Log Splitter Buyers Guide
If you regularly work with wood in any form, you may well be considering whether a log splitter would be a good investment. Below, we take a look at this convenient power tool, and give you the low down on everything you need to know, and some of the top purchases out there for any budget.
So what is a log splitter?
Log splitters are among some of the simplest mechanical equipment available. While working with wood can be incredibly satisfying, having to hew every inch of the wood you want to work with by hand and axe can get very laborious incredibly quickly. Log splitters split wood and rough-hew logs in order to make your job easier.
They work by ‘ramming’ the wood, rather than cutting it per se, and so the strength of the unit actually matters more than the speed. The harder the wood you typically use, the more strength you require. They come in several different load- handling capabilities, as well as electric, gas and manual power varieties. Below, we look at the benefits and downsides to these forms a little more closely.
What are the most important features in a log splitter?
Of course, you should always take the time to give a little consideration to what your particular needs from the log splitter you buy are. You may need a log splitter you will only use once or twice a season, or you may be using the machine heavily on a daily basis. Obviously, the needs and quality of these two scenarios will vary greatly, as will the budget you’ll have to put aside for a purchase that will suit your needs. However, there’s a few basic categories you need to give careful consideration too, and balance your needs and wants.
The log splitter’s motor
The size of the motor you require in your log splitter will be heavily influenced by the type of work you need the unit to do. No matter how infrequently used, any log splitter of quality needs to be able to get through hard and wet wood without undue strain on the motor. This means you will need to give careful consideration to the horsepower, RAM splitting force and amps, and balance them with your needs.
The splitting range you require
This particular function relates to the width and length of the logs you will be regularly splitting. Although budget will have to come into play, it is generally better to opt for a log splitter that will take more wood then you anticipate using, rather than less, as it can get frustrating to constantly be fighting with the machine. In general, a log splitter that take large loads is more desirable. In general, 20 inches length and 12 width should cover most situations, although larger bed loads can also be found.
How fast the cycle time is
The faster the cycle of the log splitter, the quicker you will receive the cut logs. This is not so much of a big deal if the unit will be used infrequently, but can quickly become incredibly irritating if you will be using the unit regularly. You can balance this with your particular needs for productivity and efficiency- the faster the cycle time, the quicker you will work. Remember, however, that there is a human limit to this. There’s no need to be suckered into buying an extraordinarily fast cycle time if you’re a one-man bad who’ll be working more slowly than the machine itself.
The build materials of your log splitter
You want to make a purchase that will be safe and robust to use for as many years as possible. In general, all steel construction is the longest lasting and safest build quality that you can get. It’s better to invest in a good construction if at all possible.
What the manufacturer offers
Although these may not be totally critical to your needs, it is always worth investing a little time in studying reviews of the log splitter you are intending to purchase. See how others who have used the product have reacted to it, whether the manufacturer is easy to work with on warranty returns and whether spare parts are easy to come by. In general, it is always a wiser idea to stick with reputable manufacturers with reputations to maintain. The smatter the purchasing decision you can make, the better your experience will be, and customer feedback will make it easier to make your final decision. Dirty Hand, Swisher, Timber Champ
Should I opt for Manual or Pneumatic Log Splitter?
At days end, this will directly tie to how often you intend to use the machine, and how much you can budget to spend. Gas log splitters will be the most expensive units you can purchase, but general can take larger tonnage, offer the best manoeuvrability and generate the most power.
Remember, however, that they can also only be used in spaces with adequate ventilation. If you’re looking for the convenience of a powered unit, but without the budgetary impact and limitations of a gas splitter, you may be better served with an electric log splitter.
These do generally have a more limited load capability then gas log splitters, but will operate off of a standard house power, and can be both more budget-friendly as well more convenient. Lastly, you can also opt for a manual log splitter. These have the least load capacity and operate [generally] by means of a 2 stroke pump.
They are cheaper, light and easy to move, and can be a great choice for the occasional users, but most moderate to heavy users will want to invest in a powered unit.
So, what are the best log splitters out there?
Best Log Splitters Comparison Table 2016
|Wen 6-Ton||4.0 /5||Read Review|
|Pow ‘R’ Kraft 4-Ton||4.6 /5||Read Review|
|Logger Joe 10-Ton||4.1 /5||Read Review|
|Boss Industrial||4.5 /5||Read Review|
|Pow ‘R’ Kraft 7-Ton||4.3 /5||Read Review|
|Powerhorse 22-Ton||5 /5||Read Review|
|TabSwisher 28-Ton||5 /5||Read Review|
|Southland Outdoor 25-Ton||4.8 /5||Read Review|
|Dirty Hand Half Beam||4.8 /5||Read Review|
Below, we take a brief look at some of the best log splitters available on the market today. With some to fit every pocket, you’re sure to find the right match for you.
Budget Best Buys – Log Splitters Under $300
The Wen 6 Ton Electric splitter
The Wen 56206 typically sells for around $270, and for a severely budget price tag boasts and impressive 4 Amazon stars. It’s a fast working machine, fully equipped with handles and wheels for storage and manoeuvrability, and is perfectly suited to be powered by the average household circuit. The motor is a limited but effective 2HP, and the handles provide added safety for users too. It even comes with a 2 year warranty- not bad for a budget log splitter.
The Pow’ R’ Kraft 4Ton Electric Log splitter
Slightly more powerful then the other log splitters mentioned on our budget list, it is also a good fit for a home user looking to run off of the local electricity supply. A two-handle setup ensures you are away from the dangerous moving parts at all times, and this is a fairly good splitter for inexperienced users. It can take a load of 20” long and 10” wide, so is ideal for the home market, and features a full-steel construction. It’s also fairly easy to move.
Logger Joe 10 Ton Manual Splitter
If you’re not looking to go electric, this $170 deal is for you. Able to take a load bed of 18” by 8”, this manual log splitter gives you up to 10 tons of driving force to take the effort out of your log splitting chores. Full steel construction, a built in catching cradle and an attractive 2 year warranty all help to make this a budget top pick.
Best Log Splitters Under $1000
Boss Industrial ES7T20
With a quick-push starter and 2HP engine, this is a surprisingly good buy for less than $500. Its professional grade hydraulics make it easy to work, and takes 10” by 20” logs, more than covering the ‘average joe’ consumer’s needs. Users compliment a firm construction and good speed, although the unit is pretty heavy to manhandle.
Pow’ R’ Kraft 7 ton log splitter
Offering 2 speeds and 7 tons of splitting force, this is an impressive electric log splitter that backs up its promises. All steel construction and a 2 year warranty help reassure the customer there will be years of work out of this robust splitter, and a 12” by 20” load bed rates favourabley. It runs fairly quietly, and features comprehensive overload safety features.
Powerhorse Horizontal/Vertical 22 Ton log splitter
The reinforced steel and thick-plate construction on this monster log splitter ensure a durable, steady and impressively robust machine that lives up to the brand name ‘Powerhorse’. This is one of the few mid-budget buys actually rated for continual use, and it comes with a built in log cradle. It also uses a time-saving auto return wedge for ease and convenience.
Our Top Picks over $1000
Swisher 28 Ton Log Splitter
From a tried and trusted brand, it’s hardly a surprise Swisher makes the list. A Briggs and Stratton engine, 2 stage heavy duty pump and carefully constructed log cradle all ensure smooth, impressive running and handling. This is a road towable unit that can function in both horizontal and vertical conditions, scores highly with Amazon users, and typically retails for around $1700.
Southland Outdoor 25 Ton Gas powered log splitter
Selling for a surprisingly low average of $1100, this gas powered log splitter is up to even the roughest condtions, features a 17 second cycle and automatic return. It also can be swapped from vertical to horizontal for convenience and to avoid heavy lifting, and it’s easily manoeuvrable despite the size.
Dirty Hand Half Beam Splitter, 22 Tons
An 11 second cycle time puts this splitter as one of the fastest on our list, and it delivers on safety features too. It is a heavy log splitter, weighing in at over 300 pounds, but the robust steel design ensures years of use are ahead. Taking logs up to 25”, this is a monster of a log splitter fit for those with high capacity splitting required on a regular basis.
Each of the log splitters featured above bring style, solid construction and effective work load to the table, sure to suit a range of needs and wants while ensuing quality and safety. If you’re looking for the best log splitter for your budget, you can’t go wrong with these top picks.