Finding the best log splitter for your wood pile can be overwhelming. But, making the right choice can save you back pain and get the job done quicker. To find the perfect model, you have to think about the size of your wood pile, location of the wood, and diameter of the logs. Our comprehensive log splitter guide will describe the types of log splitters available and provide you with the knowledge to find the perfect log splitter.
Whether it’s your first log splitter or you have used one before, splitting power and log size are the first things you have to consider. You also have to think about the location of the log pile and how close it is located to an electricity source.
In order to find the best log splitter, you should think about your specific requirements. There are many differences between people who would rather use a manual, electric, or gas log splitter. Some people would also rather split wood by hand using a wood splitting axe. People's decisions will be based on their age, gender, physical strength, frequency of use, and places where they will be using it.
In this article, we will go over the types of log splitters available, their particular characteristics, and explain the features you have available to you. Note that this should not replace professional advice, but inform you of everything you need to know before making a purchase.
What Is A Log Splitter
Many first-time wood splitting users are under the impression that all wood splitters are the same. However, there are many different types that serve numerous purposes, and many of them have unique characteristics that set them apart from each other.
Generally speaking, log splitters are machines that split logs by forcibly slamming the log into a wedge with brute force. They come in many variations that allow people to use manual human power or an electric motor or at the high end, a gas powered motor.
They often come equipped with handles on one side and wheels on the other, so they can easily be transported between locations.
People use log splitters for multiple reasons. Finding the best log splitter for your specific needs can make a huge difference to how quickly and effectively to can split wood.
Because log splitters can be used for many different uses, from business use to the homeowner that needs to split one or two cords a year, there are different types available. Log splitters are available in manual, electric, and gas models.
Depending on your needs, they can come equipped with just the basics or you can get all the bells and whistles.
Log Splitter Parts
There are many different log splitter model, but they all follow the same basic idea that a ram builds up force and slams a log into a wedge, splitting the log in half.
The types of log splitters can be divided into manual, electric, and gas models, and come in a range of splitting force and can handle different size logs.
Although there are different variations, most log splitters are constructed with a steel frame, a cradle, ram, and a wedge. Log splitters also come with a solid steel frame with handles and the frame usually has wheels for easy transport.
There are also additional parts depending on the type of splitter as gas log splitters have more advanced parts than a manual log splitter. Accessories can be added to increase functionality and convenience. Moreover, electric log splitters also have to consider the need for electricity near the wood pile while gas log splitters usually need to be towed to a location.
Lastly, you should consider the location of the wood that you will be splitting and whether you need the splitter to be easily transported to other locations.
People who use log splitters often transport their machines to family and friends houses to help, so you should also keep portability in mind too.
Types Of Log Splitters
There are many types of log splitters that are designed for many purposes, but as a whole, these can be divided into manual, electric, and gas models. As the name indicates, manual models are designed to be manually operated and will take some physical effort.
Despite the fact that they are often sold by the same retailers, it’s worth mentioning that manual log splitters are much smaller and compact than electric or gas models. Also, electric models tend to be smaller, and less powerful than gas models, but they both can be transported and accessible to remote locations.
Manual Log Splitters
Manual log splitters are the most affordable type and they are often used by homeowners that split a few cords of wood per year. They can be transported easily to any location, are easy to store when not in use, and they do not have many moving parts.
Manual log splitters are ideal for people who do not mind some physical labor but d o not want to split wood with an axe. Although they can be operated by almost anyone, ideally speaking, you should have enough physical strength to be able to move the logs without any help.
As a rule of thumb, manual log splitters have smaller frames which are on wheels, as well as hands on the front, allowing for maximum portability and maneuverability.
Due to their small size, most manual log splitters come fully assembled so you can get right to work.
Electric Log Splitters
Electric models are great idea if you do not have the physical strength or stamina to split an entire cord of work. With an electric model, the only work you need to perform is lifting the log into the cradle of the splitter. Once the log is on the cradle, you push the button and the log is split in two.
These models also allow users to use heavy duty 12 gauge extension cords to expand the area of use. They are also a great choice if you need to use your log splitter indoors as there are no fumes or gases.
Gas Log Splitters
Gas log splitters are designed to be used frequently for large amounts of wood. They have much more power and splitting forces can range from 6000 to 32000 pounds of splitting force. Most of these splitters can be towed by vehicle or ATV for easy transportation.
As you can imagine, gas models come equipped with larger, more rugged wheels and feature a sturdier design that is perfect for use on uneven terrain. Some also come equipped for horizontal or vertical use, making it much easier to maneuver large logs without the need for lifting them into the cradle.
Gas log splitters are designed to be used outdoors as they are loud and utilize gas as the fuel source. They are a great choice when you need to split wood in a remote location without electricity.
When compared to their manual and electric counterparts, gas models tend to be larger, heavier, and more powerful because they come equipped with a larger engine and are built for commercial use.
Log Splitter Specifications
Despite the fact that there are many models to choose from, all log splitters have a set of core functions and features in common. Moreover, certain models, such as electric and gas log splitters, offer additional features and power capacities you should think about before selecting the best one for you.
The first thing you should keep in mind is the size and length of the logs that need to be split. Log splitters come in a different power capacities, and they can be designed for small logs, large logs, and shorter vs longer logs as well.
The length and diameter of the logs are extremely important to determine which splitter is right for you. Smaller, shorter logs are often easier to split, therefore any of the model would be suitable. On the other hand, larger and longer longs tend to require more splitting power and larger machines.
You also have to consider where the log splitter will be used and if you will have to move it on a regular basis.
In these cases, you need to select a model that will fit in your vehicle. Electric models are often smaller than gas models but will require electricity to operate. Gas splitters offer a great alternative because they allow maximum portability in these cases but also require a vehicle or ATV for towing.
Different log splitter models have different power capacities as well as operate on different fuel sources. You need make sure you look at the pros and cons of each type before you choose the best one for you. Basic manual models usually work better with smaller quantities of wood, whereas electric and gas models are used when there is a large amount of wood to split.
The reason why fuel source is so important is that it depends on where your wood pile is located. Electric log splitters need electricity to operate so need to be within 50 feet of an electricity source or generator. Gas log splitters are built for heavier usage and can be towed pretty much anywhere you vehicle can go. A manual log splitter is much smaller, does not require a fuel source, and can be transported just about anywhere but will require more physical effort.
Size of Logs
The size of the logs that you will be splitting will be a crucial factor in determining what type of log splitter you should invest in. Manual log splitters are typically suitable for shorter logs and logs smaller in diameter. Electric log splitters are suitable for smaller and medium sized logs and add the convenience of a motor for less physical effort. Gas log splitters can typically handle the larges logs up to approximately 24 inches long and 20 -24 inches in diameter, depending on the machine.
Horizontal vs Vertical Operation
All manual and electric log splitters are horizontal operation. Logs are placed in the cradle and the ram forces the log into the wedge, splitting the log in half. The majority of log splitters function in the horizontal position, requiring you to lift the logs into the cradle. The height of the cradle for manual log splitters is much lower than electric and gas log splitters. The larger the logs are that you need to split, the more the height comes into play.
Some of the higher end gas log splitters feature conversion to vertical splitting. Vertical operation eliminates the need to lift the log into the cradle saving much physical labor.
Your log splitter will come with built in side rails to catch the logs after they are split. The larger the splitter, the larger the size of the side rails.
Almost all types of log splitters will have wheels for easy transport. Manual log splitters will have smaller wheels at the base of the frame for easy maneuverability. .
Most electric log splitters are constructed with a solid steel frame, handles, and a set of wheels for easy maneuverability. Electric log splitter wheels are typically in the 5 - 8 inch diameter range and provide a stable foundation for splitting.
Gas log splitters are equipped with larger wheels as most as able to be towed behind a vehicle. The larger balloon tires on gas log splitters provide a smooth ride on pavement and are also able to traverse dirt pathways to remote locations easily.
Additional Features And Accessories
Besides your standard features, both electric and gas log splitters can offer a few extra add-ons in the form of extras and accessories. Some manufacturers also offer warranties on electric and gas models that are designed to create peace of mind for each individual.
Log Splitter Manufacturers
There are many different log splitter manufacturers to choose from, so finding a dependable and quality manufacturer is not always straightforward. Like other power tool products, choosing the right model depends on finding a durable option that is also cost-effective.
Choosing the right log splitter manufacturer is not about finding the branding you like the most. By finding a reliable manufacturer, you will guarantee that your splitter will be powerful and durable. Not only this, but you can also check for reviews and make sure the brand is trustworthy.
Remember that log splitters can be made with very different power capacities so be sure to know what traits are important to you. For instance, although manual models are more durable and have less moving parts, they require more physical labor so keep that in mind.
One of the worldwide leading brands in power tool equipment, Boss has made a name for itself by consistently delivering quality products that have the end user in mind. The company manufactures and distributes a large array of power equipment, including log splitters.
WEN has been designing high quality power equipment since 1951. Headquartered in Illinois, WEN continues to offer affordable power tools to consumers that are manufactured here in the United States.
Champion is another well-known power tool manufacturer that provides several different models of gas log splitters. The company is known for providing dependable and durable products that you can count on.
Moreover, Champion is headquartered here in the United States and is a dependable manufacturer of portable generators that millions of Americans depend on. Champion is considered one of the most dependable manufacturers of gas log splitters today.
Wel-Bilt has been specializing in providing power tool products at affordable prices. The company has a large range of tools available so it’s no surprise that they are a favorite in the outdoor power equipment world.
Wel-Bilt operates under the mantra of quality tools at an affordable price. They stand behind all of their tools and offer one of the best warranties in the business.
Not only this, but because the company has a commitment to quality, you can expect Medline wheelchairs and all its products to be sturdy, durable, and reliable.
Maintenance And Cleaning
The amount of maintenance you need to give to your log splitter will depend on the model you choose. Always review the machine's manual and all other important documents that come with your model to make sure you are maintaining it properly.
Some splitters require regular maintenance and that you oil them regularly, and you always make sure your tires are well-inflated if you have pneumatic wheels. You should also consider wiping down your log splitter regularly to avoid any sap and grease accumulation.
Lastly, if you own an electric or gas model, keep a regular maintenance schedule on the motor or engine. If you see signs of wear and tear you may have to replace a part. If this is the case, you can always get in touch with the manufacturer to get a replacement or ask them for the best course of action.
Log splitters are powerful and durable wood splitting devices that enable people to split wood more efficiently and effectively. If you are still not sure how to choose the best model for you, you can always check out our dedicated buyer’s guide for the best advice on how to find the best log splitter for your specific case from the many types of log splitters available.