Tools

Best Log Splitter

In our search for best log splitter for most people, we tested 10 different models for over 60 hours, and Boss Industrial ES7T20 was our choice. With its impressive performance and powerful 2HP motor and 7-ton splitting force, Boss ES7T20 handled both dry and wet wood without breaking a sweat. Affordable price and great quality make Boss ES7T20 a dream come true for every homeowner who has trouble splitting logs manually.

The Boss Industrial ES7T20 can easily take care of your average splitting needs. Powerful 2HP motor combined with 7-ton splitting force made splitting logs up to 18″ in diameter during our testing an easy task. With an affordable price, this log splitter performs almost as if it runs on gas, only without the additional costs and fuss that comes with it.

When you are in need for something that can run heavy-duty operations, Champion Power Equipment No.92221 is the choice to make. With its 22-ton splitting force it will easily handle more demanding logs, and the ability to split logs both in vertical and horizontal position comes as a handy feature that accounts for different situations you may face.

In case our top pick is out of stock, or if you are on a tight budget, Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 is the best option. Its performance isn’t impressive as our top pick’s, but it can still get the job done if you need a log splitter for a small-size project.

Table of Contents

Why should I buy a log splitter?

Anyone who ever had to use an ax to manually chop wood knows how frustrating and exhausting can it be. Not only that you’ll tire yourself out, you’ll lose a lot of time if you cut wood manually. When you see how log splitters go through wood like knife through butter, while, on the other hand, it took a lot of grunting and sweating for you to split a log with an axe, the decision will make itself. Gwendolyn Bounds at The Wall Street Journal also noticed, in her own research, how beneficial it can be to switch from manual work to log splitters, and how much time and unnecessary effort they save. Her testing proved that anyone can use a log splitter, regardless of their previous experience and strength level, and that log splitters offer the most efficient results with the least amount of work needed.

Log splitters are designed to save significant amount of time, and to make wood cutting an effortless experience, making it easy to prepare your firewood or get rid of dropped three trunks in no time, and without having to strain your back and tire yourself out. If you’re not using wood as fuel for your heating system, you might consider switching, when you see how much you could actually save by wood burning. Nicole Blackmore did a great article for the Telegraph, where she researched how much can you really save on energy bills if you switch on wood burning heating, and the numbers are more than in enough to make you consider it. The fact that you can significantly save on wood burning, combined with an efficient log splitter, can make cold winter months more cozy with a woodstove, and be a better option for your budget, all without having to sacrifice too much time or money to prepare your stock. Renting log splitters or hiring help to chop your wood can cost almost as much, or sometimes even more, than it would to buy the log splitter yourself, and that way, you’ll be able to use it for the years to come, and won’t have to depend on anyone.

There are different types of log splitters and the best way to make sure you’re buying the right model is to consider size of logs you plan on splitting, power source that suits you best and the performance of log splitter that will satisfy your individual demands, and make log splitter a priceless addition to your inventory of machines. It’s also important to consider the type of the wood you’ll be splitting, since it can affect your choice of log splitter, since not all of them are equally suitable for both hardwood and softwood. If you are not sure what type of wood you have, Edward Lipinski did a great guide over at The New York Times, so take look to determine the type of wood you’ll be cutting, and make sure you are buying the right log splitter.

Which type of log splitter is the best for me?

Depending on what you need from a log splitter, you can choose from 5 different types. They all operate on the same basic premise- instead of using speed, they use force to split the wood, gradually driving a wedge into the log.

The most basic type is the manual log splitter, which uses you as a power source, so it’s just slightly better from using an axe- it’s more efficient and faster than using an axe, but it’s still tiring and it’s nowhere near enough to powered log splitters when it comes to performance.

Next three types are all hydraulic log splitters, the main difference between them being their power source- main two being electric and gas powered, and third uses your vehicle as a power source. They use different power sources to fuel the same mechanism- hydraulic pump which drives the ram that splits the wood.

Electric log splitters are the best choice for most homeowners, since they have enough strength to manage average sized logs, and affordable prices, and use of electric power makes their use practical and economical.

Gas-powered log splitters are more heavy-duty than other hydraulic log-splitter, which makes them more suitable for splitting tougher and harder logs, or amounts of wood that are bigger than the average, since their enhanced power also makes them faster. However, the gas used for running these log splitters isn’t the cheapest option, and it also makes working with them more unpleasant, due to gas emissions and noise they produce.

Machine mounted log splitters are mainly used with tractors, and since they use the vehicle as the power source, they can be quite powerful, but due to specific conditions in which they might be useful, they aren’t as popular.

Last type are kinetic log splitters, which don’t use hydraulic pump but kinetic technology and motion, which makes for stunningly fast and effective results. These log splitters are used for professional log splitting, due to the massive amounts of different type of wood, which makes it necessary to use a splitter this fast.

How we tested

It took us over 60 hours of extensive testing to find the best log splitter for most people. We rated their speed, force and ease of use, as well as how well did they handle different types of wood, from lightweight to hard categories, both wet and dry, knotted and clean.

After many weeks of thorough research, we picked 10 different models and created a checklist which contained characteristics we determined to be essential for the best log splitter.

Here’s what the best log splitter for most people needed to have:
Strength. One of the main reasons people think about switching to a log splitter is their power, so one of the main factors in our decision was the strength of the motor and splitting force, as well as the ability of log splitter to handle a variety of wood types and sizes.

Speed. Another important feature of log splitters is the fact the significantly reduce time needed for cutting wood. We rated log splitters for their cycle time, or more precisely, the average time needed for different models to split the same log.

Economy. Power-hungry machines tend to do work great, but at a great cost too. We tried to find log splitter that offers optimal balance between quality performance and economical consumption of power.

Ease of use. Log splitters use different modes of operation, and some of them proved to be easier to handle, therefore, more suitable for a wide variety of people to use.

Mobility. Although not all people look for a log splitter that can be easily moved, it’s certainly a benefit to have the option to use a log splitter on various sites, depending on the situation that comes up. Lightweight models or cordless log splitters hold an advantage in this part of testing, due to the fact they are more easily moved if needed.

Additional features. Some models have additional useful features, like changeable position, automatic ram return or attachment for towing, so we considered that when we rated log splitters. Additional features could really elevate a log splitter to a whole another level, so models who had useful features were awarded with bonus points.

Our pick: Boss ES7T20

Boss Industrial ES7T20

Top Pick: Boss Industrial ES7T20

Weighing around 105 lbs, Boss Industrial ES7T20 was a delight to use. With one-handed mode of operation, it offers an incredible ease of use, making the whole process less complicated and only thing you have to do is to push the start button and place the logs into the splitter. The 40″ height of Boss Industrial ES7T20 makes for an ever easier use, since you won’t have to lift heavy logs high in order to place them onto the splitter, which is a great advantage, especially for older people or for handling heavier logs.

Powerful 2HP motor runs on a 15amp circuit without a problem, making it more practical to just plug in and go, without having to provide a separate circuit or a power source in order to run it, and it has a three-pronged outlet which makes it compatible with every standard socket in most households. Strong motor and professional-grade hydraulic system make the 7-inch steel wedge an extremely powerful tool, which cuts through wood with ease, and to our surprise, offers much, much more than promised. We tried everything we could get our hands on- walnut, pine, oak, cherry, birch, maple, ash, cedar, aspen, elm- and Boss Industrial ES7T20 didn’t disappoint.

It handled both seasoned and wet wood without any straining or slowing down, which makes it perfect for whatever type of wood you need to split. What came as a major surprise is the actual width of logs this machine could take on. Advertised as a log splitter that you can use for logs up to 10″ in diameter, Boss Industrial ES7T20 proved as much powerful in our tests- it easily split a 19″ pine log without breaking a sweat. You only have to stick to recommended length of the log- up to 20.5″, since longer logs won’t fit in Boss Industrial ES7T20, but, when it comes to the width of the log, feel free to take it up a notch.

Automatic ram return proved as a big time saver, and made the overall process almost effortless, making the log splitting much faster than some other models, and 14 seconds cycle time allows you to split around 200 pieces of wood per hour, making it possible to finish your whole project in couple of hours, rather than days, without having to strain yourself.

When you look at overall costs, Boss Industrial ES7T20 is quite affordable, and, being an electric log splitter, its power consumption isn’t a hit on a budget, either, making it a quite money-saving buy, that will not only save you money, but time and effort you needed for manual wood cutting.

For most people, Boss Industrial ES7T20 electric log splitter is the ideal choice- it’s affordable and has great performance, and for average homeowner’s needs, this machine will prove as an irreplaceable asset.

Flaws but not dealbreakers

Although we did like that Boss Industrial ES7T20 is positioned low, not everyone shares this opinion. Some people find it much easier to split logs on an elevated surface, so this could prevent as an initial disadvantage in case you also prefer for your log splitter to have stand. But, even though it doesn’t come with a stand, you can buy it separately, or build your own.

Even though Boss Industrial ES7T20 is built with quality materials, and has a great finish that is pretty resistant to damage, the manufacturer made a slight oversight when it comes to the plastic that covers the cord- it’s easily breakable due to its position and the material used. It doesn’t affect the performance or efficiency of Boss Industrial ES7T20, but it would have been nicer to avoid this issue.

The step-up pick: Champion Power Equipment No.92221

Champion Power Equipment No.92221
Step-up Pick: Champion Power Equipment No.92221

When you have a heavy-duty project, but you still don’t need a commercial grade log splitter, Champion Power Equipment No.92221 with its 22-ton splitting force and 2-stage hydraulic pump is a real beast, that can manage 24″ long logs and, even though it’s advertised for logs up to 12″ inch in diameter, we had no problems with logs closer to 30″ in width.

If you need a heavy-duty log splitter, you’ll have to go for gas-powered one. Champion Power Equipment No.92221 is much pricier than our top pick, but, in case you’re looking for a log splitter that will handle big, heavy logs, the bigger price is inevitable.

It’s not a lightweight machine, since it weighs 396 lbs, but, the manufacturer found a way to make it more mobile- by providing the Champion Power Equipment No.92221 with DOT approved wheels and towable frame with 2″ ball hitch, which enables you to attach this log splitter to your vehicle and transport it easily wherever you need it to be. Gas as a power source has both disadvantages and advantages when it comes to mobility- you can easily start and use Champion Power Equipment No.92221 in environment where you don’t have electricity available, but, you can’t use it indoors, like you can with electric log splitters. Depending on your needs, this could either make or break the deal for you.

Same as our top pick, Champion Power Equipment No.92221 has 14 seconds cycle time, which accounts for its fast performance and great results with more heavy-duty projects. 22-ton splitting force rips through logs with incredible ease, and does much more than we were promised- it handled a massive 33″ maple log we used in our testing, and the advertised diameter limit is 12″, so don’t be afraid to push this log splitter a further more.

Another useful feature of this log splitter is its ability to use it both vertically and horizontally, which caters to a wider group of people, and using a pull pin, you can easily change between the two options.

The budget pick: Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556

Pow' R' Kraft 65556
Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556

With more modest features, but a decent performance, Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 electric log splitter is a good choice in case you’re on a budget, or our top pick isn’t stocked. Its 4-ton splitting force driven by 1.75HP motor is suited for logs up to 20″ in length and 12″ in diameter- although, depending on the log, it can handle up to 17″ in width. We managed to split logs over 12″, but they were either well-seasoned logs, or softwood logs, like aspen. It did struggle a bit with knotted logs, but, in cases of smaller diameter it managed to split them.

Same as our top pick, Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 is an electric log splitter, which reflects well on its energy consumption- with 1.75HP motor it runs on 15amp circuit, and, unlike gas-powered log splitter, it is not a big spender.

It’s much heavier than our top pick at 172 lbs, but it’s still not too hard to move it around with some help from the wheels. Same as our top pick, it has automated ram which makes it faster and easier to use, but two-handed operation and 15 seconds cycle time make it slower than our pick. Still, if you’re not too demanding, this log splitter can prove as a good, reliable choice.

Competition

Best log splitter for tractor

Hydraulic Log Wood Splitter Skid Steer Tractor Mount
Hydraulic Log Wood Splitter Skid Steer Tractor Mount

This log splitter is actually one of the most budget friendly machine-mounted log splitters on the market. Impressive 30-ton splitting force can handle any type of wood you have, and even the knotted and hardwood logs posed no problem. It handles logs up to 24″ in length, and the diameter has no limit- it could easily split massive 30″ walnut logs in our tests, but we’re sure it could handle even wider logs with the same ease. It has a 4-way splitting blade which only adds to the speed of log splitting, and its adjustable position- both vertical and horizontal- makes it easily adjustable to your needs. It fits most machines, thanks to standard skid steer mount plate, and flat faced couplers will help maintain the pressure.

Best log splitter for oak

Dirty Hand Tools 100408
Dirty Hand Tools 100408

Another model from Dirty Hand Tools, 100408, is a gas-powered log splitter created for more advanced needs. With a 27-ton splitting force and 14 seconds cycle time, it can handle 25″ long logs quickly and with ease, and in our tests, it could split oak logs up to 30″ in diameter. Powerful splitting force and wide diameter it can handle make this log splitter perfect for handling hardwood logs, like oak. Same as their other model we tested, 100408 can be used both in vertical and horizontal position, which, combined with the gas as a source of power, makes it easy to use this log splitter anytime, anywhere.

Best log splitter with capacity over 30 tons

NorthStar Horizontal Vertical Log Splitter - 37-Ton
NorthStar Horizontal/Vertical Log Splitter – 37-Ton

With more than impressive splitting force of 37-tons, this NorthStar’s model is really a monster. There really isn’t any type of log this splitter can’t handle, and the 4-way wedge increases its productivity by quartering the log, and, combined with 14 seconds cycle time, it makes for really fast and effective log splitting.

You can split logs both in horizontal and vertical position, which is an advantage since it makes this log splitter easily adaptable. Because its powered by a Honda GX270 engine, you can count on economical fuel use and reduced noise when operating on this log splitter. Its price tag makes this the most expensive model we tested, but, the high price is justified, considering the powerful performance this log splitter offers.

Best dual log splitter

Boss Industrial GD16T21
Boss Industrial GD16T21

When you want to double the performance, Boss Industrial GD16T21 is the best choice. The dual-direction splitting wedge makes it hard to keep up if you’re alone, so it’s best to split logs in pair when operating this machine, in order to truly exploit its abilities. With an impressive 4.5 seconds time cycle per direction, it can really halve the amount of time needed to split your log pile. 16-ton splitting force and the capability of handling logs up to 21″ in length and anything from 12″-17″ in diameter makes this log splitter a good choice when you want reliable performance and double the efficiency of a regular log splitter.

Best log splitter for light-duty needs

WEN 56206

WEN 56206

The price made WEN 56206 one of the more budget-friendly log splitter we tested, and it had a reasonable performance, when you consider the price. 2HP motor and 6-ton splitting force are capable of taking care of logs 20.5″ in length and 10″ in diameter, which puts this log splitter a little below the average. Two-handed operation and cycle time of 25 seconds make it much slower and less effective than our top pick. We managed to split softwood logs up to 15″ in diameter, but not without some straining of the machine. However, in case our budget pick isn’t in stock, you might consider WEN 56206 as a substitute, since the price is similar, although Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 has slightly better performance.

Best 22-ton log splitter

Dirty Hand Tools 100171 22
Dirty Hand Tools 100171 22

22-ton splitting force and gas-powered engine make Dirty Hand Tools 100171 22 suitable for heavy-duty log splitting. Dirty Hand Tools 100171 22 offers the option of both vertical and horizontal log splitting, and with attachment for towing, it’s quite versatile and can be used in different environments equally efficient. 10.9 second cycle time and automatic ram return make for an ultra-fast log splitting, and it can handle logs up to 25″ in length. The manufacturer didn’t specify the maximum diameter of the log, but in our tests, it handled logs up to 30″ in diameter without a problem.

Fastest log splitter

Powerhouse XM-380
Powerhouse XM-380

With a 3HP 2,500-watt motor Powerhouse XM-380 is a bit more power-hungry than it should be, considering its performance. This log splitter handles logs up to 20.5″ in length and 12″ in diameter, although the 7-ton splitting force leaves room for handling logs up to 16″ in diameter. It didn’t impress with hardwood logs over 12″ in diameter, and it strained with knotted logs. Even though it requires you to use two hands to operate it, it compensates with an incredible cycle time of 5 seconds, making it really, really fast. However, speed won’t be that significant if you need some heavy-duty splitting.

Best log splitter for small logs

Woodeze 4-Ton Electric Wood Splitter
Woodeze 4-Ton Electric Wood Splitter

Woodeze 4-Ton Electric Wood Splitter is the cheapest log splitter we tested, and the one with most modest performance. Struggling with any log over 10″ in diameter, Woodeze 4-Ton Electric Wood Splitter is by far the log splitter with the most basic functions. 1.75 HP motor and 4-ton splitting force in our budget pick provided much better results, but with Woodeze, something is lacking, so it barely handled a 12″ softwood log we used it for. If you’re looking for a temporary solution, or have really, really low expectations, then you won’t mind the Woodeze 4-Ton Electric Wood Splitter’s overall below-average performance. When you have small logs to split, Woodeze will be of use, and the low price doesn’t hurt, but if you’re looking to split bigger logs, it won’t be a good choice for you.

Best log splitter for small-sized projects

Sun Joe Logger Joe LJ601E
Sun Joe Logger Joe LJ601E

With a 5-ton splitting force and 2HP motor Sun Joe Logger Joe LJ601E is a pretty basic log splitter which can be used for small-sized projects. Two-handed operation mode and 20 seconds cycle time make Sun Joe Logger Joe LJ601E more suitable for handling small amounts of wood, since it doesn’t stand out with his speed performance, and log capacity at 20″ long logs with up to 10″ in diameter (it really can handle only that much), it definitely isn’t a good match if you expect your log splitter do anything above the bare minimum. It is a modest log splitter, offering a good temporary solution for people who are currently on a tight budget.

Best log splitter for softwood

Earthquake W1200
Earthquake W1200

Even though its name suggested earth-shattering performance, Earthquake W1200 failed to impress us. With its 5-ton splitting force and 1.75HP motor we expected a bit more, but this log splitter struggled with hardwood and knotted logs of any diameter, and when we add the 22 seconds cycle time, the process became incredibly slow and really painful to watch. It can handle 20″ long and 10″ wide logs, but, keep in mind, not only it won’t exceed this, it will struggle with hardwood and knotted logs of any size, which is a huge disadvantage of the model. However, if you have softwood logs you need to split, Earthquake W1200 will do just fine.

Wrapping it up

If you have a dropped three in your yard, or use wood for heating over the winter months, you know how hard and tiring it can be to manually cut your wood. Log splitters take stress and exhaustion out of the equation and make wood chopping a fast and easy task. In much less time, you’ll be able to either prepare your firewood for winter, or to easily get rid of unwanted trunks in your yard. Boss Industrial ES7T20 with its affordable price and outstanding performance is the best log splitter for most homeowners. In case you’re in the market for a heavy-duty log splitter, Champion Power Equipment No.92221 is a good pick, and if you’re on a budget, or looking for something really basic, Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 is the choice for you.

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