How to choose a wood splitter, selection tips and reviews
household — low-power and cheap wood splitters of small productivity. Scope of use: preparation of firewood for a private household (providing fuel for a fireplace, stove, bath, solid fuel boiler). Household wood splitters are the most common.
semi-professional — more powerful, more productive and more expensive than household units. Sphere of use: supply of firewood to public utilities, boiler houses, hotels, multi-storey buildings, boarding houses.
Industrial (professional) — the most powerful and productive wood splitters that process large volumes of wood. Often they perform trimming of logs. True, the price of such devices is the highest. Scope of use: preparation of firewood for commercial purposes.
Important: when choosing a wood splitter, pay attention to the manufacturer. You should not save money by buying a cheap cleaver of a little-known brand. Such a device is unlikely to last a long time, and in the event of a breakdown, there will be problems with acquiring the necessary spare parts.
- Household wood splitter
- Industrial wood splitter
Hydraulic – characterized by very high splitting force and productivity, safety of use, long service life. Works with a cruciform knife. Cons: high cost, complexity of repair, increased power consumption, the need to change the oil for the hydraulic pump. This technique is the most common.
Important: the hydraulic wood splitter is characterized by a smooth cutting of the knife into the workpiece, which eliminates its squeezing.
Rack — differs from the previous version in lower price, simple design and low power consumption. At the same time, the productivity and speed of sawing the cleaver is very high. Some models run on gasoline and electricity. Disadvantages: risk of injury, relatively low splitting force, produced by obscure brands.
Screw (conical) — relatively cheap with good performance, compact, reliable, easy to repair. A reverse function is provided. Cons: high injury risk, weak splitting force, you can not prick very long or thick logs, there is no way to install a knife for splitting into 4 parts.
- Hydraulic wood splitter
- Rack splitter
- Screw splitter
Horizontal – light, mobile and safe wood splitter. Disadvantages: low productivity, bulkiness, restrictions on the maximum log length. Household wood splitters are horizontal.
Vertical – more compact, powerful and productive machine. Cons: heavy weight, increased risk of injury (the workpiece is held by hand). Such units are semi-professional and industrial.
Universal – allows you to select the working position depending on various factors, such as the thickness of the workpiece. The disadvantage is the high price. This design is typical for professional equipment.
Electric — relatively cheap, light, environmentally friendly, low noise. Such an engine does not need special maintenance, the purchase of fuel and oil. The electric splitter is suitable for indoor use. Cons: Requires mains power, moisture sensitivity. This motor is equipped with household models.
Petrol — more powerful than an electric motor and does not depend on the network, which allows you to chop firewood even in the forest. Also, the gasoline engine is not afraid of moisture and temperature changes. Disadvantages: high price of the unit itself and maintenance, high weight, complex repairs, toxic exhaust, loud noise. This wood splitter must not be used indoors.
Gasoline cleavers are semi-professional and industrial equipment.
There are industrial wood splitters that are connected to the tractor equipment — a power take-off shaft or a hydraulic system.
single phase (220 V) — used in household and semi-professional electric wood splitters. The power of such equipment does not exceed 3 kW.
Three-phase (380 V) — used in industrial electric cleavers. The device requires special wiring to operate. The power of such equipment reaches 5 kW.
Important: practice shows that for domestic needs, a hydraulic horizontal wood splitter with an electric motor (single-phase) or a screw unit is best suited.
When it comes to harvesting firewood for commercial purposes, choose a hydraulic vertical splitter with an electric drive (three-phase) or a gasoline model with a hydraulic or screw system. And for solid fuel boilers, the rack model is optimal.
Working pressure or splitting force — the main characteristic of the wood splitter. Measured in tons. The higher this parameter, the easier it is for the unit to split hard, long and thick logs.
Models with low pressure often require the operator to apply physical effort or are not at all suitable for splitting hard workpieces. True, with an increase in the splitting force, the price and weight of the wood splitter increase.
Working pressure depends on the wood splitter class:
- household — up to 5 tons;
- semi-professional – 5-7 tons;
- industrial – 7-25 tons.
When choosing a wood splitter for working pressure, the hardness of the raw material is taken into account, which is due to the type of wood:
- to 5 tons — for working with poplar, aspen, linden and other soft rocks;
- 5-7 tons — for processing oak, pear, walnut and other hardwoods;
- more 7 tons — for splitting raw wood and very hard stumps.
In screw wood splitters, in addition to the working pressure, the speed of rotation of the cone also matters. It is better to choose a model in which this value is 400-600 rpm.
This parameter determines the operating pressure of the firewood splitter. Unit of measurement — kilowatt (kW) or equine strength (hp). The more powerful the motor, the higher the splitting force. At the same time, a more powerful device costs more and consumes more electricity/fuel.
For a correct assessment of power, it is worth considering that a 3 kW engine gives an operating pressure of 5 tons, a 6-7 kW motor (up to 10 hp) — about 10 tons.
Important: sometimes it is more convenient to compare the power of several wood splitters in the same unit, for example, in watts. To convert horsepower to watts, use the ratio: 1 hp. With. approximately equal to 735 watts.
Maximum log size
Length — depends on the piston stroke parameter (hydraulic) or rack dimensions (rack). Also, the operating pressure of the unit affects the length of the log.
Household devices are designed to work with workpieces up to 50 cm long, professional equipment is capable of chopping logs 50-100 cm long or more. Vertical units allow you to work with longer logs than horizontal splitters. At the same time, the high length parameter significantly increases the dimensions of horizontal machines.
Diameter — is determined by the working pressure of the cleaver. For household hydraulic models, this characteristic does not exceed 30 cm. More advanced equipment will cope with chumps with a diameter of 80-90 cm. But screw devices are able to split logs of any diameter.
Hand type (knife)
Flat — for splitting the workpiece into 2 parts in one operation. Standard option.
cruciform — for splitting a log into 4 parts in one pass. As a result, the process of splitting chumps is doubled. This knife is not suitable for cutting very thick or thin logs.
Important: pay attention to the material of the cleaver. A good knife is made of hardened steel.
piston stroke limiter — allows you to adjust the piston stroke based on the length of the block. For splitting short workpieces, a large amplitude of piston movement is not required. The result is increased productivity while saving time and energy/fuel.
Side clamps — securely fix the workpiece in the optimal position and prevent its displacement. Clamps make the operation of the cleaver even safer.
Interchangeable divider — serves to replace a flat knife with a cruciform one and vice versa, depending on the situation.
Transport wheels — designed to transport a wood splitter.
Drawbar — a crossbar, through which the cleaver is connected to the towbar of a car or walk-behind tractor for transportation.
This parameter determines the performance of the wood splitter. The splitting speed is affected by the working pressure, the working stroke and the hardness of the wood. The higher the splitting force, the lower the speed and vice versa. The unit of measurement is millimeters per second (mm/sec). Also, the performance depends on the time required to install the block on the working surface of the unit.
Split height — serves to adjust the vertical cleaver to the length of the workpiece. It is worth paying attention to the number of split levels. The greater this characteristic, the easier it is to work with a wood splitter. In models of different manufacturers, specific parameters differ. For example, some devices allow you to change the height of the split by 51 cm and 105 cm, others — by 55 cm; 88 cm and 130 cm.
Surface heights — makes it possible to change the height of the bed (frame) to the height of the operator, which facilitates the use of the wood splitter and reduces fatigue. This option is especially useful for the elderly and those who suffer from back problems.
Two-hand control — involves the operation of the wood splitter only with the simultaneous holding of two levers. This completely eliminates the possibility of injury.
Emergency switch — stops the work of the cleaver in the event of an emergency situation. Increases the safety of the unit.
Overload protection — automatic shutdown of the device when the block is jammed or the maximum working pressure is reached. Reduces the risk of premature firewood splitter failure.
Reverse (screw wood splitters) — rotation of the cone in the opposite direction. A useful option if the screw wedge is stuck in a log.
A good wood splitter provides protection against short circuits and power surges.
piston stroke is the distance traveled by the piston at one time. Affects the minimum and maximum log length.
working stroke (split / return) — the time during which the moving part of the wood splitter moves from one extreme point to another. Indicates the splitting speed of a single workpiece. In domestic cleavers, this parameter is 4 cm / s (split) and 7.5 cm / s (return).
Gasoline engine volume — affects the power of the wood splitter and fuel consumption.
Fuel tank volume – determines the time of continuous operation of the unit. The larger the volume of the tank, the higher the dimensions and weight of the cleaver. Most often, this characteristic is in the range of 1.5-3 liters.
Hydraulic oil volume – allows you to estimate the amount of oil for one filling / refilling of the hydraulic wood splitter. In different models, this parameter is 2.4-10 liters.
Important: The hydraulic log splitter requires regular oil changes to function properly.
The weight — depends on the class of wood splitter. Household devices weigh up to 40-50 kg, which allows them to be moved. Professional units are much more massive — the weight of some models reaches 200 kg. Such wood splitters are designed for stationary use.