3 Different Log Splitter Designs

If you use a wood burning stove or fireplace to heat your home, a log splitter is a desirable machine to have at your disposal. Instead of using a splitting maul to split firewood, save a lot of time—not to mention your strength and your back—and invest in a log splitter.

Log splitters come in a number of varieties, but they can usually be broken down into two basic types: manual powered and gas powered. Also available are manual, foot-powered ones that exert around 1.5 tons of force. Thus, three different designs are covered here: manual and gas powered of both a vertical and horizontal variety, and the foot powered model.

1. Manual Log Splitters

Manual log splitters exert up to 10 tons of force and are operated using hydraulic pressure. Similar to a manual car jack, the operator pumps a handle back and forth, and in so doing, pushes the log into a log splitting wedge. This type offers vastly more force than a splitting maul, which requires full body exertion to split wood. A manual log splitter takes much of the labor out of the process. Of course, the downside is you still have to load each log onto the device and remove the pieces.

Manual logs splitters come in both horizontal and vertical varieties as well. This refers to the way in which the logs to be split are positioned on the splitter. In both cases, manual force is exerted through the pumping of a hydraulic handle, but the difference is in how the log is pushed into the splitting wedge: from side to side or up and down.

2. Gas Powered Log Splitters

Gas-powered, electric log splitters have hydraulics that are powered electrically and do all of the work for you. These typically offer more force than the manual variety as well. There are gas-powered models that offer only four tons of force, but they go up from there to 25 tons or more. This, of course, does not include heavy industry models -- only those available for personal use.

Like the manual varieties, electric log splitters work both vertically and horizontally depending on the model.

3. Foot Powered Model

A less expensive but still powerful model of manual log splitter is a foot powered, 1.5 ton version. The log is pushed onto the splitting wedge using the pump action from your foot. This, too, requires work on your part, but it doesn’t put excess strain on your upper body. This model uses a horizontal placement only as a result.

You can see there are several different types of log splitters, both manual and gas powered. Available in both horizontal and vertical varieties, you have options when you are in the market for one. Additionally, you can opt to build your own. Log splitter plans that walk you step-by-step through the do-it-yourself building process can be purchased online or locally at a home improvement store. The designs are the same: manual or gas powered; horizontal and vertical. Whatever you decide, this machine is very handy when preparing for the cold season.