The Log Splitter Buyer’s Guide

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Log Splitters Buyers Guide

A log splitter is a tool that used to be admired by many but owned by few – they were used regularly for commercial use but rarely for individual homeowners. However, the increase in the number of wood-burning stoves and fire pits at people’s homes also means there is an increased need for log splitters. This fact, combined with log splitters being manufactured that are cheaper and easier to operate means that now anyone can potentially split their own logs quickly and easily with the help of a log splitter. This will make the cost of running a wood burner considerably cheaper – so a log splitter will not only save you time and energy but will also save you money in the long run! 

It is likely, if you are reading this, that you have never purchased a log splitter (they last for years and would you ever really need two?!). So we have created this buyer’s guide to help you decide what to look for in a log splitter and which is the best log splitter for you. 

Best Pick Log Splitter

Sale
5 TON ELECTRIC LOG SPLITTER HYDRAULIC WOOD TIMBER CUTTER 2200WATT MOTOR
  • Powerfull 2200 Watt Motor, Most Other Models Are Only 1500 Watt
  • Lifetime techinical support from Forest Master
  • Splits Logs Up To 370mm In Length
  • Up to 50% electricity saving compared to 2 lever electric log splitters
  • For any further information please contact our UK customer helpline on 0191 2966966

Only Got 5 Minutes?

If you are feeling the cold and need to get building your fire as soon as possible, or are sick of paying out for pre-cut logs, then here is where you need to look for all the most important information to get you on the way with splitting your own logs!

Why Purchase a Log Splitter?

We understand that the expense of purchasing a log splitter can seem like a considerable one – especially if you have only recently forked out for a wood burner or a fire pit for your home. However, a log splitter is much safer and easier to use than an axe when it comes to splitting wood, as you simply secure the piece of wood, then pull a lever or press a button to split the log. Even lower-spec models can cut up to around 70 logs an hour, so just imagine what the electric and petrol models can do! Equally, paying for pre-cut logs can be very expensive, especially if you are hoping to use your wood burner regularly to warm a large part of your house! Purchasing large logs, or even going out and collecting ones that are not needed from trees that have been felled, will save you a huge amount of money within a short space of time! 

Types of Log Splitter

There are some main things that you need to look for when purchasing a log splitter to make sure that you purchase the one that is right for you. Some models are quite expensive so you are going to want one that will last and will do the job!

Manual, electric or petrol log splitters

Manual, electric and petrol are your three options in terms of powering your log splitter. There are pros and cons of them all so it really depends on the size and type of logs you are going to be working with, and also how frequently you are going to be splitting logs. 

As a general rule, manual log splitters are for working on much smaller logs, so could mean that you have to chop the logs first before putting them into your log splitter if you purchase ones too large for the machine. However, there are some models on the market that can work with bigger logs (providing you have the strength to operate the machine!!) They will also be considerably cheaper and require less maintenance than petrol models. 

Electric log splitters are really the halfway compromise between petrol and manual. Being powered by electric means that there is a lot less work for you to do and also that you will be able to work with larger logs. They are also cheaper than most petrol models and require less maintenance. However electric models will need to be used close to a power source, so you need to consider if you have a power source close to where you are working, or if you are prepared to purchase a generator of some kind to work from further away (which will obviously then be an extra cost!). 

Petrol models remove the issue of having to work close to a power source, so you will be able to situate your log splitter anywhere, but there are disadvantages too. Petrol models will be noisier, more expensive and require a lot more maintenance but are also much more powerful so will even be able to split larger green logs.

If you are splitting smaller or average-sized logs and are working close to home then a relatively cheap electric or manual log splitter will be more than sufficient, and we are sure you will see the benefit of your purchase. However, if you are going to be cutting large, fresh logs then we would definitely recommend going for a petrol model. 

Best Budget Log Splitters

Sale
Sealey LS450H Horizontal Foot Operated Log Splitter
  • Simple to use, splits firewood easily.
  • Each step on the foot pedal exerts a splitting force of up to 1.2tonne.
  • Foot pedal adjusts to suit user.
  • Constructed from heavy-duty steel, is lightweight and portable.
  • Max. Log Diameter/Length: 250/450mm.

Hydraulic or Kinetic 

In times gone by hydraulic was always the chosen method for log splitter, however, this is quickly changing for kinetic flywheel models. These don’t need oil so require less maintenance and they are also quicker as you are not waiting for the hydraulic arm to reset before you can start working again. 

Tonnes of pressure

The tonnes of pressure that your log splitter offers will determine the strength of the wood that you are able to cut through. Log splitters tend to range between 5 and 10 tonnes (for average-sized, domestic models). People can often be misled into thinking the greater the tonne the bigger the piece of wood that you will be able to split, however, this isn’t always the case. We have come across numerous models that have lower tonnes of pressure but are able to cut bigger logs.

Size 

Remember to consider the size of your log splitter – especially if you are planning on moving it to different locations. Many will come off their stand so this helps to break them down when not in use, but otherwise, log splitters do not tend to “fold-down” much more than this. Look at the size of your tool and where you are going to be using it and storing it, as some models are very large and will become a real burden, taking up a lot of space, when not in use. 

Weight 

Many log splitters can be very heavy, particularly petrol models, so it is important to consider the weight of your log splitter if you are planning on moving it around between jobs. It is rare that someone will have the space to leave their log splitter out between jobs, but equally, if you are splitting logs weekly for your home then you will need it to be easy to move into position and then as easy to put away afterwards!  

Size of log

Different log splitters will be designed to work with different sizes of logs. Some electric, domestic models can work with logs as big as 460mm in length and 600mm in diameter. Whereas others are as little as 300mm in length and 250mm in diameter. Petrol models have a lot more power so can go up to as big as 1040mm in length and 500mm in diameter. 

Additional Factors to Consider

  • Horizontal or vertical? – Log splitters come in both horizontal and vertical forms and which you choose really depends on personal preference. Horizontal log splitters will be easier for you to insert and secure the wood, however, you will need to lift the logs higher with a horizontal log splitter than with a vertical model, which is worth thinking about if you are working with larger logs. There are log splitters on the market that can be used vertically or horizontally so add to the flexibility in your work. 
  • Duocut blade – There are some models that now come with a duo cut blade (a blade that cuts from the bottom and the top of the log). This is well worth looking out for when purchasing a log splitter as it doubles the tonnes of pressure that you are working with, making it a lot easier to cut bigger pieces of wood. They also help if you are working with pieces of wood that have a lot of knots, as if one blade gets stuck, the other one can still carry on going. 
  • Stand – Not all log splitters come with a stand, which in our view is so important to make the job easier! Without a stand, you will have to lean down to the floor to secure your wood and will be harder to control the trigger if you have one with a mechanical arm. 
  • Warranty – Most log splitters come with a 12-month warranty as standard, but you can expect your tool to last a lot longer than that providing it is maintained properly and regularly. 

Maintaining your Log Splitter

Depending on the type of log splitter that you purchase, you will have more or less maintenance to be ready for! Kinetic log splitters need very little maintenance, simply make sure sure that any dust and debris is removed from the device after use and occasionally oil moving parts to keep them working as smoothly as possible. 

This is quite different from hydraulic log splitters, which although powerful require a lot more maintenance than their kinetic counterparts. Hydraulic log splitters need fluid to work correctly, and if the hose and other parts of the arm aren’t maintained this liquid can then leak and not only stop the machine from working as effectively but can actually damage the rest of the machine in the process! Make sure to check the pipes/hoses on a regular process as they will be dealing with extreme changes in pressure (as this is the nature of their job).

TOP TIP: Never check for a leak with your bare hand – simply hold a piece of cardboard over the area you think is leaking and see if it changes colour or rips from the pressure. 

Make sure to change the fluid regularly and also make sure there is no water buildup (you will notice this if the fluid is discoloured) as this will affect the function of your log splitter and can damage it in the long run. When doing this, ensure that the fluid is within the required level – as, with a car, too much or too little could damage the engine of your machine and stop it working correctly. 

Finally, make sure to keep the ram well greased and rust-free. If your hydraulic arm becomes covered in rust this will affect the pressure and, again, affect the workings of your log splitter. 

Best of the Rest

The Handy 6 Ton Log Splitter with Guard
10 Reviews
The Handy 6 Ton Log Splitter with Guard
  • Massive ram pressure force of 6 tons
  • 30mm hydraulic ram
  • Splits green & hardwood logs easily
  • Wheels for easy transportation
  • 2200w Motor
HEAVY DUTY ELECTRIC LOG SPLITTER 3HP 7 TON AXE WOOD MAUL WITH STAND
  • The blades split the log from both ends unlike a conventional splitter
  • Splits Logs With A Diameter Of Up To 400mm
  • Fully adjustable cycle (with ramstop) to match log lengths for quick log splitting
  • Powerful 2200 watt motor, energy saving which doesn’t use electricity when not in cycle
  • For any further information please contact our UK customer helpline on 0191 2966966
Forest Master Ltd Log Splitter, Orange
  • Produces 10 Tonnes of force
  • Duocut twin blades work together using two splitting blades rather than one to optimise the splitting capacity
  • Twin lever rapid lift jack for faster splitting with a 16mm-20mm lift per crank
  • Adjustable blade position so the blade starts splitting the log immediately
  • Can be used vertically or horizontally operated by foot pedal or hand lever

Frequently Asked Questions

Can my log splitter be used on freshly felled wood?

This really depends on the quality of log splitter that you decide to purchase. Freshly felled or “green” wood will always have more moisture than seasoned wood that has been stored for a while before splitting, making it harder to split. However, if you purchase a log splitter that is able to cut with more pressure/tonnes then you should still be able to split greenwood.

What if my logs are smaller than the space in the log splitter?

Don’t panic if you are working with logs that are smaller than the designated space in the log splitter. Many log splitters will come with an adjustable wedge that can be moved to fit perfectly with the piece of wood you are working with.

How many tonnes of pressure do I need in my log splitter?

This depends on the size of logs that you are going to be working with. However, we would suggest that if you are working with logs that are around 150mm in length then you will need around a 4-tonne log splitter if you are wanting to get the job done at a reasonable speed. If working with bigger pieces of wood around 350mm then you will need to look for a 10-tonne log splitter. 

Last update on 2020-01-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About Mike Jones 155 Articles
I started doing DIY around the house and it soon developed into a hobby. I look for tools and products that are genuinely useful and get the job done. I enjoy writing product reviews, researching my buyers guides and putting tools through their paces. In my downtime, I like to run and I am a bit of a Netflix documentary geek.

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