Splitting Logs For Your Needs
How to Choose the Right Log Splitter
Picking a log splitter involves more than just deciding on brand and color. You need to know your own needs and balance them against the capabilities of the splitter. It's easy enough to say that you want the biggest and best splitter you can get but that may not be the best choice for your needs based on the wood you want to split. It's also a good idea to compare new with pre-owned log splitters. You can find a used or refurbished unit on eBay that can handle your splitting duties. Also, are you going to be splitting green or seasoned wood? Green wood has more moisture and is quite a bit harder to split, so that's something you need to take into consideration. Lastly, think about portability, you may not want to rely on a tractor to move your log splitter around.
What Specifications Should You Look For?
While it's easy to say you should purchase a gas log splitter, or maybe an electric one, there are other factors that you may want to consider before choosing a power source. At the beginning your real concerns should be focused on things such as how big a log you can split, how fast your machine can split it, and how easy it is to load your wood splitter:
- Tonnage: The basic unit of performance for splitters is how many tons of force it can apply to an individual log. Small six-inch seasoned logs may only need four tons, while a two-foot thick green one may not yield to anything less than a 30-ton hydraulic log splitter.
- Cycle Time: Cycle time is important, but it's not all-important. A faster splitter is not going to help you if you can't keep up with loading and unloading. Pick one that's fast enough for your own working speed.
- Orientation: For smaller pieces, a horizontal log splitter is a great way to handle your firewood needs. Some models can shift from horizontal to the vertical which makes it easier to get heavy rounds into place but not everyone needs that functionality.
What About Power and Force?
Beyond your desired specifications you also want to ponder both the power and force of your log splitter. While gas-powered log splitters are common, you may also want to examine electric models for simplicity. Another consideration is whether you want to go with a hydraulic unit or would prefer the faster operation of a kinetic model.
- Power: The most common power option is a gas engine. It's easy to scale up if you need a more powerful log splitter and fuel is readily available. Electric log splitters are less powerful but require less maintenance and you don't have to worry about running out of gas.
- Force: A hydraulic log splitter is relatively slow but steady, and can produce a lot of force. Kinetic models rely on flywheels rather than hydraulic fluid so they don't need a pump. They are mechanically simpler but do not have as much power for the biggest jobs.