• What Size Log Splitter Do I Need? A Quick Guide to Finding Your Right Size

    August 07, 2023 7 min read

    What Size Log Splitter Do I Need? A Quick Guide to Finding Your Right Size - Prime Yard Tools

    When it comes to splitting logs for firewood or other projects, having the right log splitter can make all the difference. But with so many options available, how do you determine the ideal size log splitter for your needs? In this guide, we'll break down the factors that influence the size of log splitter you should choose, ensuring efficient and safe log splitting.

    What Size Log Splitter Do I Need: The Main Factors

    Listed below is a quick summary of the main factors that you should consider when determining your wood splitter tonnage:

    1. Assess Log Size: Consider the diameter and length of the logs you'll be splitting. Smaller logs can be efficiently handled with lower tonnage splitters (around 4 to 7 tons), while larger and tougher logs may require higher tonnage (20 to 35 tons or more).

    2. Assess Log Length: Ensure the log splitter has a bed size that can support and stabilize longer logs during splitting. A larger bed provides versatility and efficiency when dealing with longer logs.

    3. Moisture Content: Determine if you'll be working with green or dry wood. Green wood with high moisture content requires more force to split effectively (around 20 to 35 tons), while dry wood can be split with lower tonnage (4 to 10 tons).

    4. Hardwood vs. Softwood: Consider the type of wood you'll be working with. Hardwood requires more force to split and is suitable for higher tonnage log splitters (around 20 to 35 tons), while softwood is generally easier to split and can be handled with lower tonnage (4 to 10 tons).

    5. Type of Project: Assess the scale and frequency of your log splitting projects. For home use and smaller firewood needs, lower tonnage splitters are sufficient to split logs, while commercial or heavy-use projects may require higher tonnage log splitters.

    6. Budget and Long-Term Investment: Balance your budget with your log splitting needs. Smaller log splitters with lower tonnage are more affordable for occasional home use, but investing in a more powerful log splitter may save time and effort in the long run.

    1. Consider Log Size: The Core Factor

    Log Size Tonnage Required
    6-inch logs 4-7 tons
    12-inch logs 16-20 tons
    24-inch logs 25-35 tons


    The size of the logs (log diameter) you plan to split plays a crucial role in determining the appropriate log splitter tonnage. Smaller logs, typically measuring between 6 to 10 inches in diameter, can be efficiently split with a lower-tonnage log splitter delivering around 4 to 7 tons of force. These splitters are perfect for homeowners and those dealing with smaller firewood needs.

    Conversely, if you often work with larger logs, especially those exceeding 12 inches in diameter, you'll need a more powerful log splitter. Dense hardwood logs demand increased force to split effectively. Opting for a log splitter with 20 tons of force or more ensures it can handle the demands of larger logs without compromising performance.

    2. Assess Log Length: The Bed Size Matters

    Log length is a critical factor that can significantly impact the efficiency and safety of log splitting. When selecting a log splitter, it's essential to consider the size of the logs you plan to split and ensure that the machine's bed or table can accommodate them.

    Longer logs require a log splitter with a larger bed or table to provide proper support and stability during the splitting process. If the bed size is too small for the log's length, the log may sag or fall off the splitter, posing safety hazards and potentially damaging the machine.

    One of the advantages of a log splitter with a larger bed is that it allows you to split longer logs without the need for additional cutting or preparation. This can save time and effort, especially when dealing with large quantities of firewood.

    Additionally, a larger bed size can make the log splitting process more comfortable and convenient. It gives you more space to position the logs correctly and reduces the risk of logs getting stuck during splitting.

    Furthermore, a log splitter with a larger bed provides versatility in handling various log sizes. You can split smaller logs in multiple batches or process more massive logs without the need for constant adjustments.

    When assessing the bed size of a log splitter, ensure that it aligns with the typical log lengths you'll be working with. If you frequently deal with longer logs, investing in a log splitter with a spacious bed can make log splitting tasks more efficient and hassle-free.

    3. Moisture Content: Green or Dry Wood?

    The moisture content of the wood is a significant factor that directly impacts the required power and efficiency of the log splitter. Understanding the differences between green and dry wood is crucial in determining the appropriate tonnage for your log splitter.

    Green wood refers to freshly cut or unseasoned wood that has a high moisture content. Splitting green wood can be more challenging compared to dry wood due to the added weight and resistance caused by the water content. The increased moisture makes the logs heavier and harder to split, requiring more force from the log splitter.

    For effectively splitting green wood, it is recommended to opt for a log splitter with higher tonnage, typically ranging from 20 to 35 tons. This higher force enables the log splitter to overcome the moisture and effectively split the wood.

    On the other hand, dry wood has been seasoned or left to dry for a specific period, usually six months to a year. During the drying process, the moisture content reduces significantly, making the wood lighter and easier to handle. As a result, log splitters with lower tonnage, around 4 to 10 tons, are generally sufficient for splitting dry wood.

    Splitting dry wood with a log splitter that matches its moisture content ensures efficient and smoother log splitting. Using a log splitter with insufficient tonnage for green wood can lead to inefficiency, potential damage to the machine, and safety hazards.

    To determine the appropriate power level for your log splitter, assess the moisture content of the wood you'll be working with. If your primary wood source is green logs, investing in a log splitter with higher tonnage will provide the necessary force for effective log splitting.

    4. Hardwood vs. Softwood: The Density Factor

    Another essential consideration when selecting a log splitter is the type of wood you'll be working with - hardwood or softwood. Hardwood, such as oak, maple, hickory, or beech, is denser and more durable than softwood like pine, cedar, or spruce.

    Due to its higher density and resistance to splitting, hardwood requires more force to be effectively split. For this reason, log splitters in the range of 20 to 35 tons are commonly recommended for hardwood logs. The increased tonnage provides the necessary power to split dense hardwood logs with ease.

    On the other hand, softwood has a lower density and is generally easier to split compared to hardwood. Log splitters with 4 to 10 tons of force are often sufficient for effectively splitting softwood logs.

    It's essential to consider the type of wood you'll be working with, as it directly influences the power requirements of the log splitter. Using a log splitter with the appropriate tonnage for the type of wood ensures efficient log splitting and minimizes strain on the machine.

    Additionally, the type of wood you're splitting can also impact the lifespan of the log splitter's components. Hardwood, with its higher density, can place more stress on the machine, potentially requiring more frequent maintenance or part replacements.

    By understanding the distinctions between hardwood and softwood and their corresponding power requirements, you can choose a log splitter that matches the wood you'll be working with. This ensures efficient log splitting, minimizes strain on the machine, and extends its longevity.

    5. Putting It All Together: Finding the Perfect Match

    Log Splitter Type Ideal Uses
    4-7 Ton Homeowners, small logs
    16-20 Ton Medium-sized logs, dense hardwood
    25-35 Ton Large and tough logs, professional log cutters


    Now that you understand the key factors influencing the size of log splitter you need, it's time to find the perfect match for your requirements. Consider the diameter and length of the logs you'll be splitting, whether they are green or dry, and the type of wood you'll be working with.

    For typical homeowners dealing with smaller logs, a 4 to 7-ton log splitter is sufficient. If you frequently encounter larger and tougher logs, opt for a 16 to 20-ton log splitter for effective splitting.

    Professional log cutters or those dealing with a large volume of logs may require even more powerful log splitters in the 25 to 35-ton range.

    6. Additional Tips: Questions to Ask Before Buying

    Before making a purchase, ask yourself these questions:

    • Are readily available parts and support services offered for the log splitter brand? Most log splitters will eventually need maintenance.

    • How quickly can the log splitter cut a piece of wood? Efficiency matters!

    • Does the log splitter come with a warranty? Protect your investment.

    • Do you need a gas-powered or electric log splitter? Weigh the pros and cons.

    • What is the horsepower of the log splitter? Consider the power needed for large logs. 

    7. Most Popular Log Splitter Tonnages

    Now that you have an idea of your optimal log splitter tonnage, you can take a minute to browse our most popular log splitter collections by tonnage:

    Conclusion: A Perfect Match for Effortless Log Splitting

    In conclusion, choosing the right size log splitter is essential for efficient and safe log splitting. Assess the size, hardness, and type of logs you'll be working with to determine the appropriate tonnage for your needs. Matching the tonnage to your specific requirements ensures smooth and effective log splitting, saving you time and effort.

    Whether you're a seasoned woodcutter or a weekend warrior, choosing the right log splitter ensures optimal performance and prolongs the lifespan of your equipment. With the perfect match in hand, enjoy hassle-free log splitting and make the most of your outdoor life!