What size log splitter do I need?

For cosiness, nothing beats the warmth of a winter fire. But before you relax, you need to prepare your firewood.

There are several ways to do this, and one of the most popular is with a log splitter. There are hydraulic log splitters, foot operated log splitters and of course, the simple axe/maul. Remember, size matters, but which size is for you?

Maul/Axe

Maul on wood
A lumberjack’s best friend
Source: The Department of Style
Mauls look like a sledgehammer with the face of an axe which widens quickly. As you drive through the wood, the wider face forces the wood to split.

Axes and mauls are without doubt the simplest way to split logs into manageable pieces. So if you have a small wood pile then a maul may be for you. They are extremely portable, relatively inexpensive and make you feel like a lumberjack.

Those with bad backs might struggle to use a maul, and if you find a knot in a log, then it will be almost impossible to split. Axes and mauls are dangerous tools and injuries can happen. People with children, pets or unsteady hands should exercise caution.

Foot powered log splitter

D3953 Foot Operated Logsplitter Cj
The wood is at your feet
Foot powered log splitters are essentially a jack with a piston that pushes the log onto a splitting wedge. Each pump on the foot lever results in around 1.2 tonnes of force, effortlessly splitting logs.

By using a log splitter, wood can be turned into burnable chunks far quicker than with a maul or axe. Like a maul, a log splitter is easy to transport and store, so it won’t be in the way when not in use. Unlike a maul, a foot operated log splitter is extremely safe.

Because no upper body strength is required, those with bad backs can still enjoy a warming fire. And frugality is assured as it’s foot power rather than electricity that moves the piston.

Splitting green wood? Unseasoned wood is denser and harder to split, so for this task you may need something more powerful than a foot powered log splitter.

Hydraulic log splitter

D3803 Dual Logmaster Logsplitter 2 Cj
Serious log splitting
Up to your neck in logs? Then this is probably the choice for you. Hydraulic log splitters plug into household sockets and pack around 6 tonnes of force.

Without a swinging blade, they are incredibly safe, and labour is minimised because all you need do is load the wood.

Older wood has less moisture content and is easier to split. But with the force of a hydraulic log splitter, even greenwood won’t be a problem. And knots are no match for this sort of power.

How to describe a hydraulic log splitter? Big, powerful and easy to use.

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