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.


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.