What Size Log Splitter Do I Need? – [Explained!]

What Size Log Splitter Do I Need

If you ask yourself, ” what size log splitter do I need? There are many sizes of log splitters available on the market.

And many of us buy them without knowing the size of log splitters to get a specific job done? This kind of impulse shopping is a rookie mistake that should always be avoided.

A log splitter is a hydraulic machine that uses hydraulic pressure to split timbers into the appropriate size, and length. And when it comes to log splitters, size does matter.

The size of the log splitters that you should buy depends on a few factors; the diameter of the log and the type of wood you are working with, the cycle time, etc.

It also depends on whether or not the wood is green or already seasoned.

What is Tonnage & How it Relates to Log Splitters?

Tonnage is the first crucial thing you need to get yourself familiar with. Because it is the unit with which you determine your log splitter size.

Log splitters use a solid and dense piece of metal that is driven through the log. And tonnage is the amount of force the machine can apply to the log.

The higher the tonnage rating, the thicker and bigger diameter of the log it will manage to split. Also, the higher the rating, the bigger the log splitter is considered to be.

What Size Log Splitter Do I Need?

The answer to this question is not that simple as you think it might be. You cannot just guess a random size and buy it from the market.  Because various factors influence the size of the machine that you will be needed.

Usually, people cut wood with the least diameter and length. But some people buy and need to cut big pieces of logs or trees and do not know where to begin with.

Those who say, “Bigger is always better.” are probably making a wrong statement. Because if you are dealing with a 6″ season log most of the time, and you went to buy a 30-tonnage log spiller instead of 6, you wasted a significant sum of money.

To avoid such nonsense, you should first understand the factors that influence the size of the log splitters before shopping for one. This way you will be able to make the right choice more quickly.

Factors that Log Splitter Size Depends on

Most vendors will try to sell you the most significant size log splitters they have and tell you ‘ALL THE RIGHT REASONS’ why you must buy this one. But forcing your way through with money without knowing how to choose your log splitters precisely is never a good idea.

So here are the key factors that you should know before choosing the perfect size of log splitters.

Types of Woodpile

The type of woodpile you want to split plays an enormous role here. Different types of wood have different levels of hardness.

And depending on how hard or soft the wood is,  you have to determine the size of the log splitters. The smoother the wood is, the less tonnage it will take to split into parts.

Walnut, Cedar, Maple, and Oak are some popular examples of hardwood. So if you are working with one of these, it is advised to go for a log splitter with a considerably higher tonnage rating.

On the other hand, if you are working with softwoods like Aldar, Spruce, and Pine, you can rip them easily with the same diameter and size of log splitter with significantly less force.

The Size of the Logs

If you plan on buying a log splitter, you should think about the size of the log you will have to deal with. The equation is straightforward. If your woodpile has wider logs at the diameter, then the general rule of thumb is to go for a bigger log splitter hence the tonnage.

Most of the time homeowners deal with softwoods ranges somewhere around 5″ to 6″ in diameter. A 4-ton unit should be perfect for this kind of job. However, to chop hardwoods having 24″ to 36″ diameter you need a log splitter featuring a minimum of 30+ tonnage.

Seasoned or Green Logs

Knowing whether the logs are seasoned or green is significant when choosing the right size of log splitters.

The amount of tonnage needed is significantly varied depending on the wood condition. Check if the logs you will split are green or well seasoned before going to buy your log splitter.

Logs that are freshly cut and haven’t still been dried are likely to carry a considerable amount of water inside. More force (Tonnage) would be needed to cut these green logs due to the extra water.

On the other hand, woods that have been old and adequately dried out is delicate and fragile. So you need substantially lesser force in the splitting process.

Cycle Time

Cycle time could be a crucial factor in deciding the size of the log splitter, particularly when you have a large woodpile to split.

Cycle time refers to the moment the hydraulic ram takes to press the log inside the splitter and then returning it to the initial position.

This metric varies with machines. Some have a long cycle time but you will also find log splitters that cut logs under 10 seconds.

However, deciding on a good log splitter requires you to make a balance between the tonnage and the cycle time.

Because a powerful log splitter with a longer cycle time is not productive. On the other hand, if you are trying to cut hard green, 20″ logs with a high-speed and low tonnage, it is not a good idea either.

To make it simple, a machine with a 15-20 seconds cycle time would be standard. Gas log splitters are usually more powerful and the fastest in this instance.

Average Log Length

Log splitters have their rating, which indicates the length of wood they can split. Depending on the average length of the log you would slice regularly, you should decide the right size of your log splitter.

However, when your task involves splitting longer logs, we recommend you opt for a larger gas log splitter. With them, you can easily cut taller logs both at the horizontal and vertical positions.

Now, choosing the right size is very important, but before you buy a log splitter keep your eyes out also for the factors mentioned below:

Length of a Warranty the Dealer Provides

Go for the log splitters for which the manufacturer provides a minimum of 2 years of residential warranties and lifetime technical support.

Portability of The Log Splitter

A log splitter with wheels or ball hitch will allow easy transportation in case you have got woodpiles to split at different places.

Availability of Replacement Parts

Buy your machine from a reliable manufacturer who offers readily available replacement parts in case you need any.

Quality of the Motor

Ensure that you are getting a log splitter with a motor that delivers enough Horse Power (HP) required to handle the wood splitting task. You should consider its hydraulic capacity as well.

Access to Electrical Power, i.e., the Placement of the Operation

Check whether you have an electrical power outlet available near the woodpile. Otherwise, a cordless gas-powered wood splitter would be an ideal choice.

Single-Stage or Double Stage Pump

A two-stage pump is more common for hydraulic wood splitters. Unlike single-stage pumps, they use two sets of gears. This increases machine productivity and provides precise power at the right speed.

Final Words

The answer to the question,” what size log splitter do I need?” depends on your specific needs and requirements.

So, before throwing your money away and buying a 40-ton log splitter, you should pay attention to all the factors we have discussed here. It is always better to be late than to regret it.