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Kindling Cracker King Review: The XL Kindling Splitter

 

Since it’s invention over 7 years ago by a school age Kiwi (that’s a New Zealander), the Kindling Cracker (view our full review here) has arguably become the most popular and easy to use kindling splitter on the market.  This durable, safe and well built device is a must have here at Perfect Log Cut and for outdoor wood cutting enthusiasts around the world.  In fact, go here if you’d like to read our full review on the original Kindling Cracker.

But if there was ever one complaint about the Kindling Cracker Kindling Splitter, it was that it was best suited for smaller logs and not as adept at splitting bigger harder wood.  Well, that worry has now been answered with the Kindling Cracker King.  This newly designed model by the same folks in New Zealand is the beefed up bigger-brother many of us have been waiting for.

 

Features

While the Kindling Cracker King XL Firewood Kindling Splitter is still the simple, stripped down log splitter we’ve come to love.  It has a simple design and only offers the features necessary for doing it’s job:  Splitting kindling.  This compares quite favorably to other kindling cutters and slitters with the following featuers:

  • Made of durable, crafted cast iron construction
  • 10.5 inch base with square foot holds holds steady during wood splitting use
  • Extremely safe to use, keeping hands away from the blade, while also providing effective cover from debris
  • Larger 9 inch diameter top ring and now 17  inches tall
  • Maintenance-free upkeep – Only sharpen the fitted blade as you see the need
  • Four bolt holes for permanent mounting if desired
  • Weight: 21 pounds

Pros

  • Additional height makes it possible to split longer pieces of firewood without running out of room below the splitting wedge
  • 40% Larger than the original kindling cracker
  • One piece, cast iron frame from an industry leading Australian foundry
  • Still extremely simple to use
  • The curved blade helps get the split started easily
  • Splits firewood with less force than a standard axe
  • Added size makes for a better permanent fixture and added bolt holes secure tightly
  • Backed by a 5 year limited warranty

Cons

  • Additional size and weight does not allow as much flexibility as the smaller, original Kindling Cracker
  • Added weight and bulk may not allow for as easy use among all users
  • If left mounted outside the splitter may rust over time
  • Added height and bulk may require more secured option of bolting down

Summary

The new Kindling Cracker King Firewood splitter is a welcome addition to the market of similar kindling splitters.  Just like it’s predecesor it does exactly what it is designed to do.   Yes it’s bigger and heavier, but we find it to still be portable enough for certain camping and outdoor activities.

This model is quite a bit more stable than the smaller Kindling Cracker, and we really appreciated this in combination with the ability to handle larger, longer firewood.  We could now better handle the typical sized logs that were delivered in a cord.  We no longer felt the need to pre-split our wood and could get to creating kindling straight away.

In the end we found choosing between the two kindling cracker models really comes down to what and where you intend to use it.  If portability and packing light are the priority then you should surely pick the original 10 pound kindling splitter.  But if you need somethings a bit larger and intend on tackling a bit bigger job, then the Kindling Cracker XL is the way to go for sure.  This is still a great addition to your camping kit and most importantly it’s safe to use around children and groups of people.

Comparisons and Possible Alternatives

Obviously, the first possible alternative to the Kindling Cracker XL, is the 10 pound smaller version King Cracker.  As mentioned in our review of the first Kindling Cracker, there are a few other alternatives, copycats and similar devices that can do the job.

The Stikkan Wall Mount Kindling Splitter. It is comparable to the the Kindling Cracker King, as it is also made from cast iron, and is a bit more permanent of a solution.  The main difference is while the King can still be somewhat portable, the Stikkan is a fully permanent splitter.

Further we think the Kindling Cracker can handle larger and longer logs than the Stikkan Kindling Splitter can.  It is only twenty-three inches in length total, it is really only suited for logs up to fourteen inches long.

Another option is the Collins Wood Splitting Wedge. If you are looking for the most simple, portable approach, this may be a good option.

It is extremely portable and lightweight, even moreso than both models of the Kindling Cracker.  But it does take a bit more force since it is only the wedge part of it and not a whole frame.  And unlike either of the Kindling Crackers or the Stikkan wall mounted splitter, the Collins Splitting Wedge is not as safe and thus not well suited near children.

Verdict

In the end we were just thrilled to see the folks at Kindling Cracker listened to some of the shortcomings of their original product, and developed the bigger, taller, durable Kindling Cracker King.

Firstly, the Kindling Cracker is safe for most ages, making it a great family camping addition.  What users give up in added weight and portability, we feel add the benefit of being able to handle a much bigger size of wood logs.

And it still remains impressive in it’s durability. Since it is made from cast iron, it will last. Yes, it is a full 21 pounds compared to the 10 lb smaller version, but that is the beauty of it.  There is now a Kindling Cracker wood splitter for whatever you need.  Take the original with you on the go and keep the new Kindling Cracker King XL ready and waiting for those stationary camps or secured to your backyard log cutting area as you prep for winter.

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How To Use a Kindling Splitter

 

Camping wouldn’t be nearly as much fun without campfires. Who doesn’t love cooking breakfast or toasting marshmallows over an open flame?  You can’t build a campfire without kindling, though, and the wood-splitting tool that you choose could make or break your outdoor adventure. Here’s a rundown of your options.

 

Log Splitters

These tools are ideal for creating uniformly sized pieces of firewood. Many models are gas- or electric-powered. You simply place the wood and flip a switch. If you use your fireplace a lot, they’re great to have in the backyard.

However, log splitter is often too large and powerful to use for kindling. That would be like using a blowtorch to light birthday candles.

 

Axes and Wedges

Using the wrong axe to prepare kindling is a challenge at best. At worst, it’s a safety hazard.

Splitting axes have tapered heads and are much lighter and easier to wield than felling axes. They’re designed to split wood fibers rather than cut them, which is only necessary if you’re chopping down a tree.

A splitting maul is significantly heavier and has a longer handle. It resembles a cross between a sledgehammer and an axe. Things could get ugly if you don’t have the strength or experience to wield a splitting maul.

A splitting wedge will help you get started if you’re trying to break up a large stump or thick log into kindling. They’re usually made of rugged steel that can stand up to the force of a sledgehammer. To use a wedge, you hammer it into the wood until it’s stationary. Then, you pound away.

Many seasoned outdoorsmen and adventurous women refuse to part with their axes. They like the heft and feel of this ancient tool in their sweaty, capable hands. They don’t worry about losing a toe or putting out an eye. They’ve been around the chopping block a few times.

 

The Kindling Splitter

 

The best tool for any project is the one that was specifically designed for it.This compact, portable splitter weighs just 10 pounds and stands around a foot tall. The cylindrical frame, constructed of durable cast iron, measures about 6 inches in diameter.

The open design is simple. Two sturdy bars connect the heavy ring that forms the base to a lighter ring at the top. Midway down, an arced blade stretches between the two bars. The tool was built to be portable, but the base has holes for drilling if you want to bolt it down.

Since the blade is built-in, no axe is necessary. You needn’t have extraordinary strength. Indeed, a teenager invented this splitter as a science project after her mother cut a finger while chopping wood with an axe.

Using a Kindling Splitter

 

 

For the purposes of this tutorial, we’ll be referring to the Kindling Cracker (read our full review), which in our opinion is the best kindling splitter on the market today.  Other specific splitters work just like this, but specific details may vary depending on the manufacturer and model.

These handy and often portable kindling devices couldn’t be easier to use.  All you need is a mallet or heavy hammer:Step 1: Don your safety gear.

  1. Don your safety gear.
  2. Gather the logs or firewood that you want to split. Have your mallet ready.
  3. Place the splitter on any flat, slightly elevated surface like a fat tree stump or picnic bench. If you’re using it at home and prefer to keep it stationary, you may bolt it down.
  4. Grab a log and place it vertically inside the safety frame. Center it with the bottom end resting on the blade.
  5. While holding the wood steady with one hand, take your mallet or hammer and start whacking. As the wood descends, the blade will split it into strips.
  6. If the first pieces are still too large for kindling, hammer them into the splitter again.
  7. Gather and pile the kindling, or load in a Panacea Firewood bag (our current favorite).  Better yet, assign that chore to the kids.

It’s just that simple, and it takes only seconds to split a piece of wood. So little force is needed that older children, with adult supervision, can handle the job. Fingers and toes never come near the blade.

Safety Concerns

The wood strips aren’t likely to become projectiles, but even the slimmest possibility paints a vivid picture in the imagination.

Play it safe. Always wear safety goggles when chopping wood. Wear sturdy shoes with closed toes. Don’t forget work gloves to protect your hands from splinters and insects. If you’re recycling construction materials, make sure that the wood is free of nails.

For safety, portability and ease of use, this tool can’t be beat. As for maintenance, the blade needs only occasional sharpening with a file. It should be kept as dry as possible to prevent rusting.

With a kindling splitter, you’ll be stargazing beside a crackling fire in no time.

Conclusion

Although your specific kindling splitter may vary,  the step-by-step process remains mostly the same for quickly turning small logs into ready-to-use firewood and kindling..

Following the simple steps above should allow you to generate all of the kindling you need in no time.

And while it’s perfectly acceptable to use your favorite log splitter, axe or wedge, it’s just too easy NOT to have a handy kindling splitter such as the Kindling Cracker on hand whenever needed.

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The Best Gas Log Splitters

The Best Gas Log Splitters

If you are planning on doing some heavier duty log splitting, a gas log splitter is your best option. They have an earned reputation for being much more powerful than their electric and manual counterparts.

Even though they are more powerful, there is still a fair amount of variation between gas log splitters. Knowing your own expectations and needs will help you choose the best gas log splitter.

If you plan on splitting larger pieces of wood or hardwoods, you should definitely consider a gas powered splitter. There are a number of good ones on the market to choose from.

With so many options, it can be hard to choose the best gas log splitter for your needs. Once you have determined your needs and expectations, the following two gas powered log splitters offer great options to suit your needs.

Dirty Hands 100171, 22-Ton Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter

The Dirty Hands 100171 22 Ton Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter is a great mid-range capacity log splitter. As with all gas powered log splitters, it has the higher capacity tonnage to help you split even the most stubborn logs. Some of its features include:

  • Horizontal and vertical positioning
  • 9 second cycle time
  • Can split logs up to 36 inches long

One of the best aspects of this log splitter is the log cradle. It not only keeps the log in place, but it helps guide the ram during the splitting. It also keeps the log from twisting upon impact.

The ability to switch between a horizontal and vertical position. If you are dealing with a large log, it can be difficult on your back to lift it onto a horizontal log splitter. The ability to split vertically is a major plus.

Although much of this log splitter functions like a heavy duty log splitter, some of the detail pieces do not hold up to repeated use. The blade guards, for instance, are made of a less durable material and begin to bend after the first use.

Despite its one, relatively small drawback, the Dirty Hands 100171 22 Ton Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter is an excellent option. Although it is rated at a modest twenty-two tons, it will hold up to hardwoods and split large logs with ease.

NorthStar Horizontal/Vertical 37-Ton Log Splitter

If you are looking for an even heavier duty log splitter than the Dirty Hand 100171, the NorthStar Horizontal/Vertical 37-Ton Log Splitter has you covered. Similarly to the previous option, this splitter also has two positions, but even more tonnage. Some of its features include:

  • Improved fuel economy due to an automated idle/throttle
  • Two stage pump to use less horsepower
  • 14 second cycle time

Although the cycle time is a little longer than the previous version, this log splitter can handle much harder projects. The maximum length the splitter can handle is twenty-five inches, but it handles any wood type or knots with ease.

Besides the energy saving features such as the two stage pump and automated idle/throttle, the actual engine is a huge selling point. The engine is made by Honda and starts easily, even the very first time it is used.

While the added tonnage is a nice bonus, the log cradles do not adequately hold the log in place while in the horizontal position. While the vertical position has no such problems, it is a major drawback to the horizontal splitting action.

Despite the couple setbacks, the NorthStar Horizontal/Vertical 37-Ton Log Splitter is one of the best gas log splitters. It can handle pretty much any type of wood with ease and has that all important vertical positioning.

Conclusion

Ultimately, both of the Dirty Hands 100171and the NorthStar Horizontal/Vertical 37-Ton log splitters will provide you with an excellent gas powered log splitter. It comes down to your own personal expectations and needs.

If you need a log splitter with a bit more length and a faster cycle time, go with the Dirty Hands model. If you need more tonnage and hardwood capability, go with the NorthStar.

Even though each of the two options has its own set of drawbacks, their many features make them two of the best gas powered log splitter available. No matter which you choose, you will get a high powered, smoothly working machine to conquer all your log splitting tasks.

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Sun Joe LJ10M Hydraulic Log Splitter Review

If you are looking for a heavier capacity log splitter while not sacrificing portability, the Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter is an excellent option. It is operated by a hand lever, eliminating the need for electricity or fuel.

Since this splitter relies on the operator’s own strength to split the logs, it can be more tiring to operate. It can, however, use ten tons of force just from your arm due. This allows you to complete larger projects easily.

For a manual log splitter, the Sun Joe LJ10M is a great option for larger projects. It allows you to use ten tons of force to get through your project without needing electricity and fuel.

Features

Although one of the major attractions to the Sun Joe LJ10M is that it is manual and free from electricity and fuel, it has many other great features. Its high tonnage capacity will help you get through large projects with ease.

While it may not have the same bells and whistles as an electric or gas powered log splitter would, the Sun Joe LJ10M has all the necessary features. Some of its features include:

  • Can be used for logs up to 18 inches long and 8 inches in diameter
  • Hydraulic ram drives with ten tons of force
  • The built-in log cradle catches the split wood
  • Two year warranty
  • Two hand levers for different speeds

Pros

  • Very portable and not reliant on extension cords
  • Easily splits larger diameter logs than the features state
  • Solid construction and basically maintenance-free
  • Does not injure your back, but it does require some strength to operate
  • Takes up very little space to store during the off-season
  • It will go as quickly as you can work since it is operated by hand levers

Cons

  • Does not work for green logs, only for seasoned logs
  • Your arms will get tired after a lot of splitting
  • Slower cycle time reliant on your own abilities
  • Despite what the features say, the maximum length for a clean split is around 16 inches rather than 18 inches
  • It gets jammed and stopped up with knotty logs

Summary

Although it requires more physical strength and endurance to operate, the Sun Joe LJ10M allows you to split logs away from a power source. This makes its portability even more positive.

While the maximum length does fall short of what the features say, the Sun Joe LJ10M makes up for lost ground with the diameter capability. While the features say that it can handle logs with a diameter up to 8 inches, it can actually handle much larger logs.

The manual nature of this log splitter makes it more taxing to use, but the machine matches your own speed. If you have the capacity to work faster, then the Sun Joe LJ10M will go faster along with you.

Since the machine is rated to ten tons of force, it should be able to handle pretty much anything you throw at it. Although it gets tripped up on some hard or knotty woods, the two speed levers help mitigate this issue.

Comparisons and Possible Alternatives

There are a few manual log splitters to consider against the Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter. Each option has its pros and cons, so be sure to consider your needs when making a decision.

The first alternative is the Ironton Horizontal Manual 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter. Like the Sun Joe LJ10M, the Ironton has a two speed, hand lever system to operate it.

Much like the Sun Joe LJ10M, this log splitter is also built to last and is simple to use. Unfortunately, however, the Ironton is only capable of splitting logs up to 6.5 inches in diameter to the Sun Joe’s 8 inch capacity.

Another good option is the Quality Craft Foot-Operated 1.5-Ton Log Splitter. Unlike the previous two options, this log splitter only has 1.5 tons of force behind it. It can, however, still handle the same sized logs.

Since the Quality Craft is foot-operated, it will save your back and arms while splitting the same sized logs. The main setback, though, is that it does not have the same force as the other options and therefore cannot take on every log.

 Verdict

All-in-all, the Sun Joe LJ10M Logger Joe 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter is a great reliable option for your log splitting needs. While it takes more physical strength to operate, it maximizes your efforts with the hydraulic pump and ten tons of force.

While there are other viable options available, the Sun Joe LJ10M is a good choice for a manual log splitter. Since it has two-speed levers, you have more control of the force exerted.

The Sun Joe LJ10M is an excellent option if you are looking for a portable, easy to use manual splitter with lots of force. Despite some minor drawbacks, it should be able to handle any household log splitting tasks.

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WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter Review

WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter Review

If you have some household log splitting to do, the WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter is a good option. It is a mid-range capacity as far as tonnage and has all the benefits of an electric log splitter.

In general, some of the benefits of an electric log splitter are that they are lighter weight, more portable, and fume-free. These are all great pluses for the WEN 56206.

The WEN 56206 is also very user-friendly. Although you do need to use both hands to operate it safely, it does not require much force or strength, making it a great option for older or less capable operators.

Features

In addition to the standard electric log splitter features, the WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter has many great features all on its own. Since it is a mid-range tonnage option, it is well suited for most household log splitting needs.

When compared to similar log splitters, the WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter comes out at the top due to its great features. Some of its features include:

  • The motor uses household current and is fume-free
  • Built in log cradle to keep the longer logs in place
  • Can split logs up to 20.5 inches long and 10 inches in diameter
  • The motor runs quietly and starts easily the first time
  • Portable with grip handles and wheels

Pros

  • Compact size makes it portable and easy to store
  • Easy and safe to use with two hands
  • Good cycle time related to the operator’s speed
  • Can actually handle larger diameter logs than the features state
  • Cuts through most wood types easily or with limited adjustment

Cons

  • Needs more power than a standard extension cord offers
  • Some hardwoods or knotty logs will not split or cause splinters
  • Begins to slow down after a few uses
  • Two-handed use forces the operator to lower their face closer to the machine than is comfortable
  • Wheels are on the small side which makes them unstable over uneven ground

Summary

Despite the few drawbacks, the WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter does have a lot to offer. Since it is a mid-range capacity splitter, it cannot really be expected to take on huge scale splitting projects.

The two-handed operation is a double edged sword. On the one hand, the two-handed operation makes the splitter safer to use as it will not work if you do not have both hands devoted to it. On the other hand, it ties up both hands and makes the operator lean in close to the splitter.

Although it is not the highest tonnage available on the market, the WEN 56206 splitter offers enough force for most wood types. Since it is only six tons, however, it will be slowed down or stopped for logs that are too hard or large.

The size and portability definitely make the WEN 56206 a good option for a household log splitter. Combined with the fume-free electric motor, this log splitter can pretty much be used anywhere you need it.

Comparisons and Possible Alternatives

If the WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter does not totally fit your needs, there are a couple other comparable options available. Each splitter has strengths and weaknesses which will help you make your decision.

One good alternative is the TR Industrial TR89130 5-Ton Electric Log Splitter. While it has a similar tonnage to the WEN 56206, the TR89130 incorporates a standing height stand to make your job a little easier. This can be valuable if you have a bad back.

Unlike the WEN 56206, a drawback of the TR89130 is that its ram length does not accommodate shorter logs. While the WEN 56206 has some trouble with longer logs, the shorter logs pose a problem for the TR89130.

Another comparable option is the Boss Industrial EC5T20 5-Ton Electric Log Splitter. With a similar tonnage capacity as the other two options, the EC5T20 also boasts a one-handed use capability, which can be a major asset.

One issue with the EC5T20 is that it does not have a log cradle that can handle longer logs. This means that your log may fall off the splitter. The other two options do seem to have the EC5T20 beat in that respect.

Verdict

Overall, the WEN 56206 6-Ton Electric Log Splitter should meet your household log splitting needs well. Since it is a mid-range tonnage capacity log splitter, it can handle most small to medium splitting projects.

Although there are some setbacks to the WEN 56206, it is a good option if you are looking for an electric splitter. Unlike other options on the market, it has a two hand use design which makes it a safe option for most operators.

One of the main advantages to an electric log splitter is that it can be used pretty much anywhere and is fume-free. The WEN 56206 is a great portable, mid-range option for all your household splitting needs.

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Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 Gas-Powered Log Splitter Review

Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 Gas-Powered Log Splitter Review

With 25-tons of force, there are not many things the Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25-Ton Gas-powered Log Splitter cannot handle. Since it is a gas-powered log splitter, it offers much more force and power than the electric options on the market.

Since the Southland SLS20825 can be used in either the horizontal or the vertical position, the power is put to its best use. You can make the most of the tonnage by using the splitter in the vertical position.

If you have large amounts of bigger logs to split, the Southland SLS20825 is a great option. Gas-powered splitters have a reputation for being powerful and this one is no exception.

Features

In addition to the added power of the Southland SLS20825 log splitter, it also has some great bonus features. Since gas-powered log splitters tend to be on the expensive side of the spectrum, a few added perks are a welcome surprise.

Along with the standard benefits of a gas-powered log splitter, this one does go above and beyond in several respects. Some of its features include:

  • Internal oil system lubricates the internal engine bearings to reduce heat build-up
  • Cycle time of seventeen seconds
  • Automatically returning ram
  • Can be used in both horizontal and vertical positions
  • Comes with an included trailer hitch for portability
  • Can split logs up to 26 inches long

Pros

  • It can basically split any piece of hardwood or softwood you throw at it
  • The vertical position allows you to roll large pieces of wood under the machine rather than lifting them
  • The engine runs relatively quietly and start easily
  • It is simple to attach to a trailer hitch for moving
  • It can split wet and freshly cut wood without a problem

 Cons

  • Two people are absolutely needed to assemble the machine, especially when it comes to the central beam
  • For older or less able bodied operators, switching from the horizontal to the vertical position can be difficult and need two people
  • It is only portable with a tractor or trailer hitch because of the weight
  • It could use a log catcher so that the cut logs do not just fall to the ground

Summary

Overall, the Southland SLS20825 log splitter has few fatal flaws. In fact, none of the drawbacks will hinder the use of the machine in the slightest.

While the weight can be a problem for less able bodied operators, it is also what makes the machine durable and heavy duty. You will, however, need two people to assemble and, in some cases, switch between horizontal and vertical.

The vertical position will save some manpower since a large log can be rolled underneath and split right there rather than being lifted. The horizontal position, however, does lack a log catcher, so there is the added work of collecting the split logs.

Despite its heavy weight and therefore decreased portability, the Southland SLS20825 is a major workhorse of a splitter. It can handle basically any piece of wood thrown at it with ease, whether that piece is hard, soft, seasoned, or green.

Comparisons and Possible Alternatives

Although it is hard to beat the sheer power and durability of the Southland SLS20825 log splitter, there are some notable alternatives. Keep in mind what you are looking for in a log splitter to make the decision more painless and simple.

The first alternative is the Dirty Hand Tools 100171 22-Ton Horizontal/Vertical Gas Log Splitter. It has a similar tonnage to the Southland, but offers some slightly different advantages and disadvantages.

One significant benefit to this log splitter is its cycle time. While the Southland SLS20825 comes in at a respectable seventeen seconds, the Dirty Hand Tools 100171 comes in at 10.9 seconds. Some of the smaller pieces, however, do not hold up to the speed and force.

Another good alternative is the NorthStar Horizontal Vertical 37-Ton Log Splitter. It does outdo both the other options in tonnage capacity, but it has its own drawbacks as well.

If you do need that added tonnage, the NorthStar is a good option. It does, however, leave something to be desired on the log size capability. Despite its force, it can only handle logs the same size as the Southland SLS20825.

Verdict

If you are looking for a higher tonnage log splitter, you cannot go wrong with the Southland Outdoor Power Equipment SLS20825 25-Ton Gas-powered Log Splitter. With the two vertical/horizontal orientations, you can make the most out of that tonnage.

The weight can be a stumbling block for less able bodied people. The Southland SLS20825, however, is simple to use and portable with a trailer hitch. In the long run, it will save you manpower, especially when used in the vertical position.

All-in-all, the Southland SLS20825 is a great heavy duty option for your log splitting needs. It can handle any job thrown at it, making it a great gas-powered option.

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How to Use a Log Splitter A Step-by-Step Guide

How to Use a Log Splitter: A Step-by-Step Guide

Although log splitters are pieces of heavy machinery, they are relatively simple to use. Gas powered and electric powered models are even straighter forward to use.

While each splitter has its own special features, the basics will be the same across the board. A log splitter uses a hydraulic pump to split the wood without as much strength on the part of the user.

Despite any confusion with assembly, special features, or safety, the actual process for how to use a log splitter is very straight forward. The entire process only takes the following two steps. By following these steps, you will be splitting wood in no time at all.

Step 1: Fuel and Power

The first step when preparing to use your log splitter is to make sure you have adequate fuel and power. In order to do this, you have to determine what kind of splitter you are using.

If you are using an electric splitter, you will need to plug the unit into a power cord with the appropriate wattage. If you are using a gas powered splitter, make sure to add gasoline to the splitter to ensure you can get through your project. For manual splitters, simply skip this stage.

No matter which type of log splitter you have, though, you will need to add hydraulic oil to the oil tank. The amount of oil will depend on which model you have, so make sure to check the manual for specifics.

Step 2: Placing and Splitting the Log

Once your machine in fueled, you will place and split the log. This is the primary step of the whole process.

With gas powered and electric powered log splitters, you will first place the log against the wedge, where you want it to split. Then, the machine will either have a lever to pull or a button to push.

Once you have pushed the button or pulled the lever, the hydraulic pump will activate. It will push the log into the wedge at varying pressures based on the machine and type of wood. This is when the actually splitting happens.

For a manual log splitter, you will need to tighten the screw on the jack to secure the log and move the cylinder into position. Then, you will manually pump the hydraulic jack to split the wood. At that point, you can unscrew the screw and remove the log from the splitter.

While some gas powered and electric powered log splitters return the wedge to its original place, others do not. If your model does not have this feature, simply reset the machine between logs.

Safety Concerns

As with any piece of machinery, safety should always come safe. Although use instructions will vary from log splitter to log splitter, there are a number of safety guidelines that can always be followed.

Your eyes are one thing you should always be careful to protect when using a log splitter. Depending on the age and dryness of the wood, there can be splinters from the log. Wearing protective eyewear will save you from potential eye damage.

In order to keep the log steady while you use the splitter, you may need to hold the log in place with one hand. If this is the case, make sure to place your hand near the middle of the log to keep it as steady as possible.

As with all other manual labor, you should always wear boots, long pants, and gloves while splitting logs. Without these pieces of clothing, you are opening up your skin to potential splinters and other injuries.

Conclusion

Although the type of log splitter may vary, the step-by-step operating process remains mostly the same across the board. Gas, electric, and manual log splitters also share the same safety concerns.

Following the above step-by-step process should allow you to split logs safely and easily, make sure to read the specific manual for your machine. Since there is some variation, reading the manuals will allow you to operate the machine safely and efficiently.

Ultimately the most important factor in how to use a log splitter is following proper safety protocols. Common sense will get you a certain ways, but researching your machine will keep you even safer and streamline your log splitting experience.

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Powerhouse XM-580 Electric Hydraulic Horizontal Log Splitter Review

Powerhouse XM-580 Electric Hydraulic Horizontal Log Splitter Review

If you are looking for an electric log splitter with more force, the Powerhouse XM-580 9-Ton Electric Hydraulic Horizontal Log Splitter is an excellent option. While it maintains the portability of a standard electric splitter, it packs more of a punch.

One of the main concerns with electric log splitters is that they are typically not as powerful as their gas-powered counterparts. This is not an issue with the Powerhouse XM-580. It will easily conquer all your log splitting projects.

As with all electric log splitters, one of the main draws is that they are portable, fume-free, and quieter. These are all positives of the Powerhouse XM-580, but it delivers without sacrificing power.

Features

When you are deciding on which log splitter to buy, presumably you have a list of needs from your machine. The Powerhouse XM-580 comes with all the essential features along with some extra bells and whistles.

While the main tenants of an electric log splitter are all present, there are some added perks. In addition to its fume-free motor, portability, quiet motor, and added power, the Powerhouse XM-580 has some extra bonuses. Some of its features include:

  • Hydraulic system to increase torque
  • Simple to use
  • Two handed use for extra safety
  • Can cut logs up to 20.5 inches long and 11.8 inches in diameter
  • Cycle time of over a hundred logs per hour

Pros

  • It easily splits larger diameter logs than the features state
  • The splitter is portable and lightweight so you can use it inside and outside without a problem
  • It can split green, freshly cut logs without a problem
  • It handles hardwoods like a breeze
  • It is very easy to use with two hands and fast

Cons

  • The splitter is much more expensive than other electric log splitters on the market – bordering on the lower end of the gas-powered spectrum
  • The wheels are not up to the standards of the rest of the splitter and are on the flimsy side
  • The owner’s manual is poorly written and a bit difficult to understand

Summary

While the Powerhouse XM-580 does have some drawbacks, basically none of them hinder the actual operation of the machine itself. Things like the owner’s manual are certainly lacking, but the actual splitting ability is top notch.

The Powerhouse XM-580 handles pretty much any kind of log you can think of – from hardwoods to softwoods, from small logs to large logs. It also has the added benefit of portability as it only weighs a bit over a hundred pounds.

One of the major drawbacks to this log splitter is the price tag. Although electric log splitters tend to run cheaper than gas-powered ones, the Powerhouse XM-580 is bordering on the lower end of the gas-powered log splitter price range.

If you are willing to pay the slightly higher price tag, however, you will be getting a very solid log splitter. It can handle pretty much anything and the only downside to its actual construction are the wheels.

Comparisons and Possible Alternatives

Although an electric log splitter as powerful as the Powerhouse XM-580 is a pretty rare find, there are a couple alternatives which will meet slightly different needs. Depending on what you are looking for in a log splitter, each option will appeal to you more or less.

The first good alternative, presuming you do not need quite as much tonnage is the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 7-Ton 2-Speed Electric Log Splitter. While it does not have quite as much power as the Powerhouse XM-580, it is still a viable option.

Like the Powerhouse XM-580, the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575 can pretty much split any log you can think of. It is, however, a bit larger and therefore less portable. The wheels, though, are a bit better made to accommodate for the extra weight.

If you are looking for even more power, the Boss Industrial ED10T20 10-Ton Industrial Electric Log Splitter is a good alternative. In addition to more force, it also can be operated with one hand, making your job a bit easier.

Although, like the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65575, the Boss Industrial ED10T20 is much heavier than the Powerhouse XM-580, it also has wheels and is higher up for easier use. Overall, it is a very sturdy and heavyweight option for your splitting needs.

Verdict

Overall, the Powerhouse XM-580 9-Ton Electric Hydraulic Horizontal Log Splitter presents an excellent option for your log splitting needs. Although it has a couple drawbacks, none of them hinder the function of the machine.

While the manual is less than ideal and the price tag is a bit steep, there is really not much else to complain about with this log splitter. It can handle just about anything you throw at it.

If you are looking for a powerful, heavy duty log splitter with all the benefits of an electric unit, the Powerhouse XM-580 is a great option. No matter the size of your project, this log splitter can handle it.

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Powerhouse XM-380 7-Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter Review

Powerhouse XM-380 7-Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter Review

If you are looking for a powerful electric log splitter, the Powerhouse XM-380 7-Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter is an excellent choice. It incorporates the portability and fume-free motor of all electric splitters while maintaining power with a hydraulic ram.

The Powerhouse XM-380 also boasts a short cycle time so it makes the most out of your allotted time. The automatic return on the ram makes it simple to split one log after the other.

Since it operates with seven tons of force, the Powerhouse XM-380 should be able to meet and exceed your household log splitting needs. The added portability makes it simple to use wherever and whenever you need.

Features

The Powerhouse XM-380 has all the benefits of a standard electric log splitter with some added bonuses. Since it is fume-free and portable, it has the ability to be used wherever you need it, even indoors.

In addition to the portability, fume-free motor, and standard electric log splitter features, the Powerhouse XM-380 has some special features unique to this machine. Some of its features include:

  • Can split logs up to 20.5 inches long and 12 inches in diameter
  • Automatically returning hydraulic ram operated by an electric motor
  • Cycle time of six seconds
  • Two handed use for added safety
  • Wheels for portability

Pros

  • It is relatively quiet when running
  • The splitter can handle wood with knots in it
  • The automatic return on the ram cuts down on manpower and cycle time
  • The splitter can be used with a standard power cord
  • It can handle the largest logs stated in the features without any trouble
  • It is simple to start and operate with two hands

Cons

  • It cannot split many hardwoods easily
  • The wheels are poorly placed which leads to instability
  • The seal that keeps the hydraulic fluid inside the machine can split, allowing the fluid to spill while in use
  • The motor overheats after repeated uses
  • The splitter wedge is too small for the intended tonnage

Summary

Although the Powerhouse XM-380 has many great features, it also has some aspects that are under designed. The two biggest design issues are that the wheels are incorrectly positioned which leads to stability and the splitter wedge is too small for the seven-ton rating.

One major benefit of this splitter is the automatic return on the ram. Since you simply let go of the lever to bring the ram back to the starting place, you drastically reduce the cycle time and manpower.

While the seven tons of force is enough for a knotty piece of wood, it does not seem to be quite enough for hardwoods. This inability may in part be due to the small splitter wedge as well. If you plan on splitting softwoods, however, the Powerhouse XM-380 will do the trick.

The two mechanical problems you might encounter with this splitter are in regards to the motor itself and the seal on the hydraulic fluid chamber. Both pieces have some durability problems to keep in mind if you plan on doing a lot of splitting.

Comparisons and Possible Alternatives

There are a couple other good electric log splitters on the market with similar specifications to consider. Each option comes with its own strengths and weaknesses, so your own needs and expectations are important.

The first alternative is the Boss Industrial ED8T20 8-Ton Electric Log Splitter. Although it is a higher price tag than the Powerhouse XM-380, it has some valuable perks.

One benefit is that it can be operated by a button rather than requiring two hands. This feature makes the log splitting process even more hassle-free. Plus, although the cycle time is longer than the Powerhouse XM-380, you can split two logs at once with this splitter.

Another good alternative is the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 4-Ton Electric Log Splitter. Although it does not have the same tonnage behind it, it can still reportedly handle the same sized logs.

While the Pow’ R’ Kraft 65556 does handle hardwoods a little better than the two previous options, it does have some issues. For instance, the log pusher is a bit on the short side and does not reach the splitter wedge fully.

Verdict

Overall, the Powerhouse XM-380 7-Ton Electric Hydraulic Log Splitter is a good option for your household log splitting needs. Although it does have some fairly large drawbacks, it also has a number of valuable features to speak for it.

One of the main benefits of this log splitter is its short cycle time. Since the ram retracts automatically at the end of the cycle, it saves you time and manpower. A six second cycle time cannot be beat by many other machines.

Keeping in mind the hardwood problem, hydraulic fluid seal, and under designed aspects, the Powerhouse XM-380 is a great option. Make sure to weigh your own needs and expectations to make sure you get the best fit.

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Electric vs. Gas Log Splitters Finding the Splitter to Meet Your Needs

Electric vs. Gas Log Splitters: Finding the Splitter to Meet Your Needs

There are two types of mechanical log splitters on the market: electric and gas powered. Although each option has its pros and cons, your personal log splitting needs will determine which is better for you.

From a purely mechanical standpoint, gas and electric log splitters are functionally the same. They are, however, best suited for opposite types of projects and needs.

As with any type of machinery, your own personal needs will dictate which option is best for you. Neither option is particularly worse, but they are each designed for slightly different and differently sized tasks.

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of each will help you access your own needs. To begin, consider the two options fairly, and then look at your own expectations. Not every log splitter is perfect for every situation, so it is important to know weigh options.

Electric Log Splitters

Electric log splitters are great for several reasons. The first reason is that they are lightweight and more portable than gas splitters. Anywhere you have electricity, you can use your electric log splitter.

Another benefit is that electric log splitters are quiet when they are running. Additionally, they do not emit fumes like a gas splitter would. Smaller models, because of these two features, can actually be used indoors when necessary.

Although they are more convenient in size and movability, electric log splitters are also less powerful than their gas powered counterparts. If you do not need the added power, however, an electric log splitter will likely be the wisest choice.

Their need for electricity can also be a bit of a problem if you plan to use your splitter in remote areas. For use where there is no outlet, you will need a generator.

One great use of an electric log splitter is splitting kindling. Since you can get electric splitters that are quite small, they can be used for kindling in the house.

Electric log splitters may not be suited for all circumstances, but they are an excellent option for smaller splitting needs. Their small size, fume-free, and quiet operation make them a great option for at-home use.

Gas Log Splitters

If you are planning on doing a bit more heavy duty log splitting, a gas powered log splitter is your best bet. They generally have much more power than their electric counterparts and bigger splitting tables for more substantial logs.

While electric log splitters have the distinction of portability, they are literally tethered to a power outlet. Gas powered log splitters, however, can be used anywhere, despite their added weight.

One drawback to the gas powered log splitters is that they do emit gas fumes which preclude them from indoor use of use near livestock. They require a good amount of ventilation while in use.

Another potential disadvantage is that gas powered splitters require more maintenance than electric models. Because they have a combustion engine, they need oil, filter, and spark plug changes just like a car would.

Although there are some major drawbacks, gas powered log splitters are still the best choice for heftier jobs. They can handle large quantities of large logs with ease.

If you are planning on splitting whole cords of wood rather than splitting on an as-needed basis, gas powered log splitters will have you covered. Their main draw is that they are powerful. If you have a big enough job, they cannot go wrong.

Verdict

Ultimately, whether a gas powered or electric powered log splitter is better for you is determined by your needs. While each has its pros, each also has its cons.

If you are planning on doing smaller wood splitting projects – either as-needed or for kindling – an electric splitter is your best bet. Since they are portable, quiet, and fume-free, they can even be used for your indoor needs.

If you are planning on doing larger wood splitting projects – splitting cords of wood and the like – a gas powered splitter is your best bet. Since they are powerful and heavy duty, they can cut through larger logs with ease.

As with any machinery purchase, your own needs are a vital consideration. Even if the gas log splitter looks appealing because of its power, if you only need a smaller capacity splitter, the electric will suit your needs better.

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