end easy on the palms
- 6-inch diameter wheels for mobility
- CSA certified for safety.
- 6-ton splitting force for efficient splitting
- Hydraulic pump with 2.8 quartz reservoir for uninterrupted operations
With a 6-ton splitting force, the WEN 56206 is quite ideal for faster operation on tough chunks of wood with a max length of 20.5 inches and a max diameter of 10.5 inches.
Additionally, the convenience at which you will operate this unit will certainly charm you. An integrated 4 inch X 4inch push plate that’s definitely not common with other electric mauls facilitates the 15.5 inch RAM to efficiently load logs on the 4.5-inch rail for splitting.
Of your best interest is the safety precaution attached to this operation. Both of your hands are engaged in operating the unit.
This is to mean that at no point will your hand come into contact with the RAM as most electric splitter accidents are RAM related. Removing one hand during handling triggers the RAM to return to its original position.
For extra convenience, this splitter comes with ergonomic handles and 6-inch for ease of mobility. It also designed with a 2.8quart hydraulic reservoir and comes with oil to fill it.
3. Powerhouse XM-380 Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter, 7-Ton **TOP**
The Powerhouse XM-380 is quite a tough boy with 3.5HP, 2200watt motor power and has the capabilities to handle tough log demands right from the comfort of your home. It is quite popular among countrymen with large capacity requirements.
- Powerful 3.5 HP, 2200 Watt motor ideal for tough logs
- Hydraulic RAM with 3.6 litres fuel capacity
- 7-ton splitting force for quick and easy splitting
- Cutting capacity at 20.5-inch max length and 10.5-inch max diameter
- 15.7 – inch RAM travel diameter
- Light weight at 104 lbs and comes with wheels for ease of mobility
- 2-hand safety control operation to keep your hands off the log and splitter
- Sturdy and durable steel construction in an enclosed design
The XM-380 3.5HP motor power is remarkably higher than most others with a common 2HP motor power making it the best electric log splitter for tough logs.
However, it may not be suitable for splitting hard knots. With a 7-ton RAM force, you will quite easily achieve 5 seconds splitting speed per log, running through the 15.7 inch RAM travel diameter. In essence, an hour is sufficient for handling more than 100 logs.
This unit is designed to engage both hands during operation as a safety measure. Given that both of your hands will be engaged, there will be lesser chances of contact with the log or the splitter, hence slimmer accident possibilities.
The RAM atomically goes back to its original position the moment you remove one hand from operation which indicates that you are done cutting a log and are ready to load the next onto the splitting rail.
With an amazing 6-sec splitting time and a 5-sec RAM return time, you can efficiently split a considerable number of hardwood logs in a short time.
Best Gas Log Splitters
Champion Power Equipment 90720 7-Ton Compact Portable Log Splitter
If you are considering a portable and efficient gas powered splitter for your light to medium capacity duties, the 90720 7-ton by Champion Power Equipment makes the best gas log splitter option.
- Horizontal Operation
- Operates a 20-sec cycle time to deliver 180 cycles in an hour
- 0.4-gallon fuel tank
- Powered by Champion 80cc engine
- comes with an auto-return control valve
- For efficiency during splitting, the wedge of the splitter is skewed
- A low profile design that allows for ease of loading heavy logs
- Comes integrated with log cradle for keeping split logs, reduces storage trips until splitting is complete
- Designed with foldaway handles and 10-inch flat-free tires for convenient mobility
- Hydraulic oil system with 1.3-gallon capacity with automatic low oil shut down
- Max log length and weight at 19.3 inches and 50 lbs respectively
The Champion Power Equipment 90720 7 Ton Compact Portable Log Splitter is a horizontally operated log splitter with an efficient splitting time of 20-sec for every full cycle meaning you can comfortably manage a 180 cycle/hour or less demand. Its auto return control valve further enhances its efficiency allowing you to concentrate on loading your logs for splitting.
This 7-ton unit is powered by an 80cc Champion single cylinder engine with a 0.4-gallon fuel tank with low-oil auto shut-off sensor to guarantee you continued operation without disruption. It is designed to conveniently handle 20inches long logs with up to 50 pounds weight.
For utmost convenience, this unit is designed with a low profile to let you load heavy logs quite effortlessly. In addition, it comes with a log cradle for holding your splits after cutting which eliminates the time and effort you would have used to transport them for storage after each splitting session.
A skewed wedge makes it easy for you to split even the tough logs faster and more efficiently.
Additional features like the flat-free 10-inch wheels and comfortable-grip handles are good for long operations and movement from one place to another.
Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25 Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter
The 25-Ton SLS20825 by Southland Power Equipment is agreeably one tough log splitter, built to handle thick and tough logs of up to 26inches in length and 30 inches in diameter. For heavy duty tasks, this one makes the best log splitter for any serious commercial user.
- Designed for use with 208cc Southland OHV gas engine for efficient splitting of tough logs
- Adjustable vertical and horizontal operation for versatility and ease of log loading
- It comes integrated with an internal oil delivery system for automatic lubrication of engine parts which eliminates thermal build up to extend the useful life of the engine
- 17-second cycle time to deliver along with an automatic return
- Comes with 2-inch tow hitch and 16×4.8-inch pneumatic wheels for easy manoeuvrability
- Remarkably high splitting capacity at 25-ton splitting force for heavy duty splitting
- Max log length of 26 inches and log diameter of 30 inches
- A 2-stage 11 GPM hydraulic pump to minimize cycle time
- Adjustable vertical and horizontal operation
- 8-inch overheat-resistant splitting wedge
These heavy duty log splitters are quite convenient and efficient to use especially on heavily knotted or large hard logs given that they are designed with a powerful splitting force at 25 tons in a 17-second cycle, 208cc 8.5-foot pounds of torque OHV engine, along with an 8-inch toughbuilt wedge.
In addition, they come with both horizontal and vertical placements so it is easier splitting larger logs without having to strain loading them on the splitting rail. To protect the engine and accord it longer life, these units come integrated with an internal oil delivery system to lubricate the engine when in operation.
This enables smooth operation and eliminates overheating which could damage the engine. The splitting wedge too is treated against overheating as a damage prevention mechanism.
A 2-inch tow hitch and 16-inch diameter pneumatic wheels are great mobility accessories if your work involves moving from place to place.
Finally, some small non-complicated assembling is required when you first receive your splitter. The simple assembly guide should come in handy during assembling.
Best Compact Log Splitter
Earthquake W1200 Compact 5-Ton Electric Log Splitter
The W1200 5-ton log splitter by Earthquake makes the perfect choice for homeowners with small capacity requirements. Its ease of operation and splitting speed with a 22 seconds cycle time makes it a preferable choice in addition to its compact size and lightweight.
- Tackles logs up to 20 inches long with 10-inch diameter with utmost efficiency
- 1.75HP, 15AMP motor power for small to medium sized splitting tasks
- Horizontal operation
- 22 seconds cycle time
- Rubber-coated handle soft on the palm for convenient mobility
- Durable steel wheels for ease of movement
- 5-ton splitting force
- 5-inch wedge
DIY homeowners will certainly love working with this small yet powerful tool. Don’t be mistaken by its size, this unit has the capacity to handle up to 20inches long logs with a 10-inch diameter quite efficiently and this is just about the size of logs most small households will need to split.
Being light in weight at only 99lbs, the Earthquake W1200 log splitter makes this unit quite portable and easy to store.
With a 1.75HP 15Amp motor power, a 22 seconds cycle time and 5 tons of splitting force, the W1200 is designed to complete your tasks much faster than you can imagine.
Best Manual Log Splitters
Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10 Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter
The LJ10M Logger Joe by Sun Joe is the lightest log in our review and rightly so because it is manually operated. This splitter amazingly bears the same features as most gas or electric powered ones making it an ideal for enthusiasts who loathe mechanical work.
- Integrated log cradle for holding split wood
- Horizontal operation, ideal for smaller easy to load logs
- Steel construction for guaranteed toughness and durability
- Tackles max log lengths of 18 inches and max diameter of 8 inches
- Comes with a powerful hydraulic RAM that delivers 10-tons of splitting force
- Its RAM is incorporated with a spring for a quick return to its original position
- Comes with wheels for ease of mobility
- Hydraulic oil system with 0.17 oil capacity
The Sun Joe LJ10M Logger is agreeably one of the best manually operated log splitter with the greatest advantage being that it needs no maintenance.
It is nearly as efficient as its small capacity electric counterparts with a hydraulic RAM delivering 10-tons of splitting force for 18-inch long logs on horizontal operation.
Additionally, its RAM comes with a quick reset spring to allow you work faster. If your job involves moving around, then this unit’s wheels will be of great advantage to you. Finally, you can expect it to last longer given that it is constructed with tough durable steel. Finally, storage is easy with its compact size.
For those keen on power, performance, and durability, The XM-380 makes a good option. At 3.5HP it is more powerful than others in the league like the WEN 56206 and the Boss Industrial ES7T20 both of which operate on a lower 2HP power.
Additionally, it is quite versatile with both horizontal and vertical operations, which may not a common feature in electric powered log splitters. Finally, a good log splitter is marked by tough durable construction and this one is certainly it.
Log Splitter – Buyer’s Guide – All You Need to Know
Winter is winter, whether you stay in Arizona or Florida or in the chilliest Alaska or Dakota hence a log splitting tool is an indispensable tool you can’t afford not to have. The other alternative may be the often very costly pre-split wood fuel.
As we had already mentioned earlier, traditionally, the only known log splitting tool was the manual axe. You had to literally sweat it to lay in some decent supply of wood to take you through the wintery months.
Today, there is a whole lot of splitting tools to choose from let alone brands; from axes, hatchets, splitting mauls, hand-held saws, chainsaws, to log splitters. Chainsaws are obviously very much needed to convert trees to logs, yet afterwards, what you use to turn logs to burnable chunks is what counts.
Moving away from human-powered splitters, log splitters stand out as the most convenient splitting tools and rightly so.
Here is why log splitters are way ahead of the pack.
- They are mechanized so less sweat less splitting time – Log Splitters are either powered by electricity, gas, or manually. Even the manual splitters come with a hydraulic pump mechanism that makes it possible to still use them with remarkably less effort. Therefore, all energy initially needed for splitting gets transferred to the tool so what you are left to do is to operate this unit.
- They are efficient meaning less waste – Being mechanized also means efficiency. Apart from wood chunks, wood chips were typical of manual cutters. This is considered waste because collecting these tiny pieces off the ground is nearly impossible.
- Safer – These tools are much safer to use compared to their counterparts. Any DIY homeowner can use them given the simple setup and operation.
- Tidier – Wood chips lying around certainly doesn’t make a clean environment. When these are eliminated, you end up with a tidy and of course sweat-less working environment.
- Flexible – They are flexible too. With the electric powered splitters, you have the freedom of splitting your logs indoor or outdoor.
When were log splitters first used?
As far as we know, these handy tools have been there for over a century. Initially, they were lumberjacks’ indispensable tools and perhaps mills. They gained popularity during the early 60s and have picked up quite steadily to date with each development.
Today, the countless log splitter reviews speak loads about these units’ convenience and efficiency.
Types of Log Splitters
There are three types of mechanized log splitters. The fourth type is completely manual with no element of mechanization, which is ideal for small tasks.
- Electric Log Splitters
These log splitters are powered by electricity. An electricity cord connects to the source on one end and to the tool on the other end. Most electric log splitters have a low profile and a cradle on which split wood chunks are held and are horizontally operated. The logs are pushed through a rail with the use of a hydraulic pump mechanism towards a wedge that splits them.
These units are ideal for small to medium sized tasks because they generate between 4 to 10 tons of force although you will not miss one or two electric units of higher force. They are preferred by most homeowners because of their flexibility, i.e. they can be operated either indoor or outdoor.
- Gas Log splitters
Of the three, the gas powered units are the heavy duty log splitters. They are integrated with cc engines for petrol fuel while some are operated by gas. These ones also make use of hydraulic mechanism to push the logs through a rail towards the wedge which splits them.
With most gas log splitters operating both vertically and horizontally on a higher splitting force of between 7 and 35 tons, they are popular for commercial or frequent use on heavy duty tasks.
They are also very efficient on hard and knotty woods. These units also come with a tow hitch to allow for convenient movement between sites.
- Manual Hydraulic log splitters
These ones combine mechanical and physical ability into a single tool. Like the others, they are also designed with a hydraulic pump mechanism for pushing logs against the wedge during splitting. However, they are operated manually. These units generate up to 10tons of splitting force.
Some Top Log Splitter Brands
Power House – Just as the manufacturer’s title, these electric units are some of the most powerful. Power house is known for two remarkable features in their equipment, power and tough construction. Powerhouse is a popular brand among users with higher power, heavy duty requirements.
Wen – Wen units are some of the most popular among small capacity users. Quite a remarkable feature is that they are built with utmost safety in mind therefore the overly conscious can rest assured they will be safe operating these units.
Boss – Boss manufacturers are known tough constructors. They have a range of some heavy duty units with splitting force ranging between 4 and 10 tons which perfectly fits small to medium sized home use. In addition, Boss log splitter design focus more on ease of use with such features as automatic ram return and an easy push start button.
Factors to Consider before Buying a Log Splitter
Selecting the best log splitter may not be the easiest of tasks which is why we have detailed the below factors to help you make an informed selection.
- Power – Power determines how efficiently you will work through your logs. Keep in mind that green wood is a not as easy to split, tougher if it is a wide-diameter log. In essence, the size of your task will determine how much power you need. Go for higher power 25 tons or more for larger more frequent tasks.
- Power Source – If you are working small to medium sized logs then you will have done yourself some justice going for electric splitters.
- These are easy to use, no fuel refilling yet you will deliver some clean splits in no time. However, if you work larger tasks, heavier and tougher logs, and still you need to move from splitting station to splitting station, you will be better off with the gas powered, hitch towed log splitters.
- Construction – It goes without saying that a tough durable construction is desirable especially because this is mechanical equipment. An all-steel construction makes the best log splitter option, otherwise look out for an equally tougher material in your preferred log splitter.
- Operation style (horizontal or vertical) – For heavier, longer, and thicker logs, a horizontal operation is in order. This is because you will not have to strain lifting the logs to load them on the splitting rail. Simply roll them on.
- On the other hand, if you are handling much smaller and lighter ones without a fuss on the lifting, then by all means go for the vertical. However, a versatile horizontal/vertical operation will be good if you are handling both.
- Cycle time – Indicates the speed at which you will split your logs and quite honestly I would imagine you have considered this tool to get the job done faster. Therefore a higher speed, say 15 seconds per cycle isn’t bad if you are out for real speed.
- Mobility – Heavier more frequent tasks especially the commercial ones go along well with some convenient form of mobility. Look out for splitters with mobility wheels or tow hitch for the bigger gas splitters.
- Safety – two handed operation splitter are the most safe because they engage both of your hands to eliminate the risk of injury.
Some Handy Log Splitter Accessories
Accessories for any tool are useful for making your task more convenient and efficient. Here are some worthwhile purchases you can make alongside your log splitter purchase.
- Log splitter cover – the log splitter cover is a vital protection measure. You need to cover your unit to protect it from harsh weather, debris, and other matter that may damage it or reduce its efficiency. Most comes with an elastic cord at the bottom hem to keep it firm on your unit.
- Hydraulic oil filter – because you will need to replace your filters quite frequently, having extra filters will come in handy when you need a replacement and can’t afford the time to go out and purchase.
- Log catcher – A log catcher attaches to the cradle to hold split logs.
- Wheel Guards – Keep your wheels, log splitter safe from damage and debris thrown off the wheels when moving, using a wheel guard.
- Log splitter table – at some point during splitting, you may find that you need extra working for placing your logs before splitting, or when you need to split your logs further into smaller chunks. This is where a log splitter table comes in handy.
- Log cradle – Some splitters come with a log cradle others don’t. A cradle will hold your split logs until the job is done then you can transport them for storage.
- A log auto load –Ideal for the horizontally operated log splitter, this crane-like mechanized piece of equipment does the load lifting so you save yourself the strain and danger of lifting heavy logs onto the splitting rail.
- 4-way splitter – a typical splitter wedge splits your log into two halves. The 4-way splitter will increase efficiency by splitting your logs into four pieces.
Log Splitter Operation and Maintenance Tips
- Keep your work station tidy and well illuminated free from debris. This will allow you to keep a keen eye on the entire operation and spot faults early enough.
- Check that the splitter fittings are firm and in place before using your unit. Loose fittings are potential damagers of the unit. Nuts, bolts, and screw must all be tight.
- Inspect your logs before loading them on the rail for splitting. Some may have nails or other items buried inside them which can be quite dangerous for the unit and its operator.
- Never use your electric splitter at a ground level so that you are forced to bend to operate it. A recommended height is 24 to 32 inch above the ground depending on your height.
- Split knotted wood or one that has irregular grain with more caution because this may cause bigger chunks to come on one side or the log to turn on the side during splitting.
- Observe good maintenance schedule for the log splitter and its engine as a damage prevention mechanism. You definitely need longer service.
- Check for leaks, hydraulic fluid or engine oil before you begin to work. Operating a leaking unit Some splitters are not self-clean therefore you need to clean all parts after every use.
- Replace or repair any dented, cracked, or damaged parts as soon as you spot them, this way you will be avoiding further damage.
Frequently Asked Questions about Log Splitters
What is the best log splitter size for me?
This ideally depends on how hard the logs you intend to split are and how often you will need to use your tool. Frequent all-year-round, heavy duty, or commercial use demands a higher force capacity 25 tons and above otherwise a 7-ton log splitter suffices for personal home use.
How often do I need to sharpen my log splitter wedge?
Essentially, with proper use, you may not need to sharpen your splitter wedge. However, if you are a frequent user, sharpening is inevitable. If you notice that the wedge is dulling out and there is a bit of resistance splitting through logs, then it is time to sharpen your wedge.
Does a log splitter need assembling after purchase?
This depends on the log splitter you will select. Most gas engine ones require some assembly. The electric ones are mostly plug and go. However, always check the splitters manual for instructions.
Which is the best option between vertically and horizontally operating splitters?
Basically, vertical log splitters are ideal for heavier logs because lifting of the logs is eliminated. Simply roll over the log onto the splitting rail and you are good to go. Horizontal splitters are suitable when you are dealing with smaller lighter logs because they require you to lift the log to load it on the rail.
Will I need to change the engine oil of my splitter, if so, how often?
Yes you will need to change the engine oil. Again this depends on the frequency of use however if you are not a heavy user, the engine should operate a year before you can consider replacing its oil.
If you have to keep warm with an ample supply of wood through winter, you will definitely consider getting yourself a log splitter.
With regular maintenance, proper use and storage, your unit will last you several years of useful service. Remember any tool will give you good service in return to a good service. Now you know everything in order to buy the best log splitter for you 🙂