I hope you love the products I've recommended below, just a heads up that as an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. This means I may earn commissions on products bought via links on this page.
Whether your just a casual user of a log splitter or you’re looking to build your own, learning the different log splitter components is something that many consider being important. Knowing what is in your machine will help in diagnosing if there is an issue and being able to identify each component is something I believe to be useful.
Learning how to diagnose the problems in your log splitter can save you a lot of time and a good amount of money. Being able to fix it is even better if that’s within your capabilities and learning the components of a log splitter is a good way to learn how to do this.
Like owning a car having a basic idea of what is inside the engine is something that is always useful knowledge and the same applies to log splitters. This is why I have put this list together to try and help as many people as I can with the decades of experience I’ve gathered.
What Parts Go Into A Log Splitter
While log splitters do look large and intimidating when you first see one, they’re really fairly simple and straight forward once you get to know them. They’re really only made up of a few parts which are why so many people have a tendency to build there own especially since there are kits out there designed for this.
One thing that I think that people often neglect is how every part is important with people only focusing on certain things. Granted some parts might give more power which is always important but ignoring something else to get that power is a good way to end up with a broken machine.
This is why when I was putting this list together I chose to put them in no particular order to try and ignore this kind of thing and since not everyone looking for what goes into a log splitter is looking to build one. With that in mind, it’s time to learn what exactly makes a log splitter work.
One piece of a log splitter that looks fairly simple but does a lot of the work is the hydraulic cylinder as it’s what pushes the log on the rail of the splitter. Depending on your model sometimes the splitting wedge is attached to this and will split the log when it reaches the end of the log splitter.
It’s a very simple sounding object that is made up of a lot of other smaller components and is something that needs to work with the hydraulic pump. If these two parts don’t get along you will have some issues so you want your cylinders ton rating to be higher than the pump to prevent this.
This cylinder will normally sit on top of the log splitter and is something that most people notice when looking at a log splitter. It plays a fairly big role in the cycle time of your log splitter which is something that a lot of people consider to be highly important.
One of the best ways to think of the hydraulic pump is a little like the human heart since it does a very similar job for a log splitter. It needs to be compatible with the hydraulic cylinder and the engine of the log splitter as this can lead to a number of issues so it’s important to match these up.
Log splitters usually have a 2 stage pump which is the industry standard so replacing them or finding one isn’t usually too difficult. Depending on the model it can make a fairly big difference in the performance of your log splitter and severely hurt your splitter if it does go.
Hydraulic Control Valve
When it comes to underappreciated components of a log splitter the control valve is one that I consider to be overlooked. It has the important job of transferring the hydraulic fluid that will push and return the ram of the log splitter which is why I consider it to be important.
Since this is one of the components that you will be using quite often when splitting logs you want to make sure it’s in a spot that’s easy to reach and use. Whether you’re building a log splitter or on the market to buy one, I recommend paying close attention to where this is placed as it can make a world of difference.
The Splitting Component
There are actually multiple different splitting options when it comes to log splitters with there being a splitting head and a log splitting wedge. On top of that, there is a variety of different options for each of these that can make a fairly big difference in your splitting potential.
Splitting heads are fairly simple parts and are usually attached to the opposite end of the ram. Your ram will push a log into the splitting head which will cause the log to split which is the simplest way of explaining exactly what it is.
The splitting wedge is attached to the ram which will push into the log the is at the end of the log splitter next to a metal plate keeping it in place. This will cause it to split the log at the end of the log splitter.
Something that you can do is look for different types of splitting accessories which will make splitting quicker. This is a four-way and six-way splitting wedge which as the name implies will split the wood into more pieces with one pass through. This can make splitting logs extremely quick since you don’t have to split the logs several times over.
One of the key components of the log splitter is the engine that makes everything run and not something I think needs a big explanation. It powers the entire log splitter and is often one of the more expensive parts of the log splitter but also one of the things that can cause the most issues.
Often when an issue arises with a log splitter the engine is often one of the first things I check but I’ve had some seriously bad luck over the years with them. Being such an important component you will want to go with something of a higher quality consider this is what will power everything.
Don’t Forget The Frame
Something that I see often neglected is the frame of the log splitter which is something that I think can be a mistake since it essentially holding everything up and together. Depending on your type of frame can make a difference when you tow the log splitter of if it can go vertical or not.
Personally, I’m a fan of a frame that can be switched to a vertical position as this can make splitting larger woods much easier. Since you don’t have to pick up such large logs and can just roll them over and under the log splitter.
Should You Build Your Own Log Splitter?
Over the years I’ve built a few log splitters and had plenty of friends build their own as well and it can save you a lot of money in the long run. This is not something that everyone is able to do since you will need to have some knowledge of fabrication and a certain degree of mechanical understanding.
If you have the capability and don’t mind doing it I would say it’s trying to build one since there is a satisfaction using a log splitter you built to split wood. One thing you can do if you don’t have the fabrication skills is to hire someone to do that since it’s not the most common skill to have.
Finding the parts isn’t very difficult to do and there are a good number of guides online on how to build a log splitter which will help a lot of people. There are also plans online which can also help those who don’t like videos and prefer to read the instructions.
While you can save a lot of money by building a log splitter it can take a fair amount of time no matter how skilled you are. This is a question you will need to ask yourself and decide if money or time is more important for you as this can vary differently from person to person.
One thing I would consider before making this decision is to think about what you will do when something goes wrong. If you build one you will have to deal with it yourself or pay someone to help fix it. If you buy one there is a good chance there will be some kind of warranty that will take the headache out of it for you.
Where To Buy Your Log Splitter Parts?
In this day and age, there is a lot of options on where to pick up parts for your log splitter. Whether you search wood splitting forums or contact friends and neighbors to try and find some parts, it can get overwhelming when you do go searching for some.
Personally, I like to find the parts online since you often get a bigger selection and can read reviews from people who have actually used them, and not some sales pitch. Which is why I use The Home Depot and Amazon to find the parts I need most of the time.
The Different Power Sources
There are three different types of power sources for log splitters that all have different purposes in my opinion. Which of the power sources suits you something that you will need to work out since your needs will be different from what I would need.
This is one of the most common and popular types of log splitters on the market as they have a lot of versatility. They have very little downsides and a lot of benefits that make them extremely useful to practically everyone who is in need of splitting wood.
Gas log splitters offer a lot of splitting potential and are generally pretty fast when it comes to cycle times. You can use them anywhere since the power source comes from gas and not a power outlet so there are no restrictions here.
When it comes to downsides to gas log splitters there aren’t too many in my opinion. The biggest issue for gas splitters is that they require more maintenance than most other types of log splitters. Depending on who you are, this might not be too much of an issue for you but I know it can put people off.
Electric Is A Viable Choice
Often ignored by the more hardcore wood splitting crowds, electric log splitters are something that I think is often overlooked. They have a purpose and have been getting stronger over the years which was always one of their biggest downsides for a lot of people.
One thing I really like about the electric option is that they don’t require as much maintenance as their gas counterparts. They are also significantly quieter which makes them a good option for those who live in a populated area and don’t want to annoy the entire neighborhood.
The downsides of electric log splitters are the at times lack of power and the portability is very minimum. While this first issue is slowly becoming irrelevant, the second is something that will continue to be an issue. Unless you have a generator you will be required to be near a power outlet to use your log splitter which limits where you can use it.
Lesser-Known PTO Log Splitters
Most people have never seen a PTO log splitter or even heard of it which is for good reason. They require a tractor to be able to be operated which is not something that a lot of people have access to. This should already give you an idea of who this is meant for and who will use it.
PTO splitters are extremely durable and have a lot of power which makes sense considering they are made for more commercial work. So your average person won’t be needing something like this in my opinion. It’s hard to dispute the power of these types of splitters but the entry fee is too high in my opinion.
My Final Thoughts
When I was putting this lost together I thought to put the main components on it was the most important thing since if I went over everything it would be a larger list. But a lot of it would be things like hoses or mounts which usually comes with the parts when you buy them so it didn’t feel as important.
Hopefully, there has been some useful information for you which will give you a bit of an idea on what is what on your log splitter. Maybe even give you the idea to build your own log splitter to try and save some money since log splitters can be so expensive!