A manual log splitter, also known as a manual splitter, is a tool used for splitting logs that is human-powered, rather than relying on gasoline or electricity. The best manual log splitter will have durable construction, feature a built-in cradle, and can deliver a ramming force of up to 10 tons.
Manual log splitters work by using mechanical leverage to push logs through a sharpened blade assembly. Smaller, manual log splitters are typically intended for home use, where the larger, powered versions are used for industry. Even without power, a manual log splitter can split logs with up to 20,000 lbs of force (Source).
There are a lot of people that only a few years ago, would have never considered splitting their own logs. But, the rising cost of electricity and the falling cost of manual log splitters is starting to change that paradigm (Source).
If you don’t know what to look for, It can be somewhat difficult finding the best manual log splitter. Before buying a manual log splitter, you should consider its warranty, price, and portability. It is also important to consider the manual log splitter’s build quality and how safe it is to use.
In this write-up, we will take a detailed look at all the top-rated models. All of the log splitters in this review will split wood without needing electricity or gasoline, whether you are using it to cut wood to use at home or selling firewood.
What is the Best Manual Log Splitter?
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the Best Manual Log Splitter?
- 2 What is a Manual Log Splitter?
- 3 Comparing The Best Manual Log Splitters
- 4 1. Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10 Ton Log Splitter Manual – Best Overall
- 5 2. Wel-Bilt 10-Ton Horizontal Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter – The Best Manual Log Splitter Under $150
- 6 3. Woodeze 5MH-S-SPLITTER Super Firewood Splitter – The Lightweight Log Splitter
- 7 4. Quality Craft Foot-Operated Log Splitter- 1.5 Ton – The Most Affordable Manual Log Splitter
- 8 5. YTL International Forest King YTL23101 Manually Operated Log Splitter – Best 10 Ton Manual Log Splitter
- 9 How Does a Manual Log Splitter Work?
- 10 Are Manual Log Splitters Any Good?
- 11 What Are the Types of Manual Log Splitters?
- 12 Things You Must Know Before Buying a Manual Log Splitter
- 13 How to Use a Manual Log Splitter
- 14 Ready To Buy The Best Manual Log Splitter?
There is no single best manual log splitter. Each of the four types works well, depending on the amount of wood that needs to be split.
If you have a lot of logs to split, the best option would be the hydraulic manual log splitter. It does not require as much physical effort as the other types, and it enables you to work more quickly. This makes it much easier to split a greater number of logs.
If you’re concerned with safety hazards, and you only have a small amount to split at a time, a kindle splitter may be your best choice.
If you are looking for a little bit of a workout or just prefer a more traditional approach, you may prefer the splitting axe or slide hammer. Both will work well with a little more physical effort when splitting wood.
What is a Manual Log Splitter?
A manual log splitter is a very traditional way to split your firewood. It does not use any gasoline or electricity; it is powered simply through your energy. Manual log splitters can be much easier to use than a power log splitter. They are often much more compact, making them lighter and easier to transport.
Manual log splitters tend to be cheaper than power splitters, also. In many cases, you will find them to be your best option for splitting firewood.
Comparing The Best Manual Log Splitters
|Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10 Ton Log Splitter Manual|
|Wel-Bilt 10-Ton Horizontal Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter|
|Woodeze 5MH-S-SPLITTER Super Firewood Splitter|
|Quality Craft Foot-Operated Log Splitter- 1.5 Ton|
|YTL International Forest King YTL23101 Manually Operated Log Splitter|
1. Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10 Ton Log Splitter Manual – Best Overall
In addition, with this pump, you can easily achieve 10 tons of splitting pressure. This amount of force is enough to split relatively large logs. Additionally, the pump allows you to choose between to speed variations to suit your cutting needs. The unit features two wheels that make it easier for you to handle while splitting wood. You will love the built-in Log cradle on this machine. This cradle is meant to prevent the wood from falling off while you are splitting.
2. Wel-Bilt 10-Ton Horizontal Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter – The Best Manual Log Splitter Under $150
Unlike the earlier reviewed unit, the Wel-Bilt manual log splitter can work on wider logs as much as 13.5 inches. Also, this machine features a horizontal design. This means that the logs have to be loaded at the top, horizontally. This can be a little bit challenging when you are working on heavier logs. Owing to its compact design, this machine does not require much storage space. To prevent the wood from falling while you are splitting, this unit is equipped with a log cradle.
3. Woodeze 5MH-S-SPLITTER Super Firewood Splitter – The Lightweight Log Splitter
This being the case, you will find it relatively easy to split a tough log using this tool. This may be attributed to the 8-ton of driving force delivered by the splitter. One of the aspects you will love about this unit is its guide bar. This ensures that the overall weight remains on target at all times.
4. Quality Craft Foot-Operated Log Splitter- 1.5 Ton – The Most Affordable Manual Log Splitter
Due to its lightweight nature, this model is perfect for camping and other outdoor applications. You can easily carry it to your camping site and have fun splitting logs for firewood. On the downside, as compared to the other manual log splitters reviewed in this guide, the Quality Craft Foot-Operated Log Splitter delivers a low ram force. In this regard, this splitter can only deliver 1.5 tons of driving pressure.
5. YTL International Forest King YTL23101 Manually Operated Log Splitter – Best 10 Ton Manual Log Splitter
The unit is fitted with an adjustable wedge. As such, you can easily customize your splitter, depending on the size of the logs you are splitting. To top it all, the unit features a compact and durable construction.
How Does a Manual Log Splitter Work?
Manual log splitters are not powered by extra fuel sources, such as electricity or gasoline. They are simply powered by the energy that you exert.
A hydraulic manual log splitter has a set of long handles. You have to pump the handles, similar to the way you pump up a car jack. The force generated from that pumping will push a wedge through the wood, splitting it apart.
A splitting axe has a sharp head on it. The user will swing the ax, bringing the head down on the top of the log, splitting it. This is useful for a small amount of wood.
Slide hammers are made of a long metal shaft that has a pointed attachment on one end. The user will drive the sharp wedge down into the log, causing it to split apart.
Kindle splitters keep individuals from having to swing axes or hatchets to cut logs. Instead, the blade is enclosed in the splitter, and the user hits the log with a mallet to force it on to the blade. The force then splits the log apart.
Are Manual Log Splitters Any Good?
Manual Log Splitters are perfect for splitting logs without the hassle or danger of having to use an axe. They also let you avoid gas or electric-powered splitters.
Manual Log Splitters can deliver up to 14 lbs. of driving force by just using your hands or feet.
What Are the Types of Manual Log Splitters?
Understanding the different types of manual log splitters is crucial for selecting the one that is right for you.
A hydraulic manual log splitter is one of the most common types. The hydraulics provide a great deal of driving force, making it easy to split logs. They are hand-powered, featuring two handles that must be pumped to drive the wedge through the log.
Another type of manual log splitter is a splitting axe. Some people prefer this type of splitter because it does not cause the wood fibers to split apart as much. In the past, the splitting axe was heavy and cumbersome to use.
Newer models, however, have fiberglass handles that make them more lightweight and easier to manage. A slide hammer is another option for a manual log splitter. These are best when you only have a few longs to split because they require a greater amount of physical labor.
Finally, a safer alternative to using traditional manual blades is the kindle splitter. The blade is enclosed in the splitter, and you simply use a mallet to impale the wood onto the ax instead of swinging the axe around.
Things You Must Know Before Buying a Manual Log Splitter
As compared to electric or gas powered log splitters, manual models are relatively affordable. However, you should not let their affordability fool you; some of the best manual log splitters today have relatively high splitting capacities.
As a matter of fact, some of the leading models today will give you a splitting capacity of up to 10 tons. As you may be aware, not all the available log splitters are built equal.
With that said, there are several things that you need to consider while shopping for the right one.
If you are shopping for the best manual log splitter, here are some of the considerations that you need to make:
1. Log Splitter Layout
The splitter layout is essentially the design and overall appearance of these units. While shopping for the most appropriate splitter, there are two main layouts that you need to consider:
- Horizontal Log Splitters
This is the most common type of manual log splitters today. The horizontal design of such units requires you to load the logs on the top. The log is then pushed into the machine for slicing using a wedge. Because of their elevated loading position, such splitters may not be ideal for slicing larger and heavier logs.
If this is your preferred splitter layout, you should consider buying one that features dual-action. Such a unit will save you a considerable amount of time because it can split in both directions.
- Vertical/Upright Manual Log Splitters
If you are looking for the right equipment for splitting larger logs in the forest, you should consider buying the best vertical log splitters today. Rather than having to load the logs to the machine, as is the case with horizontal splitters, you just need to pivot the equipment. In such a position, it would be easier for you to roll the heavier logs into your splitter.
2. Intended Application
Depending on where and how you would like to use your splitter, the right type of manual log splitter may differ. For instance, you may be looking for the best unit for cutting logs in the forest.
In such a case, a tractor-mounted model will come in handy. This being the case, the various tractor mounted log splitters are ideal for a large estate or agricultural setting.
Further, if you are a private user who does not process a large amount of wood, you may need to buy a towable log splitter. This makes you mobile and you can slice logs with your splitter in any location. Such models will also be ideal for individuals with relatively large tracts of land where wood needs to be split.
Workshop wood splitters, on the other hand, are ideal for individuals who do not intend to be splitting logs in different locations. With such a unit, you will need to transport the wood to your workshop for splitting. However, if your cutting job entails dividing chunks of wood into smaller pieces, you might want to look for the greatest wood splitting maul.
3. Log Width and Weight Capacity
When it comes to the capacity of your preferred log splitter, there are two main aspects that you need to consider; the weight and width of wood the machine can take. These are usually indicated on the specifications of the machine by the manufacturer.
Again, you can also use the power rating of these units to determine their capabilities. For instance, a 4-ton manual splitter can only work on logs with a diameter of fewer than six inches.
Lastly, if you are looking for a splitter that can split logs as wide as two-foot, you should go for a power level of 20 to 30 tons. Depending on the type of wood you are splitting, log weight will vary. In this regard, you also need to ensure that your preferred models can safely slice the wood weight you will be loading.
How to Use a Manual Log Splitter
Most manual log splitters can handle up to 18-inch logs. To use a manual log splitter, simply place your log on the machine and use the power handle to push right through the log.
To use, simply take the handle and drop it in the slot or bracket. Proceed to pump the handle back and forth, which will push the log against the splitting wedge. The faster the logs split apart, the less work you have to take on.
Before using a manual log splitter, make sure to adhere to safety rules. Use heavy gloves and safety glasses, remain alert, and keep your work area clean.
Ready To Buy The Best Manual Log Splitter?
Log splitting does not have to be a noisy and expensive undertaking; you only need the right splitting tool. Instead of spending money on a rental, for around $100 you can buy a quality and affordable manual log splitter.
Additionally, they do not pollute the environment and are rather quiet in operation. The various wood splitters reviewed in this guide feature hydraulic pumps. As such, they dot require much effort to operate.
Whether you are looking for a durable model that is affordable, a powerful option that is really versatile or just a lightweight tool to split wood while you are out camping; this guide got you covered.
PRO TIP: Line up your log accordingly. Don’t let the piston go all the way back, as that will give you more work and you’ll have to pump up the crank rod for much longer.