What Size Log Splitter Do I Need?

The question I often get asked by many people is what size hydraulic pump should I choose for a log splitter? The answer depends on some factors that many people don’t know.

What size log splitter do I need

Consequently, they fail to find one actually needed and spend more money than required to pay. This is not because of their mistake but because of the wide ranges of splitter size available.

My article will split down those facts and will help you buy the right size splitting machine.

The log size

When planning on a log splitter to buy, you should consider the log size to be split. The bigger the log in length and width, the more powerful the machine is recommended.

Usually, the splitting device with higher capacity can process the wood piece with maximum diameter. For example, 4-ton splitting pressure is enough to handle a 6-inch diameter log.

But if you plan to work through woodpile having the width between 24-30 inches, you must choose one with 20-30 ton cracking pressure.

The wood type

How powerful the wood cutting equipment should be is also related to the type of wood you will be splitting. The hardness level of the wood varies based on the wood species.

Some trees such as oak, hickory, maple are harder and require more tonnage and pressure to split. On the other hand, soft trees like pine, birch can be split with less tonnage and pressure. This is how the wood type affects the splitter size.

Green or seasoned wood?

It is very important to know whether the wood to be processed is green or seasoned. As the amount of tonnage required is determined by the force needed to split the wood, you have to take the wood condition into consideration before choosing the splitter.

The freshly cut logs contain more water and are difficult to cut thus take more tonnage. Conversely, dry woods have no water inside and are brittle, making them easier to break apart. As a result, older and well-seasoned wood can be sized with less force.

The tonnage

When it comes to log splitting machine, the term ‘ tonnage’ becomes a crucial factor. By definition, tonnage is the amount of force a splitter can produce to apply on the log to break it apart.

Of course, the higher the tonnage, the higher pressure is exerted to the woodpile and the larger and tougher wood can be processed. You will find splitter with a wide range of tonnage capacity on the market. So instead of focusing the tonnage capacity, pay attention to the size and type of wood you will cut.

And choose one accordingly. Here you should bear in mind that gas powered log splitter have higher tonnage than the electric splitters. If you need more tonnage considering the requirements, gas wood cutting machines are better to go with.

What about the splitter pump?

The power of a woodcutter is affected by the pump too. It is related to the speed of the machine and splitting force. Let me explain to you how it creates an impact on the splitter.

Usually, the pump is used in the hydraulic driving mechanism to convert mechanical energy into hydraulic. It is obvious that the bigger pump contains a larger cylinder that delivers higher force and speeds up the process.

There two types of pump used in log splitter, one called single stage and another double stage. The two-stage pumps are more expensive as they offer much more power and speed. But the only problem with two-stage pumps is they consume more fuel.      

Bigger always doesn’t mean more beneficial

There are some log cutting machines which have a higher splitting force with bigger tonnage but are less efficient due to longer cycle time.

I am sure that beginners will fall into this trap. Because some non-branded wood splitters boasted with high tonnage are available on the market at a cheaper price. So don’t forget to look at the cycle time as well. Because the shorter the cycle time, the faster the splitter can complete the cutting process.

Choosing a wood cutting equipment which has a longer cycle time will consume almost the same time as a traditional splitting maul does. In my opinion, however, it’s worth not to buy one you don’t need actually, even on a great discount or cheaper price. 

To conclude

In a nutshell, what size log splitter you will need depends on your needs or wants. If you really know the log size, wood type, and wood condition, you can own one what you exactly deserve to have, focusing your requirements.

But, on the other hand, when your choice is affected by your wants, not by needs, you can buy anyone. This will cost you more and lead to the wrong choice.

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