We’ve been lucky enough to spend the past couple of years with several different log splitters at our disposal and all have served us well — some really impressed. At the high-powered end of the spectrum was the Wallenstein WX530 20-ton hydraulic splitter. This unit was easy to tow out to the woodlot and could also be moved into position by hand back at the woodshed. Powered with a smooth-running and easy to start Honda engine, we only managed to stall this machine twice, while trying to split a massive Osage orange crotch. The Wallenstein splits in one direction only but its recovery time was sufficiently quick that we never felt like we were waiting to load the next log.
Our DR Power Dual Action 15 Ton hydraulic splitter was lighter and easier to move around than the Wallenstein, and even though the DR cycled a little bit more slowly, it split on both the forward and reverse stroke of the hydraulic ram. Make no mistake, 15-tons is plenty of splitting force, and we found this handy unit to be perfect for all but the toughest logs and some of the 20-plus inch diameter stuff. It took a couple of minutes to get used to splitting in both directions, but once we got the hang of it, we were hooked.
The last hydraulic splitter we spent significant time with was the Powerhouse Model XM-380. This 7-ton machine uses an electric motor that pumps the hydraulic fluid. As a stationary machine this splitter was effective on most of the logs we tried with it — obviously it is not the splitter of choice for very large diameter logs or species that are very tough to split. It was the go-to splitter for using in the woodshed because it was quiet and didn’t produce any fumes. Other manufacturers also have optional electric motors to run their larger splitters – after putting this machine through its paces, we can see a definite advantage … and in a pinch you could take them all to the woods if you have a suitably rated portable generator on hand.
The most innovative splitter we’ve gotten to know is DR Power’s RapidFire Pro. This gasoline-fueled, inertia-type splitter relies on a pair of heavy flywheels to mechanically drive a piston, which pushed the log against the wedge with close to 30-tons of force. Once we got the hang of this splitter’s operation, we found its 3-second cycle time to be a real plus when it comes to production. This splitter was easy to tow and we were as likely to take it to the woodlot as we were to bring the logs to it. The RapidFire is a high production machine that can significantly improve your output.
Want to find out more about log splitters? Read Picking the Perfect Log Splitter to find out the best option for you.
Hank Will raises hair sheep, heritage cattle and many varieties of open-pollinated corn with his wife, Karen, on their rural Osage County, Kansas farm. His home life is a perfect complement to his professional life as editor in chief at GRIT and Capper’s Farmer magazines. Connect with him on Google+.