Comparing The Best Log Splitters

best log splitter

I think you’ll agree:

Splitting logs is a back-breaking, thankless job that’s great for building character but gets old really fast.

In fact, it can be quite dangerous, slow, and time-consuming.

But chopping wood doesn’t have to be such a burden:

There’s a wealth of hydraulic, electric and engine-powered log splitters specially designed to take the strain, chop wood faster and safer than ever before.

While there are many makes and models of log splitters to choose from, this guide will guide you in choosing the best log splitter for your specific needs.

Let’s begin with our top picks:

  NameSplitter typeSplitting forceRating 
Best Overall
Boss Industrial ES7T20Electric4 tons4.9/5Check Price
Best Value
Champion 25-TonGas25 tons4.8/5Check Price
Budget
Pow' R' Kraft 65556Electric/hydraulic4 tons4.7/5Check Price
Best Manual
Sun Joe LJ10MHydraulic10 tons4.6/5Check Price
Heavy Duty
NorthStar HorizontalGas/Hydraulic37 tons4.7/5Check Price
W

hen researching this guide we tested 38 models, consulted 4 experts, and split around 300 logs. Our conclusions make up the buyers guide below, where we give a detailed review on each splitter, and then answer any questions you might have on how to choose the best log splitter for your money.

Let’s begin.

Best Electric Log Splitters

Electric log splitters require no physical effort at all (apart from mounting the logs and removing the pieces once they’ve been split), making them ideal choices if you’re not physically fit or if you have too many logs to handle. As the log splitter does all the hard work for you, you can choose a model which has a high level of splitting force or one which can handle large log sizes.

Electric log splitters require less ongoing cleaning and maintenance than gas powered log splitters, so instead you should compare amperages and voltages to make sure that you choose a log splitter that runs efficiently.

Typically, you can expect similar specs to our cheap electric/hydraulic log splitters in terms of maximum splitting force and cycle speed. These designs usually deliver between 4 and 7 tons of force. However, they justify the higher price than the cheaper models due to the better build quality, the versatility and the fact that they’ve been designed so that they’re simple and comfortable to use.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

boss industrial electric splitter
Best Overall!

Boss Industrial ES7T20

  • 4.9/5 Rating
  • Electric
  • 4 tons
  • Dark red
boss industrial electric splitter

Recommendation

Our number one best overall wood splitter is the Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter. It offers 7 tons of power, plenty of strength while splitting a wide variety of wood types, and it’s very reasonably priced, which is why we think it’s the best electric log splitter money can buy.

Our Rating: 4.9/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Electric
Splitting force
4 tons
Colour
Dark red
Weight
106 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
1 gallon
Maximum log size
20.5 inches long; 10 inches wide
Positioning
Horizontal
Speed/cycle time
10 seconds

Boss Industrial ES7T20

Who Should Buy

This isn’t the cheapest wood splitter on our list; it isn’t the lightest, or the most powerful, or the fastest to use. It hasn’t been designed as a niche product to suit the needs of a specific user or their particular set of needs. This is a great log splitter overall: an all-rounder that suits a wide variety of applications. It comes with our full recommendation for any average family’s domestic use.Click here for the Boss Industrial ES7T20

Review

The Boss Industrial ES7T20 has a maximum log size that’s virtually identical to the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 (20.5 inches long and 10 inches in diameter), but at 7 tons it delivers almost double the splitting force. This, in addition to the fact that you can use it one-handed, makes it one of the easiest log splitters to use.

While the Pow’ R’ Kraft struggled with splitting newly cut logs, this Boss Industrial log splitter handled green logs with ease: there was almost no difference between the ease of cutting dried and green logs.

The only thing that this wood splitter seemed to struggle with was particularly knotty logs. It has a tendency to split around the knot which can result in some unevenness, despite the side rails which keep the logs in place. Clear, straight grained wood is effortless.

If the splitter is on the ground, you do have to bend down to press the lever which starts the splitting process, which is a minor drawback in terms of comfort. However, when you compare it to the back-breaking work of using a maul or an axe, this is a breeze. In this case, the ram returns to its original position automatically, eliminating the hassle that came with the Sun Loe LJ10M.

One drawback with this model which we didn’t find with any of our other log splitter reviews is that the oil leaked slightly from the hydraulic ram. This didn’t affect the functioning of the wood splitter, and the problem was easily improved with the addition of a new rubber ‘O’ ring.

Pros
  • Can be used one-handed
  • Splits green logs easily
  • Hydraulic ram returns to its original position automatically
Cons
  • Splits around knots
  • Prone to slight hydraulic oil leaks
champion power equipment log splitter
Champion Power Equipment 90720
  • 4.4/5 Rating
  • Gas splitter type
  • 7 tons
  • Black/yellow
champion power equipment log splitter

Recommendation

With a maximum log size of 19.5 inches and a cycle time of 20 seconds, the Champion Power Equipment 90720 log splitter doesn’t have the specs to stack up against some cheaper electric models (including the Powerhouse XM-380), but what it’s lacking in specs it more than makes up for in power. This log splitter can take some hard wood and heavy logs, but its 80cc engine and low-to-the-ground design make it easy to use.

Our Rating: 4.4/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Gas
Splitting force
7 tons
Colour
Black/yellow
Weight
143.3 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
1.3 gallons
Maximum log size
19.3 inches, 50 pounds
Positioning
Horizontal
Speed/cycle time
10 seconds

Champion Power Equipment 90720

Who Should Buy

This wood splitter can tear through plenty of cords of hard, knotty logs, so it would suit anyone who has a lot of wood to get through every season. If you tend to have a lot of large, heavy logs then you’ll find the splitter easy to load due to the fact that it’s built so low to the ground. You won’t have to struggle to lift heavy logs onto a higher splitter anymore, but at the same time it does mean a lot of bending down to the ground.Click here for the Champion Power Equipment 90720

Review

We were really impressed at the power which this log splitter delivers, which is all down to the 80cc engine. It did get stuck occasionally, usually on a very large, gnarly knotted section of wood, but otherwise it splits right through all types of wood including ash and pine.

It seems to work very efficiently, automatically adjusting the amount of pressure and flow which it asserts depending on whether a log is in place or not. This reduces the amount of fuel and energy wastage which some cheaper models may not be able to do.

On the subject of fuel, we would advise buying motor oil and hydraulic fluid in advance of this log splitter arriving. None is included, and it’s a frustrating wait if your splitter arrives first and only then do you put the order in for some fuel. Don’t make the same mistake that we did!

Overall, this device actually makes log splitting a breeze. It has been designed to sit very low to the ground, so if you’re constantly loading heavy logs (up to a maximum of 50 pounds in weight), it’s not a case of having to struggle to lift them high off the ground. The upside of this is that you don’t need as much upper body strength as you do for some taller models, but on the flipside it does mean a lot of bending down to the ground, which isn’t great for the lower back. The built-in log cradle does keep the logs in place, which does at least play some part in reducing the amount that you have to bend over.

Our only disappointment came in with the assembly and transportation of this log splitter. It does come unassembled, and while putting it all together is easy for a mechanic, anyone who isn’t technically minded could end up spending an hour or more on assembly alone. Once it’s put together, you can’t tow this log splitter on the back of a truck, but you can fit it in the back of the truck bed – if you can lift the almost 150 pound weight. The only upside to this is that it does feature impressively rugged 10 inch tires, making transportation a little easier, even on uneven ground.

Pros
  • Fast, powerful and efficient to run
  • Low to the ground means no heavy lifting
  • 10 inch tires are suitable for transportation, even over uneven ground
Cons
  • Does not come with oil or hydraulic fluid
  • Low to the ground means strain on the lower back caused by bending down
  • Cannot be towed, only carried in the back of a truck
power r kraft log splitter
Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575
  • 3.6/5 Rating
  • Electric
  • 7 tons
  • Yellow
power r kraft log splitter

Recommendation

The Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 is an excellent value for money buy. It can split similar logs to gas splitters in terms of size, hardness and knot content, but for about half the price and much lower noise levels than big gas units. It isn’t the easiest model of those we’ve reviewed to maneuver, so if you’re planning to split many cords you’re probably better off setting it up in one permanent log splitting location.

Our Rating: 3.6/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Electric
Splitting force
7 tons
Colour
Yellow
Weight
205 pounds
Material type
Steel
Maximum log size
20 inches long, 12 inches wide
Positioning
Horizontal
Amps
15

Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575

Who Should Buy

This Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 log splitter is an excellent choice for anyone who has a lot of wood to power through, while still retaining control over how the wood is split. It features a two speed motor to let you control how quickly you split each different type of wood, which doesn’t come with many high powered, industrial units. This is a fairly compact model which is great if you don’t have a lot of space for storage, but if you need to transport it far and wide you may be disappointed by the durability of the wheels.Click here for the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575

Review

This is a seriously well built, heavy duty log splitter, especially when you consider its mid-range price point. Awkwardly shaped logs may bend the log guide rails if you’re going at full speed, but otherwise it can handle virtually everything you throw at it. We tried hardwood, dense, large and very knotted sections of wood, and it split them all: the only thing we wouldn’t advise attempting is very wet logs.

There is a word of caution. This wood splitter is so powerful, that sometimes very hard, tough logs come apart with quite some force. There’s usually quite a loud noise and the separated pieces can be thrown from the machine. Usually, this shouldn’t be a problem for the operator as the pieces fall away from you, but be careful if anyone else is standing next to or around the splitter.

Nevertheless, this machine does allow an extra element of control, which does improve the safety factor. It has two speed settings: the fast speed delivers 4 tons of force, while the slow speed delivers 7 tons of force. The slow speed is perfect for getting the split started and the fast speed is great for finishing it off. This makes the machine highly efficient to operate. Switching between the two speeds is very simple, requiring nothing more than pressing a button and moving a lever.

The main downside to this log splitter is its ease of movement. It does have a handle, but this is awkward and uncomfortable to use, especially if you’re going to be moving the wood splitter long distances. The wheels are plastic and poor quality – nothing like the rugged tires of the Champion 90720 – which isn’t great for moving it across uneven, rocky ground. If you can get hold of a cart or a trailer, that would make the practicality of this wood splitter infinitely better.

Pros
  • Compact yet powerful
  • Easy to use, two speed motor gives control over how to split each log
Cons
  • Difficult to maneuver due to flimsy wheels and an uncomfortable handle
  • Guide rails may bend with awkward, hard logs
  • Split pieces can fall away from the splitter so care must be taken for anyone standing nearby

Best Gas Log Splitters

Gas log splitters offer just as much power, strength and efficiency as electric log splitters – these ones just use gas as their fuel source rather than your household circuit.

However, this means that you should be looking for a low maintenance log splitter which is easy to clean. You will have to wipe it down, change filters and fix leaks, so choose one which makes your life easy. Typically, these wood splitters can power easily through very large logs, so look for high maximum dimensions and a very low cycle time. Anything weaker than 20 tons and slower than 15 seconds is disappointing for a log splitter in this category.

Gas log splitters are the best choice if you have large quantities of wood to split each season, due to their speed and power. Sometimes it’s easier to take your log splitter to the log pile rather than the other way round, in which case a gas log splitter is preferable to an electric wood splitter as you’re not limited in terms of location or power supply. However, the gas causes emissions which can be harmful when breathed in in large quantities, which is one of the main detracting factors.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

champion power equipment gas log splitter
Best Value!

Champion 25-Ton

  • 4.8/5 Rating
  • Gas splitter type
  • 25 tons
  • Black and yellow
champion power equipment gas log splitter

Recommendation

The Champion 25-Ton Horizontal/Vertical Full Beam Gas Log Splitter might be the most expensive model we’ve reviewed so far, but it delivers by far the most power. Splitting even the knottiest logs with no difficulty, this is our pick for the best value and best gas log splitter titles.

Our Rating: 4.8/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Gas
Splitting force
25 tons
Colour
Black and yellow
Weight
430 pounds
Hydraulic capacity
5 gallons (oil)
Maximum log size
23.8 inches long; 100 pounds
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical
Speed
12 seconds; 300 cycles per hour

Champion 25-Ton

Who Should Buy

This gas log splitter has an impressively fast 12 second cycle time, meaning that it can repeat this up to 300 times per hour. As a result, this is for serious wood users who have a lot of logs to split. Despite its 430 pound weight, you don’t have to be strong to use it, as it features DOT approved wheels and a ball coupler so that you can tow it to your destination. This is tough, powerful and rugged, making it perfect if you’re looking for a reliable, long-term log splitter.Click here for the Champion 25-Ton

Review

First off, it’s worth mentioning that this isn’t the quickest or easiest machine to set up. You’ll need to be a little handy – and if you’re not, we suggest getting help from a friend or a mechanic. From taking it out the box, assembly takes around one hour, but this is a small amount of time when you consider the many years of use that it will provide.

Set-up is by far the slowest thing about this gas wood splitter. The engine starts on the first pull every time, and it powers through logs faster than any others we’ve reviewed. It can handle logs up to 23.8 inches long (almost four inches longer than any of our other log splitters can manage) and 100 pounds in weight. The largest logs are easy to split due to the fact that you can insert them vertically: it’s easy to switch between horizontal and vertical use, setting this model apart from any of the others we’ve considered.

This is a seriously impressive machine which can power through large, gnarly, knotted sections of wood. We’re yet to find a section of wood that this log splitter can’t handle.

The auto-return valve increases the speed and efficiency of use with this machine, but we did find that it could be quite sensitive. However, the manual does come with instructions on how to adjust this, so you can set it to the best settings for your use.

The use of gas in this log splitter is a downside when compared to the electric and hydraulic options. However, it does comply with the emissions laws in all 50 states. In addition, a sensor shuts off the machine automatically if the oil level becomes too low, keeping it safe to use at all times.

Pros
  • Works fast (12 second cycle time; up to 300 cycles per hour)
  • Can be towed (fitted with a 2 inch ball coupler and DOT approved wheels)
  • Handles logs up to 23.8 inches long and 100 pounds in weight
  • Switches between horizontal and vertical use
Cons
  • Assembly takes one hour
  • Auto-return valve is sensitive
swisher log splitter
Swisher LSRB87528
  • 4.7/5 Rating
  • Gas splitter type
  • 28 tons
  • Red/black
swisher log splitter

Recommendation

As with all things in life, you get what you pay for. The Swisher LSRB87528 is no different. It is near the upper end of the price spectrum of all those we’ve reviewed, but at 28 tons it has the second highest amount of splitting force. There isn’t anything this log splitter can’t handle, and with the towing ability and the flexibility to split in both horizontal and vertical positions, it offers almost endless wood splitting possibilities.

Our Rating: 4.7/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Gas
Splitting force
28 tons
Colour
Red/black
Weight
579.8 pounds
Hydraulic capacity
2.5 gallon
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical

Swisher LSRB87528

Who Should Buy

The speed at which this machine splits wood – even tough wood – is incredible. If it takes a few weeks to split a pile of logs with a manual axe, this model powers through in a couple of hours, so it’s ideal if you have plenty of cords to get through on a regular basis. However, be warned: this thing is seriously heavy, and it does require some assembly before use. If you’re not the strongest or most confident in your mechanical abilities, you’ll need some help to get started.Click here for the Swisher LSRB87528

Review

When the Swisher LSRB87528 is delivered, it comes in a very large, heavy wooden crate. We’d recommend thinking about getting hold of a forklift or a tractor for the day of delivery to make sure that you’re not hindered before you even begin. Remember that once you’ve unpacked the wood splitter, some assembly is required, but a mechanic should find this very simple.

Once it gets started, this gas powered log splitter is extremely powerful. Its 28 tons of force power through anything, even very knotty cross grain. We liked the option of switching between horizontal and vertical splitting positions, which is something that’s very rare with cheaper electric, hydraulic or manual log splitters. The engine starts every time, and although it isn’t the fastest splitter in the world, you can’t doubt its strength.

We expected to be clearing split pieces every few seconds with a log splitter this powerful, but we were pleasantly surprised. The log cradles mean that you don’t have to bend down constantly, making it comfortable to use, reducing strain on the back and shoulders.

Like the Champion 25-Ton log splitter, this beast can be towed on public highways. It’s easy to hitch and the tires are good and rugged, so out of all the log splitters that we’ve tried, this is one of the easiest to transport. This is really important for a piece of kit which weighs almost 600 pounds.

Our only point of frustration was that when it came to draining the engine, the plug was difficult to access. This was merely an awkward factor which a simple, different design would eliminate, but it doesn’t affect the functioning of the wood splitter at all.

Pros
  • Second highest splitting force (28 tons)
  • Easy to transport as it can be towed
  • Powerful engine can split everything
  • Log cradles prevent regular bending down which causes discomfort and strain
Cons
  • Very heavy (almost 600 pounds)
  • Engine oil plug is difficult to access
southland log splitter
Southland SLS20825
  • 4.5/5 Rating
  • Gas splitter type
  • 25 tons
  • Red/black
southland log splitter

Recommendation

The Southland SLS20825 log splitter is built to last. Featuring excellent build construction and a heat treated wedge for years’ worth of splitting, this makes an excellent investment. Rugged and portable, this might not be as fast as some smaller electric log splitters, but it’s still impressively fast for a machine of this size and weight – especially when you factor in the 25 ton power.

Our Rating: 4.5/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Gas
Splitting force
25 tons
Colour
Red/black
Weight
473.6 pounds
Material type
Steel
Maximum log size
26 inches
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical
Speed
17 seconds

Southland SLS20825

Who Should Buy

If you need maximum power and maximum portability, this could be the gas powered log splitter for you. Its 25 ton splitting power can be taken on the road, with DOT approved wheels which can be towed at speeds of up to 45 mph. This is a great log splitter for anyone who wants to split lots of large, awkward, heavy logs on the go.Click here for the Southland SLS20825

Review

With a maximum log capacity of 26 inches, this gas log splitter takes the largest logs of all those we’ve covered. Some of those logs are likely to be heavy and awkward, which is why the horizontal and vertical positioning is essential: you don’t have to lift the logs onto a raised bed. We couldn’t find anything that even slowed this log splitter, and when this is combined with the 17 second cycle time, we powered through several cords in a few hours.

The engine starts first time, every time, and it runs very quietly. In our opinion, this made it remarkably pleasant to use, which is just as well, because you’re guaranteed a long lifespan due to the first class build quality and the heat treated wedge.

Despite its rugged durability and its strength, this wood splitter is actually very easy to move around. Like the other models in this category, the Southland SLS20825 can be towed at speeds up to 45 mph. Its DOT approved wheels measure 16 inches in diameter, which are far superior to the 10 inch wheels of the Champion Power Equipment 90720.

All things considered, this log splitter is fantastic to use, and it’s highly effective at splitting logs. However, this only starts once it’s been put together. Assembly definitely needs two people – while the assembly instructions are clear, the main beam is very heavy, possibly even needing a mechanical hoist to move it. This is necessary for such a robust piece of machinery, but if you’re not aware of the assembly time before you place your order, it will come as a frustrating surprize.

Pros
  • Heat treated wedge prolongs lifespan and value for money
  • Extremely powerful (25 ton force) at splitting very large logs (up to 26 inches long)
  • Towable with DOT approved tires up to 45 mph
  • Versatile – uses horizontal and vertical positioning
Cons
  • Very heavy (almost 500 pounds)
  • Difficult assembly requires two people
dirty hand tools gas log splitter
Dirty Hand Tools 100171
  • 4.0/5 Rating
  • Gas splitter type
  • 22 tons
  • Black/grey
dirty hand tools gas log splitter

Recommendation

Featuring a fast 11 second cycle time and dual positioning, the Dirty Hand Tools 100171 log splitter is highly effective at slicing clean through everything from green logs to gnarly, knotted hardwood. It’s very robustly built, easy to use and quiet, making it an excellent buy for the money, despite the rattling hydraulics and the fact that no oil is included.

Our Rating: 4.0/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Gas
Splitting force
22 tons
Colour
Black/grey
Weight
595 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
Maximum log size
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical
Speed
10.9 seconds

Dirty Hand Tools 100171

Who Should Buy

If you’re looking for a large gas log splitter which doesn’t come with usual hefty price tag, look no further. It does top the $1000 mark, but in exchange you’ll get a machine that works quickly and efficiently. It isn’t as easy to transport as the other splitters of this kind, but its durability means that you’re buying a machine to last.Click here for the Dirty Hand Tools 100171

Review

We were seriously impressed with the speed at which this wood splitter powers through logs. It has an 11 second cycle time, making light work of a cord, even if it includes hardwood, knotted or cross grained sections. This cycle time is significantly faster than most other gas log splitters – even faster than the super-efficient Champion 25-Ton splitter – but we think it presents the perfect balance between efficiency and safety.

It can handle far bigger logs than cheaper electric and hydraulic options – even rounds with a diameter of 16 to 20 inches can be rolled into place for vertical splitting. Horizontal splitting is also an option, needing little more than pulling out a small pin to switch between the two positions.

The manufacturers have built in log cradles to catch the pieces of wood once they’ve been split. This really saves the back and joints as you don’t need to keep bending down to move logs on every pass. The robust build quality of this model means that it won’t bend or buckle at all, even with particularly awkward logs, unlike the electric Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575.

The engine is very powerful, yet surprisingly quiet. In fact, there is a slight rattling which comes from the hydraulics, and we found that to be louder and more irritating than the sound of the engine itself. Most of the time, the engine starts on the first pull, and you can leave it idling to warm up (or cool down) thanks to the adjustable throttle.

This log splitter is easy to use and to assemble, but one point which isn’t mentioned in any of the pre-sales information is that hydraulic and motor oil are not included. If you don’t have any to hand, get some in to avoid a delay when the log splitter arrives.

Pros
  • Very fast cycle time (11 seconds)
  • Easy switching between horizontal and vertical positioning handles very large and heavy rounds
  • Robust log catchers eases strain on the body
  • Engine is quiet to run
Cons
  • Engine and hydraulic fluid must be purchased separately
  • Hydraulics rattle more loudly than the noise from the engine

Best Cheap Electric/Hydraulic Log Splitters

Electric/hydraulic log splitters are similar to manual/hydraulic splitters in that they feature a hydraulic ram which drives the log against a wedge, splitting the wood along its length. However, in this category, the technology uses electricity to power the hydraulic ram instead of manual, physical force.

In terms of size and power, electric log splitters generally offer similar specs to manual/hydraulic log splitters. However, they eliminate the need for physical work altogether, making them ideal for anyone who isn’t strong enough to split logs manually. Typically featuring cycle times of 10 to 15 seconds, they work at a good speed for most households’ log supplies.

Electric/hydraulic log splitters in this category are great for anyone on a budget who has large quantities of wood to split. Cheaper and easier to run than gas powered units, they don’t require as much ongoing maintenance. That said, they can’t compete in terms of power, and they have to be used somewhere that has an electricity supply. This does limit the flexibility and portability of electric/hydraulic log splitters.

As you’ll see, electric/hydraulic log splitters are very affordable options, but you may have to compromise on the splitting force, the build quality, and you may have to work two-handed. However, their speed and efficiency make these great all-round value options for everyday log splitting.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

power r kraft electric log splitter
Budget!

Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556

  • 4.7/5 Rating
  • Electric/hydraulic
  • 4 tons
  • Yellow
power r kraft electric log splitter

Recommendation

When comparing the price of the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 to a manual axe, it’s difficult to see how it can take our title of the best budget, cheap electric/hydraulic log splitter. However, in terms of electric options, this model comes in at a great price, while still making light work of just about everything you can throw at it. If you’re in the market for an electric wood splitter, this option offers power, strength and versatility.

Our Rating: 4.7/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Electric/hydraulic
Splitting force
4 tons
Colour
Yellow
Weight
105 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
0.925
Maximum log size
20 inches long; 10 inches wide
Positioning
Horizontal
Amps
15
Speed/cycle time
15 seconds

Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556

Who Should Buy

This machine weighs over 100 pounds, and despite the fact that it has wheels, you have to be pretty strong to move it. However, once it’s in place, this electric log splitter is great for anyone who has plenty of big, tough logs that would need more power than a hand axe could provide. At 4 tons of force it uses less force than the Sun Joe LJ10M, but it can take bigger logs at a faster rate.Click here for the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556

Review

The Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 is an electric log splitter that uses everyday household current to run. It has a breaker to guard against overload, so it’s really safe to use.

When we saw the specs, we were disappointed by the fact that this log splitter only uses up to 4 tons of force, compared to the Sun Joe’s 10 tons. However, in practice, this was more than enough to tackle almost everything we tried to split. This includes dry hardwood: the only thing this wood splitter struggled with was green logs.

This model can split logs up to 20 inches long and 10 inches wide, which is significantly bigger than our best manual/hydraulic wood splitter. This is more than enough for most everyday logs, but if you do have a bigger or more knotty log, try slicing some from the edge to cut it down.

The Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 is a breeze to use. It’s fast: when one log has been split, by the time you have another one in place, the log splitter is ready as well. Despite being electric, it’s very quiet to run.

One thing to note is that before use, you have to loosen a valve to the oil supply, in order to prevent a build up of pressure. When you’re done, you’ll need to tighten it again for storage. This is an essential part of the process for safety, but it’s something that’s easy to forget if you’re not used to a wood splitter of this type. It would have been helpful if the manufacturers could find a way to make the step more obvious, but as they haven’t, perhaps the easiest way to remember is to leave a small piece of tape or a sticky note on the splitter to remind you to loosen the valve before use.

It’s a minor inconvenience that this device requires two hands for use. There are a number of little hacks that you can try to free up one (or both) of your hands, but we recommend that it’s safer to always use two hands, as intended. This is frustrating, especially when some other gas log splitters allow you to be more ‘hands free’, but this doesn’t affect the performance at all.

Pros
  • Splits almost everything except green or very knotty sections of wood
  • Can split logs up to 20 inches long and 10 inches wide
  • Quiet, fast and easy to use
  • Well priced for an electric/hydraulic log splitter (under $600)
Cons
  • Requires two-handed operation
  • Valve needs to be loosened before use and tightened after use
  • Does not use as much force as the Sun Joe LJ10M manual log splitter
powerhouse xm log splitter
Powerhouse XM-380
  • 4.2/5 Rating
  • Electric/hydraulic
  • 7 tons
  • Red colour
powerhouse xm log splitter

Recommendation

The Powerhouse XM-380 really is a powerhouse – if you get a fully functioning model. Sometimes the build quality and robustness can be a little unpredictable and unreliable, but return it for a replacement and you’ll be surprised at how powerful this log splitter can actually be. With a maximum log size of over 20 inches long and 12 inches wide, it splits logs which are much bigger than you might expect from a model in this price range. It has been designed with safety in mind for two-handed operation, but we love the fact that it also offers the option of being used with one hand.

Our Rating: 4.2/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Electric/hydraulic
Splitting force
7 tons
Colour
Red
Weight
104 pounds
Material type
Steel
Maximum log size
20.5 inches long, 12 inches diameter
Positioning
Horizontal
Speed/cycle time
11 seconds

Powerhouse XM-380

Who Should Buy

The Powerhouse XM-380 is ideal for anyone who wants a similar amount of power to a large gas log splitter, but for a fraction of the cost. Safety is a key feature of the design, but as it is so easy to use, this is well suited to anyone who wants flexibility, a quick cycle time and power from their log splitter.Click here for the Powerhouse XM-380

Review

Log splitting can be a dangerous activity if you’re not careful, so we were seriously impressed by the safety features which the manufacturers built into this design. For the safest mode of operation, it can be set up so that you must use both hands in order to use the log splitter. This avoids any carelessness which could lead to injury. However, we realize that this is an inconvenience to some people who prefer one-handed operation, which is why we were impressed with the fact that the log splitter can also be installed without this feature. Finding a log splitter with so much flexibility is a rare find.

Once it gets going, this log splitter has power that could rival a much more expensive gas powered version, but it’s remarkably quiet. It slows and struggles a bit with very knotted woods, but we found that it sliced through almost anything up to 20.5 inches long and 12 inches wide. The cycle time is impressively fast for a log splitter in this price bracket – at around 11 seconds it’s even faster than the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556.

We did find that the wedge didn’t quite extend as far as we would have liked – there were several occasions when we had to finish pulling apart the split by hand. However, this is something that can be easily remedied by inserting a small block of wood (or another similar spacer) to fill up the extra space, allowing the wedge to split the log along its entire length.

We would advise a little care when using this log splitter: it won’t stand up to lots of rough handling. The guide rails which hold the log in place are quite soft, so they are prone to bending if the log splits to one side. In addition, keep an eye on the bleed valve to make sure that it has been loosened before use and tightened again when you’re finished – if you don’t take this time and care over your machine then your log splitting will be unsafe and difficult. Finally, try not to drag it over uneven ground. While the wheels make it portable, they’re a little too close together to be stable.

Pros
  • Safety shield necessitates two-handed operation, but this can be left off for extra flexibility
  • Powerful with a quick cycle time (11 seconds)
Cons
  • Disappointing build quality compared to other splitters in this category
  • Comes up a little short – doesn’t always split logs along their entire length
  • Guide rails are soft and prone to bending
  • Unstable on uneven ground due to wheels being close together
tr industrial log splitter
TR Industrial TR89130
  • 3.8/5 Rating
  • Electric
  • 5 tons
  • Silver
tr industrial log splitter

Recommendation

The TR Industrial TR89130 is an impressive log splitter which puts the safety and well-being of its users first. Featuring a waist-high stand and two-handed operation which includes just one lever and one button to press, operation couldn’t be simpler or more comfortable. Strong, rugged and sturdy, this wood splitter is excellent value for money.

Our Rating: 3.8/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Electric
Splitting force
5 tons
Colour
Silver
Weight
105 pounds
Material type
Steel
Maximum log size
20.5 inches long, 12 inches wide
Positioning
Horizontal
Amps
15

TR Industrial TR89130

Who Should Buy

If you’re looking for a log splitter which can reduce back pain and the amount of physical strength that’s required for use, this model is a fantastic choice. It’s comfortable, safe and easy to use – without compromising on power – so it’s definitely worth considering if your body won’t manage a more manual option.Click here for the TR Industrial TR89130

Review

The TR Industrial TR89130 comes with a supporting stand which sits around three feet high (approximately waist height). This does require some assembly before use, so you might need to enlist the help of a friend or family member if your reason for choosing this design is not being able to bend down. Once it’s put together, it’s surprisingly sturdy, giving us no worries about instability or tipping when in use. If you need to remove the log splitter from the stand for cleaning or storage, this can also be done easily.

The real advantage of having the stand is that it makes log splitting very comfortable. You don’t have to bend down to load and unload the logs, reducing strain on the lower back, legs and ankles. It does require two-handed operation, but one of these functions is pushing a button while the other is moving a lever. This wood splitter is incredibly comfortable and easy to operate, even if you have poor manual dexterity or physical strength. It handled every log that we threw at it, even the hardest and knottiest logs.

We would have liked to see the possibility to change the button to a foot-operated button instead. If this action could be controlled with your foot, it would free up another hand to help with balancing very large logs, but this is only an area for improvement rather than a design flaw.

For added ease of use, we liked the fact that it features a handle and wheels so that it can be moved around easily. The wheels don’t feel quite as rugged as the rest of the design, but they’re perfectly serviceable for transporting it around the yard.

Pros
  • Features a sturdy three foot high stand to reduce back strain
  • Two-handed operation is easy, using just one handle and the push of a button
  • Handle and wheels make it easy to transport
Cons
  • Stand requires assembly before use
  • No option to change the button to a foot switch

Best Manual Log Splitters

Manual log splitters take the hard work out of swinging an axe, without the price, maintenance requirements and emissions associated with electric and gas powered models. They bring the best of both worlds: the affordable price and ease of use of manual splitters along with the convenience and power of a hydraulic log splitter.

To use a manual log splitter, simply place the log on the base, then take a handle in each hand and pump them forwards and backwards. This forces the hydraulic ram to extend, pushing the log against a v-shaped protrusion at the other end, which splits the log into two pieces down the middle. When you’re done, turn a knob to release the valve, and the ram will return to its original position for you to start again on the next log.

If you don’t mind using some physical force to split wood, but if you’d prefer something easier, faster and more efficient than swinging an axe, it makes sense to choose a manual log splitter. However, none of us is getting any younger, so if you’d prefer something that’s a little easier on the body, the next step up (an electric log splitter) could be the solution.

You will need some physical strength, so look for a log splitter which balances this out by using a large amount of force. If you need a portable log splitter, a manual log splitter might be for you, so look for one which is small and light enough to take in the back of your truck.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

sun joe hydraulic log splitter
Best Manual!

Sun Joe LJ10M

  • 4.6/5 Rating
  • Hydraulic
  • 10 tons
  • Black/Green
sun joe hydraulic log splitter

Recommendation

The main reason why you should consider the Sun Joe LJ10M Logger is not convenience: it’s strength. This, our best manual log splitter, uses a combination of manual arm strength and hydraulic power to split logs up to 18 inches long. Its hydraulic ram delivers up to 10 tons of force, making it effortless to split the gnarliest of logs, but you might want to keep a traditional hand axe on hand for some of your smaller, straight grained, simpler pieces.

Our Rating: 4.6/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Hydraulic
Splitting force
10 tons
Colour
Black/Green
Weight
87 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
0.17 gallons
Maximum log size
18 inches
Positioning
Horizontal
Speed/cycle time
2-3 minutes

Sun Joe LJ10M

Who Should Buy

If you don’t have the strength, power or endurance to wield a full hand axe, then this could be the best log splitter for you. Its small size and rear wheels make it easy to store and maneuver, and its long handles mean that you don’t have to be strong to use it. However, with the hydraulics using up to 1 ton of force to split logs, this log splitter review is for anyone who isn’t big or strong but who still wants to split the toughest logs.Click here for the Sun Joe LJ10M

Review

Made from strong, rugged steel that can hold up to rigorous, outdoor use year after year, this is a robust piece of kit.

As this uses hydraulic power rather than physical strength to split the logs, it’s a great choice for getting through the tough, gnarly, knotted logs that are difficult to split with a hand axe. In addition, the inbuilt log cradle catches the logs to prevent them from falling after being split, making it more convenient for you to pick up the pieces when you’re done.

However, we did find some disadvantages to this hydraulic log splitter over a manual hand axe. While its power is great, this device only takes logs measuring up to 18 inches long or 8 inches wide. Any bigger, and your log won’t fit. In these cases, you’ll have to revert to chopping by hand. At the other end of the scale, if your logs are too small, you may have to use blocks or spare pieces of wood to build up the length of the ram until it reaches the end of the log.

In addition, the pumping of the handles and the movement of the hydraulic ram feels slow compared to manual log splitting. If you’re used to splitting small logs with a single swing, you will probably find it frustrating to spend a few minutes on each log with this logger.

That said, if you need the power and if you have the patience, this is a really cost effective option. Although you will need to make sure the hydraulic fluid is topped up, it lasts for such a long time that you may never have to do so.

Pros
  • Strong steel construction with wheels for easy maneuverability
  • Easy to use without requiring much physical strength
  • Splits cross-grained logs with ease
  • Log catcher prevents split logs from falling
Cons
  • Large logs don’t fit in the splitter (over 18 inches long or 8 inches wide)
  • Small logs will need extra blocks for the ram to reach them
  • Log splitting is slow
logosol smart splitter
Logosol Smart-Splitter
  • 4.2/5 Rating
  • Hydraulic
  • Manual
  • Green
logosol smart splitter

Recommendation

The Logosol Smart-Splitter is fantastic if safety and ease of use are the most important factors for you. It splits both green and cured logs of various sizes without straining the shoulders and upper back. However, it does work the upper arms, but it’s slow going. If you have tons of wood to get through quickly, year after year, this might not be the wood splitter for you.

Our Rating: 4.2/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Hydraulic
Splitting force
Manual
Colour
Green
Weight
19.8 pounds
Material type
Steel/plastic
Maximum log size
Any
Positioning
Vertical
Speed/cycle time
Varies

Logosol Smart-Splitter

Who Should Buy

This wood splitter is a good buy for anyone who doesn’t have the strength, stamina or ease of movement needed for swinging an axe. It’s really easy and safe to use as there is no swinging blade or moving machinery, but make sure you can protect your toes as the wood pieces do fall to the floor. Note that you should only buy this wood splitter if you have access to a very large tree stump, round or a similar base that you can drill into before inserting a metal pole. If you can’t get hold of something similar to use as a base, you won’t be able to use this splitter at all.Click here for the Logosol Smart-Splitter

Review

When you first buy the Logosol Smart-Splitter, you will have to set it up before its first use. This includes getting hold of a large tree stump or similar round to use as a base (larger than the biggest logs which you intend to split), into which you can drill. Luckily, a drill bit of the right size is included. Into this hole fits the long metal pole down which the weight slides. This is an essential part of setting up and using this wood splitter, but it does take some time and effort. In addition, if you intend to move this device around (without taking the base with you), you will have to repeat this process each time, making it a frustrating hassle.

Once you get started, this wood splitter is easy to use. It can split green logs, but it’s easiest to use with cured logs which have already started to crack. We wouldn’t recommend even trying to split knotty, cross-grained wood as it is prone to getting stuck – and working it free is quite a job. This doesn’t matter if you only have clean wood, but given that knots are very common, this is a difficult fact to work around.

The upper arms do get a good workout when using the Logosol Smart-Splitter, but it is noticeably more comfortable on the shoulders and upper back than using a maul. This is ideal for anyone who doesn’t have good mobility, shoulder strength or the ability to keep swinging an axe repeatedly. Physically, it doesn’t require much force, but in turn this does mean that wood splitting is slow going.

Our main disappointment in this wood splitter lies with the fact that the build quality isn’t as high as we’d hoped. There is a small, white plastic piece which sits between the wedge and the weight, presumably to keep the two pieces from wearing away as they rub against each other. However, this plastic piece feels quite flimsy compared to the rest of the splitter, so it might be worth ordering a few spares with your first purchase. In addition, the splitter is designed to let the weight fall against the wood, but if you try slamming it down with any kind of force, you’ll risk breaking the wedge.

Pros
  • Safe (no swinging blade)
  • Easier and less physically demanding than swinging an axe or maul
  • Splits wood into smaller pieces than electric, hydraulic or gas splitters
Cons
  • Gets stuck in knotty logs
  • Slow to assemble
  • Plastic piece separating weight and wedge breaks after a few hours of use
  • Tiring on the upper arms
ytl international log splitter
Ytl International YTL23101
  • 4.0/5 Rating
  • Hydraulic
  • 10 tons
  • Black
ytl international log splitter

Recommendation

Easy to use and maneuver, the Ytl International YTL23101 is a great all round log splitter. It can tackle clean and knotted logs up to 18 inches long, so while this isn’t as large as some motorized options, it’s reasonable for a manual/hydraulic wood splitter. It doesn’t make splitting logs effortless, but its ease of set up and use is still a vast improvement on a manual maul or axe.

Our Rating: 4.0/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Hydraulic
Splitting force
10 tons
Colour
Black
Weight
90.3 pounds
Material type
Steel
Maximum log size
18 inches
Positioning
Horizontal

Ytl International YTL23101

Who Should Buy

The YTL International YTL23101 is a good choice for anyone who wants the ability to split gnarly logs easily, without the regular cleaning, maintenance, power source or emissions associated with gas and electric log splitters. This can split most different types of wood, but be prepared to put in a little effort as pumping the handles can be tiring after a few hours.Click here for the Ytl International YTL23101

Review

Considering that it comes in at less than $200, we were amazed at how easily this wood splitter sliced through some of the logs that we threw at it. It could handle knotted, cross-grained wood of all types, but we found that it was most effective on well-seasoned logs measuring around six inches in diameter.

The log splitter is very easy to use, although pumping the handles is a good workout for the arms after a few hours. Splitting logs with this machine is slower than motorized devices, but it still shaves hours off the time it takes to use a manual axe. One of the handles is heavier than the other, so if it does become difficult to use, pump the lighter handle until you can work your way through the tough section of the log.

It is designed to be used on the ground, but bending down to place and remove the logs repeatedly can cause strain on the lower back. If you can lift it up to use it on a table or raised platform, this log splitter is much easier to use.

When not in use, this log splitter tucks away easily – it can fit into far smaller spaces than electric or gas log splitters. It’s easy to maneuver, with two wheels and a handle at the front which so that you can pick it up and roll it into place. It can be stored away very inconspicuously in the workshop, which is a real bonus considering the amount of wood that it can get through!

Pros
  • Easy to use
  • Splits knotted wood easily
  • Wheels and a handle make it easy to maneuver
  • Stores away in small spaces
Cons
  • Slower to use than electric/gas log splitters
  • Requires some physical strength to pump the handles when splitting more than a few cords

Best Industrial/Heavy Duty Log Splitters

Most household log splitting requirements won’t warrant an industrial or heavy duty log splitter. These are reserved for high volumes, the gnarliest logs and occasions when it’s necessary to have a very fast splitting rate. Tree surgeons, tree farmers and forest workers should be looking at wood splitters in this category: if you’re not a professional, your log quantities and types probably won’t justify this level of power or engineering, in which case a gas or electric option might be more suitable.

With industrial and heavy duty log splitters, you can expect impressive engine sizes which offer exceptionally high splitting forces – even offering almost ten times as much force as electric and hydraulic log splitters. You can expect a minimum of around 23 to 25 tons of force for units in this category, with maximum splitting forces rising almost as high as 40 tons. However, these splitters don’t come cheap, and they aren’t light and compact. These are for serious log splitting, bringing you power and quality. Most can be used horizontally and vertically, suitable for use with extremely large, heavy rounds up to 25 inches in diameter.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

northstar horizontal log splitter
Heavy Duty!

NorthStar Horizontal

  • 4.7/5 Rating
  • Gas/Hydraulic
  • 37 tons
  • Black and dark red
northstar horizontal log splitter

Recommendation

From the best industrial and heavy duty log splitters category, our recommendation for the best heavy duty log splitter is the NorthStar Horizontal/Vertical log splitter. This uses an engine and a hydraulic pump to split even the toughest logs vertically or horizontally. However, you don’t have to worry about wasting energy or fuel as the machine has been designed to idle and regulate its pressure levels so that it’s always running efficiently when in use.

Our Rating: 4.7/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Gas/Hydraulic
Splitting force
37 tons
Colour
Black and dark red
Weight
625 pounds
Hydraulic capacity
1.4 gallons
Maximum log size
25 inches long; 16 inches wide
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical
Speed/cycle time
14 seconds

NorthStar Horizontal

Who Should Buy

If you split wood on a regular, professional basis, then this is the log splitter for you, especially if you come across very large, knotty, awkward logs. The largest rounds should be saved for a log splitter like this because it’s easy to tow the machine and take it directly to the log pile. It’s possible to switch this wood splitter between horizontal and vertical positions, making it easy and convenient to split these extra large logs as they can simply be rolled into place. This reduces the amount of strength and energy that you need to exert.Click here for the NorthStar Horizontal

Review

This is an incredibly robust, tough machine. Straight away, the build quality leaves no doubt over whether or not it will stand up to splitting large, heavy logs. The center of gravity is high so you do have to take care not to knock it over, but apart from that the build quality is impressive.

Assembly takes a couple of hours, which is frustratingly long when compared to some of our other log splitter reviews which can get going straight away. However, it’s worth it for the power, strength and speed which the wood splitter delivers once it’s been put together fully. If you find that the blade seems a little blunt to begin with, sharpen it up using an angle grinder before you start tackling very knotty logs.

So far, we haven’t found anything that this log splitter can’t handle. It’s incredibly powerful, and with maximum log sizes of 25 inches long and 16 inches wide, this is the wood splitter which manages the largest logs of all those we’ve covered. These can simply be rolled onto the base when the splitter is set up in the vertical position, so despite the fact that these large logs are very heavy and awkward, you don’t need to worry about being strong enough to lift them onto a raised bed.

The engine does get warm after extended use, but that’s not entirely surprising given the amount of work it does. In fact, the NorthStar is actually designed to prevent too much engine overheating and unnecessary energy loss. When you’re not using the log splitter (or while you’re loading the next log), the engine idles to save fuel and reduce noise, while the pump adjusts its pressure to give a lower amount of resistance. When you’re ready to go again, the engine powers up again and the pressure increases. We really noticed the difference in noise levels – between splitting logs it was much more pleasant than some of the other noisy log splitters we’ve tried – and it’s reassuring to know you’re not wasting energy or fuel.

Our only word of advice would be to double check that all the clamps are tightened fully before use. We noticed some leakage of hydraulic fluid around the hose, but once we tightened the clamps the problem was eliminated altogether.

Pros
  • Splits gnarly, very large logs (up to 25 inches long and 16 inches wide)
  • Engine idle and automatic pressure adjustments reduce noise and energy consumption
  • Excellent build quality
  • Switches between horizontal and vertical use
Cons
  • Assembly takes a couple of hours
  • High center of gravity
  • Some hydraulic fluid leakage possible if the clamps aren’t tightened
  • Expensive (over $2000)
troy bilt log splitter
Troy-Bilt TB33LS
  • 4.4/5 Rating
  • Gas/Hydraulic
  • 23 tons
  • Black/red
troy bilt log splitter

Recommendation

The splitting force of the Troy-Bilt TB33LS can’t rival the superhuman strength of the NorthStar Horizontal/Vertical log splitter, but with a maximum force of 23 tons it’s still amongst the strongest of our best log splitter reviews. Towable and ready to use straight out the crate, the power and versatility that is offered by this log splitter is worth its hefty price tag.

Our Rating: 4.4/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Gas/Hydraulic
Splitting force
23 tons
Colour
Black/red
Weight
750 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
5 gallons
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical
Speed/cycle time
15 seconds

Troy-Bilt TB33LS

Who Should Buy

This is the most expensive of all our wood splitter reviews – more than double the price of all but the NorthStar. As a result, this is only suited to anyone who has the budget to invest in a durable, heavy duty log splitter for industrial use. It’s towable, high powered and has a very large hydraulic tank, making it surplus to most average households’ requirements.Click here for the Troy-Bilt TB33LS

Review

We were excited to try the Troy-Bilt TB33LS, but when it arrived we were disappointed to see that it had been damaged in transit. The crate is fairly flimsy, but once we could try out a fully functioning model, we were seriously impressed.

The hydraulic tank holds 5 gallons of fluid, significantly more than any of our other log splitters. Impressively, this is completely full on arrival, so there’s nothing to stop you from getting started on log splitting straight away – and the 5 gallons will keep you going far longer than any of the other models.

Once it powered up, we found that this wood splitter powered through logs of all types. Its cycle time is 15 seconds, so while this isn’t the fastest on the market, it can take logs up to 25 inches long. The build quality is heavy duty and strong, so regardless of the size and type of log, we never felt like there was a risk that the log splitter wouldn’t cope.

To make life even easier, this wood splitter is fully towable using a 2 inch ball hitch. This makes it easy to transport, despite the fact that at 750 pounds it’s the heaviest machine of all those we’ve covered.

Coming in at around the $2500 mark, the Troy-Bilt TB33LS doesn’t come cheap. However, it makes a fantastic investment as going by the versatility, build quality and sheer strength, we’re sure that this will make a fantastic long-term investment.

Pros
  • Very large hydraulic tank (5 gallons) arrives filled
  • Powerful log splitter (15 second cycle time for 25-inch logs)
  • Towable
  • Can be used in horizontal and vertical positions
Cons
  • Flimsy crate during transportation
  • Very expensive (around $2500)
  • Very heavy (750 pounds)

Best Kinetic Log Splitter

Kinetic log splitters are extremely fast. They offer the fastest cycle times of all the different log splitter types, often working as quickly as 1 second per log. Many people find them preferable to hydraulic log splitters due to their very low maintenance: you won’t be clearing up messy leaks or changing oil filters.

Kinetic log splitters work by using gas to power an engine – although the amount of gas that they use is a fraction of that used in hydraulic models, making them cheap and efficient to run. The energy that is produced by the engine is then stored in a flywheel, so releasing this energy is what allows the machine to split logs with so much power and speed.

However, the major downside with kinetic log splitters is that they tend to struggle with tough, knotty wood. Best suited to cleaner, straight grained sections, this isn’t always practical for tree fellers or industrial scale users.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

generac k22 log splitter
Generac K22
  • 4.2/5 Rating
  • Kinetic
  • 7 tons
  • Red/black
generac k22 log splitter

Recommendation

Simple to use with a super fast cycle time, this machine makes wood splitting a breeze. It won’t slice through tough logs in a single pass, but the 7 ton power is more than enough to split smaller logs cleanly. The build quality won’t stand up to rigorous, rugged use, but for the overall wood splitting experience, tightening a few bolts is a small price to pay.

Our Rating: 4.2/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Kinetic
Splitting force
7 tons
Colour
Red/black
Weight
140 pounds
Material type
Steel
Maximum log size
16 inch diameter
Positioning
Horizontal
Amps
16
Speed
2 seconds

Generac K22

Who Should Buy

If all you want is a simple log splitter which doesn’t need exceptional power to tackle knots and cross grain, the Generac K22 delivers all you need. A basic but excellent value wood splitter for anyone who wants a simple device to get through small logs and firewood, this takes the physical effort out of chopping wood.Click here for the Generac K22

Review

After trying out all sorts of heavy duty gas powered log splitters, we weren’t holding out much hope for a kinetic log splitter with 22 tons of splitting force. However, we’re happy to say that the Generac K22 proved us wrong.

It cut straight through soft, clean wood with no trouble. Twisted oak needed a couple of passes, but when the cycle time is just two seconds, it’s no inconvenience at all to go through a log several times. Even taking two or three attempts to split a log is still significantly faster than most of our gas and electric log splitter reviews.

That said, the spring which works the automatic return function is fairly flimsy. Ours broke after a few hours, which was disappointing with what was otherwise standing up to be a really impressive tool. This breakage didn’t render the log splitter unusable, though; it was merely an inconvenience. With just a quick tap on the arm each time, the hydraulic ram still returns each time – and the extra time that this adds onto the cycle time is barely even noticeable.

The Generac K22 is so simple to use, but we would recommend going over all the bolts before your first use. Some of them were slightly loose, but once they have all been tightened, this is a nice, solid, sturdy piece of kit.

When it comes to transportation, the 7 inch tires aren’t going to compete with the 16 inch DOT approved tires of the Southland, but they are more than adequate for maneuvering the log splitter around on uneven land.

Pros
  • Very fast cycle time (2 seconds)
  • Easy to maneuver (7 inch wheels)
Cons
  • Twisted wood needs two or three attempts to split
  • Auto-return spring breaks very easily
  • All bolts need to be tightened before first use

Best Tractor/3 Point Log Splitters

Tractor log splitters (also known as 3-point log splitters) have been perfectly designed for splitting wood in the forest. These are fully towable, so you can take the log splitter straight to the log pile. Usually, these hook up to the tractor’s hydraulics, powering a ram which pushes a wedge to split the logs.

Look for durable, rugged construction to deliver the ultimate in off-road log splitting. If you’re considering a tractor/3-point log splitter, you’ll probably be handling very large quantities of large logs, so you should also look for a model which offers both vertical and horizontal positioning to help you handle large rounds easily.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

powerhorse 3pt log splitter
Powerhorse 3-Pt
  • 4.6/5 Rating
  • Tractor
  • 22 tons
  • Blue/silver
powerhorse 3pt log splitter

Recommendation

Not to be confused with the Powerhouse XM-380, the Powerhorse 3-Pt log splitter offers heavy duty, industrial standard wood splitting for an electric log splitter price. It features extremely rigid, high quality construction which can hold up to plenty of wear and tear. This is a seriously tough log splitter which delivers outstanding performance and fantastic value for money.

Our Rating: 4.6/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Tractor
Splitting force
22 tons
Colour
Blue/silver
Weight
394 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
N/A – uses tractor’s supply
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical

Powerhorse 3-Pt

Who Should Buy

In order to use this log splitter, you need to hook it up to a tractor. If you don’t own a tractor (or if you don’t have access to one) you’re missing out on a brilliant piece of kit, but now is the time to move on to the next category. Its industrial construction, fast splitting speeds and dual positioning make this machine ideal for anyone who wants to split a large, commercial volume of cords in a quick time.Click here for the Powerhorse 3-Pt

Review

The Powerhorse 3-Pt wood splitter hooks straight onto any category 1 or 2 tractor. It uses the tractor’s hydraulics, which means that you can start splitting logs anywhere that the tractor can access. Despite using the tractor’s hydraulics, this isn’t the fastest log splitter out there, but its strength and durability more than make up for this.

In terms of build quality, it features an I-beam and thick steel brackets to give rigidity and support that is unrivalled amongst all the other log splitters that we’ve compared. This is one log splitter that we’re certain won’t bend, twist or break, even with the roughest use. If a gnarly knot gets stuck, it’s not a problem, as the design features reinforcing and quadruple gusseting to make sure that the log splitter always wins the fight.

Usually, we’d expect to see dual horizontal and vertical positioning on gas log splitters which sit above the $1000 mark, but this model offers the same versatility for half the price. It seems to have been designed with functionality and quality of construction in mind, rather than just profit.

Some assembly is required prior to the first use, but this is minimal and very simple compared to some of the other wood splitters that we’ve tested. Given the quality, efficiency, versatility and power that this device delivers, this small amount of assembly is worth the effort.

Pros
  • Very high quality, rigid, industrial construction featuring an I-beam, reinforced steel brackets and quadruple gusseting
  • Can be used to split logs anywhere
  • Requires no extra power source as it hooks up to category 1 and 2 tractors and uses their hydraulics
  • Offers horizontal/vertical versatility for an affordable price
Cons
  • Requires a small amount of assembly
dirty hands tools log splitter
Dirty Hand Tools 100450
  • 4.2/5 Rating
  • Tractor
  • 22 tons
  • Black/grey
dirty hands tools log splitter

Recommendation

The Dirty Hand Tools 100450 is more expensive than the Powerhorse 3-Pt log splitter, and it doesn’t feature quite as much industrial strength construction. However, what it does deliver is exceptional strength, a cycle time which can run as fast as 9 seconds, and easy, stress-free wood splitting. Overall, this is a good value, reliable choice.

Our Rating: 4.2/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Tractor
Splitting force
22 tons
Colour
Black/grey
Weight
405 pounds
Material type
Steel
Hydraulic capacity
N/A – uses tractor’s supply
Maximum log size
25 inches
Positioning
Horizontal/vertical
Speed
9 to 15.4 seconds

Dirty Hand Tools 100450

Who Should Buy

Suitable for tractor owners who don’t mind hooking up a log splitter to the tractor’s hydraulic supply, the Dirty Hand Tools 100450 log splitter is great for anyone who needs to take log splitting on the go. However, it’s best suited to use in areas of flat or smooth land, as the low ground clearance means that transporting it over very uneven ground can get messy.Click here for the Dirty Hand Tools 100450

Review

Hook the Dirty Hand Tools 100450 log splitter up to any category 1 or 2 tractor’s 3-point hydraulic system and you’re good to go. Powering through just about any kind of hard and softwood, it takes the hard work out of splitting wood manually and the messy maintenance out of using a gas powered machine.

The sturdy design features a stand to keep the unit stable while in use. This is practical, but it does have low ground clearance. This means that if you need to transport it over uneven ground, be careful or you’ll be clearing mud and dirt off it for hours afterwards.

This log splitter feels very solidly built and it does feature a heat treated wedge which measures 8 inches high, but it can’t compete with the industrial construction of the Powerhorse 3-Pt. This is disappointing when you consider that the Dirty Hand Tools 100450 is around a third more expensive.

That said, this log splitter is very easy to use. The cycle time sits somewhere between 9 and 15 seconds, letting you power through wood faster than the Southland SLS20825 gas log splitter. The sturdy log cradle and the auto return function make it easy and convenient to load and unload logs, letting you work your way through a cord quickly, efficiently and painlessly.

The only thing that we would like to see improved is the size of the base plate when used in the vertical position. It’s easy to switch between horizontal and vertical positioning by pulling a pin and pivoting the log splitter, but the vertical base plate doesn’t seem to have been designed for use with very large logs. These tend to sit over the edge, but if you can fashion something to act as a similar, larger base, this problem is easily rectified.

Pros
  • Features a stand for stability
  • Solidly built with an 8 inch high heat treated wedge
  • A quick cycle time (9 seconds at its fastest)
  • Convenient and comfortable to use
Cons
  • Stand is low to the ground so gets dirty when moved over uneven ground
  • Base plate when used in the vertical position could be bigger

Best Wood Splitting Axes

Axes and mauls are the best known wood splitting devices. They’ve been in use for thousands of years because they’re simple to use, cheap to buy and easy to sharpen.

Axes are made up of a long handle (typically made from a wood such as hickory) affixed to a small but sturdy blade. They do require some physical exertion, so they’re best suited to splitting small quantities of wood or awkwardly shaped logs. Axes give you the greatest amount of control when compared to all other log splitting types, due to the fact that you can aim them at exactly the spot that you want to hit, and you can control the amount of force that is exerted.

Axes are cheap to buy and don’t require any maintenance. If you’re considering a more expensive hydraulic or gas model but you only split small quantities, you could end up spending more on fuel and ongoing maintenance than the value of the wood that you chop. In this case, a simple axe or maul makes the most economical sense – provided that you have the strength and stamina to use one.

When comparing manual wood splitting axes, look for one which is comparatively lightweight with a long handle. This will let you bring down the blade with enough force to split the wood without needing so much physical exertion. Maul heads usually weigh less than 10 pounds, but remember that the weight of the handle will make this heavier. Long handles measuring 2 to 3 feet long will make a maul of this weight fairly easy to handle. In addition, an axe which comes with a head protector has the added bonus of staying safe when not in use.

Log Splitter Comparison Chart

fiskars splitting axe
Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe
  • 4.5/5 Rating
  • Axe splitter type
  • Manual
  • Black
fiskars splitting axe

Recommendation

Fiskars are known for designing some of the best, most effective and best value cutting tools in the world, so it’s no surprise that their Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe is the best wood splitting axe on the market. Delivering an excellent combination of rugged strength, light weight and a blade that makes log splitting a breeze, this is one of the best axes you will ever own.

Our Rating: 4.5/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Axe
Splitting force
Manual
Colour
Black
Weight
8 pounds
Material type
Steel
Handle length
36 inches
Maximum log size
All
Positioning
All

Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe

Who Should Buy

At 36 inches, this axe is longer than some of our other wood splitter reviews. This makes it ideal for anyone who’s taller than average, as the longer handle makes it easier to swing and get good leverage than a traditional, shorter model. However, the lightweight, super strong FiberComp handle makes this log splitter a great choice for anyone who is strong enough to handle it!Click here for the Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe

Review

Most log splitters have a handle that measures around 34 inches long, but this model is longer than most. At 36 inches long, it is designed to give an easy, smooth swing and plenty of leverage for taller users who are splitting everything from large tree trunks to smaller, already-split pieces.

To use, this axe feels similar to an aluminum baseball bat. Its length gives a powerful swing, but the handle has been made from a special FiberComp material which makes it incredibly lightweight. This strength-to-weight ratio makes it easy to split even the biggest logs, without expending energy unnecessarily.

The blade looks narrow, but the genius of this is that it’s easier than normal to remove the blade from the wood. It features a special coating to keep the blade sharp and in good condition, but this wears off disappointingly quick, after only six cords or so.

However, this doesn’t have an impact on the strength of the blade at all. In fact, you’re more likely to split the handle than the blade, as the two have been fused together so well that Fiskars claim that it is ‘virtually unbreakable’. An axe head protector is included to keep the blade in good condition for as long as possible, even when not in use.

The biggest downside is that this axe struggles with cross-grained wood, where the blade has a tendency to catch on the knots. The result is that it’s awkward, difficult and uncomfortable to remove the blade when compared to chopping straight grained logs.

Nevertheless, the quality and performance of this log splitter is impressive. We saw first-time success in around nine out of ten of our swings, and often we had to control our swings as it delivered more power than anticipated.

Pros
  • Long handle (36 inches)
  • Lightweight and powerful with a good strength-to-weight ratio
  • Narrow blade is easy to remove from the wood
  • Comes with an axe head protector
Cons
  • Catches on knots in cross-grained wood
estwing fireside friend
Estwing Fireside Friend Axe
  • 4.0/5 Rating
  • Axe splitter type
  • Manual
  • Black/brown
estwing fireside friend

Recommendation

The Estwing E3-FF4 Axe isn’t as dainty as a hatchet, but it isn’t as beefy as a maul, making it a really easy, comfortable tool to use. At 12 inches long, the handle is significantly shorter than the Fiskars X27, but this is the perfect size for splitting kindling or for taking on camping trips. A really rugged sheath is included as standard, making it safe to take this axe on the road.

Our Rating: 4.0/5

TECH SPECS

Splitter type
Axe
Splitting force
Manual
Colour
Black/brown
Weight
7 ounces
Material type
Steel
Handle length
12 inches
Maximum log size
All
Positioning
All

Estwing Fireside Friend Axe

Who Should Buy

If you use a lot of firewood an kindling, this is the wood splitter for you. It falls perfectly between narrow, lightweight hatchets and heavy, cumbersome mauls, giving the perfect balance between weight, width and length. This also makes a great buy for anyone looking for versatility from their tools, as the back edge of the head can be used for hammering.Click here for the Estwing Fireside Friend Axe

Review

We were really impressed at how comfortable this axe is to hold. It features high quality real leather and a smooth finish, so it fits in the palm really well. It has a good weight to it without feeling difficult to control. This axe is built to last.

The hand sharpened blade is impressively sharp for a tool of this type. We found that when used with two hands, we were able to split through most logs in the first swing. We had to swing fast – mostly due to the fact that the 12 inch long handle necessitates more force – but as it weighs just 7 pounds it doesn’t feel too strenuous. Sometimes we needed two strikes when using the maul one handed, but this is definitely a possibility which some heavy mauls don’t offer.

If you have slightly knottier wood, it’s never going to be completely effortless to split manually. However, the Estwing E3-FF4 does make life a little easier. Tap it into the wood, then use a small sledgehammer to knock the back of the head. We found that using this technique spliced through almost everything like a hot knife through butter.

For extra versatility, the back of the axe head makes a great hammering tool for tent pegs or small rocks. It’s broad, extremely rugged and has a good weight – but make sure you fit the nylon sheath before using the axe in this way to avoid any nasty accidents.

Pros
  • Excellent bridge between a hatchet and a maul
  • High quality, comfortable and easy to use
  • Can be used one handed
  • Back of the axe head can be used for hammering
Cons
  • Short handle (12 inches)

How To Choose The Best Log Splitter

The Definitive Buyer’s Guide

log splitter buyers guide

What Is A Log Splitter?

A log splitter does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a device used for splitting logs into smaller pieces.

People tend to buy them with the aim of splitting large quantities of wood quickly and easily. Hydraulic, gas and electric log splitters don’t require much physical effort, so they can make light work of a heavy task. This is particularly important for anyone who doesn’t have the physical strength to split many logs, or for those who have such a large, regular supply of logs that splitting them manually would take too much time.

Log splitters range from small, simple, handheld axes or mauls, right up to expensive, highly engineered machines for wood splitting on an industrial scale. The differences between the various types of log splitter will be covered in more detail later, but most people are looking for something in the middle; something that takes the physical strain away from swinging an axe, but without the expense and weight of something too high powered.

What Are The Different Types Of Log Splitters?

Axes and mauls are the simplest wood splitters to use, but they’re also the most physically demanding. When comparing manual axes, look for one with a long handle to maximise the amount of force while minimising the amount of effort that you need to put in.

Often, hydraulic log splitters use a combination of physical strength and engineering to split logs easily, without the risk or expense associated with gas or electric models. With manual hydraulic log splitters, the log is placed in a cradle, at which point you may need to pump handles to press the ram against the log. This can be tiring, but it’s far less exhausting than using an axe for the same length of time.

Gas and electric powered log splitters usually deliver much more power and speed than axes or manual hydraulic log splitters. They require either electricity or fuel to power a ram or a blade which splits the wood. The speed and strength of these machines is usually so great that they can cut much more smoothly and accurately than any manual axes, and even the knottiest, cross-grained wood can’t stop them.

Electric Vs Gas Log Splitters

In terms of performance, electric and gas log splitters are similar: they’re both infinitely more powerful, more efficient and faster than manual axes and mauls.

However, electric log splitters are generally considered to be better for your health. This is because when gas is used to power a log splitter, it emits fumes into the air which are harmful when inhaled in large amounts.

In general, electric log splitters also require less ongoing maintenance, including oil filter changes, refuelling and thorough cleaning.

Despite the fumes and the maintenance required, gas log splitters do have many advantages over electric ones. They can be used outdoors – and you can take them much further afield than just your backyard. Providing that you have enough fuel, you can keep splitting wood forever, even if you’re in the middle of nowhere.

What Size Log Splitter Do I Need?

There are two important considerations when deciding what size log splitter you need.

Firstly, what size logs will you be splitting? This will give you an indication of how big the rack needs to be on which the logs sit. Large gas-powered log splitters can take logs up to 25 inches long, weighing 100 pounds, but hydraulic log splitters struggle to reach the 20 inch mark. If you know that you will be splitting huge logs regularly, head straight for the heavy duty ranges.

The other thing to consider is the external dimensions of the log splitter. If you will be taking it off-road, can it fit in the bed of your truck? If you’ll be keeping it in the garage, do you have enough storage space for a big engine?

When looking at the size of a log splitter, compare both the internal and the external dimensions to make sure that it can split your logs and fit into your lifestyle.

How Much Wood Can A Log Splitter Split?

Look for the wood splitter’s cycle time to give you an indication of how much wood it can get through. This is usually given as a number of cycles that the log splitter can make in an hour, or in other words, how many times it can split a log and return to its original position, ready to begin again. High end manual hydraulic and electric splitters can reach impressive heights of several hundred cycles per hour.

What Size Hydraulic Cylinder Do I Need?

Once again, the size of hydraulic cylinder on your log splitter should relate to the size of your logs. Bigger cylinders deliver more force, so they can split larger logs. However, they’re also slower, so you’ll need to find the sweet spot between power and convenience.

Aim for a cylinder measuring around two inches in diameter for small logs; cylinders around four inches in diameter are mid-range to cover your bases; for large, gnarly logs, look for a cylinder that measures five to six inches in diameter.

What Type Of Hydraulic Fluid Do Log Splitters Use?

It’s a good idea to read the manufacturer’s guidelines as each log splitter performs best with a different type of fluid. However, most suit either a standard hydraulic fluid or an automatic transmission oil.

How Do You Use A Log Splitter?

For manual hydraulic log splitters, place the log in the cradle, then pump the handles to push the log against the splitter. Once the wood has broken apart completely, remove the pieces and return the pump to its original position.

Electric and gas powered wood splitters use a similar method, except that instead of using your arms to pump the handles and work the splitter, a machine does the hard work for you. It drives the log against a wedge or a blade, splitting even knotty logs cleanly in two.

Advice And Tips On Buying A New Log Splitter

If you’re not sensible, buying a log splitter that isn’t suited to your needs, you could have a potentially dangerous situation on your hands, so it’s important to do your research and read some reviews.

If you are able to do so, try renting a few log splitters of different sizes and types to get a feel for the variations and how they compare to your needs.

In general, you should avoid low levels of splitting power (unless you’re comparing manual log splitters) as these might not handle tough wood efficiently. Instead, look for a machine which takes the highest maximum log size and delivers the most amount of power within your budget. This will give you the most versatility, allowing you to split as many different log sizes and types as possible.

If you’ve finished reading through our buyers’ guide, print off our checklist below and use it as you compare our best log splitter reviews.

Checklist: What Should You Ask Yourself?

Before you start comparing our best log splitter reviews and make a purchase, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How much wood do I need to split? – Below five or six cords per season you should consider a manual axe; any more than that and it’s time to start looking into hydraulic options. As soon as you hit six cords per day, you will benefit from the power and speed of electric and gas log splitters.
  • Can I manage to swing a manual axe? – If not, avoid physical exertion by choosing an electric, gas or industrial log splitter.
  • Will the log splitter be able to hold and split logs of my size and type? – Read the individual specs to find the maximum log sizes which each log splitter can take. If you have logs measuring over 20 inches long regularly, a portable manual/hydraulic wood splitter might not suit your needs.
  • Can I afford the long-term maintenance of this log splitter? – Manual and electric log splitters require virtually no maintenance or refuelling, so they’re cheap to run; gas log splitters need regular cleaning and maintenance including oil filter changes and leak repairs, all requiring extra time and money.
  • Do I have space to store it? – Consider exterior dimensions, whether it can be stored outdoors or in cold conditions, and whether you can move it easily between different areas.

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