What’s the Best Log Splitter? Review and Buying Guide of Log Splitters, Winter 2008.

Firstly a few simple questions and answers as the subject of log splitters – and what they are intended for – can cause some confusion. What is a log splitter? If you’re unfamiliar with this type of device a log splitter is essentially a mechanical axe, or, more precisely a mechanical safety axe which is designed to split logs faster and easier and than a traditional axe but also to provide a safer environment in which to do this. How does a log splitter work? Essentially log splitters work through employing a motor powered hydraulic pump to exert pressure against the log by means of a metal wedge, forcing the log to split open. Log splitters are incredibly safe to use and extremely straight forward to operate: simply press a button or pull a lever and watch as the splitting wedge slowly works it way towards the log which is placed safely in-situ on the log splitter. The log is split by the sheer force of pressure applied by the wedge and does not require a build up of speed or momentum as is the case with a traditional axe. So, who would own a log splitter? Anyone with an open fire or wood burner might use one of these devices. If you have logs delivered, you’ll find log splitters great for chopping them into suitable size pieces of wood for each fire or wood burner in your home. Best of all, what once would have been seen as a tiresome chore chopping up a pile of wood with an axe, becomes a quick and easy task. If you intend to saw up logs with a chainsaw do you need a log splitter as well? Probably yes as chainsaws are great for sawing up wood into logs but less practical for producing smaller, fire-sized pieces of wood. Log splitters are used for splitting sections of log that have already been sawn up with a chainsaw. How big a log can I split? You’ll be surprised actually of the size of log a log splitter will cope with and we’ll cover this more in the log splitter review below as it does depend on the power and design of the individual log splitter. Our review of log splitters will also look at what types of wood can be split with these devices.

Log splitters have come down greatly in price in recent years. When MowDIRECT first began selling log splitters online almost ten years ago our cheapest model was around £400. Now, the lowest priced electric log splitter is less than half that at under £200! What accounts for this dramatic reduction in price of entry level log splitters? The simple answer, as with so many price reductions for consumer goods over the same period, is China. Our entry-level economy log splitter, The Handy Log Splitter, has been available now for a number of years and has proved incredibly popular at £199. It is the basic, sit on the floor style of log splitter and exerts the same four tonnes of pressure as other log splitters within this class. Incredibly it can chop up to 100 logs in an hour and useful features include transport wheels and handle for pulling the log splitter along. The Handy Log Splitter will also cope with good sized logs up to 25cm (10″) in diameter and 52cm (20.5″) long. Our other top selling log splitter from recent years has been the Ryobi Electric Log SplitterRyobi ELS-52 Electric Log Splitter. This robust machine has an attractive design with large-sized transportation wheels making it easier to manoeuvre from storage to your area of work. It can also handle slightly larger-sized logs up to 30cm (12″) in diameter and you’ll have to judge whether these extra features justify the £80 step-up in price with the unit coming in currently at £279.
Next in line is the Lawnflite Woody 50 Log Splitter. We have been selling this Italian made electric log splitter online to customers across the UK for almost ten years now and it has proved both reliable and popular with those seeking a step up in quality. It offers similar specifications to the above two models but possesses a more traditional standard of build quality and design. At twice the price of our entry level log splitter – the Lawnflite Woody currently sells at £399 compared to £199 for The Handy model- the market for this unit is a lot smaller. More popular is the larger-sized Lawnflite Logic Log Splitter which exerts a hefty 7 tonnes of pressure – almost twice that of the above mentioned log splitters. The pressure exerted by a log splitter is important for both the type of log the machine can handle – the Lawnflite Logic can easily handle close grain logs that are great for open fires and wood burners as they burn longer – and the speed at which they will operate. If you have to chop wood regularly and in reasonably large quantities, the Lawnflite Logic Log Splitter might be the answer for you.
Alko Vertical Log SplitterNew for 2008 is a comprehensive range of electric powered hydraulic log splitters from German manufacturer Al-Ko. We expect these quality log splitters to be a real success and stand out models from the range include the Al-Ko KHS5200L Log Splitter which sits on waist-high support legs for more comfortable operation and the new vertical style log splitters, models Al-Ko LHS5500 and Al-Ko LHS6000. The advantage of a vertical style log splitter is that it can take a wider range of log sizes than the horizontal style of log splitter mentioned above. The new Al-Ko models are in fact capable of splitting logs over a metre in length which is about twice as long as the horizontal log splitters. The powerful motors on these vertical log splitter models from Al-Ko are also capable of delivering very high pressure for a fast work rate.
To sum up, if you are working to a budget, The Handy Log Splitter is a popular choice although the new Al-Ko KHS3700L currently on offer at £209 perhaps provides a little more for your money in terms of build quality and robustness. For greater convenience, the Alko KHS5200L and Ryobi ELS-52 offer some extra or superior features. If you looking for traditional quality, MTD-Lawnflite’s Italian made log splitters should fit the bill and if you need to split wood quickly and regularly the MTD-Lawnflite Logic or Al-Ko vertical logs splitters should match your criteria, the latter being more versatile with the wider range of logs it is capable of splitting.

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