Finding a Good Portable Log Splitter
For some people, portability is a top priority when it comes to choosing the right log splitter. You might need to move the machine quite a bit around your property, or even take it to different locations as part of your work or other activities. For others, the ability to move a log splitter doesn’t really matter as much as factors such as power and price. In this guide, I walk you through the field of portability in log splitters so that you can decide how much it matters for your situation.
There are two ways to look at portability when you’re talking about log splitters. The first has to do with where you can use it, specifically in terms of the power source. Manual log splitters can be used wherever you need to use them because you only need your arms to operate them, such as by pulling levers or sliding a mechanism. Gas powered log splitters can also function pretty much anywhere because they have their own motor and power source. In this sense, the least portable log splitters are the electric variety, because they must be plugged into an outlet in order to turn on and function. This can be a generator or portable power supply, rather than a traditional wall outlet, but the source needs to have the right voltage rating to support the machine.
The other type of portability refers to how easy it is to move the log splitter. Again, manual splitters tend to be pretty light because they don’t have any motor or big moving parts. Here, electric splitters are actually easier to move than gas splitters most of the time, because of the difference between the motors. Electric motors are smaller and more compact, which can significantly decrease the overall weight, even though they are generally less powerful. Gas motors are heavy, which makes the whole splitter heavy and can call for additional equipment on more powerful models.
Assessing Your Needs
You’re going to need to think about both types of portability together to figure out what your specific needs are, otherwise you run the risk of boxing yourself into a corner. Start by looking at the overall size of the site where you’re going to be splitting your logs and note how close it is to a power source. If you’re working in your backyard or a small patch of land that is close to your house or garage, then an electric splitter is a great option. Just make sure you check the full length of the cord, because you might need a heavy duty extension cord to stretch it as far out onto the property as you need.
It’s also important to think about how often you’re going to move the splitter, as well as how far. Again, this is all about looking at multiple factors all together. Moving a splitter every day, but only a few feet out of the garage, isn’t nearly as troublesome as moving it a hundred feet once a week; especially if you’re dealing with rough or patchy land, like a dirt road or uneven lawn. If you’re going to be taking the splitter with you to different locations, this also opens up a whole other set of factors to consider.
Transportation really only comes into play if you’re planning on taking the log splitter to different areas, like moving it between a ranch and your home a few miles apart. Gas and electric splitters are going to be pretty heavy, with gas being the heavier of the two, so you might need to have a truck available to move the splitter without having to worry about tearing up the inside of your car. Most of these models have wheels, which makes it significantly easier to load it into the bed of a truck. You will need a ramp, or two pieces of wood to use as a makeshift ramp, so you don’t have to lift it all the way up into the bed.
If you’re going to be moving the splitter a lot within the same general area, like to different spots on a farm for example, then you might want to go with a gas splitter that has a ball coupler. This will allow you to connect it to the hitch of a truck or utility vehicle, so you can drive it to wherever you need to go. I will say that while most of the log splitters I’ve seen are pretty sturdy, they probably won’t last very long if you take them out on the highway. So if you’re going to move one this way, make sure you take it slow and stay on smooth, even roads.
Balancing Power and Mobility
The final consideration when it comes to factoring in portability is the overall power of your splitter. Manual log splitters are the lightest and the easiest to move, but they are also the weakest when it comes to ramming pressure. Electric splitters are a step up from this, heaver but still very movable, along with having a higher output. You can usually find electric log splitters that can deliver around 6 tons of pressure without breaking the bank, which is usually more than enough for the average amount of timber.
For those of you that really need a lot of power, you might need to look into a gas splitter. You can get up to 30 tons of pressure with a gas splitter, but at that range you’re going to be looking at a splitter that weighs 500 pounds or more. That’s exactly why they put couplers on the bigger models, because the only way to move them is by towing, which isn’t very convenient for most people.
Last Words on Portability
There’s definitely a lot to think about when it comes to portability, and my final word of advice would be to think about how much power you really need. If you can get the job done with a splitter that has an output of 5 or 6 tons, then you can skip the bigger gas models and focus on an electric model. If you absolutely have to have the power, then make sure you have a truck or other vehicle to help you move the log splitter, or that you have a single location where you can leave it, so you don’t have to move it at all.