Kinetic vs hydraulic

saewoody

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2017
456
CT
I'm beginning to consider a splitter and really like the idea and speed of the kinetic splitter. Ive been using my generous neighbors 22T Huskee splitter for a few seasons for several cases of beer at a time.

I've read as many threads as I can on the forum, but a lot of the ones specific to kinetic splitters are older, and I am hoping that maybe there are some more recent thoughts on them.

I will be splitting at least 5+ cords per year. I feel like I am doing a lot of standing around while I am waiting for the hydraulic splitter to get through a log. I usually am splitting about 16" long rounds. I will split as large a round as I can get up on the splitter, which can be 24" or larger sometimes. Anything I can't get up on the splitter I will split with a maul or wedge until I can get onto the splitter. I don't generally split vertically because I prefer to stand. Also, I scrounge the vast majority of my wood, so it is not always the prettiest, straightest wood.

So ultimately, I would like to hear people's thoughts/ experiences on kinetic vs hydraulic. And I am wondering if anyone has ever gone with a kinetic splitter and realized it was worth it, or wasn't advantageous over a hydraulic.

Thanks for any advice in advance.


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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
My take-away, although I don't own one myself, is that kinetic splitters make a great second splitter. The reason I say this is that hydraulic splitters, while slower, will get through anything. Kinetic splitters are much faster, but do poorly with anything that's not straight and clean. If you have a hydraulic to back it up, where you can do the gnarly stuff, then a kinetic splitter will get through the majority of your work much more quickly.
 

saewoody

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2017
456
CT
Seems like a logical point. However, about the toughest wood I have ever run through my splitter is sycamore, which I don't think I will ever get again. I actually had to flip it over and finish the split from the other side. I have seen videos of a kinetic splitter go through that with two hits. That is still much faster than what I experienced with the hydraulic splitter.


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Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
Then you might be a good candidate for one. The other argument some have against them is safety, but I own many machines less safe than a kinetic splitter, so I'd not let that be a deciding factor.
 

saewoody

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2017
456
CT
Then you might be a good candidate for one. The other argument some have against them is safety, but I own many machines less safe than a kinetic splitter, so I'd not let that be a deciding factor.
Good point. There is seemingly always a push to legislate common sense and intelligence! The new kinetic splitters seem to be a two hand operation so that you are forced to keep that second hand away from the piece being split. I would actually prefer a one handed operation.


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Jazzberry

Minister of Fire
Dec 17, 2014
645
Next to Yosemite
I have never tried a kinetic but I can say I don't have a wish for anything faster than my hydraulic. Tradeoff for speed is danger and my son and I have been known to drink a beer or two when splitting wood.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,668
SEPA
I'm beginning to consider a splitter and really like the idea and speed of the kinetic splitter. Ive been using my generous neighbors 22T Huskee splitter for a few seasons for several cases of beer at a time.

I've read as many threads as I can on the forum, but a lot of the ones specific to kinetic splitters are older, and I am hoping that maybe there are some more recent thoughts on them.

I will be splitting at least 5+ cords per year. I feel like I am doing a lot of standing around while I am waiting for the hydraulic splitter to get through a log. I usually am splitting about 16" long rounds. I will split as large a round as I can get up on the splitter, which can be 24" or larger sometimes. Anything I can't get up on the splitter I will split with a maul or wedge until I can get onto the splitter. I don't generally split vertically because I prefer to stand. Also, I scrounge the vast majority of my wood, so it is not always the prettiest, straightest wood.

So ultimately, I would like to hear people's thoughts/ experiences on kinetic vs hydraulic. And I am wondering if anyone has ever gone with a kinetic splitter and realized it was worth it, or wasn't advantageous over a hydraulic.

Thanks for any advice in advance.


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Watch your fingers!
 

Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,599
Indiana
How much you wanting to spend? I have ran both.There are hydraulic splitters with 6 sec cycle times..The kinetic wins hands down for speed in easy wood. Try running hedge or elm on a kinetic and its worthless. It will not replace the brute force of a hydraulic splitter. I scrounge a lot myself and follow a logger around cleaning up tops.I turn down nothing. Only a hydraulic splitter will meet my needs. I run a 4 and 6 way wedge head on it and as a result 4 to 6 pieces are the end result for each stroke of the rams 10 second cycle time with out worrying about maiming myself.If you have not ran a kinetic I strongly suggest you seek one out and run it first...Everything considered...I wasn't impressed after running one. Don't misconstrue as they certainly have their place if all you will ever split is cherry hand picked stuff.
 

jotul8e2

Minister of Fire
Feb 2, 2008
580
Ozarks
Some hydraulic splitters are very slow while others are much faster. Anyone who can work solo and is impatient with a 10 second cycle is moving pretty fast. Mine is about 12 seconds and it is plenty fast for me.

Faster = more expensive, though.
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
4,720
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
I personally don't 'get' kinetic splitters unless you burn 15 cords a year, or you process firewood commercially.

Anything the kinetic splitter can do, I do with my maul. Anything they can't do is what the hydraulic splitter is for.

If I had a kinetic splitter, I do not think I would use it, because I am trying to be kind to my back these days. Might save some time, though.
 
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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,217
Northern Maine
Do a search here. Lots of posts about the good and bad. I'm also guessing many of the nay sayers have never run one.

I love my Super Split but I don't scrounge for wood. Maple, ash, beech and red birch is what's growing near me.
 
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saewoody

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2017
456
CT
Do a search here. Lots of posts about the good and bad. I'm also guessing many of the nay sayers have never run one.

I love my Super Split but I don't scrounge for wood. Maple, ash, beech and red birch is what's growing near me.
I did start off by reading a lot of older posts, but they are getting to be several years old at this point. I am hoping to hear from people that have run both types of splitters and are familiar with the pros and cons of the kinetic splitters.

Thanks for all the replies so far.


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Bad LP

Minister of Fire
Nov 28, 2014
1,217
Northern Maine
I did start off by reading a lot of older posts, but they are getting to be several years old at this point. I am hoping to hear from people that have run both types of splitters and are familiar with the pros and cons of the kinetic splitters.

Thanks for all the replies so far.


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That's odd. Kinetic splitters were recently covered about a month ago. I've run both. I was not looking to get away with spending the least amount of money possible. I buy better stuff knowing it holds its value over the long haul. Try and buy a used Super Split. I couldn't find any when I was looking.

Anyway, I've rented hydros a few times and my back hurts just looking at them being so low.
I looked at Timberwolf splitters but did not run one. I have known about SS for many years as a friend owned one over 30 years ago and see them in commercial use by both serious wood burners as well as wood cutters. They are so simple. No hoses, fittings, pumps, oil, filters, ect.

For me personally my time is valuable. Standing over a painfully slow unit would drive me insane when I got better things to be doing in the spring and fall like fishing or hunting. If I was a roadside wood hunter taking whatever I could put my hands on for heat I might thing otherwise on a SS. As it stands now, my crap gets burned in the firepit but my wood guy doesn't bring much of it. I have 14 acres of woods and when I cut anything off it I'll leave the crap behind because you can't stack it worth a damn.

Would I buy a cheap Made in China anything? Not if I can help it. SS is made in Mass with casting parts from NH. The SS has done everything I've asked it to. I have no regrets on spending the money on it and the TW was going to be in the same 3K ballpark. Some people buy Harbor Freight tools and others buy Snap On. It all boils down to what you want and how much your willing to spend on it.
 

TreePointer

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2010
3,094
PA
Some hydraulic splitters are very slow while others are much faster. Anyone who can work solo and is impatient with a 10 second cycle is moving pretty fast. Mine is about 12 seconds and it is plenty fast for me.

Faster = more expensive, though.
You make a good point. It's not fair to say all hydraulic splitters are "fast enough." I've used rental splitters with annoyingly slow cycle times (> 15s), and I hated them. There are even some times I wish my 35-ton Huskee (15s) were faster. If I had to buy one today, I'd shoot for something around 10s or faster...or a Super Split.
 
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blades

Minister of Fire
Nov 23, 2008
3,518
WI, Leroy
I have a hydro unit - fast enough for me- but I anit no spring chicken anymore- and no matter the type of splitter unless you are just going to leave the splits in a pile or trying to sell it speed isn't all its cracked up to be. kinda like the guy driving at break neck speed that you pull next to at every light when you have not exceeded the speed limit. My splitter will split just about anything and as I work alone it fast enough to keep me jumping as most are. Hydro units are very simple and petty much problem free. Kinetics well lots more to get fouled up- racks, gears, springs. My motor, pump, love joy, and ram are 17 years old Replaced a couple hoses over the years nothing I could not source local.wore the valve out once so far. Actually everything on it can be sourced local. Min 4 cord a year but I have put up three times that once in awhile.
 
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DodgyNomad

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
557
West Michigan
I personally don't 'get' kinetic splitters unless you burn 15 cords a year, or you process firewood commercially.

Anything the kinetic splitter can do, I do with my maul. Anything they can't do is what the hydraulic splitter is for.

If I had a kinetic splitter, I do not think I would use it, because I am trying to be kind to my back these days. Might save some time, though.

When I was younger, I had looked at the kinetic splitters because I've always been a rush rush rush kind of guy who tries to maximize efficiency on work tasks.

But, after looking at them and really paying attention to the time and motions, I feel that I'm plenty fast enough using my 22 ton Speeco. I honestly feel that I couldn't process any more wood SAFELY over the course of a few hours than I do now.

The key is not wasting motion, and keeping busy while you're splitting. In my case, here's the real time savers:

I have marked on the outside edge of my splitter cradel a yellow paint line where 17" is on the return stroke, so I'm only bringing the wedge back 1" beyond the length of my bucked firewood, as I cut everything to 16". Not wasting time returning the wedge too far ends up saving time and wasted motion in both directions.

I've hand filed my wedge edge so that it's fairly sharp, as it's really just a slow speed axe or maul, but I didn't change the geometry of the wedge. I noticed quite a difference when splitting big, gnarly oak rounds, as my wedge had a few imperfections in it from the factory, and was a bit rounded on the leading edge. Machine splits more quickly and with less effort, which should help the life of it. I also filed down the nut and bolt that hold the splitter to the ram, as they were making contact with the wood and causing additional friction and drag.

I only run the splitter as far down as is absolutely necessary to when the log is split, then hit the return lever. As the ram is retracting, I'm removing and placing my split in the wood rack, or trailer, or in the bucket of my loader, or tossing it on the pile depending on where I'm at and putting another log on the wood splitter as the ram is still retracting when possible.

In addition, I have a log catcher mounted on my splitter, which I think is an absolute must. As I'm returning the ram to the 17" mark, I'm quickly putting another bucked round or 2 depending on the size, and one on the cradle so they are right there and ready to be split.

I've paid attention to how far the ram normally travels before the wood is split and I hit the return on the detent valve, and it's usually right around 10" or so, give or take an inch or two depending on how straight or big the round is that I'm splitting. So the ram is normally only traveling 10" each way and I try to keep it moving and doing work as often as possible.

When you factor in things like where you place your splitter at the start of your job, where your wood source is located, and if you have someone helping you stack or feed your supply, I feel like my splitter is fast enough to keep up with me, especially after an hour or so.

I don't feel like there's much to be gained by going with a different type or faster wood splitter, to me the speed of the entire job relies on the overall efficiency of the operator. I haven't officially timed how long it takes me to split a full cord of wood, but having a faster wood splitter isn't going to increase my productivity substantially. Location of the trees I'm cutting, the time it takes me to fell the standing wood, then buck it up, then put it in the bucket of my front end loader or on a trailer and get it back to my woodpile is probably where there's more time to be made up in my case. So having a powerful saw, with the sharpest chain humanly possible, and tools like having a couple of good log jacks, speeds up my time in the woods. I run big, fast saws that throw big chips, and so I feel I gain time with all those things.

In the grand scheme of things, there is some, but not a ton to be gained if you're handling your wood as efficiently as possible from start to finish by speeding up the wood splitter, at least in my case working alone. Not to mention that hydraulic will go through anything I can throw at it, can be put upright to split vertically on great big stuff that I can't safely lift, and is much more reliable in the long run.
 

Ashful

Minister of Fire
Mar 7, 2012
15,715
Philadelphia
Some hydraulic splitters are very slow while others are much faster. Anyone who can work solo and is impatient with a 10 second cycle is moving pretty fast. Mine is about 12 seconds and it is plenty fast for me.

Faster = more expensive, though.
Most here balk at the $1k price of an 11 second hydraulic. All the 6 second hydraulics I know will set you back over $2200 for 22 tons, and more for more. I'm not arguing against 'em, just pointing out you gotta pay to play.
 

saewoody

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2017
456
CT
Thanks for all the helpful input. It has been helpful. Any thoughts on a 2 way splitter like the Harbor Freight version? I know it's probably not the highest quality, but it has good reviews. It won't be as fast as a kinetic, but there is no time wasted on the return, and it is hydraulic so it should get through most of whatever gets thrown at it.


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Tar12

Minister of Fire
Dec 9, 2016
1,599
Indiana
Get on youtube and you should be able to find a review on it.
 
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kennyp2339

Minister of Fire
Feb 16, 2014
5,042
07462
I would love to have a kinetic splitter, but I just can imagine trying to work up a 30" diameter piece of knotty red oak or maple. I'd also be suspicious of any company that imports there castings (particularly the fly wheels from China)
With that said, for 3k you can get an iron & oak 26ton fast speed hydro that can either be vertical or horizontal, cycle time is 8 sec from cradle to cradle. There's no waiting around with that splitter.
 

Gboutdoors

Burning Hunk
Nov 21, 2013
224
S.E. Massachusetts
I looked at both and bought a 22 ton Ariens for $1000.00. As others have said it's what you like and how you work. I find it fine with a 12 sec. cycle time.

I work alone and have my system set up that works for me.
IMG_0677.JPG

I go from tree
IMG_0692.JPG

To trailer
IMG_0667.JPG

To splitter
IMG_0698.JPG

To stacks all in the same day. No down time no rush no stress. I don't think for me anyway a Super Split would make any difference at all. Other than $2000 and that my friend buys a lot of toys or BEER.
 

saewoody

Feeling the Heat
Feb 15, 2017
456
CT
I looked at both and bought a 22 ton Ariens for $1000.00. As others have said it's what you like and how you work. I find it fine with a 12 sec. cycle time.

I work alone and have my system set up that works for me.
View attachment 196487
I go from tree
View attachment 196488
To trailer
View attachment 196486
To splitter
View attachment 196489
To stacks all in the same day. No down time no rush no stress. I don't think for me anyway a Super Split would make any difference at all. Other than $2000 and that my friend buys a lot of toys or BEER.
That looks like an nice efficient operation! I'm curious what you are using to cover your stacks. It's hard to tell from the pics. Thanks for your input.


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Archer39

Feeling the Heat
Sep 23, 2009
287
Pottstown PA
As someone who owns both (husky 22t and a dr rapid fire 28pro) I can tell you that there is no comparison between the two. When it comes to speed the kinetic wins hands down. The rapid fire cuts the time almost in half. The type of wood I split is similar to yours where I don't go after the huge stuff or the really ugly stuff. If is ugly, it gets left in the woods. It's not worth my time or effort. Any one who says they don't think it would speed up there splitting processe has not used a kenitic splitter or are blind to what a kinetic offers over a traditional hydro unit.

If the amount of time you spend splitting wood is a concern get the kinetic unit. If there are a few pcs a year it just won't split burn them in a firepit or throw them back in the woods. I work a full time job and own my own business so time with my wife and son are more valuable to me.