How to Choose the Best Log Splitter – The Ultimate Guide
Cutting and splitting firewood is one of those age old jobs that never seems to get easier as we get older. But those cold winters do seem to get longer and colder, so what are we to do about finding a wood chopper and the best log splitters?
Well, we can’t do much about the winters, but we can help out with the first part – helping you split wood more easily and faster! Previously we have provided a useful guide to choosing the best chainsaw for your wood cutting requirements. If you still have a problem with splitting your logs before you can use them for firewood, then we have also provided a guide to choosing an ideal log splitter to go with it!
Believe it or not, there are lots of different types of log splitters to choose from, including the good old fashioned way to split logs. There are slightly less labor intensive ideas, all the way up to the most powerful and highly automated log splitters on the market. The choice is yours, depending on the volume of wood splitting you need to do, and the size or diameter of the logs you need to cut.
Before we can move on to the really exciting stuff, we need to discuss the traditional methods of cutting and splitting wood.
Without a doubt, wood chopping is a traditional task which has been undertaken for generations of people. As long as human evolution, man has found a way to use the natural timber resources for building, construction, fencing, as well as for heating and cooking. But it has never been an easy task, to cut large logs, and to split logs into small enough pieces for use in heaters, cookers and fireplaces.
For many people, the first introduction to log splitters was the good old fashioned chopping block. Chopping wood is great exercise, but the novelty soon wears off. A manual log splitter is different from an axe in that the wedge angle is much broader, for splitting wood rather than cutting wood. If you are reading this article, you are probably familiar with manual log splitters, and aware of how much hard work this involves, not to mention the dangers of swinging a heavy blade, and the risk of pieces of log splitting at high speed. Click here to see prices on a manual log splitter.
Another type of manual log splitter consists of just a cutting head which can be driven into the log with a sledge hammer. At least this method of log splitting doesn’t need a swinging blade, but is still involves a lot of manual labor, and is not without some danger. Click here to see the price of a manual log splitter cutting wedge.
Slide Hammer Manual Log Splitter
Thankfully, some clever designers have invented an even safer manual log splitter that doesn’t require so much heavy labor, nor dangerous objects. The so called slide hammer is a great choice of log splitter that utilizes a slide hammer action, much the same way as for driving pickets into the ground. Simply place the wedge of the tool against the sawn end of a log, and apply repetitive hammer actions using the sliding handle. After working the wedge gradually into the grain, the slide hammer will wedge the wood apart, until the log splits into 2 pieces.
Choose a Manual – Hydraulic log splitter
If you prefer to step it up another notch, there is a more powerful device by the Sun Joe company, which is a manual hydraulic log splitter, where the user provides power to a hydraulic ram. In this way, the manual operation is magnified into a focused source of energy with an incredible 10 tons of log splitting force!
A log is held in position on the cutting rack, and the operator is required to manually operate the handles to load up the hydraulic ram. When the hydraulic load is sufficient, the wedge is driven into the wood, until the log splits into two pieces, and the ram returns to the start position.
Whilst this is a manual log splitter, it is automated to such an extent that it eliminates most of the physical labor and danger. Definitely a contender as one the best log splitters on the market. We really like this one by Sun Joe – click here to see the price of the Sun Joe hydraulic log splitter at Amazon.
How to Choose the Best Electric Log Splitter
If you are looking for an alternative to the manual labor involved, then we are happy to report there is an easier way! We have a list of the best electric splitter reviews for you to choose from. An electric splitter takes all of the hard work out of splitting logs and wood, and makes the process much faster and much easier.
An electric log splitter operates with a sliding mechanism into which you simply place the log. One end of the log is braced against the back of the log splitter, and the cutting blade slides along the log splitter until it splits the wood. The power is provided by an electric motor which runs a hydraulic pump. The hydraulic system is used to drive a piston ram, which is how the best electric log splitter can provide several tons of force to effectively split large diameter logs.
Considerations with an electric log splitter
The primary considerations when choosing the best electric splitter involve power and safety. The power aspect is a guide to the size of the logs that you wish to split. For larger diameter log splitters, there is obviously more power required, which is measured by the force applied by the log splitter in tons. The best electric log splitter may also come with a guideline as to the maximum size of logs that can be split, so this instruction should be closely observed. Overloading an electric splitter can result in the log jumping out of the log splitter, and causing injury, or the log splitter itself may be damaged and stop working.
Electric Log splitter safety
The other major consideration when it comes to choosing from the various electric log splitters available is from the safety aspect of the operator. Modern log splitters came with a so called two hand safety operating system, which basically requires the operator to maintain two hands on the controls. The log splitter will not operate unless the operator controls the two handed control system, and in this way, it ensures that stray hands do come into range of the cutting surfaces, and that the operator is fully concentrating on the task, and not at risk of inadvertently pushing the activation button!
Advantages of the electric log splitter
An electric log splitter is much quieter to operate than a gas log splitter, and does not emit nasty exhaust fumes. This is particularly useful if you need to perform the wood splitting in winter inside the garage, shed, or the barn. If your wood storage pile is inside a building to keep it dry, then it makes sense to use an electric log splitter inside the building, which is impossible with a noisy and smelly gas log splitter.
Generally, an electric log splitter is lighter and easier to move around, so you can actually take the machine to the log pile, rather than having to move a lot of heavy timber around. Of course, you need to have access to an electric power outlet, or a long enough extension cord, but the good news is that an electric log splitter will operate from the basic mains power supply.
We found a wide range of the best electric log splitter reviews, such as:
- Sun Joe LJ602E 5 ton electric log splitter
- WEN 56206 6 ton electric log splitter
- Powerhouse XM3-80 7 ton electric log splitter
- Boss industrial 7 ton electric log splitter
- Boss Industrial ED8T20 8 ton Electric Log Splitter
How to Choose the Best Gas Log Splitter
When you have a large load of timber logs to split, or when you need a large diameter log splitter, then the most powerful option is to choose a gas log splitter. A gas powered log splitter may cost a little more, and is a bit larger and heavier than other options. But the biggest benefit of gas log splitters is that they are the most powerful option for splitting large logs. The gas log splitter is the preferred choice for professional wood cutters, or anyone in the firewood business.
Generally speaking the gas log splitter is based on a trailer mounted design, so it can be pushed or towed around with relative ease. The whole point of choosing a gas powered log splitter is to reduce the workload on the operator and to shorten the length of time to finish the job!
Choose the Best Gas Log Splitter for speed and power!
In the words of the Top Gear presenter, Jeremy Clarkson, what he wants from a car, is what we want from a gas powered log splitter – “speed and power!” The benefit of a gas log splitter is not only the power to crunch through and split large diameter logs, but also the speed to reset the cutting ram. The faster that you can recycle the machine, and reset the next log, the faster that you can turn that pile of logs into firewood!
Advantages of the gas log splitter
If you need to do a lot of wood splitting, and if you have logs up to 24 inches in diameter, then you probably need to choose a gas powered log splitter. There really is no other alternative for splitting large diameter logs, and for dealing with a large pile of firewood.
Not only does it save time and energy to deal with the pile of logs, but a gas log splitter will also make a saving in terms of wastage, because the extra power means you can cut through any obstacle, such as knots in the wood, and other irregularities in the raw material.
At the end of the day, you are trying to generate a pile of firewood to get you through the winter months, and it is not meant to look pretty, but you just want to get the job done safely and efficiently.
We found a wide range of the best gas log splitter reviews, such as:
- Boss industrial dual action gas log splitter 13 ton
- Boss Industrial GD16T21 Gas Log Splitter 16 Ton
- Dirty Hand Tools 100171 Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter 22 ton
- Champion Power Equipment 100251 Towable GAs Log Splitter25 ton
- Dirty Hand Tools 100408 Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter 27 ton
Other options for the best hydraulic log splitter
Because the most powerful log splitter is provided through a hydraulic activated ram, then it follows that if you already have a source of hydraulic power, then there may be other options to choose from for your splitter. For example, if you have a tractor or a bobcat with hydraulic attachment points, then there are some excellent options for a hydraulic log splitter that you can simple attach to your machine. Simply plug the hydraulic connectors onto the tractor or bobcat attachment points, and you have an excellent hydraulic log splitter that you can take anywhere that your tractor or bobcat can go!
By harnessing the source of hydraulic energy directly from the tractor or bobcat, you have no need for a gas powered or an electric log splitter.
Different options for the cutting head on a log splitter
The typical manual log splitter comes with a single wedge shaped cutting head, which is designed to split the wood into two pieces. This means that for every log splitting operation, you only cut the log in half.
For large diameter logs, you may be required to make several cuts in the log to reduce the wood to a usable size. A more efficient log splitter is a cutting head that can split logs into 3 point or even 4 pieces of firewood with a single cutting action.
The ability to reduce a large diameter log into several pieces of firewood with a single log splitter can be a huge advantage over a manual log splitter. However, a multiple wedge log splitter will require more power than a single wedge log splitter. Click here to see the price on a multi-wedge log splitter cutting head.
Why Choose the Best? Won’t Just Anything Do?
If you depend on a wood fire for heating or cooking, then you will fully understand the hard work behind chopping and cutting enough wood for the long winter months. To reduce some of the hard work involved with log splitting, we have discussed the benefits and advantages of the range of the best log splitters that are available on the market.
No matter how big or small your log splitter requirements, there is an option to make your life easier. You can choose a manual log splitter, or a hydraulic log splitter, electric log splitter or even a gas log splitter to cut back on the hard work.
If you want to check out our detailed reviews on the best log splitter, or advice to choose the best chainsaw, then click here to see more!