7 Best Electric Log Splitters | March 2017
- 2-year warranty against defects
- splits up to 12-inch diameter logs
- electric cable is double-insulated
- easy push-button start
- 3000 psi of pressure
- 2-horsepower motor
- automatic ram retraction
- requires very little maintenance
- compact design for easy storage
- relatively quiet operation
- made in the usa
- splitter is road towable
The Amazing Electric Log Splitter
An electric log splitter can do in a fraction of the time what a man with an axe, a wedge, and a heavy hammer would have spent hours hoping to accomplish. These mighty devices convert electric power into force, offering anywhere from two to eight tons of crushing power depending on the model you choose. As you will have guessed, at the eight-ton range, you can expect to pay many hundreds of dollars for an electric log splitter; on the other end of the spectrum, though, you can find log splitters costing between two and there hundred dollars that will be absolutely sufficient for splitting logs measuring near two feet in length. This is about as large as almost any residential fireplace could handle anyway.
When considering which electric log splitter to purchase, first know the most demanding application for which you might use one. If you spend hours every winter splitting firewood by hand and want a way to save yourself time, effort, and backache, then a lower priced electric log splitter with a lower force rating and log size capacity should serve you just fine. If you occasionally deal with large deadfalls on your property, splitting the wood as much to get it off the ground and out of the way as you do for making fire-ready wood, then you would be well-advised to spend the extra money once and get a machine with capabilities you may seldom use, but that can save you time and/or the money you would spend hiring a professional company when needed.
Also, consider the types of wood you will likely be splitting; different trees produce woods of vastly different toughness. While dried and seasoned pine wood can be easily chopped into logs or kindling by any log splitter or by a hand axe, even varieties such as black walnut and many other hardwoods will prove immensely difficult to split by hand and might even challenge some of the more compact splitters if too large a section is fed into the unit.
Many gasoline powered log splitters are available and they do have a few benefits that are worth mentioning, which include plenty of power (many offer as much as 16 tons of force) and the ability to be used anywhere outdoors, thanks to the fact that they don't need an electrical connection. However, few people actually want to bring their log splitters deep into the backwoods, and this can be accommodated with a generator should you need to split wood far away from an AC outlet.
An electric log splitter can be used in more locations than a gas powered option, for an electrically-powered tool can be safely used indoors. Splitters operating on gasoline will produce poisonous carbon monoxide and other harmful byproducts. They cannot be safely operated indoors. With an electric log splitter, you can create cord after cord of firewood in your shop or garage, even when the snow or rain is falling or when you just don't want to be outside in frigid temperatures.
Other Essentials For Handling Logs
Before you can feed a log into a splitter, you have some work to do and some tools and gear to acquire. If you are felling a tree by yourself, then you will need to first ensure that you're in your rights to do so, as cutting down trees, whether for firewood, holiday decorations, or for clearing land can involve following myriad regulations and getting the right permits.
Assuming the wood in question is already on the ground and still in the shape of a tree's trunk, then you should start the process of cutting it down to size using a robust chainsaw. With a chainsaw featuring a bar measuring in the eighteen to twenty inch range, you should be able to cut discs -- often called "rounds" -- out of a trunk of almost any thickness; just be ready to cut from both sides.
Make sure to cut rounds that are significantly shorter than the maximum range for which your splitter is rated, particularly if they are going to be thicker than the unit's stated ability. In other words, if your electric log splitter can handle logs that are twenty inches long by ten inches wide, but your round is fifteen inches across, cut the round two twelve or fourteen inches in length and plan to let the splitter have at it twice.
With a good chainsaw and a good electric log splitter, you should be able to cut almost any wood down to size. Just make sure that while you are operating either of these machines, you are wearing safety gear that at the minimum includes gloves and eye protection.
A Brief History Of Splitting Logs
Log splitting was, for most of human history, a laborious task handled by men with axes, mauls, wedges, and large hammers often referred to as beetles. The felling axe in particular saw use in splitting logs, as its wide blade concentrated the force of a worker's swing across the edge and then drove wood fibers apart as the broad body of the tool continued its downward force.
Well into the nineteenth century, man power was still the driving force behind the process of splitting logs. At times, the work of splitting great sections of wood took on a romantic appeal, most notably as the presidential candidate Abraham Lincoln was celebrated as the "Railsplitter" during his campaign in the election of 1860. Lincoln had spent some time splitting huge logs into usable sections during his youth in the backwoods of Illinois, as did so many young men of his day and region. His true prowess came out through intellect and wisdom, not axe handling, of course.
The 1800s would see the gradual adoption of several technological advancements that would eventually see log splitting handled by machine instead of man. One of the first was the horse powered treadmill. Next would come the use of steam engines to drive belts and/or gears that could run mills, saws, and that could create enough pressure to easily split logs. Before long, electric power was being used as well.