There are basically three different types of log splitters available, the three types are electric, gas and manual. It is hard to determine which type is the best one, ultimately it depends on your needs as well as the budget that you have to work with. Manual firewood splitters are the most inexpensive models while electric log cutters are priced in the middle and gas wood splitters are the most expensive option of the three types. In order to help you to determine which type is the best for you, you should consider the price as well as the size of logs that you are splitting and the frequency of use that you will be using the machine.
Basically a manual hydraulic log splitter is a hydraulic jack laid on its side. Hand pumping the jack causes a rod to ram a log against the splitting wedge. This is an effective but slow process. It is easy to use, safe, and quiet. A hand pump hydraulic wood splitter does not require electricity or gasoline to operate. This is the most environmentally friendly of the log splitting machines. It is compact, easy to store and can be used anywhere. For homeowners that typically burn less than a cord of firewood in a year, this is a good option.
Homeowners that typically burn two to 10 cords of wood annually will appreciate the productivity of an electric wood splitter. These relatively light weight machines are compact and easy to maneuver and store. They operate using standard household current. This makes them unusable in remote areas unless you have access to a power generator. Hydraulic electric wood splitters are safe to use and quiet. Because they don't burn gasoline and do not produce any toxic fumes, they are environmentally friendly and can be used indoors. Productivity for these log splitters is dependent on several factors, diameter of the log, hardness of the wood and the splitting force of the machine (rated in tons). Normally an electric log splitter can process 40 to 50, 12 inch diameter logs in an hour.
Gas powered hydraulic log splitters are the best option for commercial or remote applications. Generally they are larger, heavier machines that require more space for storage. These types of wood splitters can process larger diameter logs quickly. The gasoline engine is noisier than the manual and electric wood splitters. It also produces toxic fumes and cannot be used indoors. You should also consider the machine's cycle time. Cycle time is the amount of time it takes to split a log and for the ram to return to the staring position. Homeowner products typically have a cycle time of 18 seconds. Professional model cycle times are closer to 10 seconds. That time difference can add hours to a log splitting day.
To answer which type of firewood splitter is the best heavily depends on your needs. If you are planning on using the firewood splitter moderately for personal use you should determine the size of logs that you are going to be working with as well as your budget. If you are working with a limited budget, the manual log processor is the best option. If you need the ability to use the log splitter indoors then the electric Log Splitter is the best option to use. If you have heavy duty logs that need to be split of if you need to use the log splitter in the field, the gas powered log splitter may be the best option for you. No single model is better than the rest; the type of log splitter that is the best for you will depend on your personal specifications and preferences.