As seen in:
Champion Power Equipment
25-Ton Gas Powered
Ironton
Horizontal Manual Hydraulic
WEN
6-Ton Electric
Boss Industrial
7-Ton Electric
Yard Kings
12-Ton Hydraulic Splitting Force
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Check Price
Good

Easy to start. Can produce 25 tons of pressure. Ideal for serious work; accommodates logs up to 100 pounds.

Hydraulics create 10 tons of pressure. Cleaner and greener than electric and gas counterparts.

Tough build. Exudes approximately six tons of pressure. Never-flat tires enhance mobility.

Convenient, one-handed operation. Quality components and construction. Seven tons of pressure.

Takes timber up to 19 inches in diameter. Produces up to 12 tons of pressure.

Bad

Assembly required. (Parts are heavy, so a two-person assembly team is ideal.)

Requires more physical effort than some other options.

Owner manual can be difficult to understand.

Force is "sufficient" but not "spectacular." Wet timber may be more difficult to split than dry.

Cycle time is slower (18 seconds) than some competitors.

Bottom Line

A gas-powered log splitter with powerhouse performance. The best available.

A man-powered splitter that is surprisingly effective and easy to use.

An inexpensive, entry-level electric log splitter that requires two-hand operation.

An electric log splitter that is slightly more powerful than the WEN. The best package for the lowest price.

A sturdy, gas-fed log splitter at an economical price.

How we decide
BestReviews is committed to providing comprehensive and trusted reviews for products that matter to consumers. We do the research to help you save time and money.
0
Products received from manufacturers
52
Models Considered
43
Hours Spent
2
Experts Interviewed
193
Consumers Consulted

Best Log Splitters

You can split logs with an ax or with wedges, but there's more to the job than just plain effort. Time is an important factor, too. Whatever type of log splitting you need to do, chances are you want to get the job done as quickly as possible. The answer is a powered log splitter, but which one?

Each of our finalists offers something different. Some will suit those who have only the occasional need for a log splitter; others are designed to effortlessly split tons of timber. Somewhere in this group, there's a tool that's right for just about everybody. Our final five are:

Products we Considered

Champion Power Equipment
25-Ton Gas Powered
Ironton
Horizontal Manual Hydraulic
WEN
6-Ton Electric
Boss Industrial
7-Ton Electric
Yard Kings
12-Ton Hydraulic Splitting Force

Considerations

Power

All of the machines on our shortlist use hydraulics, but there are differences in the amount of pressure produced -- and the way that pressure is created. In the first part of our log splitter review, we look at these important details.

Construction

A log splitter has to be built tough. After all, there's a huge amount of force going through it. We examine the frame, component quality, and features each product supplies.

Performance

Figures can give you a useful guide, but they can't tell you what a log splitter is like once you put it to work. In this part of our ratings, we incorporate feedback from owners who thoroughly understand the strengths and weaknesses of each product.

Price

Will a cheap log splitter do the job, or do you need to dig deep? In this section, we look at the cost of each product and the kind of value you can expect for your money.

Considerations

Power

Ironton Horizontal Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter

The Ironton Horizontal Manual Hydrolic Log Splitter is an interesting option. It doesn't remove all the effort like a powered machine does, but it's definitely a lot easier than swinging an ax or hammering wedges. The Ironton's mechanism is much like a car jack, but it's mounted horizontally. It requires some physical effort to move the levers back and forth, but the hydraulics -- which can create a maximum 10 tons of pressure -- do a lot of the work.

WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter

A two-horsepower electric motor provides the power for the WEN 56206 log splitter, which the manufacturer says produces six tons of pressure. A fact that might confuse some users is that they also quote a pressure figure of 12,000 pounds (which converts to 5.443 metric tons). During our research, we assumed the conversion was for normal tons which would make the six ton statement  perfectly accurate (unlike metric tons which is another method of measurement), and we're also not sure it's particularly important on this kind of entry-level log splitter.  Interestingly, you can apparently produce more pressure by hand with the Ironton than you can with the WEN's electric motor!

Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter

Like the WEN, a two-horsepower electric motor drives the Boss Industrial ES7T20 log splitter. Although the Boss' seven-ton pressure rating is higher than that of the WEN, it's still not the equal of the Ironton. (Of course, neither the WEN nor the Boss require the same amount of muscle as the Ironton.) As with many electrically powered tools, there's always the question of whether they can produce enough power to compete with their gas-powered rivals. We'll cover that in a moment.

Log Splitter - 12 Tons of Hydraulic Splitting Force

If you want a machine that's more productive than the manual or electric models mentioned so far, but you don't need a full-fledged commercial unit, the 6.5-horsepower, gas-powered Yard Kings Log Splitter might be just what you're looking for. Pressure can elevate up to 12 tons, and as long as you keep putting in gasoline, it should continue producing that level of power all day long.

Champion Power Equipment  25-Ton

The 224cc gas engine on the Champion Power Equipment log splitter runs at five horsepower. While that's less than the Yard Kings, the actual pressure produced is considerably more at 25 tons. (This is a good indication of how looking at a single technical detail doesn't always tell the whole story about a product!) The Champion uses its power to drive a superior pump and a 4 X 23-inch hydraulic cylinder unit — hence the difference in actual force delivered.

Unlike some competitors, the Boss Industrial Electric Log Splitter offers the one-handed operation that many consumers prefer.
Considerations

Construction

Ironton Horizontal Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter

Although a fair amount of the Ironton Log Splitter's structure is pressed steel, the main I-beam that forms its backbone gives reasonable rigidity. The hydraulic pump section is fixed to the I-beam on a spring-loaded carriage, so once your log has been split and the pressure is released, it returns to its starting position. Brackets, attached to either side of the main frame, act as log catchers. A pair of small wheels help move the Ironton around. Given the fact that the Ironton weighs 80 pounds (not particularly heavy by log splitter standards, but still a considerable weight), these wheels are quite a valuable asset.

The WEN log splitter, with its large bolts and chunky welding, certainly looks purposeful. It may not be the neatest in appearance, but its build is quite tough. The motor, slung out of the way underneath the main box section backbone and legs, also acts as the unit's handles and side rails. Like all of our shortlist machines, there's automatic return of the ram. The WEN's six-inch wheels (with never-flat tires) help owners move the 100-pound machine around.

Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter

A quick comparison of the WEN and Boss Industrial log splitter shows a lot of similar features, but overall, the Boss has a higher-quality “feel” to its fixtures, fittings, and overall construction. In terms of its mechanicals, the Boss does things almost exactly the same as the WEN with its box-section frame and under-slung motor. The leg and handle arrangement is slightly different, but they achieve the same overarching goal.

Log Splitter - 12 Tons of Hydraulic Splitting Force

As you might expect, the Yard Kings log splitter is bigger and stronger than our previous contenders. We can't find a weight for this unit, but we surmise that it must be at least a couple hundred pounds. The Yard Kings log splitter is designed to be towed behind a yard tractor or other vehicle. Tires are DOT-approved, so you're fine on the road. Overall, it's a well-made tool, with log catchers that look much more capable than those on the smaller machines. We're not enamored with the fact that the hydraulic cylinder sticks out so far at the rear. It's not that it's fragile, but the location could make it a bit vulnerable to damage.

The large Champion log splitter features a hitch and DOT-approved tires. The hitch is the popular, two-inch ball type, and it's just as well, because you've got just shy of 400 pounds to move around. That weight comes from the motor and a tremendously strong main beam, as well as high-quality fittings throughout. When horizontal, the hydraulic cylinder faces the hitch (this orientation is opposite that of the Yard Kings model), thereby protecting the cylinder in transit. The Champion can be used either flat (with large log catchers on either side) or upright.

The Boss Industrial Log Splitter can handle logs of up to 20.5 inches in length and 10 inches in diameter.
Richard
Expert Consultant
Richard
Hardware Store Owner, Do-It-Yourself Guru

Richard is a seasoned small business owner in the hardware industry. He also owns a pool maintenance business and serves as an advisor on groundskeeping committees for a number of prominent organizations. He’s a regionally renowned safe cracker/locksmith expert, and in his spare time, he renovates and repairs vaults, safes, appliances, and a number of other products.

Considerations

Performance

Ironton Horizontal Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter

Ironton claims their log splitter will take logs from 13.5 to 18 inches long with a maximum diameter of 6.5 inches. However, several owners have successfully pushed those limits. In one case, an owner was able to split logs that were more than 12 inches across! Even users who feel they are not particularly strong discover that they can manage the manually operated Ironton quite easily. Of course, there are limits to this, but it seems that if you can get your log onto the Ironton, you'll be able to split it!

WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter

Maximum log capacity for the WEN is 20.5 inches long and 10 inches in diameter. Conveniently, you could run this electrically powered log splitter indoors if you wanted to! Although it will run off a 15-amp outlet, some owners prefer to use 20 amps. (If you're using an extension, it should be a 12-gauge minimum.) When it comes to actual log-splitting capabilities, a few owners have commented that the Ironton lacks power, but most find it perfectly suitable for their needs. An interesting WEN safety feature: you must use two hands to operate this machine. This means you can't accidentally get your fingers mashed in the mechanism. Nevertheless, some consumers find this aspect of the product to be unnecessarily cautious.

Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter

Although the Boss Industrial log splitter delivers an extra ton of pressure over the WEN, its maximum recommended capacities are exactly the same at 20.5 inches long and 10 inches diameter. Ask owners, however, and they'll suggest that the Boss is good for considerably bigger timber -- up to 17 inches in diameter, according to one man. (Note: this owner was splitting knot-free fir.) The Boss offers convenient electric operation, so you could operate it indoors if you wanted to. A 20-amp outlet is suggested. Most owners agree that the force of the Boss is "sufficient" rather than "spectacular." People do like the relatively compact size of the Boss when it comes to storage, but a few think it's too low to the ground. (The WEN has also received this criticism.) There is a stand available for the Boss at an extra cost; those who purchase the stand usually find it to be a good addition.

Log Splitter - 12 Tons of Hydraulic Splitting Force

Gas-powered log splitters really come into their own in terms of productivity. Case in point: the Yard Kings model will handle timber of up to 19 inches in diameter and 20 inches in length. If you've got lots of logs to split and plan to work outdoors -- either in the woods or your own back yard -- this is the kind of machine you need. It is true that gas-powered splitters can seem a bit slow, and the cycle time on the Yard Kings is around 18 seconds. However, the trade-off for this slower cycle time is massive force. If you only split small logs, then an electric model might be quicker, but you also have to consider durability. The Yard Kings Log Splitter is built to work harder and longer than its electric counterparts. When the machine is maintained sensibly, owners tend to be very satisfied.

Champion Power Equipment Gas Powered Log Splitter

Interestingly, Champion doesn't quote a maximum diameter like the other manufacturers on our shortlist do. Instead, the company claims that its gas-powered splitter can take logs of up to two feet in length and 100 pounds in weight. If you're working with timber like this, you're doing some serious log splitting! And serious log splitting is precisely what the Champion is designed for. The fact that the Champion can be used in vertical mode means that logs you'd struggle to hoist onto a horizontal bed don't need to be lifted for splitting. Most owners find they can work much faster because of this. The machine's 14-second cycle time assists with speed, too. For added peace of mind, a safety cut-out protects the motor if fluid levels get low. The only complaint we encountered with this model is that some assembly is required, and the individual parts are heavy. (Putting this machine together is definitely easier with two people!) That said, the majority find assembly to be a simple process. Owners have also remarked about how easy the motor is to start -- something that's often not the case with gas-powered tools.

The gas-powered Champion Log Splitter is a true workhorse. It can handle logs of up to two feet in length and 100 pounds in weight.
Considerations

Price

Ironton Horizontal Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter

At $119, the Ironton Horizontal manual log splitter is a bit of an oddity. If you're used to splitting logs with an ax or wedge, you'll find this machine a lot easier to use. However, it's not fully automated like our other finalists, so the question is whether you really want to pay that sort of money for a splitter that still requires effort. To some extent, your answer to that question is going to depend on your level of environmental concern. The Ironton's method is definitely cleaner and greener than electricity or gas. Among owners, praise is almost universal. Even those who consider themselves not particularly fit or strong are happy with the work they can accomplish with it. A few owners caution that, although it will exceed its specifications, it's not a good idea to do so. Other than that, there's really nothing wrong with this basic, effective mechanism.

WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter

If you want powered assistance on a budget, the WEN 56206 -- at $234 -- is one of the cheapest log splitters on our shortlist. It can apply approximately six tons of pressure, which most owners find is sufficient for their needs. A proviso: it's important to understand this model's capabilities if you want to avoid disappointment. Electric models cost less than gas versions, but they don't produce the same force. The WEN is sturdily constructed and will do a decent job of splitting dried logs within its specifications, but a few owners thought it a bit under-powered. Some didn't like the height (there's no stand), and several didn't like the fact that two hands are required for operation. (As a safety feature, however, this is quite effective!) The main complaints we've heard are that the owner manual is terribly unclear regarding the vent valve and fluid levels. In short, buying the WEN wouldn't be a bad choice, but care needs to be taken with the instructions before use.

Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter

We've mentioned that there are many visual similarities between the WEN and the Boss Industrial ES7T20 log splitter, but the Boss costs considerably more at $449. So what do you get for your money? Although it delivers more power than the WEN (up to seven tons), the maximum recommended log size is the same. Both have automatic ram return after splitting a log, and both have similar handle and wheel layout to make them easier to move. The Boss has the one-handed operation that many prefer. But the real reason you'd choose this machine over the WEN is quality. It's not that there's anything wrong with the WEN; the Boss is simply put together much better. The difference is in the little things: how neat the welds are, the standard of the components, the finish. The vast majority of owners are delighted with it. One or two say it struggles on timber that isn't dry, and some don't like the height -- though unlike the WEN, there is a stand available. Overall, owners rate this log splitter very highly.

Log Splitter - 12 Tons of Hydraulic Splitting Force

Sometimes you need the splitting force that only a gas-powered machine can deliver. Usually, this comes at a premium. It might be something of a surprise, then, that the 6.5-hp Yard Kings log splitter costs an is such an affordable price. It's noisier than an electric machine, of course. It needs more maintenance than some other models. You can't run it indoors -- but it's much more likely you'll be taking the splitter to the logs and not the other way around! Even if you see these facts as negatives, they're only minor inconveniences -- not major drawbacks. This is a sturdy machine. It's designed to be towed behind a yard tractor or other vehicle, taken to the wood pile, and worked all day. It will handle timber that is 20.5 inches long and 19 inches in diameter, which is as big as most people need. It will split green logs that most electric models would never cope with. We're not sure about the hydraulic cylinder hanging out over the back where it's a bit vulnerable to damage, but the Yard Kings machine is definiely well-liked by owners.

Champion Power Equipment Gas Powered Log Splitter

The Champion Power Equipment log splitter will cost you $1299. That's quite a lot of money, but this is a lot of machine. Champion, quite rightly, has a great reputation for quality. One look at this machine will tell you why. It's well-made and superbly finished. That may not be important when you get it out in the field, but it's indicative of the manufacturer's build standards and attention to detail. Once you've towed it to where it needs to go, you have the choice of horizontal or vertical operation -- take your pick, check your fluid levels, and the Champion will split logs until you're too tired to carry on. A few owners complained that it requires some assembly. The parts are heavy enough that two people are required to do the job. Aside from that, we couldn't find anyone with a bad word to say about the Champion Log Splitter.

Once you've towed the Champion Log Splitter where it needs to go, you have the choice of horizontal or vertical operation. Take your pick, check your fluid levels, and the Champion will split logs until you're too tired to carry on.

Best of the Best

Competition for top spot in our reviews is often fierce, but choosing the Best of the Best was easy in this case: it's the Champion Power Equipment No.92221.

At $1249, the Champion costs a pretty penny, but if you compare it with rivals that deliver similar performance, you'll see that the price is quite competitive. In fact, we were unable to find anything in the Champion's class that was any cheaper. Not surprisingly, this is a very popular log splitter.

The Champion performs courtesy of a 196cc, EPA and CARB-compliant gas engine that delivers five horsepower to a hydraulic pump producing up to 3,500 pounds per square inch. That drives the cylinder (and therefore the cutting wedge) with up to 22 tons of force. (That's enough force to slice through pieces of timber 24 inches long in 14 seconds.) Champion doesn't quote a maximum diameter limit, but the manufacturer does indicate that the machine will take anything up to 100 pounds in weight. That's a lot of log! The Champion will work either horizontally or vertically -- a method that's usually adopted by commercial operators because work flows much faster that way. Because you'll be towing it to where it needs to go, the Champion comes with a standard, two-inch ball hitch and DOT-approved tires. Attention to detail is underlined by a spin-on oil filter that makes things a little bit easier come maintenance time. Though things seldom go wrong, owners say the Champion's customer support is as good as everything else about this machine.

So what about complaints? It is heavy, and it does require some assembly. Consequently, a couple of owners have complained about the fact that it takes two people to put it together. Apart from that, the Champion N0.9221 gets nothing but praise from owners. Comments like "Could not be happier!" and "Awesome machine!" are the rule, and most agree with us that it's the top log splitter available.
Best of the Best
Check Price
When it comes to the Champion Power Equipment Log Splitter, owner comments like "Could not be happier!" and "Awesome machine!" are the rule.

Best Bang for your Buck

All of the log splitters on our shortlist are excellent machines, and several qualify as "budget" models. However, the Best Bang for Your Buck award goes to the Boss Industrial ES7T20.

If you want a bit of exercise, the Ironton is an interesting option that produces a surprisingly large 10 tons of splitting force. The WEN is another budget-priced log splitter worth considering. If you're looking for a low-cost, gas-powered log splitter, you could do a lot worse than the Yard Kings model. However, it's the Boss that answers most people's needs most of the time. Not only that, but it has a durable build quality that simply cannot be beat by other budget models.

The two-horsepower motor delivers an impressive seven tons of splitting power, and the Boss will take logs up to 20.5 inches long and 10 inches in diameter. Being electric, it's "plug in and go" -- outdoors, indoors, wherever you like. At 106 pounds, it's a fair weight to move around, but it has handles and wheels to help you do so with relative ease. (The rails double as log catchers.) Operation is one-handed, which most people prefer.

Then there's the Boss Industrial's excellent build quality. Tidy welding isn't strictly necessary, but in the case of the Boss, it shows that great care has gone into the manufacture of this product. Individual components are of a high standard, and the finish looks like it could take a few knocks without looking old and worn.

Some consumers think it lacks in power -- particularly on green logs -- but all electric models will get that criticism. This is a household log splitter, not the kind of machine you'd take out in the woods all day. Owner compliments like "Plenty of power!" and "Money well spent! reinforce our decision that the Boss Industrial Log Splitter is the Best Bang for Your Buck.
Best Bang for your Buck
Check Price
The Boss Industrial's durable build quality simply cannot be beat by other budget models.
The team that worked on this review
  • Bob
    Bob
    Writer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Editor
  • Jess
    Jess
    Researcher
  • Jimi
    Jimi
    Product Analyst
  • Adrian
    Adrian
    Senior Engineer