Updated November 2018

Best Log Splitters

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Best Log Splitters Updated November 2018

Conclusion

Pros

Cons

Champion Power Equipment

7-Ton Compact
Check Price at: 1 store
This gas-powered log splitter starts right up when you pull the cord, chews up chunks of wood and begs for more. The low profile makes getting heavy logs onto it easier than you might expect. Handles thicker logs than the manual says it will.
Easy to assemble when it arrives, and customer service is helpful, when needed. Very compact, which makes it simple to move and store.
Takes a lot of hydraulic fluid to get this log splitter started. Leaks hydraulic fluid sometimes, as some of the bolts try to work themselves loose.

WEN

56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter
Check Price at: 1 store
Can split the average log in 15-20 seconds, log after log, whether they're soft pine or oak hardwood. Storing it vertically saves on space when you're not using it, and you don't have to put up with any of the problems of a gas engine.
Easy to move around and has plenty of power for the average homeowner.
The positioning of the controls requires awkward bending and stooping. The required two-handed controls aren't very convenient, but won't stop you.

Boss Industrial

7-Ton Electric Log Splitter
Check Price at: 1 store
Smooth, quiet machine that splits heavy logs. Stands straight up for convenient storage. Designed for homeowners who want logs split without using an axe or maul. A handy machine for the DIY crowd to have.
Has a four-way cross wedge that slides over the top of the regular wedge for splitting logs into quarters. Comes fully assembled. Plug it in and start splitting.
Keep an eye out for oil leaks, as they sometimes happen more than they should. It's powerful but has trouble splitting hardwoods more than 5" in diameter.

WEN

6.5-Ton Electric Log Splitter with Stand
Check Price at: 1 store
This is a rough and ready log splitter, ideal for home use. Well-thought out and functional design. This will split logs for you without breaking your back, as the stand reduces back pain from constant bending and crouching like some models.
Has a 15 Amp electrical motor that delivers 13,000 psi. Comes with an adjustable stand for ease of comfort during operation, and it's easy to move, setup, and store.
Some assembly required and the bolts aren't all the same size. Vibrations during use cause some of the bolts to work themselves loose. Keep a close eye on them.

Sun Joe

Logger Joe 10-Ton Hydraulic Manual Steel Portable Log Splitter
Check Price at: 1 store
For those times when there's no gas or electricity to be found, such as after a storm, this hand-cranked machine lets you continue to work without going all the way back to a maul or axe. The low price and small storage size make it a good bargain as a backup machine.
Doesn't require gas or electricity.
Because it is hand-operated it is much slower than an electric or gas-powered machine. It's faster than splitting wood with an axe, but you will spend some time with it.

OUR PROCESS

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Splitting logs requires a lot of hard, physical labor. Anything that reduces the amount of labor you have to do is worth taking a serious look at. You need to ensure you’re getting the most for your money though, as log splitters are usually a fairly expensive piece of machinery for homeowners.

We know you probably don’t have the time or energy to pour through thousands of different reviews, burning the midnight oil to figure out which one is best for your needs, so we’ve done it for you. We’ve assembled five of the best log splitters on the market today and gone over them to compare the pros and cons, the different power options, and the frequently asked questions about log splitters to give you the information you need to purchase the tool that is best for you.

Log Splitter Reviews Guide

Life in the 18th Century meant doing everything by hand through hard, manual labor. Thankfully, we live in the 21st Century when things are a bit easier. Logging—whether you’re dropping trees for a living or simply clearing out your yard—is still a very physical activity. You need all the help you can find to get the job done without wearing yourself out by trying to be Paul Bunyan.

Electric or gas-powered log splitters are the modern answer to mauls and axes. If you’ve ever split wood by hand, even once, you’ll understand why. These machines do the heavy work for you so you don’t wear out your shoulders and arms. You just put the wood on the splitter then stack it when it’s done. 

3 Factors to Consider

  • WarrantyWood splitters are heavy expensive pieces of machinery. If something goes wrong with them, or if they break, you need to know the manufacturer will honor their warranty. A warranty that requires you to pay the shipping to get the machine fixed isn’t much of a warranty. A customer service department that won’t answer your phone calls or emails is just as bad.
  • Weather—Weather plays a major role when buying a piece of equipment meant to be used primarily outdoors. Small engines such as the ones on log splitters are known for being difficult to start in cold weather. If you live north of the 45th Parallel, it’s a given that winter in your area is very cold. Unless you have some way of keeping the engine warm when it’s not in use, you should give serious consideration to getting an electrically powered splitter. It will be much easier to start in the winter. If you live below the 45th Parallel or know you’ll only be splitting logs during the warmer part of the year, it won’t matter nearly as much and you can make your decision based on other factors.
  • Power Source—One of the most important things to consider is what power source you’re going to be using, gas or electric. If you’re only using a wood splitter at home where you have access to electrical outlets, an electrically-powered log splitter makes sense.  You don’t have to buy gas for it, it’s easier to start during cold weather, and it’s not nearly as loud as a gas-powered splitter. If you’re considering taking the log splitter out into the woods or up in the mountains, then a gas-powered splitter is the only thing that makes sense.  So before you buy, carefully consider where you plan on using your log splitter.  That way you’ll get the right one.
The Best Electric Log Splitter to Have Around the House WEN 6.5-TON ELECTRIC LOG SPLITTER WITH STAND

12,000 pounds of force created by 2 Hp, 15 Amp motor is a seriously heavy-duty log splitter. It handles logs up to 10 inches in diameter while you sit back and enjoy the show. Because it’s electric, it starts quicker and easier than a comparable gas-powered engine, especially in cold weather. The upright storage design saves space among your tools and the hard rubber tires still make it comfortable to move and position when it’s time to go to work.

Wood Splitter Lingo

  • Hydraulic Ram: this is the large piston that is displaced by a pressurized liquid and pushes the log forward
  • Wedge: this is the metal (steel or iron) triangle that splits the log when the log is forced against it
  • Cradle: the track the log lays in while it is being pushed against the wedge

A maul, half-sledgehammer, and half-axe is used for splitting logs.”

Tips For Using Log Splitters

Never try to split logs that were cut into lengths by an axe. Axes leave rough jagged ends when they’re used to cut down trees or cut logs in half. When that rough end encounters the wedge of a log splitter it may not catch on the tip of it and instead be violently expelled either to the left or right of the splitter. It could also be thrown into the air. Any of these scenarios are dangerously unpredictable.

Only split logs that were cut straight across by saws, typically chainsaws. Saws of any kind will leave behind a flat surface suitable for catching on the wedge and splitting the log. But don’t try to split a log that was sawed at an angle, otherwise, you could find the log sliding off the wedge and being thrown around.

Your finger can be broken with only 15-20 pounds of pressure per square inch so be careful around machinery that applies pressure by the 1000's of pounds.”

The Best Gas-Powered Log Splitter For Homeowners on the Go CHAMPION POWER EQUIPMENT 7-TON

Keep it at home or put it in your truck to take it to the mountains; this log splitter will travel and work wherever there is a gas can. The 4-stroke engine creates 7 tons of pressure to crack open softwood or hardwood with equal ease. With a cycle time of only 20 seconds, you can split three logs a minute.

Frequently asked questions

What are the different methods of splitting logs?

There are three methods for splitting logs. The first one entails using a maul or axe to manually split a log after it has been cut into short lengths, usually around 18-24 inches long. This is a labor intensive method that requires you to dedicate a considerable amount of time and energy to the process.

Another manual method that is slightly easier is a hydraulic pump system like the Sun Joe Logger, where you pump up the hydraulics by hand. Although not as backbreaking as using a maul or an axe, it is still very labor oriented and slow.

The third, and easiest, method, of course, is to use an electric or gas-powered log splitter like the ones featured here. The machine does all of the heavy work, leaving your free to simply move logs and pieces of logs back and forth from the wood splitter to the stack where you’re depositing them. There will always be some degree of manual labor when you’re splitting logs, but using a machine to do the hard work is definitely the best option.

How does a hydraulic wood splitter work?

Hydraulic log splitters use an engine, a hydraulic press, and a wedge to split logs. There is also a cradle to hold the logs while they’re being split.

Hydraulics operate on the simple principle of using an incompressible fluid to drive a shaft for the purpose of doing some kind of work. Hydraulics turn the rotating force created by the engine into straight-line force and multiply it to create thousands of pounds of pressure per square inch.As the hydraulic press pushes the end of the log against the wedge, the pressure overcomes the resistance of the wood, forcing the wedge – usually made of metal – between the fibers of wood, splitting the log down its length.

Which is better a gas or electric log splitter?

Honestly, this is mostly a matter of opinion.

Gas engines can be used anywhere you’ve got a gas can, at home or on top of a mountain. Fill the tank, pull the cord (however many times), and away you go. Electric engines can’t match that kind of portability. Once you get away from the power grid you’ll need a portable generator to supply electricity to your log splitter.

By that measure, gas-powered splitters are more portable than electric ones but it doesn’t mean they’re better. Either one can provide the same amount of horsepower and pounds of pressure. Once they’re running, there’s really no difference between their output.If you’re not heading off the grid, an electric log splitter doesn’t use gas and is certainly easier to start than a small gas engine. You don’t have to prime it or endlessly pull the cord on cold mornings. By that measure, electric log splitters are more convenient, but “better” is a matter of taste.

The team that worked on this review

Kealia Reynolds
Photo Editor
Rebekah Sedaca
Writer
Kelsey Roadruck
Editor
John Morgan
Producer

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