Burning wood for heat in the colder months can be a very affordable way to stay warm. It can also be a real pain in the neck if you have to manually split and store your own wood. This is where the best log splitter can provide you with some affordable relief. Just place your wood into the machine, let it operate, and you’ll effortless be able to split the wood you need for warmth.
Now if only there was an automatic wood stacker that could work with this product.
The Best Chart for Log Splitters
Log splitters come in many different shapes, sizes, and capacities. You might even see them called a cradle, a wedge, or even a dislodger instead of a splitter. We’ve eliminated the confusion by putting together the top-rated log splitters in the chart below for review, no matter what name or label might be associated with the product.
What Is a Log Splitter and Why Do I Need One?
It’s been said that splitting wood with an axe can “build character.” If you’re splitting wood for heat and have a number of other chores that need to be done, then it’s better to work smarter instead of harder. This is where the best log splitter makes for a tremendous investment.
You place the log which needs to be split into the splitter. Then you start the unit’s cycle. The splitter will then chop the wood for you.
Now the most affordable log splitters do tend to require some manual strength in order to operate. You’ll need to pull levers and use the power of leverage to your advantage. It’s still easier than hefting an axe on a repetitive basis.
How to Find the Best Log Splitter for Me
When you’re looking for a log splitter, your choice often comes down to the total tonnage of the unit. A 30+ ton log splitter can take on a wood diameter of 24 inches and a hardness rating of 2,200 pounds. In comparison, a 4-ton log splitter can handle a wood diameter of 6 inches and a hardness rating of 600 pounds or less.
That means to find the best log splitter, you need to consider the type of wood and the log size that you’ll be needing to split. Here are some reference points for you to consider.
• All softwoods have a hardness rating below 1,000 pounds. Basswood, Aspen, and Cottonwood have a hardness rating below 500 pounds. Pine and Sweet Gum have the largest hardness ratings, each just under 900 pounds.
• Most hardwoods have a hardness rating above 1,000 pounds. The only exception to this rule is Cedar, which has a hardness rating of 900 pounds.
• Dogwood is the hardest common wood used for burning. It’s hardness rating is at 2,150 pounds.
The reason why this information is useful is because it takes more tonnage out of your wood splitter to work with wood that has a higher hardness rating. Here’s an example: at 6-inches in diameter, a 4-ton wood splitter can handle wood with a hardness rating of up to 600. If the wood is rated up to 900 pounds, then a 6-ton wood splitter is necessary. If you have 6-inch Dogwood that needs to be split, then you’d need a 10-ton wood splitter.
Size also matters. If the wood you’re splitting is 24-inches in diameter, then the minimum tonnage for your wood splitter must be 27 tons. The benefit of a 27-ton splitter is that it can work for all softwoods and Cedar.
What Are the Features of the Best Log Splitters?
The tonnage a log splitter can handle is only one feature that needs to be considered. There is also the motor horsepower, the cycle time of the unit, and even the manufacturer of these components to consider. Pump size, hydraulic fluid capacity, and the physical size of the motor may also be important.
Here’s why these features need to be considered.
• High tonnage log splitters with low costs have slow cycle times. You can find off-brand high tonnage splitters that are very affordable, but their cycle time is so slow that it might take 5 minutes just to split one of your logs.
• High tonnage log splitters with low costs can also have very fast cycle times. Some manufacturers also offer cycle times that are way too fast for the logs being used. You’re not going to split Dogwood in 3-5 seconds, no matter how good the log splitter happens to be. Even if it can work that fast, you’re probably not going to be working that fast.
• Warranties are often associated with personal use. If you are over-using your log splitter based on its cycle time, then you might unintentionally void your warranty. On the other extreme, if you have a cycle time that you are under-utilizing because it is so fast, then you’re paying for something that you don’t actually need.
You’ll also notice in the best log splitter reviews that there are electric log splitters and gas-powered log splitters. Some will split logs horizontally, while others require vertical splitting. Some of this is personal preference, but higher tonnage log splitters tend to work better when they are gas-powered. Anything that is rated at 12-tons or above should be gas-powered if you plan to use the splitter on a regular basis.
Machine-mounted splitters and kinetic log splitters are also specialty options that may be suitable for some homeowners.
What Are the Prices of the Best Log Splitters?
Cost is difficult to judge when looking at the best log splitters. Some low tonnage units may cost more than $2,000, while high tonnage units might be less than that. You must compare the quality of the motor, the presence of features, and the tonnage rating together in conjunction with the type of wood you are splitting to find the best possible price.
Best case scenario? You spend less than $2,500. Some homeowners might be able to spend between $500-$1,000 to get a great unit. Low-cost options below $500 might also work in specific situations.
Read Our Reviews
We really loved how reliable this little electrical unit happen to be. It works on household current, so it really is a plug-and-play splitter. Just don’t use an extension cord with this model unless you absolutely have to do so – it changes the performance of the splitter. We found log sizes of about 20 inches would still work with this model, but only with the softer woods. Our best experience came with testing it indoors. Give it a try and your back will thank you.
This isn’t a high-powered log splitter by any means. It’s more of a kindling maker than anything else. It’s good for creating those small bits of wood that you sometimes need to get the fire going. You can attach to this a standard mallet securely and be able to make some of the firewood you need without a hatchet or a blade around. It’s a good solution for those where a fully automatic log splitter isn’t an option, but you also want to do less manual work in splitting your logs.
This 3HP log splitter gives you 7-tons of support for your firewood. It’s light enough to be portable, but still offers you some of the strength that a gas-powered unit could provide even though it is electrical. We found logs about 18-20 inches were its maximum capacity in terms of length – about 12 inches was all it could handle from a diameter standpoint. It did great with soft woods and reasonably well with cedar. Overall we found the results to be very positive and highly recommend this unit.
This electric log splitter has some good things working for it. It has a push-button start so that virtually anyone can use this unit. It really only takes one hand to work the splitter as well, so you feel like you’re using 50% of energy resources. There’s an automatic ram return and a high-quality hydraulic system as well. It’s the power of the motor that disappointed us. It takes a little extra time to split logs on this unit compared to others, but the overall construction of the unit is more durable. Check it out – this could be the best log splitter for you.
This log splitter gets everything right. The 20-second cycle time lets you work quickly but at your own pace. The wedge is skewed better than on other models as well, which gives you a cleaner split on your logs. A 2-year warranty supports this model, with technical support included, and the low profile design is nice for efficient log processing. The tires are never-flat, which makes them tough to use in certain landscapes, but that’s really our only complaint. It gets the job done.
The best log splitter will make fast work of your firewood needs. Make the investment today and you’ll be able to put that axe away for good.