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Now is the time to be splitting your logs ready for the cold weather. There are many different log splitters available, manual log splitters, manual hydraulic log splitters and electric log splitters being the most common types. Which one is best for you depends on how often you use your wood burning stove or fire and what you use it for.
If you have a stove or fire that is mainly used as an architectural feature and additional heat source in one room then a manual log splitter or manual hydraulic log splitter will probably meet your needs. Most people when thinking of a manual log splitter think of an axe but axes are tiring to use and in inexperienced hands can be dangerous.
A much better alternative is a drop weight log splitter, these use a weight on a guide pole to drive a splitting wedge or blade into the log. These are easier and safer to use as it requires much less effort to raise the weight and throw it down than to swing an axe and the wedge is fixed to a guide pole. The original and still the best selling drop weight log splitter is the Swedish designed SMART Log Splitter.
Alternatively if you want to avoid bending to lift the weight or your stove is in more regular use then you may consider a manual hydraulic log splitter. These are powered by a hydraulic ram similar to a car bottle jack and come in two main types, vertical models with which the ram is normally operated by foot and horizontal models where the ram is generally operated by hand levers. The main difference between the two is that in general, horizontal log splitters will handle larger diameter logs.
At Arrows we stock the Forest Master Duocut Manual Hydraulic Log Splitter. As well as using two opposing blades that make log splitting easier and more efficient, this also can operate in both vertical and horizontal modes.
Drop weight log splitters and manual hydraulic log splitter are fine if you only have one fire that provides additional heating but if you have multiple stoves and fires or your fire also heats your hot water and radiators then an electric log splitter will save you much time and effort. Electric log splitters are available in a range of sizes from small 4 ton models to heavy duty 8 ton models
When choosing an electric log splitter, the main factors to consider are the length of log that you will be splitting and the type and hardness of the wood. Most of the lower powered 4 ton models will only split logs up to about 350 mm in length and because they generally only use 1500 watt electric motors, are not suitable for harder woods.
With 5 and 6 ton electric log splitters you can find both models that will split logs up to about 350 mm in length and models that will split logs up to 500 mm in length. These normally are powered by 2200 watt motors and will split harder wood than the 4 ton models. We stock the Forest Master FM8 log spliiter which handles shorter logs and the FM10T which splits longer logs and has the advantage of using twin opposing blades for greater efficiency.
If you will be regularly splitting large hard logs then you need to be considering one of the heavy duty 7 or 8 ton models of electric log splitter. These will split logs up to about 500 mm in length and will split all but the hardest logs. In this range we stock the Forest Master FM16 log splitter which as with most of their range uses twin opposing blades.
The majority of electric log splitters for domestic use operate horizontally and will split logs up to 500 mm long however you can get electric log splitters that operate vertically and will split logs up to 1 metre in length. While these still work off a domestic 230 volt single phase mains supply there cost orients them more towards commercial use.
More powerful log splitters are available in the form of petrol engine powered log splitters. These range from around 10 ton up to 30 ton or more but due to their cost are normally only economic in commercial use