Looking for a really reliable log splitter might not be something you do every single day because when you find one, you never really change it. To make things nice and easy for you, I’ve taken a look at 10 of the best so that all you have to do is choose your favourite.
Beats standing in line at the store or returning something you’re not happy with!
Comparison (at a glance)
While there are plenty of log splitters around, not all are created equal. It's my opinion that cost should be a secondary factor when choosing (to a degree of course), while finding a good strong workhorse that is also reliable should be the main points to look at.
Our table above showcases some of the favourites. We've based these on research, testing and the opinions of others who have bought these.
Top 3 Best Overall
Why is the Forest Master my BEST-rated overall?
A TOUGH machine at a GREAT price.
Enjoy 10 tonnes of power with duocut twin blades. Use it vertically or horizontally
- Operate via foot pedal or hand lever
- Adjustable blade start position
- A competitive price tag
I have chosen this log splitter because it satisfies a fair few criteria rather than being good at one thing and average at others. In essence, it is the best all-rounder.
It satisfies pricing, strength and reliability.
- It's a mid priced log splitter. Neither "cheap" nor "too expensive". It's somethign that won't leave you sweating and anxious once you've hit the "buy" button!
- Click here to view it on Amazon Uk.
The hydraulic operation allows you to split anything, but how precise is it?
The hydraulic rams are well sealed and reportedly show no sign of leakage even when cranked up to full force. That is great for those who need to run at maximum power and capacity for an extended period. I was also really impressed with the simplicity of the loading system.
Often with hardware like this what you find is that the feed-in systems are so elaborate and over-complicated when you increase the power that they become more hassle than they’re worth. Certainly, something that doesn’t apply in this case.
Forest Master 10-Ton Final Thoughts
A classic brute-force splitter that could be just what you’re looking for if what you want is something that never compromises on the force of each log splitting blow.
Why would you go for a more expensive, lower powered log splitter like this one?
Heavy Duty Larger With Great Features
Build quality, reliability and features make up the reasons why this is a serious contender. The only downside is it is priced higher than other models.
Look forward to:
- A 5 second full forward stroke - so you can get more done in less time. Better productivity as a result.
- Split logs up to 400mm wide
- A workhorse that is completely dependable
- The Duocut blade means you can get an effective 16 tonnes of cutting pressure
- A solid safety guard
- A 60mm ram to easily split all Green and seasoned wood.
This 8-ton splitter has been making a lot of noise for all the right reasons. Needless to say, I couldn’t wait to take it for a spin!
2-speed operation means you can get the job done the right way with little difficulty
The 2-speed operation is convenient because it allows you to change things up as and when you need to. By being able to adjust your speed when working with different sizes and types of wood, you can avoid sheering and ensure plenty of splitting. Ideal if you want a multi-purpose splitter that takes care of everything.
A 3-year warranty comes as standard, but is it long enough?
The warranty is long enough in my opinion. Most of what you find on the market will be 12-month or 2-year warranties, so to have something this long in place as standard seems like a real blessing. Great for those of you who really want peace of mind.
Forrest Master Final Thoughts
This is a robust and easy to use splitter that will show no signs of letting you down. The warranty period is also first class which will be music to the ears of those of you who make a living, splitting logs and selling firewood!
BEST MANUAL HAND SPLITTER FOR LOGS
Why would you consider something like this?
Well... it suits a more modest budget, and it's a FAR IMPROVED way of splitting logs by hand with an axe. More of an "in between" set up.
An affordable way to split logs.
The Swedish log splitter is very cost effective, and at the same time very effective. If you've had 3 weetabix you'll enjoy using this!
- Comes with a FREE kindling splitter
- Takes up very little space so storage and transportation is not an issue.
- A fantastic price tag
Manual splitters may sound like something from a bygone age, but there’s always a time and a place for hardware like this. Here’s what I thought…
An affordable option that will allow you to get things done without sizeable noisy machinery
If you want to keep your outlay low then clearly a manual tool will be a more attractive option than some giant motorised splitter. The only drawback is that you will, quite literally, have to put your back into it if you want to see a meaningful level of output.
Manual operation may be a nice throwback, but you may work up a serious sweat!
The manual side of things may be a nice touch, but if you want a motorised option, then I wouldn’t change your mind. Manual splitters are certainly capable of getting the job done and are a good source of exercise. However, unless you’re a strong man/women, you may only split enough wood to keep the living room fire going. Alternatively, you plan to earn money doing it you are best considering one of the larger alternatives.
Manual Option Final Thoughts
A nice alternative for those of you who want to do the occasional bit of heavy work in the back garden. But, I would not recommend it for those who want to get through large amounts of wood!
Best Mid Range
Powerful Log Splitter with a 6.5 TON Capacity
If you don’t want to completely break the bank when looking for a log splitter, this is a great mid-range product. This log splitter doesn’t lack quality and you won’t be disappointed due to the following key features!
- This product can split logs up to 10 inches in diameter and 20.5 inches in length.
- Ability to use log splitter on its own or with the 34-inch stand attached.
- Easy to transport thanks to 5.5-inch wheels and helpful pull handle.
- The 15-amp motor helps this log splitter perform as it can cut up to 120 logs an hour.
Do You Need a Log Splitter with a 15-amp Motor?
If you have some larger logs in need of splitting, this 15-amp motor will give you that added pressure you need. In fact, it actually produces up to 13,000 pounds of pressure. That is the perfect amount for the logs more towards the 6.5 TON weight threshold.
Benefits of Having a Detachable Stand
Many log splitters do not come with a stand. So, you may be thinking why do I need one with a stand? Operating your log splitter from your waist level will give you much more control when in use.
WEN 56207 Final Thoughts
One of the reasons this log splitter is featured in this post is because of its versatility. Being able to use the log splitter with or without the stand is a fantastic choice for the user. The stand will prevent back pain over time as you won’t be bending down to load the splitter.
It is well-priced for the output that it gives. You won’t be let down by this log splitter’s performance.
Durable Log Splitter With a Capacity of 6 TON
If you are looking for a log splitter that provides quality cuts on smaller sizes of logs, then look no further. The Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SELS60 Log Splitter is powerful and hard-wearing. See below for some of the best features!
- Split your logs efficiently with an 18 second cycle time.
- Smaller logs are no problem for this splitter thanks to the built-in stroke limiter.
- Can cut logs up to 20.5 inches in length.
Save Time With This Adjustable Log Splitter
One of the key features that this product has to offer is the ability to be adjusted. If you have smaller logs, you don’t need to keep the cutting setting to standard. Thankfully, there is a built-in stroke limiter. This can reduce the cutting time for smaller logs without impacting the output of the splitter.
Is This Still a Powerful Log Splitter?
Despite this being the log splitter with the lowest TON capacity on our list, it does not lack power. The 15-amp motor allows for a quality split to take place, even on logs that are towards the higher end of the 6 TON capacity.
Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SELS60 Final Thoughts
If you know that you don’t need to split any larger-sized logs, this product will be perfect for you. It still packs a punch for logs up to 6 TON in weight and 20.5 inches in length. You can adjust the cut according to the size of your log. This only improves the quality of power this splitter puts out.
A Buyers Guide To Understanding And Choosing The Right One
A log splitter is machinery of some sort to help turn large pieces of tree trunks into smaller usable pieces for firewood. Many people split old tree trunks year in year out to provide wood to help keep them warm or heat their home or even to cook food. Especially in Winter.
Wood often needs time to season in a dry space before being used so many people like to split as much wood as possible and leave it to season and dry out over several months.
How does a log splitter work?
You would typicaly place a piece of wood (tree trunk) onto the surface of the splitter. A ram would then be driven across forcing the wood intoa cutting blade that splits the wood into two sections.
The ram can be operated manually with foot pedals or a lever, or you can also go for electrical powered log splitters that do the work for you.
What size do I need?
It goes without saying that bigger will do more. A small 4 tonne splitter simply won't manage large diameter trees.
So for most average situations a 8 to 10 tonne splitter will handle around 12 inches of seasoned wood or around 8 inches of Green wood. Don't forget if you are cutting larger trees you could cut them into small enough pieces to then run through the splitter, rather than paying a small fortune to hand the bigger pieces.
If you'd rather go straight for a more powerful petrol log splitter then this one may be of interest. The extra cost is there because of the power and it's portability.
What Hydraulic Fuel to Use
It’s tempting to use whatever you’ve got lying around to power your log splitter, but hydraulic fuels aren’t all one and the same. The first fundamental dichotomy between most hydraulic fuels is that they’re either oils or fluids.
These terms are often thrown about haphazardly as if they’re interchangeable, but they’re actually different things. For a log splitter, you’ll most likely need hydraulic fluid.
The next big subcategory is to do with their chemical makeup. Hydraulic fluid can either be synthetic or mineral-based.
Mineral-based hydraulic fuels are made using our natural reserve of crude oils, whereas synthetics - as you’ve probably guessed - are crafted in laboratories.
Both subtypes will work fine in your log splitter, but many prefer synthetics as they’re tailor-made and always being improved. We’re seeing this switch slowly take place across the entire oil maintenance market, from automobiles to trumpets.
Your first port of call should always be to check the manufacturer’s suggestion for fuel type. They should tell you which fuel to use specifically.
Log splitter pumps are designed for use with three viscosities of fluid: one in mild weather (AW46), one in extremely hot weather(AW68), and one in frigid temperatures (AW32). This may change slightly from model to model.
Why is My Log Splitter Moving Slow?
If your splitter’s losing pressure, you’ll have trouble splitting even softwoods such as pine or spruce.
The most common reason your log splitter’s wedge is losing power and significantly slowing down, besides low fuel levels, is an air leak, by which we mean that air is being siphoned into and getting stuck in your flow lines.
It sounds bad, but don’t worry, it’s an easy fix. All you need to do is run the hydraulics back and forth four to six times with the bleed valve open. Once complete, remember to seal the bleed valve before continuing.
Another reason your splitter slows down may be something as simple as the temperature. Hydraulic fuels change consistency as the weather changes.
When it gets icy cold, hydraulic fuels get thicker, and when the temperature soars, they thin out beyond their normal viscosity.
Sometimes a hydraulic liquid changes so drastically that it’s no longer fit for purpose within your splitter. In this case, you’ll need to source different oils to suit your changeable climate.
Slowing down may also be a symptom of an oil leak, so you should check all seals are uncompromised.
If none of these possibilities are the problem, it could mean your filters are clogged or you need a piston replacement.
How Does a Splitter Work?
The hydraulic system is most easily understood when examined in reverse. The hydraulic cylinder that pushes wood into the wedge is powered by pressurized fluid traveling through a hydraulic valve from a 2-stage gear hydraulic pump.
The pump itself is powered by either an electric motor or fueled engine. The engine/motor drives the pump shaft, and the machine sparks to life.
The hydraulic fluid isn’t held in the pump itself, rather a reservoir attached to the inlet of the pump.
This fluid tank is fitted with filtered vents to allow the passage of air without letting in particulate matter that can spoil the fluid.
This breathability allows the fluid to cool before recirculating. On the other side of the filter, opposite the suction line, there’s a return line and a filter that prepares the fluid for return to the reservoir.
A hydraulic relief valve controls the maximum pressure of the system. Without one of these, the pressure would keep on building to a dangerous level.
It’s usually situated in the same enclosure as the directional control valve which is an essential part of any hydraulics system.
The DC valve splits fluid direction for transportation to multiple locations, i.e. different parts of the cylinder, or back to the reservoir via the return line.
How Does a Manual Splitter Work?
Some manual log splitters still use a hydraulics system to build up the force to chop logs up into firewood. The main difference is the initial source of power.
Instead of an engine firing up a pump that sends pressurized fluid to power the hydraulics, the hydraulic cylinder is pushed via hand-operated handles..
Normally equipped with a handle that moves the cylinder slowly but with greater driving force, and a handle that moves the cylinder quicker for finishing cracked logs off, the log is pushed by degrees into a wedge until the force splits the log.
Non-hydraulic manual log splitters utilize weight and a rail system to get the job done. These kinds of splitter are normally foot operated as you can exert more downward pressure using your legs rather than your arms.
Much like a typical foot pump, you step on the toe platform and push down.
With every step, a metal claw-like mechanism travels further along a rail and into the wood that is then forced into a wedge at the other end of the mechanism.
Manual log splitters are great if you want to save money or have limited space for storage and operation; however, they’re not suitable for large-scale jobs or for use by the infirm.
How to Make a Log Splitter Faster
Speeding up your log splitter’s cycle is quite a complex matter. It seems quite simple in theory.
You need to improve the GPM (gallons per minute) flow, so you’ll need a larger hydraulic pump that can transport more fluid at a time. More fluid means more pressure, which in turn means faster operation.
The only problem is that if you kit your splitter out with a larger pump, you’ll also need to install a larger hydraulic reservoir to make sure the fluid cools enough before recirculating.
Then you have to account for the extra strain exerted on the lines and install larger, sturdier hydraulic hoses. Lastly, after all that, you may even need a bigger engine to power the larger pump.
If you’re still keen to boost your splitter but don’t want to go through all of the above, you can speed up your cylinder’s return stroke by replacing it with one that has a larger rod diameter.
Less fluid will be required to recall the cylinder which should fast track its return.
Fight the urge to fit your hydraulics with cylinder stroke controls. They do speed up cycle speed, but the force exerted during retraction will strip the end of your cylinder, and eventually, the pressure plate will fall off.
Finding the best log splitter is a matter of considering your needs and comparing those that fall within your budget. Of course, there’s the choice of Manual, Petrol, and electric too, but don’t let that be your primary concern!
I hope that my list has given you plenty of food for thought and that by only showing you good quality products I’ve simplified your search somewhat. Enjoy the rest of your shopping experience, and I’m sure you’ll find the right tool for your needs.