Tools & Equipment

The 10 Best Manual Log Splitters of 2021

Best Manual Log Splitter

Photo: Ironton

Manual log splitters are handy tools designed to excel where axes struggle. Even though axes have been the primary wood splitting tools for generations, they are not very efficient.

A manual log splitter eliminates the excessive manual effort required to split wood. For example, if you use a manual hydraulic splitter, you apply less effort to produce a lot of force, which allows you to split thick and long logs efficiently.

Splitters don’t get stuck in logs as is the common case with axes. Also, manual splitters minimize the risk of injury because you barely interact with their blades.

Dive into our detailed top 10 manual log splitter reviews and buying guide to learn more about these tools, and to help you choose the model that best meets your log splitting demands.

10 Best Manual Log Splitters – Review

IMAGE

PRODUCT

FEATURES

Kindling Cracker 118995

1. Kindling Cracker 118995 (Best Overall)

  • Supports safe and easy operation with no moving blades
  • Wide rim for thick log splitting
  • Requires minimal splitting force
  • Cast iron build for durability
Timber Tuff TMW-11

2. Timber Tuff TMW-11 (Best Budget)

  • Reasonably priced and affordable
  • 8.8-pound hammer generates enough splitting force
  • Unique and durable construction
  • Occupies very minimal storage space
Logosol 10024

3. Logosol 10024 (Best Hand-operated)

  • A 14-ton driving force for fast splitting
  • Ergonomic design to reduce shoulder and back strain
  • Compact dimensions for minimal storage space
  • No limitation on log width
Sun Joe LJ10M

4. Sun Joe LJ10M (Best Hydraulic)

  • Powered by an efficient hydraulic system
  • Return springs on RAM for a quick reset
  • 2 wheels to support maneuverability
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty
YTL International YTL23101

5. YTL International YTL23101 (Powerful 10-ton Hydraulic System)

  • Powerful 10-ton hydraulic system
  • Can accommodate 18-inch-long logs
  • Steel handles support even effort distribution
  • Has 2 wheels for maneuverability
Central Machinery Splitter

6. Central Machinery Splitter (Good for Hardwoods)

  • 10-ton splitting force ideal for hardwoods
  • Splits 18-inch-long and wide logs
  • Extra-long handles for operational leverage
  • Maneuverable using 2 wheels
Anaconda 878

7. Anaconda 878 (Good Slide-hammer Design)

  • Slide hammer design for ease of use and safety
  • Rubberized handle to reduce vibrations on hand
  • Heavy-duty construction for cutting efficiency
  • Highly portable
Renegade LSF-001

8. Renegade LSF-001 (Good Foot-operated Design)

  • Foot-operated to minimize splitting effort
  • Can accommodate 18-inch-long, and 10-inch-wide logs
  • Excels in splitting partially split logs
  • Folds flat for ease of transportation
Wel-Bilt 67090

9. Wel-Bilt 67090 (Efficient Hydraulic Design)

  • Has a 2-speed pump for quick pressure buildup
  • Delivers 10 tons of splitting pressure
  • 2 steel handles achieve smooth pumping
  • Has 2 wheels for easy maneuverability
Woodeze Easy-Split

10. Woodeze Easy-Split (Lightweight)

  • Lightweight and very portable at 12 pounds
  • High-quality and durable steel build 
  • Excels in splitting seasoned wood
  • Optimized design for user safety

PRODUCT

1. Kindling Cracker 118995

(Best Overall)

Kindling Cracker 118995
  • Supports safe and easy operation with no moving blades
  • Wide rim for thick log splitting
  • Requires minimal splitting force
  • Cast iron build for durability

2. Timber Tuff TMW-11

(Best Budget)

Timber Tuff TMW-11
  • Reasonably priced and affordable
  • 8.8-pound hammer generates enough splitting force
  • Unique and durable construction
  • Occupies very minimal storage space

3. Logosol 10024

(Best Hand-operated)

Logosol 10024
  • A 14-ton driving force for fast splitting
  • Ergonomic design to reduce shoulder and back strain
  • Compact dimensions for minimal storage space
  • No limitation on log width

4. Sun Joe LJ10M

(Best Hydraulic)

Sun Joe LJ10M
  • Powered by an efficient hydraulic system
  • Return springs on RAM for a quick reset
  • 2 wheels to support maneuverability
  • Comes with a 2-year warranty

5. YTL International YTL23101

(Powerful 10-ton Hydraulic System)

YTL International YTL23101
  • Powerful 10-ton hydraulic system
  • Can accommodate 18-inch-long logs
  • Steel handles support even effort distribution
  • Has 2 wheels for maneuverability

6. Central Machinery Splitter

(Good for Hardwoods)

Central Machinery Splitter
  • 10-ton splitting force ideal for hardwoods
  • Splits 18-inch-long and wide logs
  • Extra-long handles for operational leverage
  • Maneuverable using 2 wheels

7. Anaconda 878

(Good Slide-hammer Design)

Anaconda 878
  • Slide hammer design for ease of use and safety
  • Rubberized handle to reduce vibrations on hand
  • Heavy-duty construction for cutting efficiency
  • Highly portable

8. Renegade LSF-001

(Good Foot-operated Design)

Renegade LSF-001
  • Foot-operated to minimize splitting effort
  • Can accommodate 18-inch-long, and 10-inch-wide logs
  • Excels in splitting partially split logs
  • Folds flat for ease of transportation

9. Wel-Bilt 67090

(Efficient Hydraulic Design)

Wel-Bilt 67090
  • Has a 2-speed pump for quick pressure buildup
  • Delivers 10 tons of splitting pressure
  • 2 steel handles achieve smooth pumping
  • Has 2 wheels for easy maneuverability

10. Woodeze Easy-Split

(Lightweight)

Woodeze Easy-Split
  • Lightweight and very portable at 12 pounds
  • High-quality and durable steel build 
  • Excels in splitting seasoned wood
  • Optimized design for user safety

1. Kindling Cracker 118995 – Best Overall Manual Log Splitter

Kindling Cracker 118995

Photo: Kindling Cracker

  • Driving force: User dependent
  • Max. cut length: 17 inches
  • Total weight: 22.1 pounds

Kindling Cracker 118995 is a distinctive tool, which emerges as the best overall manual log splitter because of its unique design, efficiency, safety, and ease of use.

This splitter’s design makes it one of the safest in the market. It has no moving blade or sharpened edges passing close to your hands.

It has a 9-inch wide rim, which accommodates wide logs of wood. The tool also requires very minimal force to split wood, which enhances ease of use and reduced arm strain.

The splitter is made of cast iron, which is durable and reliable. Your tool is guaranteed to last for many years before requiring replacement.

An issue we noted with the Kindling Cracker 118995 log splitter is that since your hand will be generating the force required, the tool is not great for hardwoods.

Pros:

  • No moving blades or edges for your safety
  • Wide rim to accommodate thick logs
  • Less splitting force required
  • Made of durable cast iron

Cons:

  • Not ideal for hardwoods

2. Timber Tuff TMW-11 – Best Budget Manual Log Splitter

Timber Tuff TMW-11

Photo: Timber Tuff

  • Driving force: User dependent
  • Max. cut length: 11.5 inches
  • Total weight: 8.8 pounds

Timber Tuff TMW-11 is the best manual log splitter on our list, and one of the most affordable in the market.

This splitter comes equipped with an 8.8-pound hammer to help you produce enough force for ease log splitting.

Its unique design also keeps the assembly together minimizing the moving parts and the risk of component failure. Its heavy-duty steel construction ensures long-lasting and reliable service.

The manual splitter has a maximum cutting length of 11.5 inches, which is ideal for short logs and scenarios that require repeated splitting of the same log.

Since this is a hand-operated splitter, it is very compact and occupies less storage space compared to the hydraulic models we have encountered.

We did note, however, that this splitter is not ideal for splitting wet, unseasoned wood.

Pros:

  • Reasonably priced and affordable
  • A heavy hammer to generate high splitting force
  • Unique and durable assembly
  • Occupies very little storage space

Cons:

  • Not ideal for unseasoned wood

3. Logosol 10024 – Best Hand-operated Manual Log Splitter

Logosol 10024

Photo: Logosol

  • Driving force: 14 tons
  • Max. cut length: 21.65 inches
  • Total weight: 22.1 pounds

Logosol 10024 is an efficient hand-operated manual log splitter than can be used by a wide range of users including cottage owners, homeowners, and forest owners, among others.

It can generate 14 tons of force at its edge, which is one of the highest we have recorded. With such force, you can split longer logs faster.

Because of its ergonomic design, the splitter spares your back and shoulders from the physical strain that would be generated by other tools.

This splitter is very compact and will occupy very minimal storage space.

Also, because it is based on the slide-hammer design, there is no limitation to the width of wood it can split.

We did note, however, that the Logosol 10024 does struggle to split wet and unseasoned wood, probably because of its toughness.

Pros:

  • A high driving force for faster splitting
  • Ergonomic design minimizes back and shoulders strain
  • Compact and occupies little storage space
  • No log-width limitation

Cons:

  • Not ideal for green or unseasoned wood

4. Sun Joe LJ10M – Best Hydraulic Manual Log Splitter

Sun Joe LJ10M

Photo: Sun Joe

  • Driving force: 10 tons
  • Max. cut length: 18 inches
  • Total weight: 87 pounds

Sun Joe LJ10M is the best hydraulic manual log splitter on our list. Unlike other models, which are mostly hand-operated, this tool uses hydraulics to minimize the splitting effort.

This splitter has a large capacity capable of accommodating logs 18 inches long, and 8 inches wide.

To maximize its efficiency, the hydraulic splitter has a RAM return spring, which facilitates quick resets for non-stop splitting.

It is a very sturdy tool made of a steel frame with wheels, which makes it easily portable.

This product also comes with a 2-year warranty from Sun Joe to enable you to enjoy its services with more confidence.

An issue we noted with the Sun Joe LJ10M manual wood splitter is that it’s rather pricey compared to rival models. It is also slow to operate.  

Pros:

  • Hydraulic system for high splitting efficiency
  • RAM has return spring for a quick reset
  • Steel frame with wheels for ease of portability
  • Offered with a 2-year warranty

Cons:

  • Pricey
  • Slow to operate

5. YTL International YTL23101 – Good 10-ton Hydraulic Manual Log Splitter

YTL International YTL23101

Photo: YTL International

  • Driving force: 10 tons
  • Max. cut length: 18 inches
  • Total weight: 90.3 pounds

Of the many 10-ton hydraulic manual log splitters in the market, the YTL International YTL23101 emerges supreme especially because of its power and ease of handling.

It operates on a powerful hydraulic system that delivers 10 tons of force to help you split even the toughest logs of wood with the least effort possible. This system also easily accommodates 18-inch-long logs of wood.

The manual splitter is equipped with 2 long steel handles that you use to pump the hydraulic RAM. These handles are designed to distribute effort optimally across both your hands so that you can split logs efficiently.

Even though it is a heavy splitter, it is equipped with two wheels for easy maneuverability.

But just like the Sun Joe LJ10M, this manual log splitter is also very slow to operate, so you can spend a considerable amount of time splitting wood.

Pros:

  • Powerful 10-ton hydraulic system
  • Handle 18-inch long logs
  • Steel handles for optimal effort distribution
  • Equipped with wheels for maneuverability

Cons:

  • Slow to operate

6. Central Machinery Splitter – Good Manual Wood Splitter for Hardwoods

Central Machinery Splitter

Photo: Central Machinery

  • Driving force: 10 tons
  • Max. cut length: 18 inches
  • Total weight: 80.50 pounds

While other manual log splitters struggle to cut through hardwoods, the Central Machinery Splitter excels in this feat. Its powerful hydraulic system is great for hardwoods.

The hydraulic system delivers up to 10 tons of splitting force, which will cut through oak, maple, walnut, and other hardwoods without exerting a lot of effort.

You can split logs of up to 18 inches long with this tool, and sometimes, it will even accommodate 20-inch-wide logs and still deliver great cutting performance.

It comes with extra-long handles to provide plenty of leverage for operating the hydraulic system. You use less effort to split tougher logs.

If you need to move the manual splitter over a short distance, you can rely on its two wheels for that.

An issue we noted with the Central Machinery Splitter is that it is heavy, and has low portability even with its wheels. Hence, its best used as a stationary tool.

Pros:

  • High splitting force ideal for hardwoods
  • Splits 18-inch-long, and wide logs
  • Extra-long handles to provide operational leverage
  • Has two wheels for maneuverability

Cons:

  • Heavy with low portability

7. Anaconda 878 – Good Slide-hammer Manual Log Splitter

Anaconda 878

Photo: Anaconda

  • Driving force: User dependent
  • Total weight: 13.9 pounds

The Anaconda 878 utilizes the slide-hammer design, which is different from the standard hydraulic system. This design makes the slitter easy and safer to use.

You use the pounding action of the slide hammer to split logs. This process is easy and safe such that youngsters can also operate the tool.

For comfort during operation, the tool has a rubberized vibration-resistant handle which is easy on the hand.

To achieve superior cutting efficiency, the splitter has a forged wedge, made of strong heavy-duty construction.

Compared to other manual splitters, the 13.9-pound weight of the Anaconda 878 is significantly lower and manageable, making this tool portable over a short distance.

We did note, however, that it takes a lot more effort to split logs, especially tough ones because all the force required originates from your hand.

Pros:

  • Slide hammer for safe and easy operation
  • Rubberized handle for vibration reduction
  • Heavy-duty construction for cutting efficiency
  • Portable compared to other models

Cons:

  • Takes a lot of effort to split tougher logs

8. Renegade LSF-001 – Good Foot-operated Manual Log Splitter

Renegade LSF-001

Photo: Renegade

  • Driving force: 1.5 tons
  • Max. cut length: 18 inches
  • Total weight: 23 pounds

Renegade LSF-001 is the only foot-operated manual log splitter on our list, and one of the best in the market.

An area where this splitter excels over the rest is its ability to minimize the effort required to split wood. Since you step on a foot plate to execute the splitting action. Your body weight provides the required force, thus freeing your hands.

The splitter delivers a RAM force of 1.5 tons, which can accommodate logs 18 inches long and up to 10 inches wide.

You will especially realize the true value of this tool when splitting already split logs as it requires much less effort to break them down into smaller chunks.

It also folds flat for easy transportation, making it a great camping and cookout companion.

An issue we noted with the Renegade LSF-001 is its very low splitting force of 1.5 tons, which may not be enough for hard, wide and unseasoned logs.

Pros:

  • Foot-operated splitter for minimal splitting effort
  • Accommodate 18-inch long, and 10-inch wide logs
  • Especially ideal for partially split logs
  • Folds flat for easy transportation

Cons:

  • Very low splitting force

9. Wel-Bilt 67090 – Efficient Hydraulic Manual Log Splitter

Wel-Bilt 67090

Photo: Central-Machinery

  • Driving force: 10 tons
  • Max. cut length: 18 inches
  • Total weight: 94 pounds

Wel-Bilt 67090 is a hydraulic manual log splitter built for efficient cutting using its 2-speed pump.

The pump works to rapidly build up to 10 tons of splitting pressure for efficient operation using minimal effort.

It also comes with two long steel handles that help smoothen the operation of the hydraulic pump. The splitter will accommodate logs of up to 18 inches in length.

For ease of maneuverability, the manual splitter has 2 wheels, which you can use to move the tool around over short distances.

A key downside of the Wel-Bilt 67090 manual log splitter is its very steep price, which may lock out many potential buyers. Also, at 94 pounds in weight, it is very heavy.

Pros:

  • 2-speed pump for quick pressure buildup
  • Delivers 10 tons of splitting pressure for efficient operation
  • Two steel handles for smooth pumping
  • 2 wheels for easy maneuverability

Cons:

  • Very expensive
  • Very heavy

10. Woodeze Easy-Split – Lightweight Manual Wood Splitter

Woodeze Easy-Split

Photo: Woodeze

  • Driving force: User dependent
  • Total weight: 12 pounds

At 12 pounds in weight, Woodeze Easy-Split is one of the lightest manual log splitters on the market. Its weight makes this tool the most portable of the pack.

Since this tool utilizes the sledge and wedge wood splitting method, it weighs less than many other rival splitters and is easy to carry around, especially if you’re out camping.

To maximize the durability of your tool, each of its parts is individually machined, and powder-coated for longevity. Its handle is made of electro-plated zinc for durability.

This manual splitter is especially ideal for splitting seasoned firewood to minimize the splitting effort you exert. Its design also prevents bounce-back and recoil, making it one of the safest tools for splitting firewood.

A shortcoming we identified with the Woodeze Easy-Split is that its metal-to-metal impact can be quite loud, and you may need to wear some ear protection to contain it.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and very portable
  • Durable parts and high-quality finish
  • Ideal for splitting seasoned wood
  • Design optimized for user safety

Cons:

  • Makes a loud noise during operation

How to Buy the Best Manual Log Splitter

How to Buy the Best Manual Log Splitter

Photo: Logosol

1. Types of Manual Log Splitter

Some of the most commonly used manual log splitters include the hydraulic manual log splitter, slide hammer, splitting axe, and kindle splitter.

Hydraulic Manual Log Splitter: This is the most common manual log splitter among many homeowners. It is hydraulic-powered hence requiring less effort to produce a high driving force.

Since it is manual, you still must use your hands to pump the hydraulic ram for force generation. However, it splits with higher efficiency compared to other manual splitters.

Splitting Axe: A great improvement to the traditional axe, this tool is ideal for splitting wood when you don’t want to split its fibers as well.

It is also lighter, sharper, and easier to handle compared to the traditional axe.

Slide Hammer: This is a more traditional design, which has a heavy hammer attached to a long shaft with a sharp wedge at one end.

You operate this splitter by pushing the hammer repeatedly with your hand, while the wedge is on the log. The resultant action is a split log. This hammer is ideal for occasional use.

Kindle Splitter: This splitter is a safe alternative to traditional axes. It comes with a square or round rim to protect you from touching the blade during splitting.

You place a log on the blade, inside the rim, and then hammer on it with a mallet resulting in a split log.

2. Log Splitting Force

The log splitting force of your manual log splitter is measured in tons. Many of the models we reviewed have a splitting force in the range of 10 - 14 tons.

Some models, however, have a much lower splitting force of 1.5 tons. In other models, such as those based on the slide hammer design, the splitting force depends on the user’s effort.

The higher the splitting force, the more efficient your manual splitter is, especially in splitting thicker and longer logs.

3. Cut Length

The cutting length of your manual log splitter is the maximum log length it can accommodate. The most common cutting lengths are in the range of 10 - 20 inches.

You want a manual log splitter with a high cutting length so that you can split long logs and perform the exercise faster.

The longer the logs you can split, the fewer the number of logs you will be splitting, and the less time you spend doing it.

4. Speed

The splitting speed of your manual log splitter will depend on several factors include the type of splitter, its cutting force, type and size of wood, and the amount of effort you use to power the splitter.

The fastest log splitter is the one that uses the least time between splits. Even though it's not viable to own all types of splitters, you can experiment with different wood lengths and widths to determine which of the two minimizes split times.

5. Ease of Use

The ease of using your manual log splitter will depend on the type you’re using. For example, hand-operated splitters such as slide-hammer types are straightforward and easy to use.

Hydraulic manual log splitters have more moving components, but are more efficient and have higher splitting power than slide-hammer ones.

Ultimately, the ease of using your manual log splitter boils down to which one minimizes discomfort while delivering as expected.

6. Safety

Safety is an important consideration when choosing a manual log splitter. Remember, you are buying this tool to avoid using an axe, which is can be a safety hazard.

Slide-hammer splitters are the safest for all levels of users. Kindling splitters also have superior safety because they have no moving sharp edges.

Even hydraulic manual log splitters are safe to operate if you use these tools correctly.

Conclusion

Having explored everything there is to know about manual log splitter and the top models in the market, it’s time to head out and buy one.

Whether you’re an experienced logger, a homeowner, or just starting out with splitting logs, it's important to consider factors such as the splitting force, maximum cutting length, speed, safety, and ease of using your manual splitter.

Of course, all these factors will depend on the type of splitter you want to use.

Remember to check out our top 10 manual log splitter review and buying guide to help you choose the model that best meets your log splitting demands.

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