Best Manual Log Splitter

In the winter, you might (this is a n absolute certainty) want to sit around a warm and cozy fire or heat up part of your home with a wood stove through the winter, you will be needing a lot of firewood. Even thought you can chop some firewood from logs manually with a felling ax, you can always save yourself a lot of muscle soreness and back aches by getting yourself a log splitter.

Getting the best manual log splitter makes it very easy and quite fast to split logs using a hydraulic press or a solid splitter so that you can get a cord of firewood without having to suffer through the aches that usually follow with chopping wood.

When we went out to search for the best manual log splitter on the market today, we had to take a few features into consideration. The first that we looked into was the design of the log splitter, whether a manually operated hydraulic press or any other type of the manual splitter.

We also took into account whether each splitter was made to be used for vertical or horizontal splitting and the size of logs the splitters would accept, seeing as the splitter has to match the logs that you have sitting in your compound. And finally, we looked at the quality of the materials in each splitter since the splitter will be made to face significant forces when you are cutting through tough wood.

Top 5 Manual Log Splitters

After hours upon hours of going through the technical specs and customer reviews, we came up with five of our favorite manual log splitters, and we have listed them below. If you want to want to get a detailed review of each listed splitter with the pros and cons, you should keep reading.

We also included a buying guide that would cover everything that you need to know about log splitters, and this includes the features that you should be looking for and just how you would use the manual splitter keeping safety at the back of your mind. Finally, we will tell you what our three overall favorite manual log splitters are.

Let us briefly rush through the featured products in this article.

  • Sun Joe Lj10M (Editor’s choice): This is a hydraulic log splitter that has enough room for larger logs and a mechanism that makes splitting your wood much easier.
  • Logosol Smart Splitter (Best Slide Hammer Splitter): A slide hammer splitter is one that can handle an unlimited log diameter and a long log length, it is lightweight and quick.
  • Kindling Cracker Firewood Kindling Splitter (Budget Pick): This is a cheap, lightweight, and small kindling splitter that would require little force and lasts for a very long time.
  • Timber tuff TMW-11 (Best Portable Manual Log Splitter): This one is a compact slide hammer that would not limit the size of logs that you can split; it is also easy to transport.
  • Ironton Hydraulic Log Splitter: This is a hydraulic log splitter that can easily split logs of nearly any diameter. It is also fast to use.

Now, let us get into reviewing these products proper.

  1. Sun Joe LJ10M – Best Hydraulic Manual Log Splitter

Features

  • Splitting type: Manual, hydraulic.
  • Splitting direction:
  • Splitting force: 10 tons.
  • Max log length: 18 inches.
  • Max log diameter: 8 inches.
  • Warranty: 2 years.

Rating: 9.7 out of 10.

Many people love this hydraulic splitter from manufacturers, Sun Joe, and it offers some kind of extra room for larger logs in its cradle than when it is compared to manual splitters. This splitter can accept logs that are up to 18 inches long and eight inches round, while the hydraulic device creates 10 tons of splitting force, and this is enough for most softwood logs.

The main problem with this particular hydraulic press is that it is slow, and it struggles with harder wood. Many users have found that while the press can force its way through some small-diameter hardwood logs, it can fail when you are working with knotted wood.

More to it, the piston extends just about halfway so you are left with trying to pry difficult hardwood logs apart or making a second cut. Even when you are working with softwood logs, the press is slow enough moving back and forth that cutting a cord of wood would take a whole day.

The splitter is very heavy, say about 100 pounds, but it comes mounted on wheels for portability. Although, many buyers usually point out that the wheels are very small to use on anything except for pavement, so you will most likely need to carry your wood to this press rather than carry your press into the woods.

Well, with all that pointed out, customers were quite satisfied with this splitter for making small amounts of firewood for recreational use from logs that are found around the yard. The hydraulic levers usually need much less force than other manual splitters and many users found this to be a good solution for splitting wood. Sun Joe gives a two-year warranty on their splitter.

Pros

  • Hydraulic press is very easy to use with little physical force.
  • It accepts logs of up to 18 inches long.
  • It has 10 tons of force good for softwood.
  1. Logosol Smart Splitter – Best Slide Hammer Splitter

Features

  • Splitting type: Manual
  • Splitting direction: Vertical
  • Splitting force:7 lbs.
  • Max log length:6 inches.
  • Max log diameter:
  • Warranty: 2-year, 2-month money back guarantee.

Rating: 9.5 out of 10.

Customers love this slide hammer style log splitter from Logosol because of how safe it feels as when compared to the traditional wedge and hammer. The thing that sets this slide hammer apart is its secondary arm that is found on the side of the wedge and guide rod, and this allows the hammer to grip the wood during your first few impacts so it has very little room to deflect or slide and cause an accident.

The secondary arm does not limit the maximum diameter of log that you are able to split, although, you will need to position the wedge so close to the edge of any log for the arm to be able to reach past the log’s edge.

Logosol places a 21-inch maximum log length on this splitter, customers say that it can cut longer logs if you are willing to use a mallet to drive the wedge in further.

When compared to a hydraulic splitter, this slide hammer is very lightweight at just 7.7 pounds and very fast to use. Many buyers claim getting a workout from repeatedly having to throw down the hammer and prying wood apart, and you should know that it takes some practice to know the optimal spots on a log to split with this tool, but in all, they find it a surprise that they are even able to cut knotty hardwoods.

Some buyers say that the hammer itself can break after several years of heavy use, but a replacement hammer is always available for less than $10. Logosol also gives you a two-year warranty and a two-month money back guarantee.

Pros

  • It has an unlimited wood diameter and long length.
  • Its secondary arm helps to prevent it from slipping.
  • It is lightweight and fast, too.
  1. Kindling Cracker Firewood Kindling Splitter – Budget Pick

Features

  • Splitting type:
  • Splitting direction:
  • Splitting force: N/A
  • Max log diameter:
  • Max log diameter: 5 inches.
  • Warranty: 5 years.

Rating: 9.4 out of 10

This is a small and cheap manual kindling splitter from Kindling Cracker; and it is great for anyone who already have split wood and only want to turn a portion of it into kindling so they can start a fire. The splitter is created to hold small logs – and this is usually not bigger than 6.5 inches around – and force these logs through a grooved mallet, you can also save carrying tools around by just using another piece of wood as your hammer seeing as the unique groove design requires you to use less force to get the wood to split than is required by the traditional axe.

Many users of this product have found that the kindling splitter was much safer and easier to use than using the axe to split similar pieces off the edge of log. They have also come to love the face that this is one durable splitter that is made possible due to its cast iron construction.

Although Kindling Cracker gives you a 5-year warranty on this product, there is basically a very, a highly slim chance of you breaking this splitter. This splitter also requires almost little to no maintenance since it does not need to be sharpened to be able to work effectively and it will not get worn down if you should leave it outside for the winter – it comes with bolt holes on its base so you can leave it permanently attached to a splitting stump.

One problem that we found with this splitter, and for those who are in need of a log splitter, is that it is designed for a very specified purpose, and this is splitting kindling. If you have logs that are too big to fit inside the splitter’s ring, then you will need to first use an axe or a splitting maul to be able to cut down your logs.

Pros

  • It is not expensive, small, and very lightweight.
  • It is very easy to use, and it requires the use of little force.
  • It was designed with cast iron that makes it last nearly forever.
  1. Timber Tuff TMW-11 – Best Portable Manual Log Splitter

Features

  • Splitting type:
  • Splitting direction:
  • Splitting force: N/A.
  • Max log length:
  • Max log diameter:
  • Warranty: 1-year limited.

Overall rating: 9.3 out of 10.

This very compact slide hammer from Timber Tuff is made to ease and simplify the process of splitting wood manually, and users of this product love it for how well it reaches this aim. The slide hammer is made with a single-piece construction that makes it very easy to use from your first log that you split – all you need to do is to simply place the wedge on the log, hold the handle, and the drop the hammer.

Many people who have used this product said that although the hammer alone can get through even knotted hardwoods with enough impact, adding some extra force to the hammer drop will enable you to split wood two to three times faster.

Because of the design of this slide hammer, there is no limit on the diameter and length of logs that you can split with it. Although people caution that before you split larger logs, it would be advisable that you get some practice with knowing the grains in the wood that are best for splitting with this wedge. Also, without a secondary arm like that which we aw on the Logosol splitter, it is very possible for this slide hammer to deflect a bit if you are not very careful to hold it steady when you are dropping the hammer.

The wedge almost never needs you to sharpen it so that it can work properly, although this splitter is easy to do so with a metal file if you have a particularly stubborn log to split. Users also say that the hammer is long-lasting, and it shows no issues with the hammer or handle breaking after many uses. Timber Tuff gives you a 1-year warranty on the splitter.

Pros

  • There is no limit to the size of logs that you can split.
  • A single-piece construction is very easy to both transport and wield.
  • It is very durable.
  1. Ironton Hydraulic Log Splitter

Features

  • Splitting type: Manual, hydraulic.
  • Splitting direction:
  • Splitting force: 10 tons.
  • Max log length: 18 inches.
  • Max log diameter: 61/2 inches.
  • Warranty: 1-year limited.

Overall rating: 9.3 out of 10.

This hydraulic log splitter from Ironton is made to make the splitting of small logs very easy to do, and it also relatively fast. Although the cradle would normally only accept logs that are up to 6.5 inches in diameter, many have claimed using this log splitter on logs up to 18 inches in diameter – they said that there is essentially no size limit so long as you do not mind working away at the log in small pieces.

The main limit of this log splitter is that it can only handle logs that are up to 18 inches long and apply tons of force, although this is usually enough to easily split any softwoods and even small-diameter hardwood logs. You should also know that the wedge only travels about eight inches as opposed to the entire length of the cradle.

Buyers like how fast this press is to use as when compared to other hydraulic splitters, although when it is compared to other manual splitting methods it is quite slow and good for producing only recreational amounts of firewood.

This splitter is quite heavy, and it comes with small wheels that are very limited to pavement, very much like the splitter from Sun Joe. Although, users liked the catchers that are found on either side of the cradle that prevent split wood from falling to the ground, and this saves you a whole lot of bending and lifting over the course of a day that you will spend splitting wood.

With the price of this splitter, many users were a bit disappointed that it comes only with a 1-year warranty – especially seeing as some users reported issues with the hydraulic cylinder leaking fluid upon arrival.

Pros

  • It can split wood of any diameter.
  • The catchers can be found on either side of the cradle.

Buying Guide

Now that we have told you more about our five favorite manual log splitters that are on the market today, the thing is, how do you choose between them to pick the log splitter that is best for your needs? Here, in this buying guide, we will cover everything that you need to know about the features that separate manual log splitters, give you tips on how to use a manual log splitter safely, and answer some of the common questions about manual log splitters.

Features to Consider While Choosing a Manual Log Splitter

Manual log splitters have a wide range of designs, and even manual splitter that look very similar on the surface can be quite different when it comes time to use them. Here, in this guide, we will cover some of the vital features that separate manual log splitters and help you grasp how these features affect how can use the splitter.

Types of Manual Log Splitters

There are various types of manual log splitters, some of which may be easier or harder to use, and this depends on your own willingness to put some elbow grease into splitting logs.

The most common type of manual log splitter on the market is the hydraulic splitter that uses a hydraulic press to help drive a wedge through the log that you aim to cut. While this type of log splitter gives you a ton of power because of the hydraulic drive, pushing the wedge forward into the wood would require powering handles back and forth, moving the wedge forward just a bit with every motion. The Sun Joe and Ironton splitters are both hydraulic log splitters.

Another very common type of manual log splitter is the slide hammer. These tools have a very sharp wedge that extends from a metal rod, they also have a movable weight that can be slid to the top of the rod and then dropped on the top of the wedge so that you can force it into the wood. Once you are able to get the wedge in, you will need to use more muscle power to be able to pry the wood into pieces. The Logosol and Timber Tuff splitters are slide hammers.

The kindle splitter, just like the model from Kindling Cracker, it is a safer alternative to a traditional hammer and wedge. What this tool needs is for you to place the piece of wood over the splitter and then you would hammer it down, but due to the metal cage present, there is no need for you to hold the wood or a wedge with your other hand.

Horizontal Vs. Vertical Splitting

When it comes to the smaller logs, you may not think much about whether your splitter works either horizontally or vertically. But when you have some trouble moving the larger logs around, whether your splitter will work in either orientation can matter a lot.

Slide hammers and kindle splitters are usually vertically splitters, although the slide hammers may be more versatile since they do not need picking up the log before you split it.

Note: If you are using a hydraulic splitter in the horizontal orientation, then you will need to load the log onto it before you will be able to split it – and this could be impossible with a massive log. This is a very important factor for you to consider when you are choosing the type of log splitter that you want seeing as both the hydraulic splitters we reviewed are only made to be used horizontally.

Log Length and Diameter

The length and the diameter of logs that you can split also depends on the type of splitter you will be using. Slide hammers usually can split nearly any length and diameter of log since you can continue to use the hammer to drive the wedge in until you have sufficient power to be able to tale the logs apart.

The kindle splitter is usually limited in diameter by the diameter of the metal holding cage – in the case of the Kindling Cracker splitter, the cage takes logs that are only up to 6.5 inches in diameter. Hydraulic splitters come with limitations on both the length and diameter of logs that they can accept since the log must fit inside the cradle that is between the endplate and the wedge. Both hydraulic splitters we have reviewed are limited to logs that are 18 inches long or less.

Warranty

The manual log splitters usually do not have a lot of moving parts that are prone to breaking but having a warranty can be very important seeing as these tools will be made to face somewhat extreme forces quite frequently. The manufacturer’s warranties are usually different, from one to two years on hydraulic splitters and slide hammers to up to five years on the Kindling Cracker Kindle splitter.

How to Use a Manual Log Splitter

The way you use your manual log splitter usually depends on the type of splitter that you have. Before you operate a splitter, it is best that you cut the ends of the log so that they are flat. Also, you should make sure that the length and diameter of the log do not exceed what your splitter is capable of handling.

To use a hydraulic splitter, put the log with one end firmly against the endplate and slide the wedge against the front end of the log. You would need to engage the hydraulic mechanism and then move the levers back and forth to drive the wedge all the way through the log before you disengage the mechanism and sliding back the wedge.

For you to operate a slide hammer, you would need to position the wedge firmly on the top of the log. Pull the hammer midway or higher up the guiding rod and then you drop it to push the wedge into the wood. You can repeat this same process as necessary so that you can drive the wedge deeper into the wood until you have had enough leverage to pry the wood into two pieces.

When you are using a kindle splitter, you should place the log inside the cage of the splitter with the bottom against the wedge. When you are ready, use a hammer or a mallet to strike the top of the log and force it through the splitting wedge.

Safety Considerations

The modern manual log splitters are made to be highly safer than the traditional hammer and wedge method of splitting wood manually, but they can still pose some level of danger when you are operating them because of the forces involved in the splitting process.

Note: you should always be sure that you are wearing proper safety clothing like the boots and protective goggles since it is easy to drop a log or for woodchips to fly when the wood is split.

Make sure that your hands are not near the wood or wedge when you are striking the wood or moving the hydraulic press and, if you are working with a second person, you should make sure that everyone is clear of the wood before you make impacts.

In Conclusion

Our overall favorite manual log splitters on the market today are the Sun Joe LJ10m, the Logosol Smart Splitter, and the Kindling Cracker Firewood Kindling Splitter. All these three splitters are made in different styles, so, choosing between them depends heavily on the types and sizes of logs you are splitting and whether you want to generate smaller logs or kindling.

Many users of these have loved how easy and safe all these three splitters have made their individual processes compared to the traditional methods, especially in the case of cutting kindling with the Kindling Cracker Splitter. The Logosol splitter also comes with a secondary arm that helps to prevent the deflections that can make other slide hammer splitters quite dangerous.

We feel that the Sun Joe splitter is the overall best manual log splitter for most people since the hydraulic mechanism takes much of the physical force out of splitting wood and is capable of splitting wood up to eight inches in diameter.