Are you a homeowner looking to purchase a new log splitter, but don’t know how to choose the right log splitter for your needs? If so, then you’re definitely in the right place at the right time.
Choosing a log splitter for your wood-splitting needs involves many factors, including the power you need, how much work you’re willing to do, the portability of the log splitter, the type of wood you have to cut, and more. It’s not the smartest idea to get the strongest, biggest, and highest ton-rated splitter if you’re not going to do splitting projects of that level.
Moreover, it will also depend on where you intend to use the log splitter. You will have the option to decide between gas-powered, electricity-powered, manual log splitter, and more depending on your wood-splitting needs.
In this article, you’ll get to know all about log splitters, different types of log splitters to choose from, how to choose a log splitter for your wood-splitting needs, shopping tips to keep in mind when buying a log splitter, and more. Stick around to get all the answers that you are looking for.
What is a log splitter?
All log splitters come with three basic parts – a cradle for holding the log, a hydraulic ram that is powered by a pump, and a splitting blade. On most log splitters, the hydraulic ram will push the logs into the blade. However, on some machines, the ram will be stationary while the blades will be moveable.
A log splitter is not actually a sawmill and will not cut logs into usable lumber. Moreover, it won’t turn wooden logs into shorter ones. It will simply split logs into smaller pieces of wood that can fit inside a wood stove or fireplace. If the pieces are too big, you will need to cut them yourself using a chainsaw.
Different types of log splitters that you can choose from
Log splitters differ in the type of power they use for doing the job. An electric log splitter needs to be plugged in. A gas-powered log splitter runs on gasoline. Meanwhile, a manual log splitter uses human power manually. Besides these three types of log splitters, there is also a tractor-mount version. You can attach it to a tractor’s hitching system and then run it on its hydraulic system.
Manual log splitter
If you are a manual log splitter user, you can operate it by grabbing the long handles and working them back and forth for forcing the log into the cutting wedge.
Electric log splitter
An electric log splitter makes use of electric power for powering the hydraulic pump. Most electric log splitters run on a 120V AC power supplied by a cord plugged into a conventional electric receptacle. There are some electric log splitter models that are designed for light-duty home use.
Gas-powered log splitter
A gas-powered log splitter has a gas-powered motor for operating the pump. Like any other gas-powered tool, you will need to keep it filled with the proper combination of gas and oil, as recommended by the log splitter’s manufacturer. Workhorses like the 27-ton Champion Gas-Powered Log Splitter can be towed onsite and used in a vertical or horizontal configuration.
Kinetic log splitter
The only wooden log splitter that is not a hydraulic machine is a kinetic log splitter. This log splitter is capable of converting kinetic energy from the motor into a short burst of splitting force using the flywheel system.
Tractor-mount log splitter
A tractor-mount log splitter is designed to be hooked up to a tractor with an appropriate hitch. Generally, this type of log splitter makes use of the tractor’s hydraulic system for power.
How to choose a log splitter?
When you have decided that getting a log splitter is the way to go, you will be stuck with the tricky task of how to choose a log splitter depending on your needs. This is a slightly difficult question to answer and one that can be slightly overwhelming to the first-time buyer.
When you take your first steps into the high-powered log splitter market, you could easily get side-tracked by the wrong option or left more confused than you were previously. This isn’t uncommon at all. You will see numerous different models that come in different sizes. These models come powered in different ways and have many unique features. It can be quite overwhelming that you struggle to think about where to start.
If you’ve got average log splitting needs, and you have a log splitter, you will most likely need to choose between an electric, manual, or gas-powered log splitter. You can even consider a tractor-mount log splitter if you have a tractor.
You should choose a manual log splitter if you are tempted by the idea of getting a bit of exercise in while you’re splitting logs, but you don’t want to go full lumberjack. The going will be slow, and it might not result in enough power for splitting oak, arbutus, and other dense hardwoods easily. This is why this is not always the best log splitter for big jobs. However, it is easy to carry and you will be able to cover it up with a tarp and leave it outside when you are not using it.
Electric log splitters develop even less power than manual log splitters. However, they are easily transportable and are remarkable for making kindling and splitting small softwood logs. Kinetic log splitters are the exceptions to the power rule. These machines can develop immense splitting force, but they cannot always handle dense or knotty hardwood logs. Remember, these are high-production log splitters with incredibly short cycle times.
If you are looking to get serious about log splitting, you will require a gas-powered one. These machines come in different sizes, with bigger machines having the ability to handle bigger logs and develop over 5x the force of conventional electric log splitters. However, you will usually need to tow them to where you wish to use them.
Consider portability when choosing the log splitter
While log splitters are pretty large and heavy, most of them are highly portable. Most large log splitters are 22 tons and more, while they come with a 2-inch ball coupler and tires that are DOT-approved.
What it means is that you will be able to tow them on the road up to 45 mph legally. While smaller splitters like electric units that are 5 tons or so are actually pretty small and light. They can also be put in the back of your car or pickup truck.
If you have to do a lot of traveling with the need to split large wooden logs, you will have no choice but to go with a unit that’s more than 22 tons. However, if you won’t be traveling and only require small wooden logs, then a smaller, electric 5-ton log splitter will do the trick.
The best thing about smaller log splitters is that most, if not all, store-bought log splitters come with wheels and a handle. This way, they become easy to move around the area for splitting. Not only that, but they also do not take much room, which makes them easy to store. You will be able to put it away after each use. This is especially easy with the smaller units, which you cannot do with larger units. This is the biggest advantage of smaller log splitters.
If you’re required to split a few logs, they’ll be much easier to get out and are even comparable to big gas-powered log splitters. If you’re looking to get a big gas-powered log splitter, you can set aside a few hours for splitting a few cords, which can be quite inconvenient.
Tips to keep in mind when shopping for a log splitter
Log splitters are all about power and the amount of splitting force they produce. You will want to purchase the biggest, strongest, and highest ton-rated log splitter that your needs and budget allow. This is important to remember if you regularly split firewood or are looking to get into the firewood business.
Of course, much of it will depend on where you intend to use the log splitter. You can also use a manual or electricity-powered log splitter, but not a gas-powered one. If you’re looking to get a heavy-duty machine that can dispatch large hardwood logs quickly, you’ll require a towing hitch on your vehicle.
Here are a few more tips to remember when choosing a log splitter –
1. Cost of the splitter
Manual and conventional electricity-powered log splitters are comparable in price, whereas gas-powered models could cost 4-5 times more. Kinetic log splitters happen to be the most expensive.
2. Maintenance involved
Besides periodic lubrication and servicing of the hydraulic system, electricity-powered and manual log splitters require little maintenance. All you have to do is ensure that you’re keeping them well protected from the weather. Gas-powered log splitter engines require the same maintenance as other gas-powered log splitter engines.
3. Safety during log splitter
Like other powerful woodworking tools, a log splitter could cause serious injuries and be treated with respect. In particular, a tractor-mounted model could cause injuries when it isn’t mounted properly.
4. Cycle time of the machine
Many log splitters automatically retract the ram. The time from the start of one splitting operation to the readiness of the next is referred to as the “cycle time”. The shorter the cycle time, the higher will be the production rate.
Thank you for reading. Hopefully, now you know a lot more about log splitters, different types of log splitters to choose from, how to choose a log splitter for your wood-splitting needs, shopping tips to keep in mind when buying a log splitter, and more. Choosing a log splitter for your wood-splitting needs involves many factors, including the power you need, how much work you’re willing to do, the portability of the log splitter, the type of wood you have to cut, and more. It’s not the smartest idea to get the strongest, biggest, and highest ton-rated splitter if you’re not going to do splitting projects of that level.
Moreover, it’ll also depend on where you intend to use the log splitter. You’ll have the option to decide between gas-powered, electricity-powered, manual log splitter, and more depending on your wood-splitting needs.