The 6 Best Log Splitters of 2021

Turn logs into firewood to feed your fireplace all winter long

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The Spruce / Chloe Jeong

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.

When choosing a log splitter, you should consider the power source—gas splitters are the most powerful, electric splitters are quiet and and don't create fumes, and manual splitters get the job done with your own muscle power—along with the driving force of the tool, and the length of time it takes the splitter to get the job done.

Here, the best log splitters.

Our Top Picks
It really is a champion; this powerful and versatile log splitter makes quick work of logs up to 24 inches.
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Turn logs into firewood and get in an arm workout to boot with this reasonably priced and effective hydraulic log splitter.
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This splitter is designed for home use on small logs intended for average-sized fireplaces, firepits, or campfires.
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This is a vertical/horizontal splitter, capable of changing the loading orientation for tackling large and heavy logs more easily.
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Powered by a sturdy hammer or mallet and your own energy, this manual split wedge makes quick work of logs and is very portable.
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Use this manual splitter to produce small pieces of kindling perfect for getting your fire started.
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Best Overall: Champion Power Equipment 27-Ton Splitter


Power Source: Gas | Driving Force: 27 tons | Cycle Time: 11 seconds | Vertical/Horizontal Options: Yes

What We Like
  • Can be towed behind car

  • Vertical or horizontal use

  • Fairly easy to assemble and use

  • Very powerful

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

While more 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 gas-powered splitter can handle up to 24-inch logs with ease, and it has an impressive 11-second cycle time. 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. ​​

Best Budget: Sun Joe LJ10M 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter

Hydraulic Log Splitter
What We Like
  • No gas or oil required

  • Quiet and no fumes

  • Splits fairly large logs

What We Don't Like
  • Slow

  • Can be tiring to use

Power Source: Hydraulic | Driving Force: 10 tons | Cycle Time: N/A | Vertical/Horizontal Options: No

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.

Best Electric: Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter

ES7T20 Log Splitter

Power Source: Electric | Driving Force: 7 tons | Cycle Time: 15 seconds | Vertical/Horizontal Options: No

What We Like
  • No gas fumes or excessive noise

  • Single-handed operation

What We Don't Like
  • Only for logs up to 10 inches in diameter

  • Low to ground

Most log splitters require the use of an engine powered by gasoline to tackle large, thick logs. If you need something for heavy-duty use or want to bring your splitter out into the woods to tackle logs on the spot, that's the only setup you should consider. For home use where your log splitting needs are smaller and less frequent, however, an electric splitter can be a better alternative since you can skip the engine and gas and go straight to a wall outlet without worry about fumes.

The Boss Industrial ES7T20 is designed for home use on smaller logs you would normally use for wood-burning purposes. The 2-horsepower motor offers 7 tons of splitting force to tackle logs up to 10 inches in diameter 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.

Best Gas: Champion Power Equipment 25-Ton Gas Splitter

25-Ton Gas Splitter

Power Source: Gas | Driving Force: 25 tons | Cycle Time: 11 seconds | Vertical/Horizontal Options: Yes

What We Like
  • Very powerful

  • Vertical or horizontal use

  • Can be towed behind car

What We Don't Like
  • Expensive

  • Emits gas fumes

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 is much easier 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 diameter, and it has a fast 12-second cycle time so you'll be done splitting wood in no time.

Best Manual: Estwing Sure Split Wedge

Sure-Split E5 Wedge

Power Source: Manual | Driving Force: N/A | Cycle Time: N/A | Vertical/Horizontal Options: N/A

What We Like
  • Perfect for use while camping

  • Very inexpensive

  • With strength and patience, can split even fairly large logs

What We Don't Like
  • Can be tiring to use

  • Can bounce if wood is still green

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.

Depending on your own strength and the striking power of the hammer you use—a sledgehammer is the best choice—you can split logs as big as 12 to 14 inches in diameter. And at only 5 pounds, the wedge is light enough to carry around with you for splitting while camping or out at a cabin in the woods. 

Best for Kindling: Kindling Cracker Firewood Splitter

Kindling Cracker

Power Source: Manual | Driving Force: N/A | Cycle Time: N/A | Vertical/Horizontal Options: N/A

What We Like
  • Easy to use

  • Very effective with small logs

What We Don't Like
  • Only for splitting kindling

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.

Final Verdict

The Champion Power Equipment 27-Ton Splitter (view 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 (view at Amazon), which relies on your own power to pump up the hydraulics, is a very reasonably priced and effective tool.

What to Look for in a Log Splitter

Power Source

There are three basic types of log splitters: gas, electric, and manual.

Gas-powered log splitters are the most powerful type. Many let you switch between vertical and horizontal splitting, which can be a major issue when working with very large, heavy logs. If you expect to use your log splitter regularly on very hard or large wood, this is the best option.

Electric log splitters are generally powerful enough to tackle mid-size logs of light-to-moderate hardness. But you’ll be tethered to a power cord, so these tools aren’t the best choice for splitting wood on the go. Still, their relatively light weight, lack of smelly gas fumes, and quieter performance makes them a good choice if you’ll only use your log splitter occasionally to create firewood at home.

Manual log splitters come in various forms, but all rely at least partly on your own strength to get the job done. Some merely require you to pump levers that work up enough pressure to drive the splitter through the log, while others hold the log in place while you do all of the heavy work. You won’t work your way through a lot of wood with a manual splitter, nor will you cut through very large or hard wood, but if you only expect to use the tool occasionally to produce kindling or very small pieces of firewood, and you’re watching your budget, a manual log splitter does the trick.

Driving Force

It takes a lot of force to push a blade through a log, and so one of the most important factors when choosing a log splitter is its driving force, which is usually measured in tons.

As a general rule, gas log splitters are far more powerful than their electric counterparts. You’ll find gas log splitters with well over 30 tons of driving force, but 25 tons is about average. That’s enough to split logs up to around 24 inches in diameter.

Electric log splitters typically have somewhere between 6 and 10 tons of driving force, which is enough to split logs up to around 12 inches in diameter.

Pump-style manual log splitters can generally tackle logs up to around 10 inches in diameter. These tools usually top out at around 10 tons of driving force, but get there much more slowly than gas or electric log splitters, and of course, rely on your own strength to create the initial power.

Cycle Time

A log splitter’s cycle time measures how long it takes the tool to split through a log. There are a lot of variables that affect this number, however, including the size and the hardness of the log. But as a general rule, gas lot splitters are faster than electric log splitters, with an average cycle time of anywhere from 10 to 20 seconds, although you’ll find some high-powered models with cycle times as short as 3 seconds. For most people, however, around 15 seconds is sufficient when tackling a large load of logs.

Why Trust The Spruce?

This article is edited and updated by Michelle Ullman, the tool expert for The Spruce. She has extensive experience not only in writing about all things related to the home, but also in carrying out various DIY projects, including landscaping, painting, flooring, wallpapering, furniture makeovers, and simple repairs. For this roundup, she considered dozens of log splitters, evaluating each for basic features, extras, and customer evaluation.

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