There is a lot to consider before choosing the best log splitter for your requirements. The machine that you opt to purchase will be determined by what you’re going to use it for such as the type of wood you’re going to split and how often you will use it.
You’ll also need to consider other aspects such as the power level of the machine and how often it will need servicing. That’s why it’s worth exploring some of these factors before you determine which is the best log splitter for you.
How It’s Powered
You have a few choices when deciding which power supply you want for your log splitter. These are:
Each of these options presents both advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore the possibility of a manual log splitter first. The most obvious advantage of this type of log splitter is the cost. Due to the fact that there is no power source in play except for your own muscles, you can pick one up quite cheaply.
However, these can be gruelling to use and will often require a considerable amount of strength. It’s certainly not the type of equipment you’ll want for splitting multiple locks in a short period.
Hydraulic log splitters use a hydraulic pump with oil or old fashioned steam, pushing the splitter through the log. Essentially, it operates like an electric axe. Naturally, you’ll need to pay more for this kind of power, and you will typically find that a hydraulic splitter works with a force of 8 to 34 tonnes.
If you have a hydraulic splitter, it will ultimately be powered by petrol or electric. Your preference here is going to be determined by a few factors. How noisy do you want it to be? Electric splitters are certainly quieter than a petrol splitter and as such will be more practical if you are working somewhere like your backyard. However, you also need to consider power.
Petrol splitters tend to be more powerful and a lot faster. You might be able to cut through double the amount of logs an electric splitter could do in the same period of time. So, it is worth thinking about what you’re using your splitter for and the volume of wood you’re processing. That also means that you need to consider the type of wood that you’re going to be cutting.
Types Of Wood It Is Suited For
There are two types of wood that you might be splitting with your equipment. These are:
Seasoned wood is older and more mature. As such, it becomes more brittle and is far easier to split. The moisture inside the wood evaporates, and you’ll find you can cut through it, even with a manual splitter in no time at all. This is particularly true for older firewood that might have been left for a few months cut down, but not yet split.
Green wood is often green or yellow in colour, hence it’s name. It has retained the moisture and therefore is far more difficult to cut through. As such, you will need a splitter that has a higher tonnage rating. That’s why you’ll probably need to consider using a hydraulic splitter that is petrol powered to cut green wood. Of course, there is another factor to consider here, and that is the format of your splitter.
Just as you use chainsaw chains with a different chisel profile for cutting different types of wood so too do you need to consider different wood splitter options.
Format Of Log Splitter
There are two wood splitter formats that you need to be aware of when selecting the best log splitter for your work:
- Horizontal log splitter
- Upright or vertical log splitter
Horizontal splitters are far more common than the upright variety. With a horizontal splitter, the log is put on top of the splitter, and it is then pushed with a wedge into the splitter to slice through it.
Unfortunately, due to the design, you might have trouble getting larger logs hoisted up onto this type of device. For that type of heavier log, there’s a vertical splitter. A vertical splitter can be used by pivoting the equipment and then rolling the log into it. As such, no heavy lifting is needed.
Thus a horizontal splitter will be useful for smaller logs but for the bigger brutes of the forest, you will certainly need to consider a vertical splitter. These are ideally suited for industrial purposes in particular.
If you do select a horizontal splitter, you might want to consider getting a dual action log splitter. This is a fantastic time saver because it can split logs in both directions, allowing you to double the amount of logs you can split and load in a set time.
Of course, the disadvantage is that you will have trouble lifting heavier logs and even smaller logs can weigh quite a lot. That said, you can get a horizontal splitter with a hydraulic lift. This means that you can pick up the log and move it onto the splitter without hurting your back.
Type Of Wood Splitter
Next, you should consider the type of log splitter that you want. Again, there are a few options to consider. You can get:
- A tractor mounted log splitter
- A towable log splitter
- A workshop log splitter
A tractor mounted log splitter is great if you are cutting logs out in the forest as is a towable log splitter. The benefits of a tractor mounted log splitter is that it will be perfect for an agricultural or large estate setting, particularly for tree farmers. The splitter is connected to the tractor hydraulics and can be taken directly to where the wood is being cut down.
If you have a self-contained petrol powered splitter, you should easily be able to slice through the green wood after it has been freshly cut.
Fully road legal towable log splitters like those from Oxdale are more suitable for private users who are not processing huge amounts of wood in any one location. You may be a tree surgeon travelling to residential clients on shorter day long jobs. Furthermore, they’re also a fantastic option for those individuals who own large areas of land and want to split wood without bringing the logs back to their home.
Finally, a workshop log splitter is stationary, positioned, as you might have guessed, in a workshop. The main disadvantage is that you won’t be able to move the splitter to where the trees are being cut. As such, the logs will need to be brought directly to the workshop for the splitter. Though, it could still be beneficial for industrial purposes.
Log Width Capacity
When choosing your log splitter, you will need to look at the advertised log width that it can cut. You will tend to find that more powerful machines are capable of splitting logs with larger widths. In particular, you’ll find that vertical splitters provide the best option here. You can typically determine what type of splitter you need by its power level. For instance, a four-tonne splitter will easily cut through a log that is no more than six inches in diameter.
Alternatively, you might be looking to split a two foot wide tree. If that’s the case, you should definitely be looking for a splitter with a power level between twenty and thirty tonnes. This would definitely rule out using a manual splitter.
Log Weight Capacity
As well as the log width, you also need to consider the log weight. The log weight can be deceptive, and a thin log may not always result in a low weight. It depends on the type of wood that you are cutting.
Maximum A Potential Product Can Split In Tonnes
Finally, you may want to consider the maximum a given product can split. This is typically the power of the splitter, referenced in tonnes. The max a product can take will determine whether the wood splitter will suit your needs and also affect whether you choose a vertical or horizontal splitter.
Larger more powerful splitters will have a significantly larger maximum rating measured in tonnes, as we have referenced multiple times throughout the article. For larger, heavier logs for forestry use you need a splitter capable of between 25 and 30 tonnes.
What’s The Best Log Splitter For You?
We hope to have given you food for thought when choosing the best log splitter for your day to day needs. It’s not just a case of picking the best you can afford but really thinking about how you will use it daily and also where you will use it.
It’s one of the larger gear purchases arborists, small businesses, estates and landowners will buy so considering future requirements is also important.