When it comes to log splitters, there are four basic types; they are broken down into gas-powered, electric, manual or 3pt units and skid steer. There are pros and cons to each type of unit, and as a consumer, it’s a lot easier for you to make a choice between the three when you know a little about how they work. Being knowledgeable helps you choose a log splitter that meets your splitting needs without forcing you to spend extra money on features that you don’t need.
If you’re not sure about what kind of splitter you need, I’ve compiled an easy-to-read list of the best log splitters on the market today; use this list to figure out which model is best suited for your needs.
Quick Pick – Log Splitter Reviews
Powerhorse Log Splitter
CHAMPION POWER EQUIPMENT GAS LOG SPLITTER — 27 Ton
This hydraulic log splitter offers 27 tons of heavy-duty and dependable log splitting in a portable gas-powered unit. It measures in at 51.3 x 39.3 x 89.5 inches, and it can handle a maximum log diameter and length of 24 inches.
The core of this unit is its 224 cc Champion single-cylinder engine with a fuel capacity of 0.9 gallons.
As a safety precaution, the engine will automatically shut itself off when it is running low on oil.
This Champion log splitter has a 11 second no-load cycle, a built-in log cradle, catcher and an adjustable stroke return.
It can handle logs that weigh up to 100 pounds that are about 24 inches in length, so you never have to worry about overwhelming the unit. It has wheels for portability, and it uses a two-inch ball coupler to attach to your vehicle or ATV.
- 4-stroke 196 cc single cylinder engine; air-cooled to prevent overheating
- Hydraulic power; exerts 27 tons of force
- Cast iron sleeve; almost impossible to break
- Skewed wedge and log stripper; makes it easy to remove a log from the wedge after it is split
- Cylinder automatically recoils for easy operation
- Two-pull starting mechanism
- 16 inch wheels; DOT approved for a maximum speed of 40-45 miles per hour
- Measures in at 51.3 x 39.3 x 89.5 inches inches; weighs 435 pounds
The Champion Power Equipment Gas Log Splitter is a powerhouse that uses a powerful engine to quickly split logs as fast as you can stack them. If you need a heavy-duty piece of equipment, then this gas-powered machine is able to handle tough jobs without slowing down during the process.
Its two-pull starting mechanism, 27 tons of power and 11 second cycle time makes it one of the best log splitters on the market today.
If you need power and portability, then this unit is one that you need to consider. The unit’s cast iron sleeve makes it tough and durable, and its auto-shutoff engine protects the unit when it is running low on oil.
This unit is a great deal, and when you buy it, you can feel confident knowing that won’t have to buy another splitter for years.
- This refurbished product is tested and certified to look and work like new. The refurbishing process includes functionality testing, basic cleaning, inspection, and repackaging. The product ships with all relevant accessories, and may arrive in a generic box
Powerhorse Horizontal/Vertical Log Splitter-22 Tons
When compared to similar models, this unit is a real steal at just under a grand.
The manufacturers created an affordable unit that uses a dual design to increase the unit’s speed an efficiency, so you end up with a powerful and fast unit that can keep up with units that are twice its price.
The OVH engine in this unit has a cast iron sleeve, dual ball bearings and a forged crankshaft, so you never have to worry about it breaking down during a tough job.
The unit can handle large logs up to 25 inches in length and 16 inches in diameter. It splits twice as many logs per cycle, so you can get your work done twice as fast.
- Wedge made of steel for durability
- Seven second cycle time
- 4 x 24 inch cylinder
- OVH engine
- 25 x 16 inch max log size
- Unit measures 61 x 39 x 36 inches; weighs 360 pounds
- Two-inch ball coupler
The Powerhorse is a great unit that can easily cut through seasoned or fresh wood. It uses a gas-powered engine to slice through knots, and it’s built for durability, so you never have to worry about it breaking down during a job.
It uses dual split technology to split wood twice as fast as other units, and because of this, we feel that this unit exceeds expectations by a mile.
The Powerhorse is perfect for people who need a log splitter that doesn’t need to be moved often. It weighs 360 pounds, but that’s because of the high-quality materials that the manufacturer uses when building it.
We really like the dual splitting technology, and we wholeheartedly recommend this unit to people who need a high-quality stationary unit.
- Heavy-duty hydraulic system protects and extends the life of hydraulic system components by preventing contaminants from entering and circulating through the system
- 10 Micron Zinga-made Powerhorse filter removes contaminants created during operation or introduced when adding or changing oil
- 100 Mesh suction strainer acts as a pre-filter to prolong the life of the return line filter, valve, pump and cylinder and also prevents contaminants from passing through system components up stream of the return line filter
- 40 micron breather prevents airborne contaminants from entering the hydraulic system
- Inlet and outlet locations are on opposite sides of the tank to promote cooling of the hydraulic fluid by increasing its travel time
Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10 Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter
Perfect for home use
The LJ10M Logger Joe has the ability to split logs up to 18in x 8in in size. It’s rated for 10 tons of driving pressure, meaning it can handle just about any wood you might be using to make firewood for your fireplace. It can even handle hardwoods; since many homeowners like oak, this is definitely a point in the Logger Joe’s favor.
The Logger Joe is made out of steel for ultimate durability. This is important, because log splitting is a strenuous task on the equipment. Remember, this equipment is taking all the pressure that would be on you if you were doing the log splitting manually and putting on itself instead. A machine that can take that has to be tough, and the Logger Joe is just that—tough.
Some log splitters don’t have a mechanism for keeping the wood properly in place, but that’s not the case with the LJ10M. This model features a log cradle so that your split wood doesn’t fall, causing unnecessary hassle.
The LJ10M is a hydraulic log splitter that doesn’t require electricity. While it may technically be a manual splitter, the hydraulic power does the log splitting work backed by 10 tons of force. This is a great option for those who don’t have access to electricity but don’t want to spend extra money on gasoline.
The Logger Joe is lightweight compared to many of its competitors and comes with wheels attached for easier maneuvering. This is great for those who wish to take it camping or to their lake cabin while still being able to get it back home easily when vacation is over.
What to like about the Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10 Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter:
Comes with a full 2-year warranty
Hydraulic, requires no electricity or gas
Durable steel construction
Lightweight and relatively compact, makes for easy traveling
Aesthetically attractive for those who like a nice appearance in their machinery
What to consider:
The LJ10M is a manual-hydraulic log splitter. However, because of the 10-tons of pressure powered by the hydraulic system, it’s still very easy to use without the hassle of plugging it in or filling it with gas.
- Powerful: hydraulic RAM Builds up to 10 Tons of driving force
- Large capacity: splits logs up to 18 in. Long x 8 in. Wide
- Efficient: RAM return spring for quick resets
- Durable: Steel frame construction with wheels for easy portability
- Easy to use: No gas, oil or cords.Wheel Size:2.48 inch
How Do Log Splitters Work?
Many people think that log splitters work by cutting wood. Log splitters don’t really do this; they use pressure and a wedge that pushes into a log until it cracks. It’s looks like a cutting motion, but it’s really about the pressure that a log splitter can exert.
What Types Of Log Splitters Are Available?
If you plan on splitting lots of large pieces of wood, then you may want to consider a gas-powered splitter; these splitters are some of the strongest, fastest and most effective on the market, but they also tend to be the most expensive. They slice through wood easily, and this makes the splitting process very easy for the user. You never have to worry about overloading a gas-powered machine.
Lots of gas-powered splitters come with a trailer hitch for easy portability, but if you plan on driving on busy roads or highways, then make sure you get a unit that has wheels that have been approved by the Department Of Transportation. Some splitters come with wheels that are approved for towing around your property; don’t take one of these out on a public road, or you may cause an accident.
When using a gas splitter, you have to be careful of the gas fumes that it emits. They are made for use in well-ventilated areas like your backyard. You never want to run one indoors; the fumes can be harmful to your health.
Electric splitters run on the electricity from a standard 120 volt outlet, so you can use them in confined spaces like your basement or garage. They are very powerful machines, but you always need to be near a power source when you use one. They usually cost a little less than gas-powered units, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t offer you the power and speed that you need.
Manual splitters come in many different shapes and sizes, but we’re going to be talking about the ones that use a manual hydraulic pump to split your wood. These pumps are pretty powerful; some of them even have ten tons of splitting power, but you have to crank the hydraulic pump by hand.
If you only have to split a couple of logs, then a manual system will probably work for you. They are slow, and they take a lot of work compared to gas and electric units. They typically have two speeds; one speed is used to initially split the wood, and the other is used to finish the task. You have to pump the lever manually; it works kind of like a car jack does, so it takes a lot of time to get through a whole log.
The great thing about manual units is that they can be used without gas or electricity, and they are better than splitting logs with an ax. They are portable and easy to take care of, so you can throw one in your back seat and bring it on a camping trip. You probably don’t want to use one of these if you have a ton of wood to split.
Factors To Consider When Buying A Log Splitter
When buying a log splitter, you need to factor in things like its weight, its power source and how much wood you are actually going to be splitting. If you plan on splitting large and fresh logs, they tend to be the hardest on your splitter, so you’ll need to buy a unit with a lot of tonnage. If you are buying a splitter for home, you might be best off buying a portable unit that has a little less power; you really don’t want an immobile unit sitting around in your back yard.
Always figure out what kind of power source is best for you; gas units are the most powerful, but you definitely can’t use them inside. If you plan on splitting wood inside, you need to consider buying an electric unit. It makes sense to figure out where you’ll be splitting your wood; this allows you to get a unit that suits your needs.
Before you buy a new splitter, figure out the size of the wood you plan on splitting, where you’re going to use your log splitter and the amount of labor that you are willing to put into the process.
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Log Splitter Alternatives
When it comes to log splitter alternatives, the only other realistic option you have is to do it by hand. You can use an axe or a special tool to do this, but it’s very labor intensive work. If you’re young and healthy, a couple of logs won’t be a problem, but if you have to split a whole cord of wood by hand, it’ll take you hours, and you’ll definitely feel some pain when you are done.
If you have a lot of wood to split, we definitely recommend a log splitter.
Can You Make A Homemade Log Splitter?
Log splitters look like pretty simple machines, and people sometimes make the mistake of thinking that they can build one them by themselves. We don’t recommend this; when you are using 20 tons of pressure to split wood, you definitely don’t want something going wrong with your unit. It may work well, but why take the risk of injuring yourself or the people around you?
When you buy a log splitter from a dependable manufacturer, you pay for stability and dependability. Making your own splitter can be disastrous, and if you aren’t a mechanical engineer, you’re better off avoiding making one. If you are serious about your log splitting, then we recommend that you buy one from a dependable manufacturer; you always know that it’s safe.
What’s The Best Log Splitter Brand?
There isn’t one brand that is necessarily better than others. We tend to like brands that are manufactured in the United States, but this doesn’t mean that units built overseas are bad; lots of companies build their parts in the US, and then they ship them overseas to be produced. When buying a log splitter, you’re best off reading reviews; they give you a good idea of how the unit performs in comparison to others on the market.
What size log splitter do I need?
If you are using seasoned wood, you probably won’t need a splitter that has a tonnage of more than 20. Fresh wood tends to be a little tougher, and if you’re splitting tough fresh wood, you may need up to 30 tons of power to split it.
Use these general guidelines to figure out the size of the splitter that you need:
6 inch seasoned – 4 tons
12 inch seasoned – 12 tons
12 inch fresh – 16 tons
24 inch seasoned – 20 tons
24 inch fresh – 30 or more tons
What are the shipping costs and delivery methods?
Shipping prices for log splitters can be expensive; a 600 pound unit isn’t very easy to ship, and some companies try to offset the costs by making the consumer pay for shipping. Always make sure to pay attention to shipping and handling before you buy your unit. Many places ship for cheap or free, and if you can find a company that does, you’ll end up saving a couple hundred dollars.
Does it come with the accessories I want?
When buying your splitter, figure out what accessories you need. You don’t want to buy a splitter without a hitch if you plan on moving it often. Look for things like safety features, log catchers and units that can be used horizontally and vertically if you need more than the basics.
What is the best log splitter for the money?
This question doesn’t have a concrete answer. Some log splitters work great for some people, but they might not be powerful enough to do a good job in an industrial setting. This is why it’s important to know what kind of jobs that you’ll be doing before you go out and buy your new splitter.
Do the log splitters need any assembly?
Some log splitters are delivered pre-assembled, but it’s pretty rare. Most splitters involve some assembly, but manufacturers tend to make it pretty easy for consumers. If you don’t want to put your unit together by yourself, make sure to buy one that it is shipped to you assembled and ready to go.
What are the safety features you should look for?
We personally like units with log catchers; they prevent logs from falling off of the unit and hurting the user. You can also look for units that shut down automatically when they sense that something is wrong with the engine. Lots of gas-powered units will shut down when the oil is low. This is safer for the user, and it prevents the engine from breaking due to a lack of oil.
What’s the difference between a kinetic log splitter and a hydraulic log splitter?
A hydraulic splitter uses the power of liquids in a piston to generate force, but a kinetic splitter uses a pulley mechanism to build up energy. Kinetic systems are like a spring that is waiting to pop; once you hit the lever on a kinetic system, all the built up energy is used to quickly push your wedge into your piece of wood. Hydraulic systems aren’t as quick and violent as kinetic systems, but they tend to produce a lot more force.