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The 8 Best Log Splitters for Any Size Wood Pile

Turning logs into firewood can be a time-consuming and potentially dangerous task. These log splitters are designed to get the job done quickly and safely.

wood splitters
Staff, Courtesy of Kindling Cracker

Using an axe or maul to turn logs into firewood might look cool, but it also takes a significant amount of effort, and is also fairly dangerous for even the most experienced choppers. A dedicated log splitter can be a much more efficient way to accomplish your goal, especially if you have a lot of wood to process. Automatic log splitters can be activated with the push of a button, and are powerful enough to cycle through a log in as little as 13 seconds. Manual log splitters are also easier on the joints than using an axe, and depending on the size of the log, are still extremely efficient.

What to Consider

The first thing to consider when choosing a log splitter is how much wood you plan on going through. If you’re just going to be tackling a few logs a couple times a week, it would probably make more sense to go with a manual option, like the Timber Tuff TMW-11. But if you’re going to be working through an entire tree you chainsawed down, or if you have a small splitting business, you’re going to want an automatic model. These will cost more than a manual splitter, but they’ll save you a significant amount of time and energy that you can then spend on more enjoyable activities.

Electric versus gas-powered is another factor to think about when considering a log splitter. While electric splitters are quieter and don’t generate the harmful fumes of a gas engine, they’re also limited to the length of your extension cord. Gas-powered splitters are more portable, but keep in mind that you’ll have to refill their fuel tanks regularly, and they cannot be used indoors like corded models can.

You should also pay attention to the amount of driving force that your splitter is capable of generating. This force is measured in tons, and is a good indicator of how powerful one splitter is in relation to another. Gas-powered models offer significantly more driving force than electric or manual options, so keep that in mind if you know you’ll be needing maximum power.

How We Selected

When curating this list of options, I called upon my own experience using log splitters while working at a large state campground. During this time I spent dozens of hours using both electric and manual splitters, and have come to recognize the features that were beneficial, and issues to watch out for. I made sure to include a balance of styles and types on this list, so whether you’d prefer a manual tool for splitting a few logs, or an automatic option for powering through large wood piles, you should find an option that fits your needs and price range.

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Best Overall Option

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Corded Electricity
  • Driving Force: 5 tons
  • Log Capacity: 20.5-inch length by 10-inch diameter

The power and convenient design of this Yardmax splitter allows you to finish your job quickly, and—most importantly—safely. The optional support stand makes this model convenient for using next to a wood pile too, and lets you remain standing during use. We’re also a big fan of the spacious log tray, which keeps the split wood on the unit instead of falling to the ground and requiring you to frequently bend over. 

The two-handed operation is our favorite feature of this machine, and requires you to keep both hands out of harm's way during the entire splitting process.

  • 2-year residential warranty
  • Minimal assembly required
  • 16-second cycle time
Best Heavy-Duty Manual Option
Sun Joe 2-Way
Sun Joe

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Manual Hydraulic
  • Driving Force: 10 tons
  • Log Capacity: 18-inch length by 8-inch diameter

Although it requires more elbow grease than automatic splitters, the portability and safety benefits of this Sun Joe model could be worth the extra effort. 

Since it doesn’t require a power source—it’s powered by the user pumping a pair of handles that engage the hydraulic ram—you can take it anywhere, and its relatively slow operation should reduce the chances of accidents. 

The 87-pound weight and lack of a wheeled base makes it less practical for moving it around frequently though, and since it’s designed to be used on the ground, you will be doing a lot more bending over than with an elevated machine.

  • Simple to use
  • Does not require extension cord or fuel
  • Higher driving force than most electric models

  • Too strenuous for those with strength or joint issues
Best Portable Corded Model
Earthquake 32228

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Corded Electricity
  • Driving Force: 5 tons
  • Log Capacity: 20-inch length by 10-inch diameter 

We’re big fans of the portability of this corded splitter, whose durable wheels and rubber grips allow you to easily wheel it to and from your work area. 

With 5 tons of splitting force behind the wedge, this machine is just as suited to cutting large, 10-inch diameter logs, as it is for powering through small kindling. 

Weighing in at about 104 pounds, you’ll probably need some help if you want to use it on a workbench or truck bed, so keep that in mind. It can also be used with a separate stand kit to raise it to waist height, although this must be purchased separately.

  • Simple to operate
  • Easy to roll
  • 16-second cycle time

  • Does not include a stand
Best for Small Logs and Kindling
Kindling Cracker
Kindling Cracker
$89.99 (10% off)

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Manual Operation
  • Driving Force: N/A
  • Log Capacity: 6-inch diameter

Although it won’t be ideal for processing extra-large logs, you won’t find a faster, or easier way to split kindling than this manual Kindling Cracker. Its straightforward design also makes it easy to use—just position the log inside the frame, and strike the end with a small sledge hammer or maul. 

With no moving parts or sharp blades getting close to your hands or feet, it also greatly reduces the chances of injury. Its light 10-pound weight makes this tool easy to bring to your wood pile, or if you prefer, you can use the bolt holes to permanently mount it to a stump. 

  • Durable cast-iron construction
  • Does not require any maintenance

  • Not as efficient as an automatic splitter
  • Relatively small log capacity
Best Handheld Option
Timber Tuff TMW-11
Timber Tuff

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Manual
  • Driving Force: N/A
  • Log Capacity: N/A

This manual splitter uses a sliding handle to force the wedge into and through your logs. At just 8.8 pounds, this tool is one of the easiest options to carry to and from your wood pile, and the slim profile also makes it convenient to store away when not in use. 

It’s also relatively safe, and it shouldn’t be too hard to maintain control and position of the head during operation, unlike axes and mauls which are tougher to control. This is also one of the cheapest options we included, so it would be a great choice for anyone on a tight budget.

  • Low price
  • Easy to use
  • Convenient to store

  • Probably not practical for small kindling
Fastest Electric Option
SuperHandy Log Splitter

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Corded Electric
  • Driving Force: 6 tons
  • Log Capacity: 20.5-inch length by 10-inch diameter

Thanks to an impressive 15-second cycle time and 1,500-watt motor, this electric splitter is well-suited for anyone who has to cut a large amount of wood in a short amount of time. A large carrying handle and 7-inch rubber wheels make it easy to transport, and simple to set up once you get where you’re going. 

This is a durable machine as well, with a powder-coated frame and an overall IP54 rating, which means that its internal components won’t be affected by dust or water spray. At just 18 inches high, its low-profile design is convenient for storing underneath workbenches or in a truck bed.

  • Quick operation
  • Durable construction
Best Gas-Powered Option
Performance Built 208
Performance Built

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Gas
  • Driving Force: 13 tons
  • Log Capacity: 20-inch length by 10-inch diameter

If you absolutely need the powerful output and low cycle time of a gas-powered machine, this Performance Built option could be a great investment. It uses its 13-ton power to quickly and easily split your wood, and thanks to a spring-loaded return, can process each log in just 13 seconds. 

This model doesn’t require any power cables or extension cords, so you’re free to bring it wherever you need to, although its 220-pound weight will probably require an extra set of hands if you need to lift onto a truck bed.

  • Extremely powerful
  • Quick cycle time
  • Portable design

  • Requires fuel and oil
  • Very expensive
Best Compact Manual Option
SPEED FORCE Kindling Splitter

Key Specs

  • Power Source: Manual
  • Driving Force: N/A
  • Log Capacity: N/A

The 3.3-pound weight and minimal footprint of this manual splitter makes it a great choice for those who are short on space, but still have a decent amount of wood to split. 

This compact size makes it the most portable manual splitter on our list, and after securing it to a sturdy stump with the four included screws, you’re all set to start splitting. 

Its slanted side fins naturally separate both sides of the log as you go, so you won’t end up with a stubborn log stuck at the bottom. This unit wouldn’t be ideal for larger logs, but it’s well-suited for smaller wood and kindling.

  • Made of durable cast iron
  • Low price
  • Small footprint

  • Not designed for large logs
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