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When looking for a log splitter it can be really overwhelming, when you consider the amount of brands and options available. This can make it very difficult when you finally make the decision to go out and purchase one. So I thought I would share some of the qualities to look for in a log splitter.
Which hopefully will be of help for beginners and veterans alike, even if it’s just a refresher for the more advanced. On this post I will go over some of the most important features of a log splitter, and inform you of the different types and things to look for.
It’s important to remember that when buying a log splitter, it’s very much based on your individual needs and not what some ‘best of’ guide will tell you. Personal as in what your needs are may not suit other people, you may need a 10 ton manual, while someone else needs a 35 ton gas unit. This is the first thing you need to consider when looking into wood splitters, just what type of jobs you need done. Once you have worked that out your choose will start to get a bit easier thankfully. Tho to work out what you need to get those jobs is still up in the air, so below you can find my tips on the qualities to look for in a log splitter.
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Most Important Quality To Consider
There are three main types of log splitters in terms of what drives them. The most common type is a gas powered unit, then electric, and then manual. All three of them are all great in there own regard and all built to help certain types of people. While some definitely have more advantages compared to the others. If you cant decide between gas and electric, check out my comparison guide for a more in-depth analysis.
How Good Is A Gas Powered Splitter?
Gas is the most common type of log splitter people buy. Gas units have a lot less disadvantages compared to the other two types. This is due to its gas engine. A gas engine will let you split anywhere as long as you the gas to fill it, so you’re not restricted to need a power outlet. But the main reason that a gas is the pack leader is simply power, they have the ability to split larger woods.
While splitting larger woods and not having to worry about need a power outlet are great features, the gas units do have two downsides. The first downside is that since it has a gas engine, it will produce fumes so you can’t split inside an enclosed area. This isn’t something that will affect a lot of people as most people do split outdoors anyway. The next disadvantage will effect anyone who choose to go gas. This is the price, generally gas units are more expensive since gas engines cost more compared to the others.
Is Electric Any Good?
After gas, electric is the most common type of log splitter. While I know some people out there really don’t like electric units, I personally do. So while for the majority they can’t split as much as a gas unit. However, with a vertical electrical log splitter, you can pretty much throw any size log at it due to being vertical.
The biggest issue is that there aren’t a lot of heavy duty electric units, which does help this weakness. The other issue is that you need a power source to actually use it, so if you need to split some wood far away from home. You’ll either need a generator or bring back to where you electric unit is.
This really does make electric sound like they’re bad but that isn’t the case. But there are two big advantages to a electric unit, and the first is that they’re generally cheaper to make so they cost less. But my favorite thing about them is that you can split inside with them. I don’t know how many times I’ve wanted to split some wood but there’s bad weather outside. Which I can’t take my gas unit out in. With an electric you can just plug it in inside, and split away since there is no fumes and they are much quieter.
A Lot Of Manual Labor
The last type is the manual powered log splitters, which are pretty self explanatory. Manual log splitters are either powered by your arms operating two levers, or using your foot on a peddle. This is certainly much more labor intensive then using a gas or electric units. So if you have bad knees or shoulders I would look somewhere else.
Manuals also lack power compared to the other types of splitters, and very rarely do they come larger then a 10 ton unit. Tho they do have the advantage like the electric that you can operate them inside, and they don’t cost a lot. So if you’re on a budget and don’t need large logs split then manual could be what you need.
Hydraulic VS Kinetic
While you can power your log splitter in a few different ways, there are only two different ways of splitting. This is kinetic and hydraulic, which both have there advantages.
Hydraulics are more powerful then a kinetic log splitter which is great if you need some hard logs split. But hydraulics are slow compared to a kinetic, which is where they excel. Kinetic may not be as powerful as a hydraulic, they are so much quicker it isn’t funny. While a hydraulic has a cycle time that varies from 10 to 30 seconds which is still fine, but a kinetic can have a crazy cycle time of 1 to 5 seconds. This will save you so much time, but can’t split the larger logs.
The ton rating of a log splitter is extremely important since this is what gives you an idea of what the splitter will get through. Log splitters can come in a variety of sizes ranging from as low as 5 tons to as high as 50 tons of force. Tho not many people are going to need a 50 ton unit. So working out what size log and type of log you need to split is the most important thing. If you only need some 10 inch red oak logs split a 5 ton electric will be fine for many homeowners. But if you need some more heavy duty log split you’re going to need to go higher. I have found over the years is that the average person needs a 22 ton log splitter.
There is one really great reason that a 22 to 25 ton log splitter is great for almost everyone. This is once you get to this almost all log splitters come with the ability to split vertically. This is a very important feature since this allows you to split logs larger then what the manufacturers recommend. The way to do this comes down to the way you split your log, it is best to start on the outside edge and work your way inwards. This just adds value to any log splitter that has this feature.
Price Of A Log Splitter
There is no secret that some log splitters cost a lot of money, which generally it will work it off pretty quickly. This is a big deciding factor for a lot of people. Since money is such a crucial piece of the puzzle, spending $1000 on a log splitter isn’t always possible. But in saying that, $1000 can get you a fairly decent machine built to last. If you’re on a really tight budget then your options can be very limited. Which doesn’t mean you aren’t left with any good options, unless you need really large hard wood log split.
But if you’re on a budget of under $400 then an electric 5 ton and 10 ton manual log splitters are you’re best option. If you’re under $200 you will have to either go with a manual log splitters or a splitting maul and wedge which is even more labor intensive.
If you want to get a decent log splitter that can split some serious logs you will be looking at a minimum of $1000 which is expensive. But you will be able to find some great 22 to 25 ton gas units at $1000 and above. This is where things can get a bit tricky since at about $1500 you will start to find some log splitters that have a splitting force of 30 ton which is plenty of power for the average user. This leaves you with a choice on is it worth spending the extra to get a more powerful unit, and this is something only you can really answer.
Extra Features To Look For
While a log splitter will save you a lot of time and help take the pain out of splitting logs the old fashioned way, life can always be easier. There are a still ways to make life even easier and that is through some of the accessories you can get. If you have a smaller electric unit like a 5 ton, then you can get a stand for it. This will help take the constant kneeling and bending over out of it, which is great and something to look for.
Some units come with a log tray which will help save you some serious time over the years. When you split a log, very rarely will only need to split it once. Most times you will need to split the logs it leaves behind, and this is where the tray comes into its own. This is due to after you split the log it can rest on the tray, and avoid the need to pick it up off the ground. A small quality of life improvement but an important one.
When you have a large log splitter that can handle logs that are 30 inches in diameter, they can get extremely heavy. While the vertical position will be very useful for this, it isn’t always an option for some people since it still has a lot of bending over. This is where the log lift comes in which is a personal favorite accessory of mine. Tho it can get expensive but it takes a lot off the heavy lifting out of splitting logs.
My Final Thoughts
It is very hard to go wrong with a log splitter, and no matter how much you spend you could always get a lemon. But if you need to split wood there is no better way then using a log splitter, so I would always highly recommend owning one. Even a small hydraulic unit is better then splitting the old fashioned way to me, and a electric and gas are even better. I hope some of my info has helped you even just a little in your choose.