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Best $1500 splitter

Post in 'The Gear' started by Joful, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I'm soliciting for opinions on the best splitter that can be had (not built, but purchased ready to run) for $1500. I want to buy in the next few weeks, not watch Craigslist for several months (already done that, and anything clean is within a few hundred $ of new).

    Intended use is 14 cords per year for three years, and then 7 cords per year after that, trying to get three years ahead and then maintain. I think I would value a fast cycle time more than absolute tonnage, as I can always rip the unusually big or difficult stuff with the saw before (or in lieu of) splitting, but could be convinced otherwise.

    I buck everything to 20", so I'd want something that can handle at least 22" length. With a driveway currently full of 30" - 42" rounds, and another few trailer loads of similar stuff waiting to be dragged home, I guess you could say I need something that can go vertical and handle larger stuff. A 4-way wedge is useless, for most of what I'm splitting.

    Was just looking at the Troy-Bilt 27 ton, but the 19 second cycle time seems soooo slow!

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  2. fabsroman

    fabsroman Minister of Fire

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    I would cry with a 19 second cycle time.
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  3. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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  4. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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  5. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Huskee 22-ton is nice at the entry level at 13 sec and $1100 ($1000 w/10% off coupon). SpeeCo (parent company of Huskee) makes a 25-ton model that's 12 sec. cycle time.

    Faster you pretty much have to jump to the $2000 range for the vertical/horizontal Iron &Oak fast cycle and a few others that are at 12 seconds or less. If just horizontal (or horizontal w/log lift), then you have more options.
  6. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Because your not using the full cycle, the times are skewed in my opinion. On most straight stuff, I use about 8"-12" of stroke. Meaning, I run the splitter into the Round, 4"-6" and then it backs out about the same, but stopping it, just as I have enough room to slide another round on.

    So using only a 1/4-1/3 of the cycle, will make that time cut by the same.

    Some wood will require most of the cycle, but your still not using the full stroke, because you never let it go back to "Home" position. Only when I am done, does the cylinder retract all the way n

    I have a 21 ton MTD Gold (Same as Troy Bilt) and love it.
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  7. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    We will not agree on cycle time. Sometimes I wish my 15s cycle time were much faster.
  8. gzecc

    gzecc Minister of Fire

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    Your expecting 12 seconds based on what? Your feelings?
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I should add that I've rented and used several different log splitters. I've split 14 cords in the last year alone, to put things in perspective. I used to keep 3 fireplaces going in mom's house as a teenager... I've spent some hours sitting at a splitter.

    The cycle time comment was based on what I've seen quoted elsewhere, and my own experience with several rented or borrowed splitters, not my feelings. The Swisher may be the slowest splitter in its price class. Here are some more typical numbers:

    Oregon 22-ton: 13 sec.
    Oregon 28-ton: 13 sec.
    GNE 22-ton: 13 sec.
    Iron&Oak 22-ton: 6 sec.

    Okay... make it "best log splitter for $2000". Most of those I listed above are $1700 - $2000, anyway.

    Mostly true... but I'm trying to compare apples to apples. I have twice recently rented an Iron and Oak 22-ton, which I short-cycle like crazy when working stuff under 10" diameter, and I still feel like I'm always waiting on it. With big rounds (of which I seem to be getting more and more, recently), I do often have to run the full cycle, and then the wait is painfully slow. I suspect my rental is not the same model listed above with 6-second cycles, as I believe I once timed it closer to 12 seconds for a full extend and retract. Really, that would work just fine for me, but if I can get much quicker for just $200-$300 more...
  10. Como

    Como Minister of Fire

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    If you want speed then you need to go kinetic.
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  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    That 22 ton Iron & Oak should be either 8 or 12 seconds depending on if it's the 11 or 16 gpm pump. (6 or 9 HP engines respectively)

    Check out Brave and TSC/Huskee/Speeco.

    Tractor Supply/Huskee 22 ton

    Brave XR Series, 22 ton

    Northern Tool 22 ton

    Iron & Oak BHVH2612 (This is nearly identical to my machine)

    Iron & Oak BHVH2212FC (8 second speed demon!)

    OK, those two are just a tick over $2K, Here's a couple that really are under that mark.

    Iron & Oak BHVH2212

    Northern Tool 37 Ton

    FWIW: The Fast Cycle Iron & Oak is by far the fastest hydraulic splitter I've ever come across that was not homemade. And it should be roughly the same price as the 26 ton unit.
  12. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    If you like the in-beam log cradle (as I do) of the SpeeCo/Huskee models, check out the Oregon line of splitters. The 28-ton model with 11.5s cycle time and Honda GX engine is probably the same as the I&O 26-ton in terms of its capability. As an added bonus, you get 12" wheels instead of the 8" wheels seen on many models already mentioned and the log dislodger/stripper is included (not so with I&O). For the record, I haven't run any Oregon splitter but I do own a 2009 Huskee 35-ton model and I have run the I&O 26-ton.

    If the Oregon model were around when I was in the market for a splitter in 2009, it would have been one of the finalists along with the I&O Fast Cycle.

    (BTW, if you're wondering why Huskee, SpeeCo, and Oregon share the in-beam cradle, they are all brands of Blount International.)
  13. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    If you split modest sized-rounds with no cotches in them then perhaps. But a kinetic splitter's speed advantage evaporates when it takes 3, 4, 5 whacks to get through a round and I haven't seen a vertical model yet. So you need special equipment to get the big 'uns up on the splitter, and then the splitter will struggle to pop those rounds.

    I agree that the speed advantage of kinetics is impressive but I think a fast-cycling hydraulic like the Iron & Oak (fast-cycle model, 8 seconds) would both out-power and out-run a kinetic machine in larger or tougher rounds. Plus it goes vertical to avoid the problem of how to get the wood on the splitter in the first place.

    This vid doesn't exactly show kinetics in their best light.

  14. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Probably more than half of my splits come from rounds larger than the one in that video, so kinetics are not for me.

    I'll tell you, that little 22-ton Huskee packs a hell of a lot of bang for your buck. I wish it had an available cradle/catcher, but short of that, it appears to be a great value! I've seen many other forum members recommend them. My only concern is that these big rounds have a habit of (very frequently) stalling the 22-ton Iron and Oak BHVH2212 I've been renting. Then again... if I have to noodle each log in half before muscling it onto the splitter (even vertically, they're a major challenge) while saving $1000 on the splitter, that might not be an entirely bad thing.

    Looking at the specs of many of these, I see why you lose so much speed when you jump from 22 ton to 28 ton. Most of them use the same 11 GPM pump! In fact, many of them keep the same or similar sized engine across several models, and just change the cylinder diameter. I'm surprised they don't keep the pump GPM (and the engine driving it) scaled to the cylinder cross section, such that they can all stay around 12 - 13 seconds cycle time.

    Here are the few I researched on my own:

    Oregon OLS22H, $1850, 22-ton, 5.2 hp, 13 sec., cradles sold separately, 1 year warr.
    Oregon OLS28K, $2000, 27-ton, 9.5 hp, 13 sec., cradles sold separately, 1 year warr.
    Cub Cadet LS27CCHP, $1800, 27-ton, 277cc (7-8 hp), 15 sec., cradles inc., 2 year warr.
    GNE 1108, $1700, 22-ton, 5 hp, 13 sec., cradles inc., 2 year warr.
    Iron&Oak BHVH2209, $2100, 22-ton, 6 hp, 8 sec., cradles sold separately, 1 year warr.

    I automatically ruled out the 27-ton units from Ariens and Swisher... both painfully slow!
  15. TreePointer

    TreePointer Minister of Fire

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    Note that the Cub Cadet you listed is an MTD/Troy-Bilt clone with a few upgraded parts. It has the same low beam (some like this; I don't), single step wedge, and trunion attached cylinder.

    Frequently encounter big rounds? I'd lean toward more tonnage. The 20/22-ton models will get the job done as you noted, but the pump will run in its slower, more powerful stage more often.

    That Oregon 28-ton has a lot of nice features that the others don't. It's as if Blount improved all the less expensive features on my Huskee 35-ton and made a Cadillac version, LOL! Two hydrualic filters instead of one, improved wedge design, 2-3 seconds faster (depending on config), 12" instead of 8" wheels, upgraded hydro tank cap, easy on/off table (in video), commercial grade engine (Honda GX or Kohler), steel coils around pressure hoses, larger cleats on toe plate, spring loaded beam lock instead of removable pin.
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Off of the criteria that you have laid out - and stating that a 22 ton often comes up short on power, I would probably roll with the Oregon 27 ton.

    (well...not really...for $2000 I would build one that would crush the rest of these like an empty beer can.::-))
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  17. mikey517

    mikey517 Member

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    I have a made in USA Ariens 27 ton. Like it a lot.



    It's basically the same machine as the Gravely 27 ton.

  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    So many choices...

    On the topic of 22 vs. 27 ton, it is true that I often stall the 22 ton machine I've been renting, when I'm splitting the bigger rounds I seem to so often drag home. Then again, muscling 30 - 36 inch rounds onto a splitter foot plate (even vertically) is getting real old, real quick. It's really tiring, and probably not the safest way to do the job. I could make a good argument for noodling those rounds in half before moving them, and thus perhaps doing well with a 22 ton machine.

    Cost is part of my leaning towards 22 tons, but cycle time is the other factor. I've not seen a 27 ton machine that cycles as fast as the 22 ton machines, without spending a lot more money.
  19. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    If 22 tons is a realistic machine for your use, I would be seriously considering the I & O fast cycle model. But they don't give them away.
  20. wh401

    wh401 New Member

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    I would pass on any splitter that has the pump mounted below the engine, especially if it's going to be stored outside. I currently have to replace the pump on a family members 2 year old 27-ton Troy Built because the pump locked up due to water intrusion. A small amount of water got below the engine and settled around the shaft of the pump. Between over night freezes the water when into the pump, expanded and contracted, which eventually shot the bearings and the seal in the pump. Splitter only has 12 hours on it. Also towing a splitter through the woods with a pump mounted like that is just asking for it to be ripped off or damaged. Get a splitter that has a horizontal shaft engine with the pump mounted in-line with it. I currently have a 20-ton that I've put 4 engines on and that things splits everything I've put on it. From hickory, to beech, to red oak, to locust. Look for a splitter with a good cycle time, that's more important IMO.
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  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Well... unless you're going to build me something better, Jags! ;lol
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh man...too bad you ain't closer. A couple of cases of beer, 15 pounds of welding rod and some parts....We could call it the GET-R-SPLITTER.==c

    I built my big boy for $600 out of pocket. That included the winch for the log lift. With $2000 smackers to throw at it.... whats your opinion on flame throwers??
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  23. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    I like the way you think! I used to be the same, before house, wife, kid... now there's just no time for that kind of fun! My two welders (Hobart Handler 185 and the obligatory vintage Lincoln AC-225) and oxy-acetylene torches just sit in the garage, collecting dust now.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Family first, my brother.;)
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  25. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    It does, but the 33Flame table is better IMO. And works with just about any splitter.

    http://www.ebay.com/itm/LOG-SPLITTE...S_Outdoor_Power_Equipment&hash=item3f2304d43b

    No such unit. You can have the 6HP 22 ton (12 seconds) or the 9HP 20 Ton Fast Cycle unit. (8 seconds)

    22 Ton 12 seconds $1941
    26 Ton 12 seconds $2173
    20 Ton 8 seconds $2167

    Not sure why the fast cycle unit is rated at 20 tons, same cylinder as the 22 ton?

    What engine are you specing Joful? There are at least 4 options for each model. :) Opting for the Vanguard engines would knock about $100 off each of those machines. I would spring for the I&O Log Dislodger but skip the table/cradle in favor of the 33flame unit.

    BTW: Free freight on that website for the Iron & Oaks. :cool:

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