4 Of The Most Efficient and Best Log Splitter
Many will tell you about the myriad of benefits that come from manually splitting those logs in your yard. Some advantages include exercise, sticking to a routine, and just plain old-fashioned manual labor to keep you honest. Although these points may be right, you won’t always have the time, energy, or vigor to split those logs with your trusty axe, even more so if you need to handle a large pile.
Hence, I say “See you later” to the backbreaking work of splitting logs via an axe and say hello to the best log splitter! Wedges and axes undoubtedly do an excellent job at producing firewood, but if you want fast log-splitting without the backache, then one of our four best log splitter will be for you. In this article, we’ll take a look at log splitters that are ideal for private use in homes and gardens.
Buyer’s Guide to the Best Log Splitter
Log splitters are fundamentally simple machines. Typically, log splitters use hydraulics to split dense wood or logs into smaller pieces. Hence, they effectively take out the significant amount of human effort when splitting logs with an axe or other manual log-splitting tools. Also, log splitters can help you create firewood in a relatively shorter period depending on their cycle time.
Of course, you’ll find a variety of log splitter types on the market that address different needs and log capacities. As I’ve already mentioned, we’ll discuss how you can find the best log splitter that is perfect for private and home use. Naturally, you’ll need bigger and stronger log splitters if you plan to use these machines commercially.
Otherwise, let’s get straight into the considerations you’ll have to make before buying your next log splitter.
Log splitters are divided into three different types that manufacturers based on the power source. These log splitter types are the Manual log splitters, Electric log splitters, and those that are gas-powered. Since gas-powered log splitters are mostly for commercial use, we’ll only look into manual and electric models.
Manual log splitters are the kind that still needs human power to activate. Usually, these log splitters will sport long levers like those you’ll see on exercise machines to drive the hydraulic ram plate. Naturally, manual log splitters can still be tiring given enough wood logs. However, they are still far less tiring than the use of an axe especially in reducing back strain.
Lastly, since manual log splitters require no electric power or gas, they’re often the quietest, cleanest, and easiest to maintain.
Electric log splitters will need to be plugged in into the mains to activate hence a nearby electrical socket will be vital. Of course, having a long enough extension lead will not make this a problem. Generally, you enable electric log splitters via a switch or two thereby engaging the ram plate.
Similar to manual log splitters, electric models do not emit fumes, so they’re ideal for use in your garage or garden shed.
Of course, you’ll have also to consider cable length and quality if you’ll be considering electric log splitters. Avoid the ones which cheap cables as much as possible.
One of the most important considerations you’ll need to make is the log splitters power. Ultimately, this factor will determine the type of wood that the splitter will be able to handle. The essential elements in a splitters power are its motor and tonnage capacity.
Motor & Tonnage
When dealing with electric log splitters, you’ll find its motor’s specifications in horsepower and amps. Meanwhile, the splitter’s tonnage, or its capacity to apply pressure onto the log that needs splitting. High tonnage and motor specifications will result in a stronger machine that can handle large, dense, knotty, or wet wood.
All that power will be in vain if your splitter can only hold small logs in its log cradle. So you should also consider the feature rate of the log splitter or the maximum log size that It can handle.
Although not necessary, fast cycle times will be an invaluable factor when it comes to making firewood. A log splitter’s cycle time refers to the length of time it takes for the machine to make a complete cycle from pushing the ram plate to its return.
You’ll find log splitters with cycle times ranging from 14 seconds to 30 seconds. The difference on paper might seem negligible. However, when you’re splitting a mountain of logs, this time difference will be significant
Reviewing the 4 Best Log Splitter
Starting our list of the best log splitters is the LJ10M Logger Joe from the ever reliable Sun Joe Company. The Logger Joe is a manual hydraulic log splitter that is capable of a 10-ton push! This sheer amount of hydraulic ram strength makes the Logger Joe the most powerful splitter on this list; able to handle logs up to 18-inches long and 8-inches wide.
Accompanying the great strength of this manual log splitter is a very robust body that will withstand both internal and external pressures and weathering. Also, being a manual splitter means cables or fuel requirements will never limit you from using this splitter. Hence, when you get over the weight, hauling the LJ10M around will not be difficult.
Of course, being a manual log splitter will mean that you’ll have put a measure of effort into splitting logs. However, the hydraulics ensure that people with varying strength levels will still be comfortable using the machine.
You activate the LJ10M via two levers that you row, somewhat like a stair master, which then slowly pushes the ram plate against a stationary wedge. Consequently, despite its automatic ram return, the Logger Joe’s overall cycle time will depend on how fast, or slow you activate the levers. Ultimately, this log splitter from Sun Joe will still be better than your everyday axe.
Take a look at the Logger Joe’s Demo video below:
- Most powerful on this list
- Great mobility and portability
- Low maintenance
- Solid build
- Decreases back pain
- Takes up little space
- Work as fast or as slow as your capable
- Quick reset
- Easy to assemble
- Requires a measure of physical strength and endurance
- Cycle time will depend on your ability
- Not efficient with young green and small logs
- Difficulty when handling 18-inch logs
- Gnarly logs can jam the machine
Second on our list is the black and silver WEN 56206 Log Splitter. At six tons of applied force, the Wen is at the lower end of our list, but it’s still sufficient for medium-duty work and occasional yard needs. Conversely, its applied force, 2HP engine, and 120V motor makes for a very quiet machine which emits significantly less noise than gas-powered splitters.
Interestingly, the WEN’s low 6-ton applied force can handle bigger logs due to its cradle design. At a cycle time of 25 seconds, the WEN log splitter can handle logs up to 20.5-inches long and 10-inches wide. Obviously, this log splitter, as well as the remaining splitters on our list, can handle larger logs than the Logger Joe.
Since the WEN log splitter runs on household current, it’ll be remarkably light (105 lbs) and will be ideal for either indoor or outdoor use since it will emit no fumes. Adding to its lightweight is the six-inch tires that improve overall portability. Meanwhile, the 6-foot electrical cord will give you sufficient distance to work in most spaces.
Finally, the WEN 56206 runs via a dual-hand switch which will only power the ram if activated simultaneously, preferably with both hands. This kind of operation also improves user-safety since you’ll be forced stay in the safe zone away from the moving parts or splitting wood.
You can watch the demo video of the WEN 56206 below:
- Compact and portable as well as easy to store
- Safe dual-hand operation
- Well built
- Ideal for indoor or outdoor use
- Splits large logs
- The weakest on this list
- Electric cord limitation
- Relatively slow cycle time
The next electric log splitter on our list and definitely my personal favorite is the ES7T20 from Boss Industrial. Weighing in at 123 lbs, the ES7T20 packs 7 tons of splitting force in a relatively heavy yet robustly-constructed frame. Of course, this list on the best log splitters sports remarkably strong builds but the construction and design of the Boss Industrial shine among them.
Using that 7-ton splitting power, you’ll handle logs up to 20.5 inches long and 12 inches wide with relative ease. It’ll be in record time as well since the Boss Industrial ES7T20 has the fastest cycle time among the log splitters on our list at 14 seconds. Hence, you’re getting both muscle and speed with the Boss Industrial with its 2 HP motor and convenient one-hand operation.
Additionally, I found its available upgrade, the 4-Way splitter attachment incredibly useful and efficient. Combined with the log splitters already quick cycle time, the 4-way splitter will substantially cut your time in half! You can look at this unique upgrade here
Admittedly, one potential downside to the ES7T20 is the risk that the one-handed operation may bring. However, as long as you keep away from the moving parts and stay in the safety zone (near the switch behind the moving ram), you’ll be okay. Also, remember to don your safety gear!
You can take a look at a demo of the Boss Industrial ES7T20 Log Splitter below.
- Large log capability
- Auto-return ram
- High-quality steel as well as heavy-duty construction
- Quick cycle time
- User friendly
- Great value
- Unique 4 way cross wedge upgrade
- One hand operation may be a safety risk
True to its name, the Powerhouse XM-380 is a lightweight yet powerful log splitter that will make splitting freshly cut, knotty, gnarly, and hardwoods a breeze. With its 3.5HP 18.5A electric motor driving 7 tons of splitting force, you’ll be hard pressed to find a log that can withstand the XM – 380 as long as you keep to its log size standards.
Another great feature is the ram plate present In the XM-380 that is slightly thicker than the ones you’ll find on the other splitters on this list. Since, the ram plate is one of the parts that handles most of the wear and tear, seeing a thick and robust plate is a relief. Hence, if you’re willing to shell out some extra funds for a log splitter, you’ll find a winner in the Powerhouse XM-380
In accordance with the standards we’ve set in this list the Powerhouse is also compact and quite portable. Also, it’ll be ideal for use inside your home without the fumes of gas-powered splitters.
Lastly, remember to back up that wing nut screw before using this splitter. Take a look at the Demo video below to see what I mean by this.
- Largest log capacity
- Great with knotty logs as well as hardwoods
- Thick ram plate
- Powerful motor
- Two-handed operation
- Relatively lightweight
- Side supports could be more robust
- Relatively noisier than others on this list
- Some logs tend to slide up the wedge
- Wheels are somewhat flimsy