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It’s hard to beat the appeal of a roaring fire, both for warmth and for relaxation, whether in your home’s fireplace, outside enjoying a fire pit, or even sitting around a campfire. But purchasing firewood can get expensive.
If you have access to fallen trees or cut logs, you can create your own perfectly sized firewood with a log splitter. These devices, which are available in manual, gas-powered, or electric models, make quick work of cutting chopped logs down to manageably sized pieces of firewood.
Here, the best log splitters.
While more hydraulic force is often better for larger logs, more force does not mean the splitter is the best around. In fact, there are plenty of log splitters that cannot tackle large logs but offer more reliability and utility than professional options. As a result, the best log splitter is one that is more versatile than just powerful. Luckily, the top pick on this list will give you both power and versatility without any issue.
The Champion Power Equipment 27-Ton Splitter is the best all-around performer for professionals and homeowners alike. If you need to cut your own supply of firewood for the winter, this splitter can handle up to 24-inch logs with ease. The splitter is small enough to fit into the bed of a truck and can be towed via a hitch at speeds under 45 miles per hour. This means you can take the splitter out into the woods when necessary to split logs at the source.
Splitting logs by hand with an axe is an exhausting business, but power log splitters are undeniably expensive. If you are willing to invest a little muscle power, however, and don’t need to split an entire woodpile in one go, you can save a lot of money, split quite a bit of firewood, and even get in an arm workout with the Sun Joe LJ10M Hydraulic Log Splitter.
This device is powered by hydraulics, not by gas or electricity. Using it is simple. Place a log that’s up to 18 inches long and 8 inches wide into the cradle, and then begin to pump the two handles back and forth. Your exertions are building up pressure—up to 10 tons of driving force—pushing the log up against the tool’s blade and slowly splitting it right down the center.
Once finished, simply turn the reset knob to return the spring to the starting position. Now you’re ready to split once more!
The Sun Joe Log Splitter is made of durable steel for years of use and has two wheels so you can maneuver it wherever you need it.
Most log splitters require the use of a separate engine and a supply of gasoline to tackle large, thick logs. If you need something for professional use, this is the only setup you should consider. For home use where your log splitting needs are smaller and less frequent, an electric splitter is a better alternative since you can skip the engine and gas and go straight to a wall outlet.
The Boss Industrial ES7T20 is designed for small home use on logs you would normally use for wood burning purposes. The two horsepower motor offers seven tons of splitting force without the need for gasoline or a separate engine. Since the motor is quiet and clean, you can even use the splitter indoors when it is too cold or wet outside.
Most log splitters come in a horizontal configuration, meaning you lay the log down into the track and let the ram do the work. This is good enough for the majority of logs, but if you are splitting something that looks like a mini-tree trunk, gravity may be a problem. When weight prevents you from lifting the log into the correct horizontal position, a vertical splitter will be more gentle on your back.
This is where a vertical/horizontal splitter, capable of changing the loading orientation quickly, comes in handy. For quick vertical-to-horizontal conversions, the Champion Power Equipment 25 Ton Gas Splitter is one of the best log splitters to consider. Not only can the ram change from vertical and horizontal positions, the change only takes a matter of seconds so you can convert on the fly. Beyond its adaptability, the splitter offers 25 tons of force for logs up to 24 inches in length using a two-stage hydraulic pump.
There is no substitute for a gas-powered engine when it comes to splitting the toughest logs around. When you need a splitter than can deliver over 20 tons of force, the gas-powered splitter makes it quick and easy to get large logs split in seconds. More importantly, these larger options tend to be more mobile with small frames, built-in wheels, and trailer attachments for easy transportation.
The Cub Cadet 166 cc Honda Logger is capable of handling some of the longest logs up to 25 inches in length. This makes it perfect for professional use, especially since the 19-second cycle time means you can tackle three logs in about a minute. The splitter is transportable via a 2-inch hitch attachment and 16-inch wheels built into the frame. It is also capable of horizontal and vertical splitting for better versatility.
Even though most log splitters are designed to take the work out of splitting large logs, there is something unique about completing the task by hand. Sometimes, you may not even have the luxury of hauling a gas or electric splitter with you.
For a step up from a simple axe, the best way to manually split your own logs quickly is with a metal wedge and some good old-fashioned gravity. For the true budget-conscious consumer, the Estwing Sure Split Wedge offers a lot of savings and a hands-on approach to log splitting. Designed as a splitting wedge, the Sure Split focuses the force of a hammer into a single edge for quick and easy splitting. At only 5 pounds, the wedge is also light enough to carry around with you for splitting while camping or out at a cabin in the woods.
It’s tough to start a roaring fire without some kindling to get things going. But there’s no need to buy kindling, or use your electric or gas-powered log splitter for this small task. Instead, fetch the cast-iron Kindling Cracker, insert a piece of wood that’s less than 6 inches in diameter into the central ring, use your mallet or hammer to give the top of the wood a whack, and voila! The driving force will split the wood into kindling-sized pieces ready to go into the fireplace, fire pit, campfire, or even your wood-burning stove. Not only is the device handy, it’s fun.
The Champion Power Equipment 27-Ton Splitter (available at Home Depot) wins our top spot thanks to its reliable performance in splitting logs as long as 24 inches, its sturdy construction, its wheeled design that lets you tow it behind your car, and its horizontal/vertical options so you can split even very heavy logs without strain. But if budget is your main concern, the Sun Joe LJ10M Hydraulic Log Splitter (available at Home Depot), which relies on your own power to pump up the hydraulics, is a very reasonably priced and effective tool.