Top 10 Best log Splitters in 2018 (Gas & Electric)
If you’re after a new log splitter you’ve come to the right place. In this 2018 review round up we’ve brought together 10 of the best log splitters on the market today.
For those looking for the best electric log splitter (better suited to homeowners) our top 5 table reveals our selection followed by full reviews of each below.
If you are looking for top end power and require the use of a gas log splitter for in the field – well we’ve done our research there too and brought you another top 5 list.
And if after all that you remain undecided on what sort of log splitter you need, our buyer’s guide will provide some helpful advice on what to look for when buying one of these heavy-duty machines.
Top 5 Best Electric Log Splitters
Top 5 Best Gas Log Splitters
|Log Wood SplitterHydraulic 45 Ton4 Way Splitting WedgeGas Powered|
|Dirty Hand Tools27 TonGas Log Splitter|
|Southland Outdoor SLS20825 25 Ton Gas Log Splitter|
|PowerhorseGas Log Splitter22 Tons, 208cc|
- Top 5 Best Electric Log Splitters
- Top 5 Best Gas Log Splitters
- The Sharpen-Up Log Splitter Buyer’s Guide
- Electric Log Splitter Reviews
- 1. TOP PICK: Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter, 7-Ton
- 2. Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 7-Ton 15 amp 2-Speed Electric Log Splitter
- 3. WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter
- 4. Powerhouse XM-380 Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter (7-Ton)
- 5. TOP 4-TON PICK: Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 4-Ton 15 Amp Electric Log Splitter
- Gas Log Splitter Reviews
- 1. TOP PICK: Champion Power Equipment No.92221 Gas Powered Log Splitter, 22-Ton
- 2. Log Wood Splitter Hydraulic 45 Ton 15HP 4 Way Splitting Wedge Gas Powered
- 3. Dirty Hand Tools 100408 27 Ton Log Splitter with Kohler Engine
- 4. Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25 Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter
- 5. Powerhorse Horizontal/Vertical Log Splitter – 22 Tons, 208cc Powerhorse Engine
The Sharpen-Up Log Splitter Buyer’s Guide
As we have briefly covered, there are in fact various types of log splitter. The most common 5 types are:
- The hydraulic electric log splitter
- The hydraulic gas log splitter
- The kinetic splitter
- The machine mounted splitter (this uses the machine it is attached to (very often a tractor) as its power source)
- The manual log splitter
Some are designed for high ton industrial usage, while others are intended for simple and convenient homeowner use.
The Electric Log Splitter
The electric log splitter is most suited to the homeowner / small landowner.
They are convenient and easy to use, powerful enough to split many wood types and are obviously free from gas and exhaust fumes.
However, because they are run off electricity you will need a power source close to where you will be working.
While an extension lead should solve this problem most of the time, if you are out in the field without access to electricity, you will need a generator or a gas-powered splitter.
Another reason electric models have proved so popular with consumers is that they are cheaper and lighter than the gas powered alternative.
The electric motor also requires less maintenance. There is no need for combustion engine care (oil and spark plug changes for example) or the need to buy gasoline.
Most electric log splitters have a splitting force between 4-7 tons.
If you do not need the extra power of a gasoline model, and have easy access to electricity where you work – the electric log splitter is the machine to go for.
Electric Log Splitter Reviews
The Boss Industrial ES7T20 is our top pick best electric log splitter for a number of reasons. Firstly, it provides all-important superior build quality and performance at an affordable price.
The 2 HP electric motor provides an excellent level of power. It has the ability to split logs with 1,400 lbs. of cutting force – more than enough for the average homeowner.
Combine this with the professional-grade hydraulic system (providing 3,500 psi of hydraulic pressure) and automatic ram return and you have a machine able to tackle tough woods up to 10 inches in diameter, with an extremely satisfying cycle speed.
You name the wood, and this baby can split it. The ES7T20 will make short work of everything from oak, pine, spruce, aspen, cherry, to softer woods such as elm.
A nice feature that will please many is the fact the Boss Industrial can work under one-handed operation. The Easy Push Button Electric Start will fire up the motor without the need of cumbersome hand gymnastics.
We mentioned the automatic ram return. So what exactly is this?
Cycle speed is an important consideration when buying a log splitter. The designers at Boss state that the ram return lessens the amount of time spent splitting wood by half.
In short, the machine will automatically recall the splitter into position ready for the next cut. This is an operational factor that you no longer have to deal with.
To ensure the splitter keeps on splitting, the build quality of the ES7T20 is very good indeed.
The superior materials used for the rugged construction as well as the professional grade hydraulic system, means this tool is built to last.
The Pros of the Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter, 7-Ton
- Powerful 2 HP motor with 1,400 lbs. of splitting force
- Easy one handed operation
- Automatic ram return for faster cutting cycle
- Uses a standard 15 amp plug, meaning you can use it anywhere you have an electrical outlet
- Durable high density rubber wheels for easy portability
- While very competent with many wood types, this is a 7 ton model meaning wider diameter logs can be a problem.
The Boss ES7T20 is one of the best electric log splitters you can buy. Powerful, well built with some excellent design features, this affordable model is recommended for all homeowners looking for a durable machine to tackle the majority of your wood splitting tasks.
2. Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 7-Ton 15 amp 2-Speed Electric Log Splitter
The Pow’R’kraft 65575 was a very close second in our top 5 electric log splitter reviews section.
This machine is actually more competent with larger diameter woods than our top pick, however it is also more expensive. For homeowners needing extra power without resorting to a gas powered splitter – this could well be the choice for you.
Let’s take a closer look.
Under the hood, the 2 speed 1,500 watt/2,300 watt output electric motor is a real plus point.
On the fast speed setting the motor provides 4-ton of force. Switch to the lower speed and you get 7 tons of splitting power.
This efficient system runs on a regular household current (with a ground fault breaker for extra protection) and is capable of splitting wood up to 20-inches long and 12-inches in diameter; formidable dimensions for an electric splitter.
Pow’R’kraft have not skimped on the build quality either. The rugged all steel construction helps ensure a long working life in tough conditions.
That being said, the two handed operation is rather uncomfortable. The fact the operator has to press the power button in a low position, while reaching for the hydraulic (fast/slow) valve above the wheels is a design oversight that really needs to be rectified.
Some customers have also complained that when tougher woods are cut the resulting ricochet of split sections is a hazard waiting to happen. Protective goggles are definitely advised when using this machine.
The Pros of the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 7-Ton 15 amp 2-Speed Electric Log Splitter
- Efficient and powerful 2 speed motor capable of both 4 and 7 ton splitting force
- Heavy duty all steel construction for enhanced longevity
- Quiet operation, ideal for homeowners
- 2 year manufacturer warranty
- Despite the power and the manufacturer claims that the machine can handle up to 12 inch diameter woods, some users have found Pow R Kraft to struggle at 10 inches on hard woods.
- The ergonomics need a rethink as operating the power button while adjusting the motor speed is far from comfortable
- Fly away splinters have been reported as a problem
While the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 is an extremely sturdy machine with a powerful 2 speed motor under the hood, it does have a few minor glitches.
If the cons are not deal breakers for you however, this is an extremely competent machine at the top end of consumer log splitting power. Despite the flaws, this tool comes highly recommended.
3. WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter
The WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter is another worthy addition to our top 5 best electric log splitter list.
This model provides a reliable 6 ton splitting force, powered by a 2 hp 15-amp motor. (Add that all up and you have 12,000 pounds of force under the hood – a satisfying amount of power for an electric splitter).
WEN claim that the 56206 is capable of splitting any log under 20.5″ in length and 10″ in diameter. For the record, that’s any wood of all hardness types.
For superior cycle speed, the WEN 56206 features a 4″ by 4″ push plate connected to a 15-1/2″ ram. This mechanism pushes the logs into the 4.5″ wedge for fast and efficient cutting.
To top it all off, the machine is built using a heavy-gauge welded-steel construction in attempt to handle all that you might throw at it.
The Pros of the WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter
- The powerful motor provides a very satisfying 12,000 pounds of splitting force. Impressive for an electric log splitter and more than enough for the average homeowner.
- The hard-wearing 6 inch rubber tyres makes this an easy machine to manoeuvre.
- Safety measures are in place with the 2 handed button operation (which will be seen as a con for some users)
- CSA approved with a two-year WEN warranty
- The aforementioned two handed operation can prove cumbersome
- Some users have complained of manufacturing issues on arrival. Although the warranty has cleared this up in most cases, production line problems resulting in machines arriving at people’s homes with motors not switching on is definitely a problem
A good mid range power electric log splitter that has proved popular for the majority of users. However, some manufacturing issues do bring the overall consistency down, meaning other options in our top 5 list are worth a look first.
4. Powerhouse XM-380 Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter (7-Ton)
Another powerful electric log splitter to make our top 5 is the Powerhouse XM-380. Under the hood you are getting a 3HP motor capable of 7 Ton, 2500 Watt splitting force with total 3500rpms. Nice.
A patented feature also means that the splitter automatically retracts when you remove your hand from the lever. This increases load time as the machine is ready to receive the next log with minimal extra effort from you.
Powerhouse states that splitting time is vastly decreased as a result. They claim that it takes only 6-seconds to split a hardwood log of 20-1/2 inches in length and 12 inches in diameter.
The automatic ram return is then in place within 5 Seconds ready for the next piece of wood.
Pros of the Powerhouse XM-380 Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter (7-Ton)
- Powerful 3 hp motor providing 7 tons of splitting force
- Safe 2 handed operation
- Patented automatic ram return for superior cycle speeds
- The machine isn’t light with a net weight of 104 lbs. (however the wheels do provide portability).
Overall the Powerhouse XM-380 Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter (7-Ton) is a powerful well priced electric log splitter that comes highly recommended.
Our top pick 4-ton electric log cutter is the Pow’R’kraft 65556. This lower powered machine is ideal for homeowners wanting to split small sections of wood.
The 1,500 watt electric motor runs on regular current and is able to power the machine to a very competent capacity. Wood up to 20-inch long and up to a 10-inch diameter can be split with the Pow’ R’ Kraft.
The all steel construction results in a more than sturdy machine that is built to last regular non-commercial use.
The 65556 does utilise a 2 handed operating system that may not please all users, however this does maintain safety measures as you are positioned behind the machine during use.
In a response to some Amazon customer complaints, the Pow’R’kraft is now shipped with extra strong packaging to prevent any damage occurring upon arrival to your home.
Pros of the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 4-Ton 15 Amp Electric Log Splitter
- For its size as a 4-ton system, this is a powerful electric log splitter that provides satisfying results.
- The motor is quiet even at full capacity strain. While idle it merely hums.
- Safe to operate with the 2 handed system setting the user behind the unit.
- Weighing in at 100lbs this is not the most portable machine in our list.
- Some users may find the 2 handed operation cumbersome.
- The speed cycle is not as fast as many of the others in our top 5 list.
An affordable, yet powerful 4 ton electric log splitter from a reliable brand. This is a machine built to last and will suffice for many homeowners that do not require industrial level performance from their splitter. For the price the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 makes for a very good option if you’re in the market for buying a new splitter.
The Gas Log Splitter
The two main benefits of the gas log splitter is the fact they are more mobile than the electric models, (you are not hindered by access to electricity) and they can reach extreme levels of power (up to 45 tonnes in some instances).
If you need to split large sections of hardwood, then the gas log splitter could well be the best option for you.
We have already mentioned the cons of course. With a gas model there are greater maintenance issues as well as the need to buy gasoline. There is also exhaust fumes to contend with.
However, on a mini industrial level the extra power also means gas models are faster. If you have a lot of wood to split, speed will definitely be a priority.
Gas Log Splitter Reviews
In our opinion The Champion 92221, remains the best Gas Powered Log splitter you can buy in 2018. This 22 ton performance beast provides heavy duty splitting at impressive speeds.
The 2 stage hydraulic system packs a formidable punch and is able to produce a maximum pressure of 3500 psi.
The manufacturers claim a 14 second no load cycle time, however this is actually selling the machine short. Higher speeds are possible due to the fact you will not always be waiting that long for the return of the load system.
While the log cradle can accommodate 24″ long logs with maximum weight of 100 lbs you its not as if you will always be loading logs of those dimensions.
Another excellent design attribute in the Champion 92221 is the fact it can be operated either vertically or horizontally. A simple pull pin adjustment will set the machine into your desired mode.
The Champion 196 OHV engine lies at the heart of the beast and is enclosed with a cast iron sleeve. Gas is supplied via a 1 Gallon tank and the engine also benefits from a low oil shutdown feature, (for the forgetful operators amongst you).
There’s no issue with the portability factor here. The towable frame with 2″ ball hitch, sits upon DOT approved wheels.
The Champion 92221 also has a 6.5 gallon hydraulic oil capacity (oil not included on purchase) and a spin on oil filter (included).
One issue to consider is the fact the unit ships crated and unassembled. While it is possible to assemble single-handedly, having a helping hand is recommended.
To top off our choice of best gas splitter in 2018, the Champion comes complete with Lifetime Free Technical Support and 1 Year Limited Warranty.
The Pros of the Champion Power Equipment No.92221 Gas Powered Log Splitter, 22-Ton
- Very powerful 22 ton system with superior hydraulics and reliable motor
- Well built with some nice design features
- Easy to select vertical or horizontal operation
- Portability is great with the towable frame and DOT approved wheels
- Lifetime technical support and 1 year limited warranty
- Delivered unassembled, the less technical minded may find this daunting
This machine will quite literally split anything you throw at it. The combination of great design, superior build quality and reliable components delivering excellent power, makes this our number one gas splitter choice. The Champion 92221 is the machine to buy.
2. Log Wood Splitter Hydraulic 45 Ton 15HP 4 Way Splitting Wedge Gas Powered
The Log Wood Hydraulic gas powered splitter is the most powerful in our list at 45 tons delivering a force of 3500 psi from the 16GPM 2 stage pump. Not to be sniffed at I am sure you agree.
Providing this splitting force is a large 5.5″ Cylinder, 420cc LONCIN Gas Motor (packing in an impressive 15HP) complete with electric start.
So the specs are measuring up to provide one of the most powerful gas log splitters currently on the market. What is the performance like? It’s not always a case of ‘size matters’.
Thankfully the machine delivers here too. The 4 Way Splitting Wedge is able to accommodate logs up to 12 inches in diameter with a max log length of 25 inches.
Furthermore, the system can be operate either vertically or horizontally.
Hydraulic oil capacity is approximately 8-9 Gallons, however this is not supplied with the machine so ensure you have some ready before you fire it up. (Manufacturer recommended hydraulic oils are: 10wt AW32, Asle H-150, or ISO32).
Extra large tyres and towing capabilities makes everything nice and portable. However, although the maximum towing speed is 35 MPH the tires are not highway rated.
Another important factor to consider is that assembly is required upon arrival. This should only take between 2 to 4 hours depending on skill level to assemble.
A one-year parts warranty is included with USA based Customer Service and Parts delivery.
Pros of the Log Wood Hydraulic 45 Ton Gas Powered Splitter
- Sheer brute force and power with the 45 ton hydraulic system
- The 4 way splitting wedge
- The powerful and reliable 430cc motor at the heart of the beast
- Good towing system
- Requires assembly upon delivery
- The tires are not highway rated
Although this machine lacks the overall build quality and attention to detail as our top pick Champion, the large amount of power you are getting here will definitely make it the preferred choice for some. Highly recommended.
3. Dirty Hand Tools 100408 27 Ton Log Splitter with Kohler Engine
The DHT 196 cc 27-Ton Gas Log Splitter is a great mid range power system that will suit people looking for a machine to take into the field.
The Kohler SH265 engine produces a more than adequate 6.5HP. The 4.5 in. cylinder with 24 in. stroke and two stage 13-GPM pump at the heart of the machine takes care of all your splitting needs.
As with the majority of gas powered log splitters on the market today, the system can operate in both vertical and horizontal configurations.
The 14-second cycle time pits this directly against the Champion as far as performance speed goes. The DHT also features an auto return and adjustable detent.
DHT have added road-towing capabilities to the chassis via a 2 in. coupler. Safety chains are very kindly thrown in too.
Pros of the Dirty Hand Tools 100408 27 Ton Log Splitter with Kohler Engine
- Top notch build quality
- The Reliable Kohler SH265 engine
- Sturdy road-towing capabilities
- Straight forward assembly (2 people is helpful however)
- Some users have commented that the machine would benefit from a motor guard.
Overall the Dirty Hand Tools is a great machine packing in an impressive 27 ton punch. If you’re on the look out for a quality gas powered log splitter, this is definitely worth your consideration.
4. Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25 Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter
Another mid-range powered system makes our top 5 best gas log splitter list. This time its from the folks over at Southland Outdoor Power.
The SLS20825 (quite why the model number had to be so long we don’t know), has a 208cc Southland OHV gas engine under the hood.
While from a cc standpoint it isn’t as high as some of the other machines reviewed here, the efficient system still delivers maximum performance under the most brutal splitting conditions.
The internal oil delivery system is an impressive feature that helps extend the engine life by providing extra lubrication to internal engine bearings, (heat strain is therefore reduced).
Southland also boast that a maximum 8.5 ft. lb. of torque can be produced, with the 25-Ton force able to split 26 in. log every 17 seconds, (with automatic return).
So with those stats cycle speed is not really the highest in our list, but respectable nonetheless.
As you would expect, the versatile splitter can switch from horizontal to vertical splitting position with ease.
Portability is a-grade too. A 2 in. hitch is attached to the mount and the system comes complete with 16 in. x 4.8 in. pneumatic wheels for easy transport and manoeuvrability to the work place.
Assembly is required, however the instructions are detailed and most people should have little issue piecing the machine together upon arrival.
Pros of the Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25 Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter
- Well built motor with internal oil delivery system (helps to ensure longer life)
- Good, powerful torque
- Easy to move from place to place with the pneumatic wheels and 2inch hitch
- Assembly again may prove an issue for those that are not technically minded.
- Cycle speed is not as fast as some of the other gas log splitters in our top 5 list.
The Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 is a good all round machine with a couple of nice extra features thrown in. Reliable and built to last, this is another gas powered splitter that comes highly recommended.
5. Powerhorse Horizontal/Vertical Log Splitter – 22 Tons, 208cc Powerhorse Engine
At the time of writing the Powerhorse is the lowest priced splitter on our list, yet is still a great option for those looking for power out in the field.
The machine will work in both horizontal and vertical configurations for ultimate efficiency, using a premium hydraulic system.
Powerhorse are able to boast some real innovation when it comes to build quality here. The machine includes a superior quality valve, and wire-reinforced hoses.
The 11 GPM cast iron pump with heavy-duty bracket and Zinga made Powerhorse filter make for an extremely robust hydraulic system that is built to not only provide the splitting force you need, but also to last.
This attention to detail stretches to the engine too. This features industrial-strength components, including high-quality ball bearings, low oil shutdown, a cast iron sleeve and a steel fuel tank.
On the subjects of tanks, the Powerhorse is built like one. The heavy-duty pivot for horizontal and vertical splitting is easy to operate, with the tapered wedge splitting all manner of woods (with their corresponding hardness) with ease.
Some assembly is required of course.
Pros of the Powerhorse Horizontal/Vertical Log Splitter
- Its an affordable machine with good mid-range power
- The focus on design innovation. Features such as the wire-reinforced hoses, cast iron pumps and reinforced brackets amount to a splitter that will last you a long time
- Not as powerful as other gas log splitters here which means it is not for everyone
- The assembly issue (although there really is no way around it)
The Powerhorse 208 cc, 22 ton log splitter is a fantastic machine for the price. The design innovations make you realise the thought the manufacturers have gone into building this unit.
Adequate power for most splitting uses and the overall ‘built like a tank’ aesthetic, means this is definitely a machine worthy of your attention. If 22 ton power is enough, this could well be the system for you.
Other types of log splitter
The machine mounted splitter utilises the power of another vehicle (very often a tractor) to operate.
Because the HP of the average tractor engine is so high, the amount of power a machine-mounted splitter has surpasses both the electric and gas powered models.
The machine-mounted splitter is generally designed for industrial and large landowner use only. Most of us will not have access to the required tractor for instance.
Kinetic Log Splitters
Kinetic log splitters operate via kinetic energy. (This is built up by either a gas or electric motor pushing a fly wheel). This differs from other models that utilise hydraulic force to power the splitter.
The flywheel power source builds kinetic energy very quickly making this one of the fastest type of splitter you can buy.
Manual Log Splitter
Finally there is the manual log splitter. The power source here is quite self-explanatory; you will be doing all the work.
However, a manual log splitter is less tiring and more accurate than using an axe.
If you are only splitting a small amount of logs to make firewood, the manual option could well be the best choice for you. They are affordable, easy to operate and especially suited to occasional use.
What to look for when buying a log splitter?
What size Log Splitter Do I Need?
This is the first question you should ask yourself before buying a log splitter. The size you need has a direct impact on the type of model you buy.
As we have already covered, the convenience and affordability of an electric model makes them best suited to homeowners. However, do you opt for a 4 tonne electric splitter or a more expensive 10 tonne model?
While it is tempting to go for a more powerful model (that way all bases are covered), it is best to consider what your requirements will be first.
If you will be splitting small logs into firewood, a small 4 or 5 ton electric model should suffice. If you will be cutting larger logs on a more frequent basis the power of a 7 to 10 ton model could be a better choice.
If you will be cutting out in the field a gas powered log splitter with tonnage of up to 20 tons could well be the order of the day.
It is worth remembering that the average rental size log splitter in the US is 26 tons. The simple fact being, most non-commercial applications do not require anything more than that.
Beyond the question of the size of log splitter you should buy, here are a few other points to consider before you part with your hard earned money.
1. Splitting Range & Capacity
When buying a log splitter you should note the log length and diameter range of the machine. This will determine the size of logs the splitter can handle.
Depending on your budget, it is recommended you choose a splitter that has as large a capacity as possible.
A machine that can handle diameters up to 12 inches and lengths up 20 inches will be perfectly adequate for most non-commercial uses.
2. Portability – Wheels & Towing Hitches
Whether you are veering towards an electric splitter or a gas powered model, portability should be a priority. These machines are heavy. The ability to roll your log splitter into position for work is a bonus.
For larger log splitters a ball hitch may also be necessary. This will allow you to tow your machine to a location of your choosing. Gas powered splitters will very often have this feature.
3. Cycle Speed
Most log splitter manufacturers will state the cycle time of the machine in the specifications. A faster cycle time will allow you to get more work done in a shorter time. 15 seconds is a respectable cycle time for the wood to travel through the machine.
4. Build Quality
Whatever model you buy your log splitter should be well built and durable.
There’s no denying that these machines are designed to take a beating. A durable all-steel construction is the best way to ensure your chosen splitter will be up to the job in hand for many years to come.
Cheaply made components or plastic add ons will get knocked and broken very quickly.
All and said and done, you get what you pay for in this department. Very often a low budget log splitter will not be made with the same high quality materials as a more expensive model. It is therefore unfair to expect the machine to last as long.
5. Warranty & Brand Quality
Taking the build quality further, you should bare in mind the warranty included with your machine of choice.
Very often a top brand will offer long-term warranties. This shows the confidence they have in their own manufacturing standards. They don’t expect you to need that warranty, however it is one less issue to concern yourself with.
Online reviews are another good way of understanding a brands reputation. See what current customers have had to say. What have their experiences been?
Further Reading: Best bow saw reviews (a top 5 round up)