Review - 20 ton splitter - Northern Tool

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Jan 19, 2006
Millbrook, NY
Having accumulated a large quantity of cut logs, I decided it would be worth my while to rent a splitter for a day to crank out 3-4 cords all at once.

Picked up the splitter Friday 5PM and got in about 2 1/2 hours that evening. A bracket on a plate supporting the oil pump gear drive connection broke and I had to fabricate a sheet metal replacement which wasted about 30 minutes of my time... so much for a rental saving me hassle. It also had a cracked primer bulb, requiring about 30 pulls to start, and a leak in a hydraulic line. All-Rents in Poughkeepsie is terrible - not the first time I've had problems with them. (for all you locals on here!)

Those issues aside, it worked well. Couldn't find anything that it wouldn't split - cleaned up all my old gnarly chunks that I could never split by hand, and I'd estimate I split somewhere between 3-4 cords. Also used very little gas - probably not more than a gallon over the entire day of operation, so that was good. When my wife helped, we'd run it horizontal, with one person loading and one running the ram, which sped things up. The hydraulics aren't terribly fast, so it helps to have one person queue it up while the other clears the splits and sets up the next log. On my own, I generally ran it vertically. Good design made it easy to manage by myself when needed. I really can't imagine in what scenario any homeowner would need a larger more powerful unit - this thing got through anything we threw at it. Tecmuseh (sp?) engine was nice as well - no complaints.

All that said, looking back, I have to say that I'm torn on whether this was really easier. I got a lot done in about 10 hours, but it was no walk in the park - not even close. Compared to spending 30 minutes here and there throughout the year, I'm not sure it was really any easier - especially on wood like ash that is fun to split; probably worth it more for stringy stuff. Perhaps if you own one, then you don't need to get it all done in a day, but at a cost of $1000 + shipping, it's pretty hard to justify - especially if you can find a reliable rental for $60/day where you don't have to worry abut maintenance and can leave that money invested. I guess I have a year to think about it as I'm well ahead at this point... will see how motivated I am to pick up the maul again over the next year!



New Member
My Dad and I bought one a couple of years ago and I just love having it. I can split for an hour or two whenever I have a chance. If I was renting, I would feel like I was in a race to split as much wood as fast as I could to get the splitter back quickly.


Minister of Fire
Mar 2, 2007
South Western Wisconsin
I have the Northern Tool 22 ton splitter and my pump fell off also. I welded the plate on and added some triangular braces in the corners. This is my second splitter and I really like it.

I cut and split over the season when I have the time and energy, with the weather playing a big part. Probably not saving any money from renting but it's a convenience. I hook it to my ATV and drive in the woods and split right on the spot. Then trailer the wood to the pile.

As much as I use it, it should last a lifetime.
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