Best Log Splitters

Updated August 2023
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Best of the Best
Landworks Log Splitter
Log Splitter
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Most Powerful
Bottom Line

This powerful gas-powered splitter is what you need to make bountiful firewood from the trees on your property.


It has a splitting force of 20 tons and it has supports to keep logs stable while you split them. It has wheels and a pulling handle to get to any place on your property.


Several had issues with the instructions being unclear. Others had oil leaks.

Best Bang for the Buck
Inertia Gear Cast Iron Manual Log Splitter
Inertia Gear
Cast Iron Manual Log Splitter
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Bargain Pick
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Those who don't mind using a bit of elbow grease will love this affordable manual log splitter.


This splitter has no sharp edges and has a metal rail for holding wood in place that lets you use it with 1 hand. Its cast iron build makes it super durable and ideal for cutting down fireplace logs, camping firewood, and meat-smoking woods.


The shaft diameter is only 6.5 inches making it challenging to use with larger logs.

Hi-Flame Firewood Kindling Splitter
Firewood Kindling Splitter
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Simple yet Solid
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An inexpensive and reliable way to split dry wood for kindling.


Affordable. Durable steel design. Optimized for splitting dried wood for firewood. Simple to operate. Far safer than a bladed model. Includes 4 holes for floor mounting. The compact design allows it to be easily mounted or placed in smaller storage.


Its orange paint chips away easily over long-term use.

EARTHQUAKE 5-ton Electric Log Splitter
5-ton Electric Log Splitter
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Highly Portable
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A 5-ton electric log splitter that is capable of handling logs up to 10 inches in diameter.


This is an impressively efficient little log splitter that can be more easily transported than larger models. For peace of mind, the company backs its product with a 5-year limited warranty and free US-based customer support.


This model does not include a stand.

Sun Joe Logger Joe 10-Ton Hydraulic Manual Steel Portable Log Splitter
Sun Joe
Logger Joe 10-ton Hydraulic Manual Steel Portable Log Splitter
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Best for Occasional Use
Bottom Line

Our pick for a manual model or if you have a very tight budget and won't need to split a lot at once.


Splits round logs up to 18 inches long and 8 inches wide. Made of sturdy steel. Easy to use, and does not require a ton of strength to operate.


Requires more physical labor than electric or gas-powered models. Can only tackle small to mid-sized pieces.


We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

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Buying guide for Best log splitters

Anyone who has spent a few hours chopping wood with an axe will appreciate the power and ease of a good log splitter. They're not only faster — and more accurate than most of us — they're also safer.

There are plenty of choices, too. You can tow commercial logo splitters around the fields and use them to turn felled trees into valuable firewood. Homeowner models will quickly reduce your log pile to usable chunks and are compact enough to tuck in the corner of a garage.

How a log splitter works

Most log splitters use the same principle: a hydraulic ram forces the log against a metal wedge. The wedge doesn't actually cut the wood — it's not really sharp at all — but the force applied by the hydraulics splits the log very effectively.

There are a number of variations on this basic idea, so let's look at your options.

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For your safety
Always operate your log splitter on level ground. A dry area is best, so there's no danger of you slipping anywhere near the machine.

Which type of log splitter should you get?

Although quite a basic machine, there are several things you need to think about when choosing a log splitter:

  • Power source

  • Splitting force

  • Capacity and flexibility

  • Other considerations

Power sources

There are three ways to power a log splitter: manually, with an electric motor, or with a gas motor.

Manual log splitters

You might be surprised to see this “underpowered” log splitter option, but it's a viable alternative with a number of advantages.


  • They're inexpensive to buy, and cost nothing to run.

  • The hydraulic mechanism is simple — it's much like a car jack.

  • It's very easy to use, and requires less force than you might think (you don't need huge biceps).

  • It's comparatively quiet.

  • It's very portable.

  • It will help keep you fit.

  • It's a method that warms you twice: once when you split the wood, and again when you burn it!


  • It is quite slow.

  • It does require some effort, so it's not the easy option that other power sources offer.

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For your safety
It's a good idea to run an electric log splitter through a GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). In the event of a short circuit this will kill the power, so you don't get an electric shock.

Electric log splitters


  • They're cheap to run, and require little or no maintenance.

  • They're relatively quiet.

  • They can be used outdoors or indoors.


  • Where you can use them is restricted by the need for an electric cable. They're fine in your backyard or garage, but you can't take them out in the field.

  • They don't produce as much power as gas motors.

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For your safety
It's best not to run an electric log splitter through an extension cable, but sometimes necessary. Make sure you have the correct gauge. If your cable is getting hot, it's too thin, and could cause a fire.

Gas log splitters


  • A very wide range — from homeowner models to commercial machines.

  • The potential for extremely high performance.

  • They’re robust and durable.

  • You can use them anywhere.


  • Compared to electric or manual splitters, they’re very noisy.

  • They require regular maintenance.

  • Gas power typically comes with a higher running costs.

  • You need to transport flammable fuel.

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For your safety
If your gas log splitter isn't being used for a month or more, drain the fuel.

Splitting force

It's tempting to look at motor capacity as a guide to splitting force (given in tons), but it's only part of the equation.

Most are 15 amp, 2 hp models. Yet splitting force varied between four and seven tons — and that's what's really doing the work.

The differences when it comes to gas-powered log splitters can be even greater, but there's also a much wider range of motors; anywhere from 80 cc to over 200 cc. Splitting force goes from 7 tons to as much as 25 tons.

When choosing a log splitter it's important not to make assumptions. You need to consider the full specifications, not just individual aspects.

Interestingly, an ideal splitter produces a maximum splitting force of ten tons. That's more than some models costing five times as much!

Capacity and flexibility

Manufacturers will normally quote maximum length and log diameter. Length is fixed by the bed of the machine. Logs are frequently cut to 18" long, and most models exceed this comfortably.

Log diameter varies from one machine to another — it depends on the heights of the driving plate and wedge. It's possible to mount larger logs than specified, but not recommended. It's potentially dangerous, as the log might be thrown upwards suddenly.

Some machines can be used horizontally or vertically, giving added flexibility. Using a log splitter vertically is useful when you have large logs that are difficult to lift. You can roll the log up to the machine, then tilt it into position. It's also a slightly faster method, favored by two-person teams working in the field.

While this is usually a feature of more powerful, gas log splitters, there are a few large electric models that have the capability. They do tend to be more expensive than equivalent gas models.

Other considerations

  • The duty cycle, or cycle time, is how long the machine takes to be ready again after splitting a log. Homeowner models often don't quote it, because it's not too important, but commercial grade machines have auto-return systems, and are ready for the next log in 20 seconds or less.

  • Portability is important, whether you're moving across your yard or several miles away. Handles and wheels are always useful. Large models are designed for towing behind an ATV or lawn tractor, and the biggest can take to the road. If you need that kind of log splitter, it's important to check that the tires are road legal, and that the machine complies with all necessary legislation.

  • Smaller electric log splitters, designed for yard and garage use, are often quite low to the ground. While this makes loading logs easy, it does cause some users back pain. Leg sets are available for some, which raise the log splitter to a more comfortable working height.

  • Log cradles prevent logs from falling off onto the floor — and perhaps your toes — after being split.

  • These machines endure extreme stresses, so it's important that they're robustly built. Look for large section tubing, and thick steel plate. Light weight is not a priority. 

What do good log splitters cost?


Manual log splitters, both horizontal and vertical, cost between $100 and $200. You can pay similar money for axes, but the log splitter will do the job more quickly and more safely.


Good electric log splitters are all similarly priced, between $300 and $400. The main difference here is the splitting force, and you should find a powerful, reliable five or six-ton model within this bracket.


Gas log splitters cover a much greater range. These are tough, extremely capable tools, and even the smallest are built for a lifetime's hard work. As a consequence, prices are higher, starting at around $650 and rising to well over $1,000 for a 25-ton model.

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For your safety
Some large log splitters require assembly. Components can be heavy, so get a friend to help.


  • Large gas log splitters invariably have some kind of tow hitch. If you are taking it on the highway, check that the tires are DOT approved.

  • Seasoned logs — those that have been allowed to dry naturally — burn longer and give more heat. They are also easier to split. However, if you can split them green (freshly cut), you expose more surface area to the air, and they'll season more quickly. This does require considerable force, so some low-power electric log splitters might struggle.

  • Whenever possible, use logs with squared-off ends on your log-splitter. Logs with angled or uneven ends can be pushed out of the way. If this happens, try turning the log the other way. If that doesn't work, trim the ends, or discard the log. Never try to hold a log in place with your arm or leg. If it splits suddenly, you will not react fast enough to get out of the way, and you could easily end up with broken bones.

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One-handed operation is convenient and simple, but two-handed operation ensures your hands are never in harm’s way.


Q. Which is best, an electric log splitter or a gas one?
Gas log splitters are immensely powerful and can go anywhere. They're also big, heavy, and loud. Electric log splitters are easy to move around your yard, and you can use one in the garage if it's raining. They're not as powerful though, and you need to be near a suitable electric outlet.

At the end of the day, it's very much a question of matching the machine to your personal needs.

Q. Do powered log splitters need much maintenance?
It depends on the type. With electric log splitters the only requirement is to occasionally top up or change hydraulic fluid. With gas log splitters you have the usual maintenance required with any gas motor; things like checking filters, spark plugs, and oil levels. There's nothing particularly onerous or difficult. Following the manufacturer's instructions will ensure you get the maximum working life from your equipment.

Q. What safety gear do I need when using a log splitter?
You should always wear gloves to protect yourself from splinters, and ensure a good grip on logs and machine controls. Wear goggles or safety glasses to protect yourself from small bits of wood that might shear off suddenly. Sturdy footwear should be worn, preferably with steel toes. Dropping a log on your foot is no fun. Gas log splitters can be noisy, so ear protection is also a good idea.

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