Welcome to my roundup of the best log splitters on the market in 2015. In this article I have done my best to give you the ultimate guide to buying the best log splitter for you.
In the comparison chart below you will be able to find my top three recommended gas, electric and manual log splitters, along with a price guide and my review out of 5.
If you would like some more information on how choose the best log splitter for you please read on. I have gone over the types of log splitters you can buy, and the advantages of each, the best brands on the market now and reviews of my favourite log splitter in each category.
What is a Log Splitter?
The answer is probably in the name, but to give you a little more information, a log splitter is generally either a gas or electric powered machine that splits a log with minimal effort. A log splitter pries the log open down its centre with either a sharp metal wedge or a large screw that drills into the log splitting it down the grain after being chopped into sections we call ‘rounds’ by either a hand or chainsaw.
They are perfect for making short work of large logs to be used as firewood, and if you are familiar with trying to split logs manually you will know that this can be slow and laborious work.
Most log splitters are made up of a hydraulic or piston rod that is powered either manually, or by an electric or gas engine. The power the log splitter generates is measured in tonnes, with a higher pressure rating being able to split larger logs.
An average log splitter for use at home to split logs for an Aga or wood-burning stove for the winter may generate around 10 tonnes, with industrial models moving up to about 25. Manual log splitters for smaller logs use leverages to force a sharpened blade into the log, and are still very effective at splitting smaller logs. Finally, tractor log splitters are made to power a large screw attached to the PTO shaft that drills into a log to split it.
Types of Log Splitter
Gas Powered Log Splitter
Gas powered log splitters are the most expensive, but by far the most powerful of the machines I have summarised. Gas log splitters have their own engine of between 3-5 HP, and are fuelled by gas or diesel. As well as being the most powerful, gas log splitters are often mounted on a trailer so can be transported to the wooded area you are working in, and don’t need an external power source.
The best gas log splitter, and the one I most often recommend is the Champion Power Equipment No.92221 Gas Powered Log Splitter. While the name doesn’t roll of the tongue too easily, the Campion is one of the most powerful log splitters on the market, generating 22 Tonnes of power and can generate up to an impressive 3500 psi.
Champion Power Equipment’s Gas Powered Log Splitter has a 1 Gallon gas tank, and can be operated bother vertically and horizontally depending on the task.
The Champion is one of the larger log splitters on the market, and at 85.8″ (L) x 45.8″ (W) x ” 40.7 “(H) and weighing in at almost 400lbs can handle pretty much any job you can through at it, although you may want to consider the 35 Ton model if you need to split very large hardwood.
- 22 Ton Performance, 4″ x 23″ hydraulic cylinder, 14 second cycle time
- Powered by Champion 196cc OHV Engine with Cast Iron Sleeve
- 2 Stage Hydraulic pump – 11 GPM – 3500 maximum psi
- Towable trailer with 2″ ball hitch, DOT Approved tires
- 1 Year Limited Warranty
- Easy assembly out of the box, with clear instructions in the manual
- Engine is powerful enough for most jobs, and the whole splitter is very well made, backed a 1 year warranty.
- Best value for money for this level of performance on the market
- While easy, this log splitter does need some assembly, which may take a couple of hours, and it takes some time to get the engine primed for work
- May need a larger machine for large hardwood tasks
Electric Log splitters are generally slightly less powerful than their gas counterparts, with a 1-2 HP engine, delivering up to 7 tons of splitting power. This is still more than enough for most people though, and the electric log splitters we recommend below are able to split logs that are well over 15’ in diameter. Electric log splitters are also smaller and lighter than gas, while still often having wheels so you can easily move your machine to the garden by hand to do your work.
For us, the best electric log splitter has to be the Wen 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter. The Wen can handle logs up to 10 inches in diameter and around 21 inches long with a powerful 2HP 15A motor. The Wen drives a 4×4 inch metal wedge into the log you are splitting, and can handle both soft and hardwood logs.
A great feature are the rubber wheels and handles, which means you can push the spitter anywhere you need without the need for a truck to transport it. Plus, the fume-free electric power allows this log splitter to be used both indoors and outdoors.
You get a 2-year warranty, and Wen offer great customer service. Check out the features below:
- Reliable 2 HP, copper-wound motor uses household current; No problems with cold starts or gas shortages; quieter, less expensive; Plug it in and go!
- Safety first! Operation requires two hands to keep hands clear of the ram while fume free electric power allows for usage both indoors and outdoors
- Built-in log cradle/guide keeps logs on track for even splitting of logs up to 10″ in diameter and 20.5″ in length
- Portable with two comfort grip handles and 6″ tires
- CSA approved with a two-year WEN warranty
- Powerful 2HP motor generating 6-tones of power, suitable for splitting almost any logs.
- Compact size, and relatively light weight with wheels and handles attached making the WEN 56206 very easy to transport
- Very straight-forward to build and use
- The electric engine means you don’t need to transport any gas, and is also environmentally friendly
- 2-year warranty, and good customer support
- The user manual could be easier to read, and can be a confusing when first putting this splitter together
- The packaging could also be better considering the size of this machine, but ours arrived in good condition
Manual Log Splitter
Depending on your needs, a manual log splitter may be ideal. In the comparison chart we have included both leverage based log splitters like the Smart Splitter, as well as our favourite splitting axes. The main benefit of a manual log splitter over an axe is that it uses leverages rather than muscle to power it, so regardless of how strong you are you will be able to easily split logs with the Smart Splitter, whereas a little more effort will be needed to put into the swing of an axe. As well as this, manual log splitters are far cheaper than a motor powered machine, and they are far easier to transport and store. If you are planning on getting a log splitter for chopping wood for a stove in your house for example, and don’t intend on splitting huge quantities of logs, we would highly recommend looking at the Smart Splitter below before considering a more expensive gas or electric powered model.
Best Manual Log Splitter:
The Smart Splitter is a very interesting innovation that has arrived onto the market recently, and makes splitting wood extremely easy.The Smart Splitter stands upright, and you thrust a metal wedge into the log you are splitting. The weight of the wedge will split small logs on its own, and with a bit of practise we had the Smart Splitter going through 6-12 inch diameter logs with just a little extra manual force. Because of the design of this device, anyone can use the Smart Splitter, as it isn’t operated based on strength, and takes away the danger of chopping off limbs or fingers!
- Unique log splitting device that uses momentum to split logs, rather than splitting an axe.
- Light weight at only 10 Kilograms
- Very safe splitting mechanism
- Reasonably priced compared to other manual log splitters
- Will struggle with very large logs, but with enough effort mast logs can be split
- Some setting up is necessary, as you have you drill the log splitter into a larger splitting log