How to Choose Between Gas and Electric Log Splitters
It might not seem like it, but shopping for the right log splitter can be quite the tricky process. There are a lot of factors to consider, and few are more important than the power source. For most people, this comes down to deciding between a gas and an electric model. Below I cover some of the most important differences between the two types, as well as their biggest strengths and weaknesses.
Electric Log Splitters: Pros
The motor on an electric log splitter is powered by electricity, which means that it runs much quieter than a gas model. Electric log splitters a great choice if you’re going to using them in a residential area where you don’t want to disturb your neighbors with the loud sounds of a gas motor. Electric motors are also slightly more efficient when it comes to the splitting speed, which is definitely something to consider if total splitting time is a factor.
Electric motors are also cheaper than gas motors, so the overall price of the splitter is typically going to be lower than other units. You can definitely get a good amount of splitting power out of an electric unit, with some capable of delivering up to 10 tons of pressure. They also run in lower amounts of force, which again makes it a smart choice for smaller or infrequent jobs. Electric splitters are also often lighter and therefore relatively easy to move around, partially due to the way electric engines are made.
Electric Log Splitters: Cons
The biggest drawback of electric log splitters is that you always need to be near a power source. Some models include longer cords, and there is always the option of using an extension cord, but these can become both hard to set up, and even dangerous in some situations. Another downside is that the maximum splitting power is usually lower with electric models compared to gas units. Since the splitting power is often lower, this also means that the log capacity limits are lower, too. You might not be able to handle heavier, wider, or longer logs, which can really limit your options if you plan to use your splitter frequently or in a serious capacity.
Gas Log Splitters: Pros
Hands down the biggest benefit of a gas log splitter is its power, which all comes down to the size and design of the engine. Some gas splitters have serious motors from manufacturers such as Honda, pushing upwards of 200cc, which results in a huge boost in splitting power over an electric model. It’s common to find gas log splitters capable of delivering upwards of 30 tons on consumer models. However, you can still find gas models with lower outputs, so you’re not trapped into a unit with more power than you need.
The greater power also means that you have a higher splitting capacity, which opens you up to working with harder and larger pieces of wood. I’ve even seen gas powered splitters that can convert into a vertical splitting mode, delivering major splitting power down onto huge logs or stumps.
Since the gas engine doesn’t require an external power source, you can take these splitters practically anywhere. Most units have wheels to facilitate transport, with some also including handles for manual movement or hitches so that you can attach it to a vehicle.
Gas Log Splitters: Cons
While gas log splitters have the best power out there, it all comes at a price, quite literally. Gas log splitters are typically going to be more expensive than electric models, with higher output units usually increasing in price as you go up. They also require much more maintenance than electric models because gas engines need special care to function, just like a car’s engine would. You’ll have to factor in fuel, oil, and other maintenance costs into the overall price to see if a gas-powered unit is really worth it for your particular needs.
Another downside of a gas log splitter includes the noise, which is going to be pretty loud no matter how many tons of pressure it can produce. Gas log splitters also require more open space to operate because the engines release fumes that are harmful without the right ventilation. If you plan on using them near animals, you’ll also have to consider that the noise might scare them. Larger gas splitters are also considerably heavier than electric models. Even though the wheels and engine make them portable, you’ll usually need to make special arrangements to move them, which can be troublesome if you plan to move them frequently.
There’s really no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing between a gas and electric log splitter. You really need to think about the type of logs you’re going to split, how often you plan on using the machine, and where you plan on using it to figure out which engine type is the right fit for your situation.