Last Updated on June 24, 2022 by Gary Stephen
Manual log splitter may be simple. And yet, they are an amazingly powerful tool in cutting logs into firewood. This device takes woodcutting at home a notch higher than using a traditional ax and saw. That equally translates to accomplishing a faster job in a lesser amount of time.
Log cutting that is swift and easy? Now, that sounds a lot more fun. Right?
In this article, let us discuss with you valuable facts about manual log splitters. How does it work? What makes them a good wood cutting tool? And, what are the factors you should consider when buying one? On top of that, allow us to share with you as well our review of some of the best log splitters in 2021.
Let’s begin, shall we?
What is a Manual Log Splitter?
By definition, a manual log splitter is a simple mechanical device that splits wood with only minimal physical effort. Unlike other modern log splitters, this tool does not require gas or electricity to operate. Rather, it utilizes the force created by a hydraulic system or any similar approach. This is the most basic type of log splitter.
Why You Should Buy A Manual Log Splitter?
So, what makes a manual log splitter special than the more advanced gas and electric models? Here are some of the reasons why a manual log splitter is worth a place in your household:
It is environmentally responsible
Because manual log splitters are not powered by gasoline fuel or electricity, it is least likely to cause pollution too. Carbon emissions produced by burning fuel are one of the major factors that affect our environment on a large scale.
You may say that a single device cannot cause so much harm. But, if you come to think of it, a little from each and every household all over the world day by day, is more than sufficient to cause a significant impact. So, a simple act as using a manual log splitter whenever possible is enough to make a difference. A difference that would not only benefit us but for the incoming generations as well.
It is compact and lightweight
The manual log splitter is obviously more compact compared to its motorized counterparts. It does not have bulky engines and complicated components. Thus, its basic design allows it to stay sleek and small. Because of its size too, it also makes it easier to store in your garage or even in the trunk of your vehicle.
Lightweightness is also a great advantage of a manual log splitter. Having lesser parts to deal with makes this device more portable. You can bring it anywhere in your backyard or bring it along with you when you are out for camping trips.
Creates zero noise
Noise is something you can quite expect from any type of working machinery. And, this can be a possible source of problems when using a motorized log splitter. This is especially true when you are operating the device in a residential area.
The sound that the rotors, the gears, and other components produce can be annoying. Depending on the size of the engine, it can be distinctly loud that you may need to wear ear protection. Gas-type log splitters tend to produce the most noise among all kinds.
This is not a good thing to deal with when you have neighbors surrounding you. It can easily spoil their moment of rest and peace. Something that you yourself actually would want to experience in your own home as well.
Thank goodness this is so not the case with manual log splitters. They don’t have motors, to begin with, so you can be assured that you won’t cause any disturbance. Not to your home and neither to your neighbors too.
It can be good physical exercise
While it is true that manual log splitters require minimal effort to cut up woods. It would still somehow call for a certain level of actual physical manipulation on the part of the user. Depending on the type of splitter, you may need to exert some effort to operate it.
Nevertheless, I can guarantee it is nothing as intense as swinging an ax. Or rigorously moving the saw back and forth. Manual log cutting is much lighter. You may bend your back, move your arms a little, but leave the harder wood-splitting part to the hydraulics. This activity may not burn hundreds of calories. Then again, it should be good enough to make you sweat and move for some time.
It is cheap yet long-lasting
How often can you get a long-lasting tool at a cheaper price point?
Well, that is, fortunately, the case of manual log splitters. Because they don’t have complex machinery and components, they are least likely to break apart. Consequently, their production cost is obviously much lower too. Hence, they are being sold in the market at much cheaper pricing compared to log splitters that are powered by gasoline or electricity.
In other words, the manual log splitter is a great budget-friendly option without compromising product longevity. You can rely upon this device to do its job for a long while without breaking your bank.
What Are the Different Types of Manual Log Splitters?
There are actually 4 common types of manual log splitters. Here are the following:
Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter
This type is probably the most favorite among the manual log splitters. The hydraulic system here is attached to a set of handles. The user pumps this handle back and forth to move the ram. The forward action of the ram pushes the log right into the cutting wedge. The tension created against the blade forces the wood to break and split in half. The farther the ram goes, the deeper the cut will be as well.
This device is actually used in accompaniment with an ax or a maul. The main purpose of the wedge is to make the process of splitting the woods faster and easier. By placing the wedge first, penetrating the cut into the wood becomes less difficult. Every impact of your maul is being amplified. Hence, taking you a lesser amount of effort and time to do the process.
A little assistance from a splitting wedge is helpful especially if you are dealing with bigger, harder, and knottier types of logs. Also, this tool is very compact. Though a bit heavy, some models can even fit in the back pocket of your jeans.
The slide hammer is similar to a splitting wedge in the sense that its tip is literally formed like one. However, this tool comes with a longer handle. This handle is actually made with two overlapping tubes. The inner smaller tube is the one connected to the cutting blade. Meanwhile, the outer tubing is the one you slide up and down to create a pouncing action. The impact from this movement buries the wedge deep into the log causing it to eventually split.
The kindle splitter is basically a structure that is designed to vertically hold the log in place. The splitting wedge actually sits right below the log. So, when you strike the top of the wood with a maul or a mallet, it pushes the log down into the blade splitting it in half.
Kindle splitters are often made with cast iron material. Some models come with holes on the base. This allows you to permanently screw the structure to the ground giving you better stability.
What to Consider When Buying A Manual Log Splitter?
Okay, you probably are thinking about buying a manual log splitter by now. But, what characteristics should you be looking for to get the right kind of manual log splitter for you? Well, here are some factors worth considering when opting to buy this device:
Type of Wood
Before buying anything, you should first determine what type of wood you are likely to be dealing with. Essentially, woods are often categorized as either softwood or hardwood. Of course, softwood types are easier to split. Hence, you don’t need to exert much effort to break it apart.
On the other hand, hardwoods have denser cellular structures. And so, they are consequently much harder to split. You should know as well that they do come in varying levels of toughness. Some are knottier than others and that means you need to put in a little more effort to split these kinds of logs.
By identifying the wood type, you will somehow get an idea of how much force it needs to be split. Since you are buying a manual log splitter, you are required to put in actual physical effort. The harder the wood is, the harder you have to work as well to break it.
Aside from the type of wood, you should also consider its existing condition. It is generally classified as either green or seasoned. Green logs basically are freshly cut logs. They have not aged yet and so they tend to be denser and tougher to split.
Also, because green logs haven’t dried out completely, the moisture from the wood offers a less favorable medium for firewood. As you know, wet logs do not burn well. It tends to produce heavy smoke and residue when burnt.
Contrarily, the seasoned logs are wood that has been cut and left to dry for some time. Softer woods need about 12 to 18 months to cure. Meanwhile, harder logs take much longer to age, at least 18 to 24 months.
By this time, the wood has already minimal moisture left within. And so, they are easier to split and more suitable to use as firewood. Ideally, household firewood should have below 20% moisture for them to deliver that perfect burn.
Well, this is pretty easy. The larger the log is, the harder it is to split. Most often, commercial manual log splitters will specify the log splitters’ capacity. So, always check this detail when buying.
You would want to get this right so that the tool can serve you better. What good is a splitter anyway if the block of wood you have at home won’t fit into it, right?
Type of Manual Log Splitter
Okay, we have already discussed this one. By now, you should already have an idea which type suits you best. Do you want it to be as convenient as using manual hydraulic? Or, do you prefer it to be handy and compact as a splitting wedge?
The choice here is already up to you. What is important is you should be able to weigh the pros and cons of each type. From there, you can gauge which one will work most effectively to your advantage.
The power in log splitters is measured in tons. This number basically refers to how much force the tool can deliver to split the log. That means, the higher the tonnage, the stronger and more capable the log is to cut denser and tougher woods.
The tonnage of the splitter is important to note as this will tell you whether it can handle your types of logs or not. The device will be rendered useless if the actual power the wood needs to break is greater than what the splitter can offer. Hence, you should find a splitter that will be able to match that power or even more.
Our Top Picks for Manual Log Splitter
The Sunjoe LJ10M log splitter features a powerful hydraulic RAM system. It is equipped with a 2-speed pump that can generate a driving force of up to 10 tons. This amount of force is suitable to handle large capacity logs up to 18 inches long and 8 inches wide.
This manual hydraulic splitter is designed to have a RAM return spring. This component allows for a quick and easy reset with just a turn of the piston knob. Having the device all set for another round of wood-cutting hastens your productivity and output.
Sunjoe LJ10M is crafted with steel frame construction to ensure durability and longevity. It is also built with longer handles to provide maximum leverage. No need to bend and break your back while pumping the splitter.
Furthermore, this device also comes with a pair of rear wheels. This offers the users plenty of maneuverability. Even though this is built to handle big logs, the design is compact enough to allow portability.
To sum it up, the Sunjoe LJ10M has got the power, the large capacity, and the sleek design of a premium-quality log splitter. It may just be manual, but it is strong enough to level with the performance of its motorized counterparts.
The Estwing Sure Split is a weighted wedge type of log splitter. It weighs about 5 pounds that can substantially add impact to every strike. The heftiness along with the sharpness of this wedge enables log and firewood cutting easier compared to using an ax alone.
This splitting wedge is crafted with solid American steel material. The edge is hand-sharpened to ensure deep penetration of the tip into the wood. This 9-inch wedge is also paint-finished to give you that sleek look.
This tool is called Sure Split for a distinct reason. The wedge comes with side wings to provide extra splitting action that continues even below the wood line. Hence, guaranteeing you a through and through cutting of the log.
Although this Felled wedge log splitter is not a great fit for larger and knottier logs. It is, however, perfect for splitting oaks, walnuts, sycamore, and other similar wood types. Such kinds are excellent choices for making firewoods. If that is your main purpose for buying a splitter, then the Felled wedge is right up your alley.
The wedge comes with a diamond-shaped cross-section design. This allows you to effectively weaken the wood at multi-directional angles. Furthermore, it also has a sharp-pointed tip end to give you a stable starting position.
This 7-inch wedge is being crafted from heat-treated and hardened railway steel. Its surface is finished with an orange paint coating. Thus, enhancing rust resistance, strength, and longevity of the product.
This slide hammer is another great manual log splitter manufactured by Felled. It features a single system tool that utilizes the force from gravity to deliver an impact on the log. It doesn’t require much physical effort to operate. Hence, a perfect choice for users with limited strength and capabilities.
All you need is to position the laser-cut wedge tip onto the log, then pump the weighted handle and shaft to deliver downward force. You may continue to do this action several times until the wood is fully split. Don’t worry though, the Felled slide hammer comes with a rubberized cushion grip handle to add comfort and protection to the user’s hand.
This slide hammer is built to last with its solid steel construction. It promises to split through a wide array of wood types. From knotty to large diameter logs, this splitter has the power to get it done.
This slide hammer log splitter from Speed Force is another safe and effective method to split logs. It is super easy to use and most importantly, it does not include any moving blade. Thus, putting you at a lesser risk for accidents compared to using a traditional ax.
This manual log splitter is made with heavy-duty casting steel. It is compliant with ASTM 1045 standard. Hence, you can guarantee lifetime quality performance from this tool.
The Speed Force slide hammer is lightweight. But, it can promise to deliver up to 14 tons of driving force. Moreover, it has a splitting capacity of up to 12 inches as well. That much power is a great deal already coming from such a compact and manual log splitter.
This kindling log splitter is made with top-grade cast iron material. Its 12-inch frame is just the perfect size for splitting up logs for firewood use. There are no moving blades involved here, so you can keep your hands safe and secure.
To use, simply place the log inside the frame and use a hammer or mallet to strike at it. The impact sends the log right through the cutting wedge splitting it in half. Depending on the toughness of the wood, a few solid blows should be enough to break the log apart. It requires less force than using a traditional ax, but it sure is much more efficient to use.
The base of the splitter also comes with holes big enough to fit standard screws. This enables you to fix the device permanently on the ground. Hence, allowing you to have a more solid and stable splitter to work with.
The Blue Home kindling log splitter is an all-in-one kindling set. This log splitter already includes a 4-pound sledgehammer so you don’t have to look for anything else. Weighing only at 10 pounds, this kindling splitter is perfect for on-to-go use. It is portable and compact to bring along on your camping trips or any other outdoor adventures.
Yes, it may be small but don’t be fooled by its size. This splitter is made with extremely durable high carbon steel. The large carbon content of this material makes it stronger and capable of absorbing shock without breaking. Furthermore, the device is also coated with a black finish to promote rust resistance.
Aside from its superior quality, feel extra confident to invest in this log splitter as it comes with a lifetime guarantee. So, you can enjoy the product longer knowing that the company will always be there to assist you.
Wrapping Up What You Need to Know About The Best Manual Log Splitter
Basic as it may be, manual log splitters can still be the best log splitters in the market. This simple tool can do all the splitting without having to demand gas or electricity to operate. In the end, not only is it cost-efficient, but it is an eco-friendlier alternative too. Now, that’s a perfect combo!