Best log splitter reviews 2018
Champion 100251 25-Ton Full Beam Gas Log SplitterHeavy-duty convertible log splitter
Top-in-class log splitter powered by a 224cc engine - delivers 25 tons of splitting capacity.
Champion 100251 Review
The Champion 100251 is an ultra-powerful log splitter powered by a reliable 224cc single-cylinder OHV engine with cast-iron sleeve. Capable of top-notch performance, the unit delivers 25 tons of splitting capacity. Turning from horizontal to vertical in seconds, the 100251 is capable of handling heavy logs of up to 100 pounds. Efficient log splitting is offered by the auto-return valve and 12-second cycle time. Furthermore, productivity is ensured by the 2-stage gear pump capable of adjusting the flow to address the splitter’s demands.
EPA-certified and CARB-compliant, the splitter can be used in all 50 states and is towable at speeds up to 45mph. Top-notch performance and best-in-class capabilities make the Champion 100251 the best log splitter you could find.
Boss Industrial ES7T20 7-Ton Electric Log SplitterAffordable industrial-grade performance
Patented hydraulic system and one-hand operation ensure outstanding performance and versatility.
Boss ES7T20 Review
The Boss ES7T20 is one of the best log splitters you could come across if you’re looking for the best value for money. It is powered by a 2 horsepower electric motor with an automatic ram return that provides a splitting capacity of 7 tons. Although it stands quite behind our best-in-class pick, the machine can handle with ease most industrial needs and it’s very easy to maneuver. Its patented hydraulic system and the simple one-hand operation make the difference between this unit and the rest.
Moreover, the built-in side rails and front handle keep the logs firm for splitting and enable maneuverability respectively. Powered by an electric motor, the Boss ES7T20 can be used either indoors or outdoors, while the sturdy wheels and a towing mechanism make it easy to move the unit around – all you could wish from a log splitter designed to handle most domestic and industrial tasks.
Champion 90720 7-Ton Horizontal Gas Log SplitterLow profile for easy loading
Seven tons of splitting capacity and adaptability to all terrains make it perfect for heavy-duty demands.
Champion 90720 Review
If you’re looking for a log splitter capable of working in harsh conditions, the Champion 90720 could be the machine you need. The reliable 196cc OHV engine provides a 7-ton splitting force and can handle most horizontal jobs. This workhorse is capable of handling logs up to 19 inches long with a weight of or under 50lbs.
Similar to our best-in-class pick, the Champion 90720 comes with a 2-stage gear pump and can be easily towed or transported in a truck. The log splitter is also EPA and CARB-compliant. Rugged enough to handle the most varied needs, the Champion 90720 is a good alternative to our best-value pick.
WEN 56207 Electric Log SplitterBudget-friendly yet powerful
Easy-to-transport electric log splitter can seamlessly handle even the hardest wood and is perfect for the homeowner shopping on a budget.
WEN 56207 Review
The WEN 56207 is a great log splitter to consider if you need a versatile solution that won’t break the bank. Featuring a reliable 15-Amp electric motor that provides over 13,000lbs of cracking pressure, the machine promises top-notch performance and portability. The performance is ensured by the motor and the splitting capacity. This unit can handle logs up to 20.5 inches long and 10 inches wide.
The portability is ensured by the rugged 5.5-inch never-flat wheels and convenient pull handle. Easy to start in all weathers and powerful enough to handle most types of wood, the WEN 56207 is an excellent log splitter and it comes at a more than affordable price.
2. Types of log splitters
If you use wood to heat up your home during winter, a log splitter is an essential machine. There is a bountiful range on the market but choosing the best one if far from easy. The first thing to consider is what type of log splitter you need.
The machine comes in multiple variants but it can be classified either in gas-powered or electric or as a horizontal or vertical log splitter.
Gas-powered vs. electric log splitters
There is a never-ending debate between pros and homeowners regarding a log splitter’s reliability. Gas-powered models are usually more powerful, while the electric ones are more versatile.
- Gas-powered log splitters: Are capable of heavy-duty performance and they are portable. You can use them anywhere, whether or not there is a wall outlet around. However, they are heavy, noisy, and emit noxious fumes.
- Electric log splitters: Are less powerful and depend on a wall socket or power generator to function. But on the bright side, they don’t emit noxious fumes and can be used indoors, which is a great advantage in the colder months.
Horizontal vs. vertical log splitters
- Horizontal log splitters: Can be ideal for either small low-demand jobs or heavier-duty tasks depending on the unit’s motor and tonnage, but in most cases these machines are ideal for domestic use. They can be either electric or gas-powered, are often towable, and most of the times are operated at floor level.
- Vertical log splitters: Comprise mid-range and high-end machines versatile enough to deal with high-volume jobs and heavier requirements. Most vertical log splitters come with an adjustable base that adapts to different sizes of logs, and some units can even convert from vertical to horizontal for higher versatility. These heavy-duty machines are perfect for the professionals.
3. What is the best log splitter motor?
The motor is the core of a log splitter, as it dictates what the unit can or cannot handle. Here, the capacities vary widely from small 80cc engines to top-notch motors of 250cc and over on the gas-powered units. But besides the displacement, you should also consider the motor’s horsepower, RAM splitting force, and amps.
- High-end gas-powered units are capable of producing at least 18 horsepower and 45 tons of splitting capacity.
- Some of the best electric log splitters can produce around 2 horsepower and around 7 tons of splitting capacity.
4. Understanding cycle times
One of the most important specs for a log splitter is the cycling time. It determines the splitting speed of the machine, which ultimately determines the productivity and efficiency of your unit.
Short cycle time is important
Mid-range log splitters come with cycle times of around 20 seconds and provide a decent productivity. However, if you intend to use the machine for industrial-grade applications, aim for a shorter cycle time.
Most industrial-grade log splitters have a cycle time of around 15 seconds, while some of the most performing units can even boast shorter cycles.
5. What is log splitter tonnage?
Another number that stands out when looking at a log splitter’s specs is the tonnage. It doesn’t refer to the actual weight the unit can lift; instead, it determines the amount of pressure the machine can exert.
High-end models used in industrial settings or for high-volume heavy-duty domestic demands can usually exert a pressure of up to 45 tons. On the contrary, basic models can rarely exceed 5 tons of splitting capacity.
We found that mid-size units with a splitting capacity of around 5 to 10 tons are perfect for home use and are capable of handling most types of wood, including hardwood.
6. Log splitter build
Log splitters won’t cost you peanuts, so it makes sense investing in a robust machine that can stay by your side for the years to come. Only the most durable units can guarantee that kind of reliability, that’s why it is essential to check the materials the log splitter is made from.
The best log splitters boast an all-steel construction with rust-resistant finish. If you decided to go for a gas-powered machine, also check the material and construction of the fuel tank and motor.
Log splitter mobility
A desired feature of the design is a mobility kit. Wheels and a handle help transport the log splitter from a shed to the forest if needed. Since these machines are usually heavy, you might also want to check if the log splitter can be towed.
In case it can’t, make sure it is at least lightweight and compact enough to fit in your trunk.
7. Other features to look for
- The main problem when operating a log splitter is bending to operate it. To solve this issue, some manufacturers equip their units with stands that raise the machine from the floor level for an ergonomic operation.
- A zero voltage switch capable of turning the unit off in case of a power outage is an important safety feature to look for in the electric log splitters. This simple switch prevents the machine from turning on automatically when the power returns.
- Similar to the zero voltage switch, the low oil switch turns off the engine if the hydraulic oil level is low. This helps prevent damage to the mechanism, prolonging the unit’s lifespan. Another nice thing to have is a low oil lamp that just lets you know when it’s time to refill.
- Another thing to consider is the speed of the wedge; it is recommended to invest in a dual speed log splitter whose wedge travels at a higher speed towards the log to then slow down for applying pressure and splitting the log. This feature increases your log splitting efficiency.
- Keeping the logs firm during operation is tricky. Large pieces of wood are heavy, and some may even be slippery. But log clamps can help to keep your beams in place.
- Last but not least, you should also check the unit has an ergonomic grip. This is particularly important if you want or have to work for extended periods of time. Besides the grip, a safety feature to consider is the two-hand operation, which requires you to hold the handle with both hands to operate the unit.