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    Tractor Supply Company

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    How to Choose the Right Log Splitter

    Authored by Amanda Cothern

    Whether you’re a homesteader, a rancher or you live in a suburb, a log splitter is a valuable piece of equipment for your property. If you have a wood heater, fireplace or an outdoor firepit, a log splitter is a timesaving and cost effective way to split a good quantity of wood. Learn more about which splitter is best for you below:

    There are three main types of log splitters

    1. Manual – This type uses human force to power the splitting equipment. Manual splitters are effective, but depending on the size of your job, you could spend long hours operating the machine.

    2. Electric – This type uses electrical power to split wood. Electric versions can handle smaller jobs without any issues, with the plus side of letting the machine do the work for you.

    3. Hydraulic/Gas – This type uses a gas-powered engine to operate the machine. Hydraulic splitters are the best for any type of splitting project but are typically used for large cords of wood. 

    “If you intend on using it on a fairly regular basis, buying a log splitter makes sense,” says Scott Baylor, Log Splitter Product Line Manager for Blount International. The company produces a range of log splitters, including electric- and gas-powered models.

    Match the Splitter to Your Needs

    The key, Baylor says, is buying the proper tool for your needs. Determining what type of log splitter you’ll need should come with three considerations – how often you’ll use it, how big your project will be and the type/size of the wood you’re splitting (this helps decide the tonnage of the machine). 

    For smaller jobs and wood size, the manual or electric machine will get the work done. You’ll now need to decide if you want to use human or electric power. 

    For larger jobs and larger pieces of wood, the hydraulic machine will be right for you. Just remember that large tonnage is not always necessary, keep in mind the size of the job and wood you’ll be splitting. 

    If the splitter is going to be used often, the hydraulic gas-powered machine would be your best option. These will not only handle larger pieces of wood, but also your time will be spent wisely letting the machine do the work for you.  

    Log size is important when selecting a splitter. On top of that, hardwood and softwood split at different tonnage rates. For instance, a softwood log with a 12-inch diameter will need at least a 15-ton machine. A hardwood log with a 12-inch diameter will need at least a 22-ton machine. 

    “A 25-ton splitter will do the vast majority of jobs well,” Baylor says.

    Log splitters also come with varying degrees of portability and storage options. The smaller manual splitters are lighter in weight and can be stored easily in a storage building or garage. The electric and gas-powered machines will come with wheels to help move the splitters around. Since these are large items and you may not have room in a storage building, you can store them outside with a cover to protect the machinery from the weather. 

    The cost of a log splitter can range from $300 to around $4,000. The larger the machine and wood splitting tonnage, the more money you’ll spend on a piece of heavy-duty equipment.

    Manual or electric splitters will be lower priced. However, if you plan to use the machine often, investing in a larger splitter can help offset your time spent on splitting the wood. 

    Most log splitters will come with a manufacturer’s warranty that will cover manufacturing flaws or issues. Check your specific machine’s warranty card and operator’s manual for more details. 

    Most machines will also have a toll-free number to contact the manufacturer for any questions or concerns you may have. Tractor Supply also offers a variety of Power Plus Protection Plans that start after the manufacturer’s warranty ends. When you invest in Power Plus, you’ll also receive up to 50% off select preventative maintenance parts, among other benefits. See a Tractor Supply Team member or visit our Power Plus hub for more information. 

    Safety First

    Another important reminder is to always wear safety equipment while the machine is in use. Eye and ear protection, safety glasses, work gloves, steel-toed shoes or boots, are all good recommendations to have handy when the log splitter is in use. 

    Maintenance is Key

    Once you’ve made a log splitter purchase, now it’s time to keep up with the maintenance schedule for your machine. The key to a long life for your outdoor power equipment is to keep up to date with maintenance tasks. Each splitter will have its own maintenance requirements and recommendations that you’ll find in the operator’s manual. It’s critical to follow those instructions to keep your equipment running smoothly. 

    A few of the recommended maintenance tasks are to check for hydraulic fluid leaks, filling the hydraulic fluid reservoir, bleed any trapped air from the hydraulic cylinder, lubricate the splitter beam from all angles, and replace any worn or old parts on your splitter. It’s always best practice to clean your log splitter regularly after each use, wiping away any grease, oil or other debris that has collected on your machine.