Firewood Log Splitter

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All You Need to Know About Types of Log Splitters

What Is a Log Splitter, To Begin with?

To a beginner, all log splitters can appear the same. However, there are several types of this essential tool – a log splitter can be manual, electrical, or gas-powered. A log splitter takes away the physical chore of splitting firewood with an axe, and if you have lots to split like we do, you will want to invest in a good log splitter.

Generally speaking, a firewood log splitter is a machine used to separate the trunk of a tree into two vertical halves by slamming it into a sharp wedge with a brutal force.

Depending on the source of power readily available to you at your locality, you can go with the manual variety or choose between the electrical and gas-powered options.

So, Which Type Is Perfect for Off-grid Living?

Whoa, not so fast friend! When choosing a log splitter, a few other factors need to be considered besides the location of your home and the type of “fuel” available.

Of great importance, however, is an understanding of the features of each type of tool as well as its benefits and drawbacks. If you glean at the differences between the three types, you will certainly identify one tool perfect for off-grid living. For that reason, let’s begin by glancing at the features and differences between the three types of log splitters.

Manual Log Splitters

Before electricity and gas were readily available, manual log splitters were default tools for preparing some heating and building logs.
Sun Joe LJ10M 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter, Green

This manual splitter is approx $159.00

Today, this type of log splitter is still popular and is considered to be a must-have for entry-level users, but faces competition from easy-to-operate gas and electricity-powered types. Generally speaking, manual log splitters rely on your muscle power to split tree trunks.  The sunjoe hydraulic log splitter is an example of these.


  • If you prefer a hands-on approach when preparing some wood, this is the best type of log splitter for you.
  • You will be impressed with the simple and lightweight design of manual splitters as they don’t come with an engine or other bulky add-ons
  • They are also cheaper than electricity and gas-powered variety


  • You better be well-built because this type of splitters demands a great deal of muscle power

Gas Log Splitters

As the name suggests, this type of log splitters uses the power derived from gas to split your logs. If you are looking for the best splitter for the toughest and larger logs, gas-powered splitters are the best option for you.

Champion 7-Ton Compact Horizontal Gas Log Splitter with Auto Return
This Gas Splitter costs approximately –  $585.00

They also come in an array of styles: horizontal vertical models, traditional hydraulic models, super-fast kinetic models, and two-way splitting rams.


  • They are very powerful compared to manual and electric options and are normally available between 8 tons and 34 tons (commercial units can be more)
  • They come with higher capacities to accommodate larger logs than manual and electric splitters. If you will be handling logs with diameters in the region of 12” and weighing about 20 tons, these are the best splitters for the job.
  • You don’t need to always stand near the outlet


  • They are the most expensive splitters because they are built to be sturdier, powerful, and larger than electric and manual splitters
  • Unlike manual and electric options, they cannot be used close to livestock or indoors because of the smoke and high ventilation demands by the combustion engine
  • They require regular maintenance – changing the spark plugs, fuel addition, oil replacement, etc. You don’t see these in manual and electric splitters.
  • They are noisier, heavier, and more cumbersome compared to manual and electric options.

The gas log splitter shown above is Champions 7 ton, they also sell a 25 and 37 for large jobs.  The great part about the 37 ton is it comes on a trailer which you can take out to the bush with you.  Cut your firewood without bringing the mess home.

We have a friend that sells firewood for a living and swears by this machine.

Champion 37-Ton Horizontal/Vertical Full Beam Gas Log Splitter with Auto Return
This log splitter has everything you need and sells for approximately $2200.00 a great investment!

The mid size Champion log splitter is also a great investment.  This unit can also be towed out to where ever your firewood is.

Champion 25-Ton Horizontal/Vertical Full Beam Gas Log Splitter with Auto Return

The price of the 25 ton splitter is $1410.05 on amazon today

Electric Log Splitters

Electric splitters such as Bos industrial equipment log splitter are very much like gas-powered options except that they are powered by electricity. This means they use an electric motor in place of the combustion engine to power their kinetic flywheels. Still, there are a few other differences between them and manual and gas-powered splitters.

Boss Industrial ES7T20 Electric Log Splitter, 7-Ton

This Boss Electric Splitter is perfect for the homeowner with a fireplace or woodstove as backup heat.  It retails on Amazon for under $500.00


  • Unlike manual and gas-powered machines, you can use them anywhere you please – indoors, outdoors, on your porch, etc.
  • They are not as noisy as gas-powered splitters. If you are looking for a silent but powerful tool to split your logs, you can choose this type of splitters over the manual and gas-powered types.
  • They also come out as cheaper than gas-powered splitters although they are still costlier than most manual options.
  • If portability and weight are your biggest concern, they are the best option compared to gas-powered splitters as they are lightweight and easy to transport
  • Maintenance cost electric options like boss log splitter are also very low compared to gas-powered options – no oil, fuel, or engine service is needed.


  • They are not as powerful as gas-powered splitters. While 34-ton gas splitters are common, it is difficult to find an electric splitter over 10 tons.
  • Their log capacity is usually smaller than that of gas-powered splitters. It is possible to find a gas-powered splitter over 25” in length and 18” in diameter. The maximum an electric splitter could is somewhere 20” length and 12” diameter.

Great, What’s the Consensus?

With all due respect to the simplest type of log splitters, a manual hydraulic log splitter can only be an option if you can’t afford the electric and gas-powered options. They are laggards in every aspect of performance. However, if you are looking for the easiest log splitter to run and maintain at a starter level, you should probably start with manual splitters.

The best splitters for an off-grid living are gas and electric options. Still, you need to choose between them based on your needs and the type of “fuel” readily available to you.

If you can manage to stash some gas in your off-grid home, gas-powered splitters would be the perfect option.

If your home is powered with a powerful battery of whichever source of electricity you may have access to, provided it is cheaper than gas, it would only make sense to opt for the electric splitter.

Gas log splitters are appropriate for projects that involve huge quantities of sizable logs. And because gas is normally cheaper than electricity, you will spend less on energy with them compared to electric splitters.

If you are looking for a near-silent option that you can use indoors to split a moderate amount of medium-sized logs, it only makes sense to choose electric log splitters. This type of log splitter is also cheaper to acquire compared to the electric option.

Overall, gas log splitters seem to be better suited for off-grid living than electric log splitters.

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