Buying a splitter need some recent equipment feedback.

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davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
I have been reading this site for sometime now and lots of good threads here but I figured I'd ask for some recent feedback at what is the best choice for me. I am in the Nashville area and not many stores have splitters ready to go... most just say order on line and have it delivered so that narrows my options. Home Depot usually has the champion 27 in stock ready to go. Northern Tool offeres there Northstar (Northern Tool) and then they add on $200 for assembly, Oil and Hydraulic oil is not included so you have to add that and then the hound you to buy their extra warranty even they claim the 4 year factory warranty. I'd look at the 30 ton I guess.

I will admit over the years I just cut up trees that fall on our property and the last time borrowed a splitter (he has moved on) so now it's do I rent it or buy.. .Well I am leaning at buying for one reason.... convince which means I can split for a few hours in the morning or evening when its cooler out and do it when I want. Yes I can rent but at 80 - $100 a day I'd feel I had to do a marathon of splitting... and to rent it pick it up at 8 drive it home and take it back by 4pm... just a hassle... so why not invest I have room in the barn to store it. I am not looking at going it to high production just ocational use for our fireplaces in thee house.

This year I had a coupe of Pine trees fall and recently a walnut tree I have collected quite a bit of wood and cut it in 20" or less lengths and stacked it up to dry and I just want to get it cut and put in the 2 wood racks I built. From time to time I see local folks that have a tree down and I could go cut it up and bring that home and use it.

I am looking for the best value (not the cheapest) splitter for what might be called Medium duty... There are a few round that are in the 20" range but I"d say less than 10% of the wood is that large, most are 10-16" rounds and like I said I've got them cut to less than 20" in length. I am looking at one that does both Vertical or horizontal. The northstar is almost 2x the Champion but the northstar has the honda engine.

I've watched Craigslist and Ebay marketplace for 2 years now in my opinion the listings I see look pretty beat up and honestly not that far from what they probably paid for new... given that and no warranty... I've stayed away from that idea.

So I don't mind buying a new one even for the little use I would have it more a convince thing for me. I am looking forward to any suggestions and comments. One thing I have noticed though on the Champion they no longer offer a 4 way adapter is that due to the power of the machine or the stress a 4 way may put on the unit?

Thanks in advance and if anyone is in the Nashville area that knows of comaniies locally that sell splitters already assembled that would be great!

Dave
 

triptester

Feeling the Heat
Aug 25, 2006
368
S.E.Wisconsin
Warranty was mentioned many times . The problem is most places that sell consumer grade log splitters have no service departments to honor the warranties, so if something breaks you often have to diagnose the problem yourself and then they might send you a replacement part that you have to install.
The vast majority of consumer grade splitters in the last ten years are made in China or partially assembled here with foreign parts so the quality has been questionable.
 

dougand3

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2008
1,181
North Alabama
I've watched Craigslist and Ebay marketplace for 2 years now in my opinion the listings I see look pretty beat up and honestly not that far from what they probably paid for new... given that and no warranty...
Yeah, FB/CL sellers seem to think their 10yo, run hard splitter is worth 90% of their purchase price. RM/LT/GT sellers are content to get 5-20% of their purchase price. Puzzling, indeed. No way I'd buy a used splitter unless $200-$300 and doesn't exist.

I do a little more firewood than you...3-4 cords/yr. I've considered buying a splitter but just don't want another very rarely used machine around. Also, I can't rationalize the $1000 expense for so little use.
I still use a 15# and 8# maul. It's good I like the exercise.

In your case, I'd rent the splitter on a Sat evening - doesn't have to be back till Mon am.
 

blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,664
WI, Leroy
pricing on any of the sights used 80%+ of retail is about normal for years now. Box store splitters- none of them do service work. Neither does Northern. Although with Northern you have a more direct and responsive line parts wise. No matter the mfg you are still dealing with a global mfg supply line. Splitters a fairly simple units , diagnostics of hydraulics is not difficult provided you can use a wrench and a little common sense. Short of Kohler(?) I know of no small gas engine made stateside anymore. Even with them a percentage of imported parts is there. Champion seems to be the hot ticket right now as everyone is carrying those- used to be Speco. There are some Splitter builders stateside, generally about 50% more expensive than the box stores. Structural fabrication here, parts ( valve cylinder Motor Pump ect) global sourced.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,078
Downeast Maine
I would shop in the 20-ish ton range and avoid the box stores. Look for a local chainsaw or maybe tractor dealer (brand doesn't matter) and see if you can find a US made machine. I think I paid less than $1,500 delivered (including assembly and fluids) for my Brave Dual Split back in 2019. With supply chains strained you are probably going to spend more this year than you would have in the past. With your level of wood processing any gas splitter is a hard sell. Maybe go with an electric splitter, way less price and will probably handle whatever you have to deal with. They certainly aren't any faster than doing it by hand, but they will save your back.
 

davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
Yeah, FB/CL sellers seem to think their 10yo, run hard splitter is worth 90% of their purchase price. RM/LT/GT sellers are content to get 5-20% of their purchase price. Puzzling, indeed. No way I'd buy a used splitter unless $200-$300 and doesn't exist.

I do a little more firewood than you...3-4 cords/yr. I've considered buying a splitter but just don't want another very rarely used machine around. Also, I can't rationalize the $1000 expense for so little use.
I still use a 15# and 8# maul. It's good I like the exercise.

In your case, I'd rent the splitter on a Sat evening - doesn't have to be back till Mon am.
Dougand3 thanks for the quick reply and information and the used market is almost hilarious. I am sure the lack of product will be blamed on the pandemic... who'd of thought . The only rental place here in town has a weekend special, Pick it up at 7am on Saturday and return it Monday morning $100 for the weekend and it's a 34 ton Bluebird. I've given it lots of thought but it gets rented pretty fast. Our temps are starting to hit 90+ mid afternoon so if I actually owned one I could do a few hours every morning when I wanted. The Champion at HD is $1195 for a 27 ton, ($100 off if I get a CC)... so, not really a big cost. I don't see me doing manual splitting.. .if I was 30 years younger I'd give it a try... but with my Back Pain I don't think I'd be up to much for the manual option... Here at our HD, they have a repair shop attached to the store, they say they will do warranty work on the champion if I get it.
 
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davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
pricing on any of the sights used 80%+ of retail is about normal for years now. Box store splitters- none of them do service work. Neither does Northern. Although with Northern you have a more direct and responsive line parts wise. No matter the mfg you are still dealing with a global mfg supply line. Splitters a fairly simple units , diagnostics of hydraulics is not difficult provided you can use a wrench and a little common sense. Short of Kohler(?) I know of no small gas engine made stateside anymore. Even with them a percentage of imported parts is there. Champion seems to be the hot ticket right now as everyone is carrying those- used to be Speedco. There are some Splitter builders stateside, generally about 50% more expensive than the box stores. Structural fabrication here, parts ( valve cylinder Motor Pump ect) global sourced.
Thanks Blades for the reply I've done so much reading on forums and over the years so many of the companies come and go.. your right, The reason I looked at Northern Tool is that they seem to have staying power and they do service (from what I am told). They charge $200 to put it together... and from so many reviews of folks ordering mail order only to the the product with damage or missing parts....I"d pay an assembly fee if they also support their work.. the 4 year warranty pretty much covers all lthe parts. I would not pay $300 for the additional 1 year they try to push... that is crazy.

Ive seen alot of posts on speedco but are they even around anymore... At least with champion they seem to be a big enough company they can survive... I have 2 of their 2k RV generators and love them....
 

davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
I would shop in the 20-ish ton range and avoid the box stores. Look for a local chainsaw or maybe tractor dealer (brand doesn't matter) and see if you can find a US made machine. I think I paid less than $1,500 delivered (including assembly and fluids) for my Brave Dual Split back in 2019. With supply chains strained you are probably going to spend more this year than you would have in the past. With your level of wood processing any gas splitter is a hard sell. Maybe go with an electric splitter, way less price and will probably handle whatever you have to deal with. They certainly aren't any faster than doing it by hand, but they will save your back.
Spacebus the Champion 27 and the Northstar 30 ton is were I 've spent the most time reading about.. Out the door though the Northstar is about $1,000 dollars more.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I see that Champion out front of Home Depots regularly, and it looks pretty cheesy compared to the DHT that I paid $300 less for.

Not saying it's a bad unit but it sure looks like it contains less steel than the DHT.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,078
Downeast Maine
Spacebus the Champion 27 and the Northstar 30 ton is were I 've spent the most time reading about.. Out the door though the Northstar is about $1,000 dollars more.
I think both of those splitters are overkill on the tonnage/hydro system and overpriced. If you were heating your house with the splitter it would make sense. I split almost exclusively knotty spruce, fir, and tamarack and my 20t splitter does it all at barely above idle engine speed.
 

davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
I see that Champion out front of Home Depots regularly, and it looks pretty cheesy compared to the DHT that I paid $300 less for.

Not saying it's a bad unit but it sure looks like it contains less steel than the DHT.

Jetsam.. Interesting I have seen alot of great things about the DHT splitters.. sure wish I could find one. When did you buy yours and where did you buy it? Where are you located because our retailers don't line them up front... matter of fact most don't have them or they will not put them together.

From their website it seems like they are all sold out ... and that the 27 is shown at $1099 which is the same price I'd end up with the Champion assembled at Home Depot.


For some reason I thought I had read that DHT had gone out of business but it looks like they are still around.. I'll have to do a little research.

Ok, so I did look at some videos... got excited then found out... they did close up shop.... Too bad they did look like a great product.... https://www.woodsplitterdirect.com/...™ has,no longer manufacturing power equipment.
 
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davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
Warranty was mentioned many times . The problem is most places that sell consumer grade log splitters have no service departments to honor the warranties, so if something breaks you often have to diagnose the problem yourself and then they might send you a replacement part that you have to install.
The vast majority of consumer grade splitters in the last ten years are made in China or partially assembled here with foreign parts so the quality has been questionable.
Triptester, I guess I missed your post... thanks for the info... What I am finding is the splitters are very hard to find these days even at the bigger stores. I am going to call about warranty work.. .Both HD and Northern Tool have "Repair Centers" in or attached to their stores and I am thinking if you buy a unit from them they would do warranty work but I am going to ask them before I do buy. I am not a handy guy with tools and the thought of trying to assemble this type Item is out of the question for many reasons that is why I am looking for a retail store that does assemble the units. Good points you brought up... it looks like quite a few of the manufactures have not been able to survive the pandemic and have gone completely out of business and when that happens so does any implied warranty them may have offered.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
Triptester, I guess I missed your post... thanks for the info... What I am finding is the splitters are very hard to find these days even at the bigger stores. I am going to call about warranty work.. .Both HD and Northern Tool have "Repair Centers" in or attached to their stores and I am thinking if you buy a unit from them they would do warranty work but I am going to ask them before I do buy. I am not a handy guy with tools and the thought of trying to assemble this type Item is out of the question for many reasons that is why I am looking for a retail store that does assemble the units. Good points you brought up... it looks like quite a few of the manufactures have not been able to survive the pandemic and have gone completely out of business and when that happens so does any implied warranty them may have offered.

HD doesn't warranty anything except their store brands (Husky tools).

The manufacturer warranties the power equipment. Usually a manufacturer's remedy for a nonworking piece of equipment is for you to take it to a shop for repair.... and that shop could be (confusingly) a HD tool rental. (The manufacturer will tell you where you can take it when you make a claim.) No matter who works on the equipment, that is the manufacturer paying a repair shop to fix their product under warranty; it's not HD offering or honoring a warranty on a product.

Putting together a log splitter is pretty basic (it's mostly assembled in the crate), but the frame and cylinder are both heavy. You don't need 2 guys for it, though.
 

davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
HD doesn't warranty anything except their store brands (Husky tools).

The manufacturer warranties the power equipment. Usually a manufacturer's remedy for a nonworking piece of equipment is for you to take it to a shop for repair.... and that shop could be (confusingly) a HD tool rental. (The manufacturer will tell you where you can take it when you make a claim.) No matter who works on the equipment, that is the manufacturer paying a repair shop to fix their product under warranty; it's not HD offering or honoring a warranty on a product.

Putting together a log splitter is pretty basic (it's mostly assembled in the crate), but the frame and cylinder are both heavy. You don't need 2 guys for it, though.
I always get a kick out of Manufacturers and their warranties and how they handle things. I had bought a ryobi electric blower for about $50.00 it had a 3 year warranty and at about 2 years 8 months the unit burned out the switch mechanism and control board... I could not believe it I did take it to the HD Rental/Repair shop attached to the store... I almost fell over when they said the Mfg want's them to rebuild it... Are you kidding but 7 days latter they called me up and had it ready to pick up.. .completely rebuilt... No Charge... I am sure it would have been cheaper to replace it! Oh Well.

I didn't get down to HD today so I don't have any more info yet. One thing, I've added Countyline 30Ton in my research... Right now none of the stores (except the 27t Champion at HD) so I guess I still have time to look around...
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,078
Downeast Maine
I always get a kick out of Manufacturers and their warranties and how they handle things. I had bought a ryobi electric blower for about $50.00 it had a 3 year warranty and at about 2 years 8 months the unit burned out the switch mechanism and control board... I could not believe it I did take it to the HD Rental/Repair shop attached to the store... I almost fell over when they said the Mfg want's them to rebuild it... Are you kidding but 7 days latter they called me up and had it ready to pick up.. .completely rebuilt... No Charge... I am sure it would have been cheaper to replace it! Oh Well.

I didn't get down to HD today so I don't have any more info yet. One thing, I've added Countyline 30Ton in my research... Right now none of the stores (except the 27t Champion at HD) so I guess I still have time to look around...
They probably take the units back to repair them in order to diagnose the failure and prevent the issue from occurring in the future until the warranty period is over.
 

davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
They probably take the units back to repair them in order to diagnose the failure and prevent the issue from occurring in the future until the warranty period is over.

I was surprised, shop time alone would kill them... plus shipping them a new part and getting the fried one back... Go figure...

I am going to give them a call today and see if they warranty repair the splitters just to see.... when I went to look at the splitter they had the sales guy really pushed their warranty .. I felt like I was in Best Buy :)
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,078
Downeast Maine
I was surprised, shop time alone would kill them... plus shipping them a new part and getting the fried one back... Go figure...

I am going to give them a call today and see if they warranty repair the splitters just to see.... when I went to look at the splitter they had the sales guy really pushed their warranty .. I felt like I was in Best Buy :)
I almost never get the warranty for tools that do not have control boards. The splitter will be all mechanical with a carbureted engine. No need for the warranty since it will probably cost more than the replacement parts, which you could easily replace yourself.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,283
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I always get a kick out of Manufacturers and their warranties and how they handle things. I had bought a ryobi electric blower for about $50.00 it had a 3 year warranty and at about 2 years 8 months the unit burned out the switch mechanism and control board... I could not believe it I did take it to the HD Rental/Repair shop attached to the store... I almost fell over when they said the Mfg want's them to rebuild it... Are you kidding but 7 days latter they called me up and had it ready to pick up.. .completely rebuilt... No Charge... I am sure it would have been cheaper to replace it! Oh Well.

I didn't get down to HD today so I don't have any more info yet. One thing, I've added Countyline 30Ton in my research... Right now none of the stores (except the 27t Champion at HD) so I guess I still have time to look around...

The question is it would have been cheaper for who to replace it.

TTI was on the hook for the repair, so they either have to pay a HD tool tech to order all the guts and replace them (an hour of shop time on a $50 tool), or they could pay their guy his hourly wage to do it with their almost-free parts. (That's assuming TTI has a dedicated service center somewhere, not all oems do.) But assuming they get $30 from HD for that tool brand new, it's still hard to see how they come out ahead on an hour of labor and 2 shipping charges- but it would make more sense on a more expensive tool.

As a side note, Ryobi power tools are made by the same company (TTI) as Ridgid and Milwaukee. All those tools come from the same factory complex, but you only get lifetime warranties on the Ridgid-badged ones. Covers the batteries too.

Lowes and Menards should both have splitters too. I got my DHT from a Lowes some years ago.
 
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davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
The question is it would have been cheaper for who to replace it.

TTI was on the hook for the repair, so they either have to pay a HD tool tech to order all the guts and replace them (an hour of shop time on a $50 tool), or they could pay their guy his hourly wage to do it with their almost-free parts. (That's assuming TTI has a dedicated service center somewhere, not all oems do.) But assuming they get $30 from HD for that tool brand new, it's still hard to see how they come out ahead on an hour of labor and 2 shipping charges- but it would make more sense on a more expensive tool.

As a side note, Ryobi power tools are made by the same company (TTI) as Ridgid and Milwaukee. All those tools come from the same factory complex, but you only get lifetime warranties on the Ridgid-badged ones. Covers the batteries too.

Lowes and Menards should both have splitters too. I got my DHT from a Lowes some years ago.

As far as I know is the guy in the HD Tool Rental - Repair shop did the work (I spoke with him and he was surprised as well) Hopefully the blower will get another 4 years of use and I'll be good with that.

Lowes out here do not stock or have splitters at the store you have to order and have it delivered and then have to put it together (which as I have said I do not want to do . We do not have Menards in our area.

Good thing I'm not in a big hurry, I have lots to do around the property... It's just going to take some time!
 

old greybeard

Member
Oct 29, 2018
70
PA
I was in the same boat. Rentals went upto $100 a day. Had to kill ourselves trying to split a winter worth in a day. And as noted used prices are crazy.
Just bought a tractor supply 25 ton Countyline. On sale for $899, a price they run regular. All assembled, hook up and go.
Best value for the money. Broke it in on 20” locust. Easy to split. Build looks excellent and the Kohler started first pull.
 

andym

Feeling the Heat
Feb 6, 2020
427
Hicksville, Ohio
Just bought a tractor supply 25 ton Countyline. On sale for $899, a price they run regular. All assembled, hook up and go.
Best value for the money. Broke it in on 20” locust. Easy to split. Build looks excellent and the Kohler started first pull.
I'll second the countyline models. I've got the 30 ton. For the OPs situation the 25 ton would be sufficient. I compared them to the champions a year ago and thought the splitters seemed better built. Countyline uses good kohler engines.
 

davidki

New Member
May 21, 2021
16
Tennessee
So.. I thought I'd update everyone on my situation and thank everyone for their comments, suggestions and discussions... I decided that I'd go long term and hope I made the right decision I bought the NorthStar (Northern Tool) 37 ton splitter yesterday.... they had a $100 off and had them in stock.. Probably a over kill for me but for the few hundred dollar difference I decided to go for it. Northern tool is not far from us and does On Site repairs which to me was a plus.. .HD sends them out to some place here in Tennessee when they get them returned for service. Because I am not as mechanically minded as some of you folks I decided to have their service group put the splitter together so all I have to do is back up the truck and drive it home in a couple of days. Yes I paid for the assembly $150 but reading how many folks get splitters delivered and put them together on their own and the issues... It was well worth it to me. (see my below comments) Good or bad, the use of the Honda engine was a plus for me, I have a power washer I bought a couple of years ago and it has the Honda Engine and it has started on one pull every time I have used it.... unlike some others I have had to fight with. Do i need a 37 Ton.... Heck no but for a few hundred dollars more and it already at the store in the crate I felt is was a good choice... Could I have used a 25 or 30 Tone... Heck yes but with the sale and price difference (and a little more incentive) I went with what I thought was a good choice and I am guessing way more than I need... but, that seems to be the story of my life.

The Sale Price on the unit was $1929.00. Northern Tool does not include the engine oil or hydraulic Oil but I got to choose the oil I wanted and made sure I got really good product for it... and yea TS and HD came with the units all oiled up... but honestly the cost was less than $100 and this way NT is responsible for everything.

Now for the "Gotcha" (for someone that wants it assembled and ready to go) I was told that they would assemble it for $150.00 ... Ok at least with a little luck the shop knows better than I would and they have the tools I don't. So the guy says, If you buy our extended warranty protection for $199.00 they would assemble it for me... but here is the deal... the warranty adds 1 year additional for all the components so the hydrolics and parts go from 4 to 5 years the Honda Engine goes from 3 years to 4 years . Further more from Day 1 they cover everything 100% even if it's my fault (we will see about that) of course it does not cover any normal wear bout no other companies do that anyway). Were Sales Tax Exempt (farm certificate)

All in all did I spend more than I needed? Sure I did but after for 2 years looking at many used pieces of crap for not much of a discount from new and the lack of sellers in the area not to mention no inventory I hope I have a piece of equipment that will just work for years with out any trouble and I can split any size long that I can find :)

They will call me in a few days to come pick it up and then, the fun begins.

Thanks again for all the comments they were very helpful in getting a better understanding of these things...
 
Thanks for the Update !
Post some pics when you get your unit... Along with the sh*t eating grin ...
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,350
NE Ohio
Do i need a 37 Ton.... Heck no
Certainly not...there are quite a few here that split all their wood with a 5-7 ton electric splitter...I have a 5 ton in the garage that I use for resplitting "too big" splits...I almost never stall it.
Congrats on your new "Hoss" though! :cool:
 
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Mutineer

Burning Hunk
Dec 13, 2018
116
NE Ohio
Also remember that you'll be able to sell it somewhere down the road for 40-70% of what you paid. Deduced that from your projected usage rate and from what appears to be your motives to keep things clean and nice looking. Most of the splitters I see, including mine, look like they've been through a ground war but still keep cranking away, thus I suspect that a lot of the ones you looked at from CL and the like were probably fine.