Updated 9 March 2022

The 5 Best Log Splitters of 2022

The 5 Best Log Splitters of 2022

How we did the test

Our tests are independently conducted and reflect the test editor's honest and objective opinions. Selection of products and test results are in no way influenced by manufacturers, retailers or other internal or external parties.

We carry out all of our tests ourselves and test all products in real conditions. We tested log splitters by splitting several hundred logs of varying sizes, tree species and complexity, over a period of several seasons. Each log splitter was pushed to the limit with different types of logs to see what it could cope with. This included cutting broad, long, solid, knotty, dry and twisted logs

In our assessment we have focused on the following characteristics:

  • Performance: What type of logs can the log splitter split? How strong is it? How efficiently does it split them?

  • Design: Is the design stable? How user-friendly is the log splitter? What materials is it constructed from?

  • Installation and operation: How easy is it to assemble and start using the log splitter? Can you store and move it easily? Is it easy to operate?

These factors, together with other important aspects such as ergonomics, functions and build quality are weighted together. We then look at the price and decide on the product’s final score on the basis of how good value for money it is.

1. Faxes Elh500 - BEST CHOICE LOG SPLITTERS

Stable log splitter with quick hydraulics and good build quality

Price class: Premium Motor power: 3000 W Maximum splitting force: 7000 kg Maximum log length: 50 cm Return time: 1.5 s Splitting time: 4 s (measured) Machine weight: 115 kg Guarantee: 1 year User manual [PDF]: (http://www.faxes.se/pdf/Faxes_Vedklyv_Bruksanvisning.pdf)

The Faxes Elh500 is a Swedish-made log splitter that we designate as best in test because of its high build quality, compact design and exemplary ergonomics. The machine is nice and stable, and even if the design is horizontal, it's still tall enough that you can work standing upright. The log splitter is operated with a two-hand grip, which is industry standard and minimises the risk of crush injuries. Although the Elh500 is a premium model, the design is still very simple. Other than changing the oil when necessary, the only thing you need to think about are the two levers used to start the log splitter. And you can operate the machine just as well from either side. Unfortunately the paint gets worn on certain parts, and over time the machine will lose some of its shine and paint, particularly on the blade. The Elh500 is supplied completely assembled over a collection table that you can easily put together with four bolts. So it takes no time before you can start splitting wood. Despite its high machine weight, the well-balanced design and substantial tyres mean that it’s easy to move the Elh500, even in tough terrain.

In sheer performance terms, the Elh500 maintains a high standard. The fluted pressure plate has a point that holds the split log in place. This means you don’t have to worry about logs falling off the machine. The log splitter is also just as fast as the manufacturer states. While you load up a new log, the pressure plate returns to its original position, so there’s no time wasted. With a little help to empty behind the machine, we achieved a reasonable speed as we worked. It coped with the majority of things we asked of it, but we had to run a couple of really tough logs through it more than once before we got the result we wanted. In other words, tough forks and thick logs don’t provide any obstacle, even if you may have to run the odd log through more than once before it gives in. We also like the fact that you can buy a 4-way wedge that means you can produce four pieces of wood instead of two. You can rotate the wedge so you get two different sizes and this does a really good job even with tough logs. We’d have liked the cutting table to be a little bigger. If you’ve happened to cut your 50 cm logs a bit off-centre, it's hard to make space for them as the cutting table is only a bit longer than 50 cm. It’s worth noting that the Elh500 uses a three-phase motor, so you need a three-phase outlet and cable. Three-phase outlets are equipped with phase reversers so you can easily reverse the phase yourself if the motor rotates the wrong way. Motors, hoses and hydraulic components are of high quality and are well placed so they can’t be damaged. This is a log splitter with a lot going for it, but also with a rather high price tag. It’s suitable for someone who’s a large-scale wood consumer; anyone splitting a couple of cubic metres a year who wants good ergonomics and a fast splitting process.

Good ergonomics, stable design, quick splitting, easy to move
Slightly short cutting table, paint gets worn quickly

2. AL-KO LSV 550/6

Quite strong and ergonomic

Type: Vertical wood splitter Motor power: 2,700 watts Weight: 98 kg Max splitting force: 6,000 kg Max log length: 550/800/1030 mm Return time: 3 secs (measured) Splitting time: 13 secs (measured) Miscellaneous: 1 year guarantee, 230 V

AL-KO LSV 550/6

The AL-KO LSV 550/6 is a vertical log splitter that can handle both large and small logs without any problems. It does what you’d expect of it, and even has enough power to split tougher logs with some branching.

However, it’s important that your logs are cut reasonably straight so that they’re nice and stable while being split. The table is equipped with guards that prevent logs from falling towards you during splitting.

The machine's two-handed grip is equipped with tags that help you hold the log in place while lowering the blade. And while it’s important to use straight logs the tags are helpful if your wood is cut a little crooked and wants to tip over or move.

The design of the machine means you can stand upright while using it. You also have a good overview of your work.

But as you stand quite close to the splitting table and blade, you should wear safety goggles while using the machine and also be aware of fingers getting trapped.

There are folding tables on each side of the wood splitter. These don’t really serve a major purpose, and never came into their own during our tests other than when we checked they were of good quality and withstood the expected loads.

The LSV 550/6 doesn’t make too much noise, but you still might expect a relatively small motor to be quieter than this – unfortunately it isn’t.

Site it well

Before you start using your LSV550/6, you need to assemble various parts such as wheels, tables and other components. For the DIYer, this shouldn't take more than 30-60 minutes.

Once that’s done, you can then roll the relatively tall and heavy machine into its desired position. For the sake of safety, we recommend that two people do this job. The log splitter has sufficiently big wheels to be able to roll smoothly over tricky terrain such as grass and gravel, but because the LSV 550/6 is quite heavy, there’s a risk of it tipping, so someone should walk next to it and ensure it doesn’t tip over.

Unfortunately, the log splitter isn’t very stable on soft or uneven ground. So make sure you plan its location well before you start moving the machine. Once in position, it’s easy to screw on your own wider foot, such as a wooden bar, to increase stability. If you do this, remember to make it easy to remove the bar again so that you can quickly prepare the machine for storage when not in use. It's a fairly compact machine, so pretty easy to stow away.

Maintenance of the LSV 550/6 is fairly easy. The instructions are clear and you can quickly top it up with oil.

Overall, the AL-KO LSV 550/6 has a lot of positives. However, it loses a few points as it’s rather slow. The splitting time is a full 13 seconds and the return time is another 3 seconds. So a total of 16 seconds for each log. Furthermore, the machine lacks a 4-blade splitter, so when it reaches its return position, you still need to rotate the log to make the next split. This means you can expect to take about 30-40 seconds for a single log.

The good thing is that you don’t have to bend down to the ground again to pick up pieces that need to be split a second time, as they stay on the table until you’re done.

In terms of price, you get a machine with plenty of power, but you’ll wish it worked faster. The fact that it doesn’t have any solution for a 4-blade splitter also lowers the score for this machine. If AL-KO could solve this, it would become a much more efficient and really affordable log splitter. But it’s still a good buy for the price.

Quite stronggood ergonomicseasy maintenanceeasy to store
Slowlacks 4-blade splittera little unstable on sloping ground

Price Comparison

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Garden Machinery Direct

AL-KO LSV 550/6 Electric Log Splitter

£599.00

Mower Magic

AL-KO LSV 550/6 Electric Vertical Logsplitter 3000w / 6 Ton

£629.00

3. AL-KO KHS 5204

Horizontal, good value for money budget model

Engine power: 2200 W Maximum splitting force: 5000 kg Maximum log length: 52 cm Weight: 47 kg Guarantee: 1 year

AL-KO KHS 5204

Like its predecessor, the KHS5200, the AL-KO KHS 5204 is one of the most popular log splitters on the market, and it's easy to understand why. The inviting price tag combined with the high splitting force makes for an attractive product. The KHS 5204 handles the majority of logs without problems. Even dry wood, hard wood and substantial pieces of large diameter wood are split very effectively. It's only when it comes to pieces of wood with larger branches that it often fails. The splitting length is good and is ample for normal users. However, you can't reduce the splitting length if the logs are shorter than the maximum length. In the long run, this shortcoming wastes a great deal of unnecessary time, which becomes very clear when you're splitting shorter logs.

The two-hand grip with a thumb button and measuring rod mean that you have to lean forwards in a rather twisted and extremely non-ergonomic position. On the other hand, the two-hand grip is a safe way of splitting wood and you can always purchase an additional stand. The design is neat but the KHS 5204 remains stable, and it's also easy to move thanks to its two wheels. However, mobility suffers if the log splitter is raised at too great an angle as it's being moved, because the wheels tend to splay. The KHS 5204 has its weaknesses, but it's still a competent log splitter and given the low price it's very good value for money.

Powerfulstablemobilegenerous splitting lengthlow price
Non-ergonomic designsplitting length not adjustable

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4. AL-KO LHS 6000

Top fed time saver

Engine power: 3000 W (requires 16 A fuse) Maximum splitting force: 6000 kg, 220 bar Maximum splitting length: 105 cm Splitting diameter: 12-32 cm Splitting cycle: Max. 33 s Weight: 128 kg Guarantee: 1 year Accessories included: Four-way wedge

The AL-KO LHS 6000 is a vertical premium log splitter for those who burn a lot of wood but who don't want to invest in a significantly more expensive sawing machine. It's ultimately a robust and stable log splitter. The four-way wedge included with the machine splits the log into four parts. Together with the adjustable splitting height, this leads to significant time savings, particularly for slightly shorter logs. The LHS 6000 can cope with most types of wood, including harder tree species and drier wood. However, it struggles with thick logs with major branches. User-friendliness is high and the parallel two-hand grip is easy to work with as long as the logs aren't too substantial. The LHS 6000 maintains a reasonably high working tempo. It's also ergonomic as a result of the upright working position. Rubber covered claws hold the log in place on the splitting table. However, these claws have a minimum separation diameter of 12 cm, so the machine can't cope with narrower pieces of wood. The split logs often remain on the splitting table, which means that you don't need to pick them up from the ground and reduces the risk of them dropping on your feet. All the same, you should always wear steel-capped shoes/boots while cutting wood with a machine.

The LHS 6000 also has some weaknesses, and the foremost of these is that the stroke limiter can release if you don't tighten it sufficiently. If you have a strong enough grip this isn't a problem, but for a log splitter in this price class we'd have expected a more intelligent limiter function. The safety distance between splitting table and blade also seems rather minimal, which sometimes means that you have to resplit short logs from the other end. If you have the budget and prioritise a good working position and time efficiency, however, the AL-KO LHS 6000 is vastly superior to cheaper, simpler log splitters.

Time efficientstableincludes a four-way wedge
High machine weightcutting height limiter releases easilyminimum size of grip claws

5. AL-KO LSH 520/5

Strong but lacks finesse

Price class: Medium Motor power: 2,200 W Max splitting force: 5,000 kg Max log length: 52 cm Return time: 5 secs (measured) Splitting time: 9.5 secs (measured) Machine weight: 60.5 kg Guarantee: 1 year, 230 V

AL-KO LSH 520/5

The AL-KO LSH 520/5 is a fairly lightweight horizontal log splitter that falls in the budget segment. For the price, it performs pretty well, but you do need to belong to a relatively narrow target group and not have to mind finishing off a lot of the logs manually.

For a start, logs must be a maximum of 30 cm in length for them to fit in the machine – even though the specified log length is almost double that. Even then the LSH 520/5 simply doesn’t push the blade far enough forward for it to split the full log. You always end up with 5-10 centimetres unsplit. To solve this, you need to use an extra block of wood to fill the space, which then pushes the log forward so the whole piece can be split.

Fall guard bends

Each time you put on the next log, there’s also a risk that the fall guard will bend out of place as wood collects inside it, and this happened several times during the test.

We’d also have preferred the splitting table to be more concave. Logs are often pushed in at an angle and you don’t end up with the dimensions you first intended

At the same time, the LSH 520/5 is very strong for the price. If AL-KO had solved the above problems, you would have been getting a lot of performance for your money. This machine isn’t very fast, but for under £400, we feel that’s something you can live with. If it had actually split the logs properly, the splitting time would have been around 30-40 seconds, including lifting, but it’s much longer than that because of all the manual handling involved. You’ll frequently need to split logs several times and do a lot of manual finishing and extra lifting. The blade is very small, and unfortunately a four-blade version isn’t available.

The log splitter can be mounted at two height positions, which makes it quite adaptable. It has small wheels, so should only be rolled and placed on a firm, level surface.

The AL-KO LSH 520/5 is strong and can even split tougher wood, but unfortunately there’s a lot of extra work with each log, which makes the whole job more complicated and tougher than it needed to be. Here you’re paying for basic performance and not finesse.

Strong2 height positions
The log isn’t completely splitwood gets stuck or pushed in at an anglequite slow

Log splitter

A log splitter does exactly what you'd expect. When you chop wood in the traditional way with an axe, you need to put in a lot more effort and often more time than if you use a machine to do the job. It's also cheaper to cut wood yourself than to buy it ready split. A log splitter works by pressing a piston with a pressure plate on one end towards a wedge. The wedge is called the blade. You place the piece of wood between the pressure plate and the blade, and the machine then cuts the wood into several pieces. The blade is most often wedge-shaped, so the piece of wood will be cut into two bits. After this, you repeat the procedure until the logs are the right size.

Different types of log splitter

Log splitters are available in a few different variants. You can choose between vertical and horizontal models, with the vertical ones being slightly more powerful but also more expensive. The horizontal ones include models with short legs and models with longer legs. The ones with short legs are often cheaper but have slightly poorer performance. Before buying, it's important to think about your requirements, so that you don't choose either a model that's unnecessarily luxurious or one that's too simple.

Log splitters and safety

Log splitters are powerful machines so safety is extremely important. Modern log splitters are very safe if they are used correctly. For example, they have two-handed grips that minimise the risk of getting one hand stuck in the machine. In addition to the log splitter's safety functions, it's worth considering your protective equipment. When you use a log splitter, you should always wear safety goggles/a visor and gloves. When the logs are split, powerful forces are often released and splinters of wood can fly out and cause eye injuries if you're not wearing protective goggles. It's also easy to get these in your hands if you're not wearing protective gloves.

Buying a log splitter on the internet

More and more people are buying log splitters on the internet. The main reasons for this are probably as follows.

  • Low prices. Online shop prices are often the lowest on the market. This is partly because they can keep their costs down as they don't have to pay for physical shops, with everything that implies in terms of staff costs, maintenance, heating, rent etc. There's also often very tough price competition between online shops.

  • Cost free home delivery. If you buy a log splitter in an online shop, home delivery is usually included. This means that you don't have to carry the log splitter home from the shop yourself, which means you need to go through all the bother of hiring a vehicle to carry it in. In other words, you can often save both time and money by buying your log splitter online.

Remember that log splitters are often delivered without enough hydraulic oil in the tank, so it may be necessary for you to top it up. And complete your purchase with a circular saw so that you can quickly and easily make firewood of the thinner branches too.

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