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which log splitter should I get?

Post in 'The Gear' started by mikeb3383, Sep 10, 2013.

  1. mikeb3383

    mikeb3383 New Member

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    I am in the market for a log splitter. Which one shoukd I get? Home depot has a ariens 34 ton log splitter and lowes has a 33 ton log splitter.

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  2. bioman

    bioman Burning Hunk

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    The one I'm building.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Welcome to the forum Mike.

    Do you really need that large of a splitter? Bigger is not always better nor is it necessarily faster. We've got along with a 20 ton MTD for over 20 years now and have split well over 200 cord. Repair cost so far have been zero. It is beginning to wear a bit but still has plenty of years to go. The 20 tone splits all we've thrown at it and is relatively fast. It can split faster than I can keep the wood coming.

    As for the tonnage, usually the bigger machines would benefit only the commercial operations. With the smaller splitters most have a 2 stage pump so if you run into some gnarly splits (knots) it goes to single stage which slows down the wedge but increases the power. It goes back to 2 stage rather quickly and automatically.

    One of the biggest benefits of going smaller is the cost factor. One can get the 22 ton Huskee for under $1000 and it will work fine. One word of caution here is that many will quote the cycle time. Pay little attention to it because it is not something you will use. That is, you will rarely use the entire cycle! This means you can shorten the work hours simply by not using the entire cycle. Many types of wood you need to hit the wedge in only a couple inches and sometimes less and the wood is split. You also will learn there is no sence in letting the wedge go all the way back up as that is wasted time.

    One very important thing is to get a splitter that you can stand vertically. I see no sense at all in lifting every log up onto the splitter before splitting. That is wasted labor. If you look at my avatar you'll see that I split while sitting. No lifting here. I simply roll the log onto the splitter and then split. It saves a lot of work and I am also convinced it is faster.

    By the way, our splitter has a cheap 5 hp Briggs & Stratton engine on it. It's getting old, but then, so am I. It has served us very well.

    Good luck.
  4. JOHN BOY

    JOHN BOY Minister of Fire

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    Ive been looking at the 22 ton huske and ariens. Ive never needed anything bigger ..had a 25 ton mtd and loved it . Had to sell when we moved no biggy i like getting new toys.
    If money is no problem id get the ariens. You could get the 22 and put the rest towards a new saw ! ;)
  5. I've been happy with my North Star 30 ton. Sure the cycle time is a little slow. But it has plenty of power for the 4 way wedge so I can make three times as many splits every cycle.
  6. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    What brand is the Lowes 33 ton Splitter? Most of the box-store 30+ ton machines while being of sound quality, are highly overrated. I have a 26 ton Iron and Oak splitter that I would happily put up against any of the box store machines that say 30+ tons on the side.

    Backwoods Savage is right that most folks really don't need a 30 ton splitter, even splitting some of the "tough" woods like Elm. He and I disagree on cycle time however. I feel it's one of the most important specs when selecting a splitter that's going to be a productive tool and it is usually a good indicator of how well matched the components of the hydraulic system are to each other.

    The Huskee 22 ton (Tractor Supply) and the Ariens 22 ton are both machines right at the $1000 price point that many, many members here own (especially the Huskee) and have been very satisfied with. One things for sure, anybody who has bought a splitter does not regret it!
  7. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    What Dennis said. We have the same MTD splitter, 20 ton. But mine has a 5 HP Tecumseh. I run mine half speed (high idle) and it doesn't strain. Mine slips gas, just about all day on tank, maybe a quart of gas. Cycle speed doesn't mean much, within reason. I think they are all 2 speed. When it get into hard to split wood it slows and runs in high pressure. The splitter will out work you in a very short time. You can't feed it fast enough.

    Mine is tough to move, but compared to those 35 ton machines it's lite. If I have to go far I tow it with the ATV.

    Vertical is a must, unless you can lift anything you split. If that's the case stick with a maul you may not need a splitter.

    One issue I have mentioned a number of times here. Many of the designs I see have the engine and / or tank towards the rear of the machine. This is where you stand and the splits fall when splitting horizontally. If someone has one like that maybe they can explain how this works.

    Hey Dennis, the last few weeks I have been splitting monster, heavy wet oak rounds. My new sitting position is right in back of the ram. From there what ever chunk I can get off goes left or right as I rotate the round. I always though you sit to the lever side, if so give this a try.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  8. mikeb3383

    mikeb3383 New Member

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    Lowes sells the troy built. Home depot sells the ariens and 25 ton cub cadet
  9. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    FYI: Cub Cadet, Troy-bilt, and Yard Machine are all built by the same MFG, MTD. There are two models that I know of, a smaller 25-27 ton version and a larger 34 ton version. They change the sticker for the ton rating every so often but other than that the machines haven't changed significantly for many years now.
  10. redRover

    redRover New Member

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    If you're mostly splitting smaller stuff, I would look at a horizontal only model. While vertical can be nice for large rounds, it really depends on your workflow and the average size of wood you split, as well as your stature. I'm pretty tall, so I run a horizontal only Iron/Oak, and find that it works much better than a horizontal/vertical. However, a lot of our wood is at an elevated height beforehand, either from a stack of rounds or coming off the trailer, so there is less bending over than if you had to lift each round off the ground. Also, horizontal only splitters push the wood away from where you stand and drop it over the hitch, rather than dropping the splits right on your feet as with a horizontal/vertical. I think this is an underappreciated benefit of running a horizontal only.

    The only major downside is that large rounds either need to be lifted up with a helper, or we need to use a ramp for the split or two of the round. This is a bit of a pain, but not that bad, especially since the wood is normally ready to roll anyways. Nonetheless, I can move fairly large rounds by myself, and only rarely have to resort to the ramp. If I have the time, I would like to make a lifting pole (poor man's crane/log lifter), but I doubt that is in the cards for the near future.

    Obviously, your may mileage may vary, and Backwoods Savage has been quite successful running vertical only. However, if you have friends with both, I would encourage you to try out both types.
  11. Locust Post

    Locust Post Minister of Fire

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    I have to agree with Sav you don't need the bigger machine. I have the 22 ton Huskee and it has split everything I put in front of it.
    Backwoods Savage and aussiedog3 like this.
  12. Fifelaker

    Fifelaker Feeling the Heat

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    I have split a lot of wood with my Huskee 22T. Only a few times has it not split on the first try. I have had to split the edges off a few but it has split everything I have rolled on it.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  13. aussiedog3

    aussiedog3 Feeling the Heat

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    You can't beat the quality, value, durability, function and simplicity of the Huskee 22 ton splitter. Got mine at Tractor Supply about 3 years ago, love it, they are even lower priced now than what I paid for mine. Keep it clean, store inside if you can, keep the oil changed. Mine looks like brand new yet.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest


    Sure you can, just not for the price! ;)
    Joful and Backwoods Savage like this.
  15. aussiedog3

    aussiedog3 Feeling the Heat

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    I have to disagree. I think they are $899 here now. A real value. I think I paid $1099 and was happy with that at the time.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  16. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I'm not saying there's a better machine for the price. To my knowledge there isn't. But there are better machines! ;)
    TreePointer likes this.
  17. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    Wood type & size would help.

    Here, the 22 ton Speeco is more than enough, even for my birch gnarly's.
    I like the wedge, full length cradle beam & ram mount, on the Speeco (Huskee) .

    If I had some big white oak gnarly wood wood , I might need more power.

    Of the 2 choices you offered, I'd get 33 ton Troybilt,
    Honda engine I think?

    Take your time & kick the tires on several if you have other options to shop at.
    One of the biggest investments of the home wood burner's tools. Make sure you get the one you like ;)
  18. My Oslo heats my home

    My Oslo heats my home Minister of Fire

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    There are a couple of us(hearth.com folks) that have recently purchased the Ariens 22 ton splitter, horiz/vert style. I know I didn't have a coupon (or a competitors coupon) to bring the price down but Home Depot will honor them if you can get your hands on one. I got mine for just over 1K. It has decent reviews and is much lighter and easier to handle than some of the long I-beam models. I have only gone through about 3 cords with mine but I can't imagine needing anything more than the 22 tons.
  19. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Indeed I sit directly behind the ram and not off to one side. That would be tough on the back for sure and also asking to get a leg hit when one of those splits go flying.

    fwiw, I rarely run our engine on high speed either. Usually about 2/3 throttle.
  20. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Are you aware that most of the HD people have the authority to give discounts? It never hurts to ask.
    My Oslo heats my home likes this.
  21. And keep asking for more until they say no, then ask for the manager.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  22. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    So you're one of THOSE guys .... :p
  23. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    My own opinion . . . after having gone through this decision making process myself a few years back . . . just about any hydraulic splitter will make you happy and is better than doing it with a maul or other hand tool. If you treat the splitter with care it should last you for many years regardless of what make and model you get providing you don't buy some off brand model.

    Tractor Supply's Huskee and its sister clone the Speeco have a lot of fans here . . . 22 tons seems to be just about right for most anything you can throw at it and the price is right.

    Arien, MTD, Cub Cadet, etc. seem to all be owned by MTD. Again, 22 tons seems to be the sweet spot for capability and price.

    Timberwolfs and Iron/Oak splitters are very well regarded . . . but a bit more in cost.

    Like anything mechanical, splitters can and will break or have problems. I know some folks were reporting a few years back about a batch of MTDs and their clones having an issue . . . and a few months back it seemed as though there were some Huskee owners with a problem. It happens. But generally, most folks owning either of these types (not to mention the few with Timberwolfs or Iron and Oaks) seem quite happy with their splitters and report few to any problems.

    Engine: Oftentimes folks seem to get hung up on the power plant. I know I was determined to get one with a Honda engine. Ended up with a Briggs engine. Honestly, it has done quite well and I cannot complain. Starts as easily as my Honda engines.

    Cycle Time: Folks often get driven up about how fast the splitter can cycle. I find my splitter (27 tons) to be a bit slower, but it doesn't slow me down that much as I often only do a partial cycle while splitting and the way I work it usually is a pretty good rate.

    Ability to go vertical . . . or have a log lifter: This, to me, is a must-have feature. Sure, most of the time the wood you cut or scrounge may be easily lift-able, but many folks have found that splitting wood vertical is easier on their bodies and they prefer it . . . and even if you're like me and prefer horizontal splitting it is still nice to be able to go vertical when you're dealing with that monster round versus wrestling and popping out a spinal disc or rupturing your hernia while attempting to wrestle that round three feet in the air to the splitting beam.

    Fenders, log catchers, turn signals, etc: To me, most of these doo-dads and add-ons are not really all that useful or needed . . . it seems almost as if they were added to try to sell the model and make it more attractive to the buyer who thinks having turn signals on his splitter may be desirable and more useful. The exception -- a log catcher or cradle is nice to hold the larger split so it doesn't always drop to the ground.
  24. mikey517

    mikey517 Member

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    MTD makes the Troy Built, Cub Cadet, and Yard Man. Ariens and Gravely are both made by Ariens in Wisconsin, USA.
    MasterMech likes this.
  25. NE WOOD BURNER

    NE WOOD BURNER Minister of Fire

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    I picked up a used American. Bought a timberwolf 4-way

    I could not be happier.

    Price is much lower than new ones mentioned above.

    Timberwolf and American are popular near me.

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