What Size Log Splitter Do I Need?

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The reason why there is a wide range of log splitters on the market is that there is no one size fits all model. While this gives the buyer a wide range to choose from, it makes it hard to pick one. That’s why many buyers end up buying the fancy log splitter, only to find out later that it is not what they need.

For instance, many people usually go for a pricier log splitter, but choosing an expensive splitter doesn’t mean it will meet your specific needs. One way of making sure you are buying the best log splitter is to start by determining the size of the log splitter that is ideal for you.

However, size doesn’t just refer to the dimensions and weight; it majorly relates to power (splitting tonnage). So, another way of rephrasing this question is, “how big and powerful should the log splitter be?” 

With that out of the way, let’s get into it. 

Choosing a Log Splitter Size

Just because a log is the biggest and most expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s the best one for you. Big doesn’t mean best, neither does small; the best size will depend on your splitting needs. To make it easier, I have divided log splitters into four groups depending on the tonnage rating. 

Ton RatingBest for
8-16 Tons Small households 
20-22 TonsAverage households
24-28 TonsLarge households
30+ Tons Commercial Applications

ALSO READ: Best Electric Wood Splitter – Reviews

What Size Log Splitter Do I Need

To determine what size of log splitter you need, consider the following:

Size (diameter) of the logs

The first and most significant thing to consider is the size of the logs you intend to split. Wide logs will need a more powerful log splitter than smaller logs. 

The table below shows you the approximate tonnage required to split different logs depending on the diameter and hardness (dense).

6-inch diameter logs4 – 10+ tons 
12-inch diameter logs12 – 22+ tons 
18-inch diameter logs20 – 26+ tons 
24-inch diameter logs27 to 30+ tons

This means that if your logs range between 6 and 10 inches in diameter, a log splitter rated between 4 and 12 tons will suffice. However, you will need to upgrade the splitter if your splitting needs to go higher in the future. 

Note, it’s not just about the diameter; consider whether the logs are green or seasoned. Seasoned logs are easier to split than green logs.

Type of wood 

Another determinant is whether the logs are softwood or hardwood. Hardwood is a lot harder and thicker than softwood. Unlike hardwood, the fibers in softwood are loose, meaning they are a lot easier to split. Here is a table of a few of the densest and less dense types of wood. 

Most Dense Types of woodLeast dense types of wood
Bull-oak Buckeye
Brazilian olivewood, -ebony, -walnut, -redwoodBasswoodAspen
Red mahoganyCottonwood
AshSweet Gum

Age and condition of the logs

Seasoned logs are easier to split than green logs because they have very little moisture. Fresh wood has a lot of moisture from the water consumed by the tree. The moisture makes the log heavier, so it will be hard to chop through. It is recommendable you wait up to 6 months for your logs to cure up before you cut them. If you don’t want to wait for that long, you’ll need a powerful log splitter.

Portability and Storage

Apart from the type and size of logs you will be splitting, consider the portability of the log splitter. If you are looking for the most portable log splitter, consider electric models. However, there is a possibility that the smaller the model is, the less powerful it is. Gas-powered are more powerful, but some of them require towing when transporting them. The same applies to storage. 

Unique situations

Do you live in a suburban neighborhood that has a small backyard? If yes, you’ll likely be splitting small woods. On the flip side, a large splitter will be ideal if you live out in the country.

What Size Log Splitter Will Work Best For Your Wood Splitting Needs?

How Big of a Log Splitter Do I Need?

Well, everyone wants their log splitter to chop the logs as fast as possible. Sure, the splitter needs to be powerful, but you don’t always need the most powerful. Big and expensive is good, but not always the ideal option.

However, if the price is not a big deal, you can always buy a 30-ton splitter. Knowing your splitter can handle the toughest and biggest logs would be great. 

If you are looking for a splitter for commercial applications, go with the most powerful. Even if your primary market is small neighborhoods, at some point, there will be a customer who will have huge logs that will require a massive amount of power to split.

What Size Log Splitter Do I Need
8-16 tons splitters are ideal for small households 
20-22 tons splitters are ideal for average households
24-28 tons splitters are ideal for large households
30+ tons splitters are ideal for commercial Applications

Note: There is no limit on the higher side, a 30-ton or 40-ton splitter is still great for home use. 

Wrapping it Up

Everyone’s splitting needs are different, and that’s where the size of a log splitter matters. Most homeowners don’t need a 30-ton splitter unless it’s for commercial applications. Going for the best size and power can save you some extra cash and keep you from replacing it in the long run.


What is the best size log splitter?

The thicker a log is, the harder it will be to split it. Logs with a large diameter require massive pressure to cut through. That is why a 4-ton splitter works well with 6″ logs, but for a 24″ tree trunk, it will work well with at least a 20-ton splitter.

How will I know the size of the log splitter that I need?

A log splitter’s size can be determined by its tonnage. So, what is tonnage? A tonnage is the amount of force applied by the ram to split a log. Simply put, if the tonnage is high, the ram will push with more power, making it easier to chop bigger logs.

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Hi, I'm Mike - but my friends call me Backyard Mike. I'm the founder of this website, and I'm addicted to outdoor power tools. I love to work with wood and share my knowledge here on this website with you. You can find more about me here.