We spent over 50 hours researching and testing 10 different brands of log splitters and found that performance, ease of use, and brand name reputation were most important. The Powerhouse Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter scored high marks in all areas and is our top pick. This easy-to-use, one-hand-operated log splitter makes fast work of splitting logs. It is very portable and easy-to-move wherever you need to split wood. The rugged design and professional grade hydraulics can help you take care of almost any size log-splitting job. The convenient push button start and 7 ton capacity can split logs up to 12” in diameter. All of this makes it the best log splitter on our list
Log Splitter Buying Guide
What is a Log Splitter?
A log splitter is a gas powered or electric piece of equipment that you place a cut log into and press a level down. Once the lever is depressed, the machine will split the log in half in seconds with no effort from you at all. Take the split log out and replace it with another uncut one and keep going. You can go through dozens and dozens of logs in short order.
Log splitters save time and saves your body from undue strain and exertion. Some people like to cut wood the old fashioned way, using an axe, but many are not able to, yet they still want to have plenty of firewood for those cold winter nights. A log splitter enables them to cut their own wood without hurting or straining their backs, shoulders and arms.
Types of Log Splitters
There are three basic types of log splitters available:
Which one you choose will be dependent on a few different things such as the amount of wood you have to split, the size of the wood you have to split and the amount of physical labor you want to exert. If you want a ton of splitting capacity, you will be better off choosing a gas powered log splitter since those are the types that usually offer the most tonnage. They can handle as much as 38 tons depending on the specific model.
- Electric Log Splitters – One of the best things about electric log splitters is that they can be used equally as safe indoors or out. They don’t run on gas and therefore do not have exhaust fumes to worry about like the gas powered log splitters will have. Most electric log splitters will run off a 120v outlet and come with a grounding feature to protect your homes electrical circuits.
They are less expensive than the gas powered varieties and are typically strong enough to handle the usual household log splitting load. They can generally handle 4-7 tons which is anywhere from 6” in diameter to 12” in diameter and about 20.5” long at the most.
- Gas Log Splitters – These are the tough guys of the log splitting world and offers tons of splitting capacity making them a great choice for commercial log splitting. Some models can handle as much as 38 tons even if the logs are knotty and difficult. Another benefit of some gas powered log splitters is that they have a trailer hitch which means you can bring it with you out into the woods where you are felling trees.
Be certain to tow them slowly off road so they are nit messed up or jarred into having problems. They need proper ventilation to be used and should never be used in a garage or indoors. Gas powered log splitters are the most expensive of the three different types mentioned here.
- Manual Log Splitters – These are the most affordable log splitters and they come in horizontal and vertical designs for the consumer’s convenience. You will have up to 10 tons of splitting capacity with a manual log splitter. The splitting function runs off of a 2 speed pump that allows the user to control the speed of the log splitter. You will be able to have the force you need and can control that force with the levers.
Manual log splitters are very lightweight and portable to. You can easily take them on a camping trip or out into the forest to get some work done and not have to lug a super heavy duty machine with you. They do require more physical labor than the other two choices so if you have a lot of wood that you are splitting, a manual log splitter would not be a good first choice.
When it comes to choosing the right log splitter, there are a few things that you will want to ask yourself regarding the models you are interested in. These questions will help you sort through the large amount of choices and come up with the right one for your needs. It’ll also help ensure that you are choosing a good quality log splitter that will be around for awhile.
- How long has this manufacturer been around? – reputable companies have usually been around for awhile, so purchasing a log splitter that is from a well known company is always a good idea. The more well known and better the reputation, the more you will feel confident in choosing that log splitter.
- Are parts easy to obtain if needed? – If you ever have any trouble with your log splitter you don’t want to have to throw it out because you can’t find any parts. Check with the company to find out where you can get replacement parts or do a search online to see how easy it is to find them.
- What is the warranty like? – A good warranty is very important for any larger ticket item like this one. You want to be sure that the company stands behind their products and the quality of their craftsmanship. A good warranty proves this. Buying a piece of equipment like this without a warranty is not a good idea.
- What are other customers saying? – Don’t rely 100% on JUST the customer reviews, but you can learn a lot about a product y reading what the customers who have already purchased it are saying about it. You can learn about things such as performance, noise level, durability and any problems that may be occurring. It’s a great way to get some hands on opinions about the log splitter you’re looking at before you spend the money on it. No one can please 100% of the people 100% of the time, so don’t expect there to not be any complaints. What you are looking for is MORE compliments and positive reviews than complaints and problems.
Where will You Use Your Log Splitter?
What are you going to be using your log splitter for? Personal use for splitting wood for your fireplace, or do you have a commercial wood business where you sell loads of wood to other people? What you are going to do with the log splitter will also determine which log splitter you should purchase.
- Home use – If you are splitting wood at home where you will have access to an electrical outlet, choosing an electric log splitter is a good choice. You can use it inside your garage or out on the driveway equally as safe. The newer electric log splitters have much more power and are capable of splitting large loafs of wood in a short amount of time. Another popular feature of the electric log splitters is that they are much quieter to operate which is a good thing when there are neighbors close by.
- Commercial use, or at a cabin in the woods – If you need a lot of power and easy portability, then a gas powered log splitter is what you are looking for. Many of the gas powered models have trailer hitches which means, you can tow them to where you need them to go. They do not need an electrical source so having them out in the woods or up at the rustic cabin you own that doesn’t have traditional power is no problem. And if you have a firewood business, a gas powered log splitter will help you split large amounts of wood to sell to your customers.
A log splitter will save you a lot of time and effort that you would normally spend splitting logs by hand with an axe. They come in many different styles and varieties of gas, manual and electric models. Before you rush out to choose one, be sure that you know exactly what you will use your log splitter for, how much you will use it, how large the logs are that you need to split and if you will have a power source handy.
The information in this buyer’s guide and in the reviews above of the top rated log splitters will help you sort through the many choices that you have available and will help you determine exactly what you need for your own log splitting needs. You are armed with the information that you need to make those choices confidently and to feel assured and good about the model you choose.