The 8 Best Electric Log Splitters
This wiki has been updated 29 times since it was first published in June of 2015. If you don't want to deal with the mess or hassle associated with maintaining gasoline-powered machinery in order to keep your fireplace stocked when the weather turns cold, then consider one of these electric log splitters as a convenient alternative. Remember to always follow the proper safety procedures, and thoroughly review the user manual before operating these machines. When users buy our independently chosen editorial selections, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki.
November 28, 2020:
For this update, we added the Powerhouse XM-380, a powerful model capable of generating 7 tons of splitting power. This unit is on the higher end of the price spectrum, but its strength and 3.5 HP electric motor might be worth it if you have a substantial amount of 12-inch diameter logs to split.
A great benefit that electric log splitters have over gas-powered options, is that since they don't have any harmful exhaust fumes, you can use them indoors. This makes them especially handy in cold or wet climates where you'd prefer to do your splitting in the garage or woodshed.
Even though the machine itself does most of the work, you still need to use some technique when using a log splitter - both for safety and efficiency. Follow the specific instructions supplied with your machines, and remember to always operate it while well-rested and alert. Although it may seem like a great idea to work as a team and have one person loading wood while the other is operating the machine, this is an extremely dangerous practice and should be avoided. All it takes is for one person to lose focus for a split second, or miscommunicate with the other member of the team, for a deadly accident to happen.
If these electric versions aren't heavy-duty enough for you, consider a gas log splitter instead. These can generate a lot more power than electric models, but remember, they cannot be used indoors at all.
If you feel like getting a bit more physical exercise, you might want to pass on a hydraulic splitter altogether and opt for a wood splitting axe.
November 15, 2019:
While most will agree that electric models can't compete with gas log splitters, they are generally suitable for the needs of the average consumer. That being said, if you know that you will be working on hard wood species regularly, it may still be a good idea to go with a gas-powered option, as it is better to use a heavier-duty model and put less stress on the motor if you want to get the maximum service life out of your equipment.
While scouring the market during this update, we unfortunately came to the conclusion that there weren't a lot of high-quality options to choose from. In fact we were only able to replace one of the three items we removed. We decided to eliminate the Dirty Hand Tools 100481 due to its extremely slow 25-second cycle time and reports of it struggling with stock well below its marketed capacity. The Goplus 6T also suffered complaints of requiring more than one stroke to split average-sized logs. We also removed the Powerhouse XM-380 due to user reviews of it simply having an underwhelming build quality.
Our only new addition this year is the PowerSmart PS90, and though it does have a slow cycle time, it is still five seconds faster than the Dirty Hand Tools 100481. While that might not seem like a lot, it does add up over time if splitting a lot of logs.
Of all the models on our list, only the Boss Industrial ES7T20 and Boss Industrial EC5T20 allow for one-handed operation. Many users will find this more convenient, however it does increase the possibility of hurting oneself if not operated by an experienced user.
Swisher Timber Brute Eco Split LS22E The LS22E may be overkill for the average household user, but if you need to split extremely dense or knotty species, there are few better option electric options. With 22 tons of force and a 13-second cycle time, you'll power through your work quickly and efficiently. It also allows for vertical or horizontal splitting. swisherinc.com
DR RapidFire Pilot K10 Combining a two-horsepower motor with a 25-pound flywheel allows the Pilot K10 to provide an impressive one-second cycle time. Not only can it outsplit pretty much any 10-ton hydraulic model, but it is also designed with fewer moving parts than most, which should help ensure its longevity. drpower.com
The Amazing Electric Log Splitter
This is about as large as almost any residential fireplace could handle anyway.
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 a significant amount of money, though cheaper and less-powerful models 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.
Before you can feed a log into a splitter, you have some work to do and some tools and gear to acquire.
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.
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.
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.