The Best Log Splitter

Dirty Hand Tools 22 Ton Log Splitter with Kohler Engine

Our Top Pick for 2016: Dirty Hand Tools 22 Ton Log Splitter with Kohler Engine
Read our full review.

See it on Amazon for $1,199.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.
Too expensive? See our budget pick.

Wood can be a commodity that you need at any time of the year. Whether it is needed to heat your home during the winter or to create a nice fire for your campsite in the summer, you will most likely need to split some of the large logs that you acquire. One easy way to trim your wood down to a more manageable size is to use a log splitter. This device can make chopping wood into an easy task that takes half of the time and even less of the effort, but how do you know which log splitter is the best option for you? Deciding can be a daunting task, but we have designed this guide to help you find the light on the other size of the forest. Take a look at our pre-purchase considerations as well as the four log splitters that we have reviewed for your deliberation.

Table of contents

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7 Ton Performance
22-ton Gas Log Splitter
Hydraulic, And Portable Electric Log Splitter
20 Second Cycle Time
6.5 Hp 196cc Kohler Engine
Motor 3hp, 7 Ton, 2500 Watt, 3500rpm
Champion 80cc Ohv Engine With Cast Iron Sleeve
Horizontal And Vertical Splitting
Log Cutting Capacity: Up To 20-1/2-inch In Length And 12-inch In Diameter
2 Stage Hydraulic Pump
10.9 Second Cycle Time Down And Back
Ram Travel Distance: 15.7-inch
Can Accommodate Logs Up To 19.7″ In Length, Up To 80 Lbs
4 In. Diameter Cylinder With 24 In. Stroke
Net Weight: 104lbs

*Price at time of publishing and may not reflect current pricing.

#1 Gold pick (Winner): Dirty Hand Tools 22 Ton Log Splitter with Kohler Engine

Dirty Hand Tools 22 Ton Log Splitter with Kohler Engine Gold Pick

View it on Amazon for $1,199.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-gold-winnerOur gold pick is a log splitter that comes to us from Dirty Hand Tools, which is a company that is dedicated to delivering quality tools across the nation. This log splitter is a large unit that is 38 inches high, 49 inches wide, and 89 inches long, which means that this log splitter is pretty large in size. If fact, it weighs about 600 pounds, so if you want it to be positioned in a certain location, you may want to have a vehicle ready to tow it when the device arrives. One great benefit of all of this weight is the fact that it will definitely be a stable unit that has no chance of moving while it’s in use.

This log splitter comes with a six and a half horse power 196 CC Kohler SH265 engine. It is EPA and CARB approved, so you can be sure that the emissions that this unit releases into the air meet the local emission standards for gas powered engines. This tool has a two stage hydraulic system that utilizes 13 gallons per minute, and it has a six and a half gallon oil tank that will keep you chugging along as the logs are split.

The wedge that splits the logs on this unit is made from heat treated steel, which is actually about eight inches in length. This ensures that it can split a log that is up to 25 inches long without any issue. It uses a full 22 tons of force to press the wedge into each log that is placed on the machine. The cylinder that pushes the log into the wedge is about four inches in diameter and it has a 24 inch stoke. Once the log is split in two, the cylinder will automatically reset itself to get ready for another piece of wood. This entire process takes about 10.9 seconds to complete, so that means you will be able to split quite a bit of wood in an hour.

At the foot of the unit there is an eight inch foot plate to stop the wood as well as removable stripper plates that can be useful for catching the pieces of wood that have already been split. Since this log splitter weighs about 600 pounds, it is important to be able to move it easily, so it is fitted with 16 inch tires. These wheels are OD DOT approved road tires, so you can take them to another location if you want, but be careful about traveling on highways, as it still may not be the safest place to tow a log splitter. It is fitted with a two inch ball coupler that works in combination with safety chains to secure the unit while it is in motion.

You can only purchase this log splitter in one color option, but it is a nice silver and black color that will easily be seen while traveling on the road. It comes with a warranty that covers the workmanship of the log splitter for three years. It covers the cost of any engine repairs or malfunctions for two years after you purchase the tool, and it covers the hydraulics system for a period of one year.

When it comes to reviews, there are not that many on Amazon, but that is because not everyone needs a log splitter. 20 reviews out of the 21 that are posted on Amazon have given this tool a positive rating of four or five stars; that is an amazing 95 percent. In fact, 81 percent of them were actually deemed worthy of a five star rating. Here is an example of a five star testimonial from a happy consumer: “This is a well built log splitter that can handle about anything you can throw at it. It has an excellent cycle time of about 11 seconds to quickly knock out a cord of wood in no time. I purchased the log catcher accessory directly from the manufacturer ($69 included shipping) that prevents the split log from falling to the ground which not only saves time but wear and tear on your back.”

#2 Silver pick (Runner-up): Champion Power Equipment 7-Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter

Champion Power Equipment 7-Ton Gas Powered Log Splitter

View it on Amazon for $534.00*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-silver-winnerOur silver pick is a Champion Power log splitter that is gas powered unit that is part of the reputable line of products they have created since 2003. This unit is quite smaller than our fist option, but it still is able to split logs with an enormous amount of power and durability to last you for years. The unit is 53 inches in length, 23.5 inches in width, and 18 inches in height. It only weighs about 143 pounds, which makes it over 400 pounds lighter than our gold pick.

This log splitter is fitted with an 80 cc four cycle CHV engine that is capable of splitting the log with 3,000 pounds per square inch of pressure, which is equivalent to about seven tons. This machine features a two stage, three gallons per minute pump that can complete a full splitting cycle in 20 seconds. This log splitter has a three gallon oil capacity as well, so you will not need to replenish the oil often. If the oil becomes low, there is a safety feature in place that will shut down the tool and prevent it from running.

The wedge is six inches long, and it is complete with an auto return feature that kicks into gear to return the wedge to the start position after each log has been split. The cylinder is three inches in diameter and 17.7 inches long, so this log splitter is able to accommodate logs that are up to 20 inches long and 14 inches in diameter.

The log splitter does not have a towing option, so you will not be able to transfer it long distances. It does have a set of ten inch wheels and a handle to make moving the unit manually an option. The unit is aesthetically pleasing, with a black and yellow exterior that will look great against the side of any shed or garage. It also comes with a one year warranty from the manufacturer as well as free technical support from the company for the lifetime of the machine.

When it comes to reviews, there are still not very many available for our silver pick, but since the need for a log splitter is not as high as with other products, we can look at the ratio that do exist to see that 13 out of the 15 posted reviews have received a positive four or five star rating. The majority of the consumers have nothing but good things to say about this model.

Here is an example of one such glowing review: “I’ve had this a little over a month now. I wanted to wait until it had been used a couple of times before writing a hasty review. We’re used it four times now, running it for a few hours at a time and not only has it split everything we’ve put on it, it has done so flawlessly. We’ve split pine, cedar, oak, and ash with it so far. For its size, it’s a very nice piece of equipment. We’ve already put about six cords away so far, and could not be more pleased with the operation of the machine.”

#3 Bronze pick (3rd place): Powerhouse XM-380 7-Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter

Powerhouse XM-380 7-Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter

View it on Amazon for $399.99*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-bronze-awardAs we move on to the third pick on our list, you will notice that this log splitter from Powerhouse is an electric option that you can use to easily split wood. It is the smallest unit on our list thus far, and it has dimensions that are about 38 inches in length, 12 inches in width, and 19 inches in height. In addition, it only weighs about 104 pounds.

The XM-380 features a three horse power motor that utilizes seven tons of force to split a log. It can cut logs that are up to 20.5 inches long and 12 inches in diameter, and the best part about this unit is that it can cut the wood in six seconds and then have the wedge back in position to do the task again in another five seconds. That means that in an hour, you can easily split 100 logs or more. As an added safety device, the unit is designed with a two handed start, which requires you to keep both hands in a specific location to enable the motor to work. If either hand is removed, the wedge will be forced to withdraw back to the position it started from without splitting the log.

Since this red and black tool is much lighter than our other selections, it is not designed to be hitched on the back of a truck or tractor, but it does come with wheels and handles to make it easier to move around your home. Some consumers have stated that since the wheels are somewhat small, they can be difficult to maneuver on ground that is not flat.

When it comes to reviews, this log splitter has received almost 200 on Amazon alone, and 72 percent of all of the reviews that have been posted there have rated this devices as a four or five star quality product. Here is an example of one five star testimonial that can be found on Amazon: “I got this for my husband who recently developed arthritis in his wrists and elbows. I wanted him to have a way to split logs without having to use an edge or an axe. He has had this for almost a year now, and it works very well with larger logs and never seems to struggle with what he gives it to split. Last winter when he was struggling with splitting wood, we had a tough winter and never had enough firewood, but this year he had a giant stack of firewood for us to use.”

#4 Budget pick (Best cheap): WEN 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter

WEN 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter

View it on Amazon for $234.57*
*Price typically updated every 24 hours. Current price may be different.

2016-cheap-budget-pickOur final pick is an option that can be considered when you don’t want to spend a fortune on a wood splitting device and you do not want to chop it by hand either. Our gold pick was priced at well over $1,000, our silver pick is around $600, and out bronze pick may be a bit more than some are willing to spend on a log splitter, so if you are looking to purchase a more budget friendly option, then consider the WEN log splitter. This unit is roughly the same dimensions as our bronze pick, with a length of 38 inches, a width of 12 inches and a height of 18 inches. In addition, this unit weighs about 105 pounds, which means that it is one of the lightest options on our list.

This black and yellow log splitter has a 3400 RPM electric motor that uses 3,000 PSI of pressure to split a log. This means this unit has a two horse power motor that uses six tons of force to push a log of wood into the four and a half inch wedge. In fact, the splitting process can be completed and ready to begin again in less than 25 seconds. This device is capable of splitting logs that are up to 10.5 inches long and ten inches in diameter.

To ensure the safety of everyone who uses this device, the manufacturer has included a safety precaution that ensures that accidents do not occur. This feature is a two hand operation, which requires the operator to keep both hands on the unit for the wedge to function. There is no towing option with this unit, but it is fitted with a set of six inch tires and rubber grip handles to help you move the log splitter whenever it is required. In addition, the purchase of this outdoor tool comes with a two year warranty the manufacturer included to stand behind the product.

When it comes to reviews, 80 percent of the 168 reviews that are posted on Amazon are rated with a positive review that is at least a four or five star quality. Many of the consumers love the compact design of the device as well as the wood splitting ability of this budget friendly unit. Here is one example of a five star testimonial: “This little splitter works great! I have split about a cord of ash in the three weeks I’ve had it, without a hitch. Some of the logs split were about 15 to 16 inches in diameter and some were even y’s and knots, which would naturally be more difficult to cut. There were a few that did not split on the first attempt, but repositioning the log and/or putting a little bar/chain oil on the splitter wedge took care of every one.”


Pre-purchase considerations

Type of Wood

Any type of wood can be split, but you will want a variety that is easy to split and burns well, especially since it will most likely be used as fuel in either a fire place, wood stove, or a camp fire. Here are some common types of wood that you may want to consider:

• The easiest woods to split are from trees with softer wood like Pine, Aspen, Hemlock, and Mulberry.
• Woods that are a medium density come from trees such as White Ash, Birch, Red Oak, and Silver Maple.
• The wood varieties that will take the most force to split will come from hardwood trees like Beech, Elm, and Sycamore.

If you tend to burn a certain type of wood, then make sure that the log splitter you purchase will have tonnage that you need to split the log. Dogwood tree logs will need 2150 pounds of pressure to crack a log where as a log from an Aspen would only need 420 pounds, so make sure your splitter can accommodate the wood you desire to burn.

Splitting power and Efficiency

You will need a log splitter that is capable of powering through hard woods, whether they are wet or dry, so it is important to find a powerful tool that will not let you down. It is better to get a unit that has more power than you need rather than one that does not supply enough, especially when you get a log that is riddled with a lot of knots. To determine the amount of power in a log splitter, you will need to take a look at the tonnage, which is the amount of force required to split a log. Determine the type of wood that you will be splitting most often, before deciding how much force you need to crack the wood in two.

One of the reasons to have a log splitter is to save time when you are chopping wood, so make sure that the unit you purchase has a fast cycle time. If it takes a lot of time to reset the splitter, then you are going to have a less productive day than you would with a more efficient unit. Try to shoot for about a 15 second reset timer when you are considering which log splitter to purchase.

Horizontal or Vertical Splitting

Horizontal log splitters are great for smaller sized logs, as they will require you to lift the log up onto the unit to be split. This is a great option for times when you need a lot of different sized logs to be split. A vertical log splitter is designed for larger logs that may be difficult to lift. It allows you to keep the log on the ground until it is a more convenient size to carry. You can also purchase a model that can cut logs in both styles, which is optimal for when you have a lot of logs to split.

Gas vs. Electric

As with most outdoor lawn tools, you have the option between purchasing a model that is either gas powered or powered by electric. Having a gas powered unit gives you more overall power, but it also requires that you use the device outdoors. With an electric motor, the unit can be used inside of a garage or a shed when the weather is a bit on the cold side, which makes it convenient if you need wood during an arctic blast, but realistically you should already have a good pile of wood before the temperatures drop to get you through the winter. An electric motor will also be slightly less powerful that a gas option and it keeps you connected to an outlet. Decide which option is best for your needs before making a decision.

Log Size

Make sure you also consider the size of logs that the splitter can handle. You want to find a unit that handles a log that are at least 20 inches in length and have a 12 inch diameter. This size of log is typically the average, but some models can split logs that are up to 25 inches in length. Getting a unit that fits larger logs is a good selection that will keep you prepared for any length of log that you may encounter.

Portability

Are you going to be splitting wood in the same location? Some people get wood delivered to them, so it is easy to have a stable location where you always split wood, but others may go out into the forest to find their own wood. If you like to search for fallen trees or logs that you can make into firewood, then you may want your log splitter to be a portable option. Some units are designed with wheels and handles that make it easier to move the log splitter by hand, while others are fitted with a hitch that allows you to tow the unit with a truck or a tractor to the location that you need it. If the log splitter you are considering purchasing does not have the ability to be towed, see if attaching a ball hitch is a feasible option. If you cannot attach a hitch, then you may want to consider another option, as moving the machine to different areas may help you get the wood you are scavenging from the forest back home in a quick and efficient manner.

Durable Construction and Warranty

Since you are going to be splitting logs with incredible force, you will need a unit that is constructed from steel to ensure that it is durable enough to withstand this pressure for years. It is also important to find a company that stands behind their products, which can be shown by offering a warranty with the purchase of the log splitter. Make sure to get a unit that comes with at least a one year warranty.

Conclusion (Wrapping it up)

As you can see a log splitter can be a useful tool to have that will make splitting wood go twice as fast. Now that you know what features to look for in your new machine, and you have had the chance to examine a few great options that are available to you, it is time to make a decision. Is one of our top picks suited for your needs, or do you need to continue researching log splitters until you find a perfect match? Either way, you have a great foothold that will help you to start your wood pile early this year and keep it plentiful for years to come.

Discussion and comments

We want to know what you think. Do you own any of the products we discussed? Which did you buy and how did it work out for you?

Do you know of an even better product?

Comment below and help your fellow consumers make the right choice. Over to you!

Resources

  1. X01E, Dirty Hand Tools 22 Ton Log Splitter, YouTube, August 15, 2015
  2. 22-TON VERTICAL / HORIZONTAL LOG SPLITTER, DirtyHandTools
  3. Bob, Champion 7-Ton Horizontal Gas Log Splitter, Log Splitters Direct
  4. Splitting Wood with Jessica, PowerHouse xm-380 7 Ton review – Log Splitter Review, YouTube, February 7, 2015
  5. THE WEN 56206 6-TON ELECTRIC LOG SPLITTER REVIEW, Log Splitter Guide, July 24, 2015
  6. WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter – Review, Firewood Guide, May 7, 2015

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