Finding the best log splitter can be tough, especially if you’re new to the game, as many of you will be. Thanks to increasingly cold winters, and the price of oil and gas going through the roof, going back to the old days and lighting up a log fire is one of the most sustainable (and affordable) ways to live.
In this article, we’ve got a complete buyer’s guide to finding the best log splitter, sharing tips and tricks, but most importantly keeping you warm through this chilly spring.
Best Log Splitters Product Chart
1. SuperHandy 6 Ton Portable Electric Log Splitter
2. WEN 56207 6.5 Ton Electric Log Splitter
3. SuperHandy 20 Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter
4. EARTHQUAKE 32228 5-ton Electric Log Splitter
5. Logosol 14-Ton Manual Log Splitter
6. Sun Joe LJ10M 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter
7. Powerhorse 8 Ton Horizontal & Vertical Electric Log Splitter
8. Xinde Firewood Log Splitter Drill Bit
9. Estwing E-5 Sure Split Log Splitting Wedge
10. Draper DRA58682 1.7 kg Log Splitting Star Wedge
Log Splitters Buyers' Guide
What is a Log Splitter?
Log splitters come in a few different forms, from manual splitters to hydraulic splitters. Don’t worry, we’ll cover all the different types in detail later in the article. Every type of log splitter has one thing in common though – they all use directional force to increase pressure.
By applying heavy force on a single point of pressure that expands and increases in size, you maximize pressure and multiply it from the area of exertion to the area of application.
To put it into context, when you push a piece of paper onto a pin, the pin pops through. It’s the same effect, on a larger scale).
Benefits of Using a Log Splitter
Less Physical Labor
One of the benefits of using a log splitter is that it offers less physical labor. When splitting logs manually, you will have to raise the ax to cut the logs in half.
This can be a daunting task and can put strains on your muscles. But with the log splitter machine, you can let it do the work for you without straining a single muscle.
Saves a Lot of Time
Another benefit that you can get from using this type of machine is that it will help you save a lot of time. Since this is a machine, it has the ability the cut in a fast pace, unlike when you are doing it manually. This means that you will have more time to do other chores in your house.
What to Look For When Buying a Log Splitter
Before we delve into the different types of log splitters, save yourselves a lot of time and thought by deciding what you need a log splitter for.
If you’re breaking down regular firewood, something easy to transport from the shed to the garden is best, but if you’re helping out your neighbors and breaking down wood for the street, then hydraulic splitters are the only way to go.
To some, the convenience isn’t everything, and that added pressure of hydraulics can be a lifesaver. I’ve got really bad knees and the impact of swinging axes can leave me in a bed for a week, so the mechanical support of pneumatic log splitters is invaluable, as I’m sure it will be too many of you too.
If, however, you’re here for a commercial log splitter, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. For commercial splitters, the choice is between horizontal and vertical splitters.
You’ll need a minimum of 14-ton or pressure, but 20-ton is really the best choice, because, let’s face it, you’re going to come across some serious timber.
Different Types of Log Splitters
Our log splitter reviews below share our thoughts on some of the most popular log splitters on the market, and some less obvious choices too, but before we get there, let’s take a look at the different types of log splitters in more detail:
Log Splitter Drill Bits
Log splitter drill bits are low effort, but high-failure. That’s probably the easiest way to use them up. If you’ve got small wide logs, log splitter drill bits are the perfect tool, quickly whizzing through short sections of trunk and breaking it down for firewood.
The downside of log splitter drill bits is that they tend to shoot off to one side without the right pressure from the user. Log splitter drill bits work by forcing their way into the log using a threaded cone.
The thread pulls the drill bit deeper, while the cone shape forces the timber apart along its natural fibers.
Hydraulic Log Splitters
Hydraulic log splitters are the most efficient and can cope with the largest logs, but they are also the most expensive. Thanks to advances in technology, and pneumatic pumps getting smaller in recent years though, there are some really brilliant pneumatic splitters that can cope with larger logs without needing huge petrol engines, and taking up half the garage.
We’ll take a look at some of them later on in the reviews, but before we do, it’s important to understand the difference between horizontal and vertical log splitters.
Vertical log splitters are pneumatic tools that stand upright. They are typically easier to load as logs can just be tipped into position, rather than lifted off the ground onto the splitter track.
Horizontal splitters are typically safer, but much harder to load with heavy logs.
Log Splitting Wedge / Manual Log Splitters
Log splitting wedges are essentially just axes without handles. They are pointed wedges that can either be attached to walls, or decking to quickly drop logs onto, or hammer them against to split, and they work really well for small sections of dry timber.
If you’re considering a log splitting wedge though, look for star shapes, or twisted wedges that you can use with a mallet, rather than mounted splitting wedges, as you can exert more pressure in less time this way.
How to Use a Log Splitter
Hydraulic log splitters need some practice, and some training for the bigger models, but for domestic log splitters, they are usually quite intuitive and very reliable, as long as you follow some simple safety rules.
Before loading any logs into a hydraulic log splitter, make sure the machine is on level ground, and won’t rock while in use. Once it’s in place, connect the power source, or start the engine. While that ticks over, place your log (vertical or horizontal according to the machine) then set it running keeping your hands well away from the splitter.
That’s it. Even for manual splitters, the user guide is largely the same, just without an engine: place log; spit log; change log.
Log Splitters Safety Guide
For any log splitter, it’s best to work with a partner, for one simple reason: logs are heavy. Don’t overexert yourself by lifting tree trunks by yourself, and always try to break logs down to the recommended size of your machine.
The other simple rule to follow when working with log splitters of any kind is to wear eye protection. Logs can splinter when wet or dry, and if they do there’s no way of knowing where those splinters fly, so don’t take risks with these tools. Wear basic protection every time.
Safety for Hydraulic Log Splitters
Hydraulic log splitters need level ground, and should never be used on rocky or bumpy surfaces. Vertical log splitters are particularly vulnerable to tipping while in use if left on uneven ground.
Never move logs in a log splitter until the engine is off. While the splitters in our reviews are aimed at domestic and light commercial users, some log splitters can exert 65-ton of pressure, which is more than enough to seriously injure or even kill someone.
Before every use, check over the fuel pipes and hydraulic pipes for any damage. Leaking fuel pipes are dangerous on any machine, but leaking hydraulic pipes are particularly dangerous as pinhole tears in the pressured pipe can create pressurized vents that are powerful enough to tear through skin and cause lasting damage.
Now that you have familiarized yourself with everything that you need to know about the log splitter, it is now time for you to know the best log splitter machines that you can have.
Here are the top 10 log splitters that will surely help you with your cutting tasks.
Best Log Splitter Reviews
Log Splitters 2022 Top Picks
Log Splitter - Our Top Pick
The best log splitter we’ve found this year is the SuperHandy 6 Ton Electric Portable Log Splitter that takes any electric power source, but frankly, for us, is just perfect for domestic use.
Whether you’re preparing a fire pit or heating the house for winter, this hydraulic log splitter is unbeatable on price for the power it produces and the slick design, coupled with its well-balanced footing.
SuperHandy makes great tools, with an eye for accessibility and mobility, and has even made it so this log splitter is simple to move around and store without too much hassle.
Best Value Log Splitter
If you’re looking for a log splitter on budget then look no further than the WEN 56207 6.5-Ton Electric Log Splitter. Its main powered hydraulic press is easy to set up in the garage or shed, and it comes with a convenient stand so you can split logs at a comfortable height, ready for firewood.
Best of all, the whole thing folds away neatly, so it’s easy to store when it’s not in use so you don’t need it taking up space in summer.
Premium Choice Log Splitter
For the higher end log splitter, and for light-weight commercial use, the SuperHandy 20 Ton Log Splitter is the perfect tool for this tough job.
Its three-pointed footing makes it easy to set up, and easy to find level ground for, which is (unsurprisingly) difficult on forest floors, and with a platform that can handle logs up to 20” long and 26” wide it’s perfect for tree trunks as long as you’ve got a chainsaw on hand to cut them to length first.
Log Splitter FAQs
How much pressure does it take to split a log?
It takes about 0.7-ton to split a log when perfectly targeted (the weight of an adult bear). It’s near impossible to create that level of pressure reliably and repeatedly with an ax, so using purpose-built tools is essential for splitting logs in large batches.
Is a vertical or horizontal log splitter better?
Vertical log splitters are better for splitting larger logs as they allow you to simply lift and lean logs into position rather than lifting large logs off the ground and onto a platform.
Horizontal log splitters are safer though, and easier to use, so the best choice for most domestic settings.
Is it easier to split green wood or dry wood?
Greenwood takes less pressure to split than dry wood as the fibers are less resistant to separation when wet. If you have access to greenwood logs it’s always a good idea to split them down before curing as it can halve curing time as logs are smaller and can air cure faster.
For smaller log splitting tasks, check out our review on the best splitting mauls available today.
Get Only the Best Log Splitter for 2022
Log splitters might not seem like your average back year tool, but in the next few years, we’re going to see a huge increase in their sales across the US as winters get colder and gas gets more expensive.
Old fashioned fires and wood burners are going to get more popular, and with that comes some old fashioned self-sustainability.
Whatever your reason for buying a log splitter, I hope we’ve managed to take away the confusion surrounding all the different types of log splitters, and help find the best log splitter for you.