Log Splitter Buying Guide

Power, Speed, or Both? How Many Tons of Force Do I Need?

Operational Factors

The first thing you need to determine when deciding what kind of log splitter to buy is how many tons of force you need. Do you need power, speed, or both? What type of wood you split is going to be a big factor in making this decision.

Soft wood like pine, cedar, and cypress split easily and won’t require much tonnage. If you are splitting mostly soft, straight-grain or dry, seasoned wood, 22 to 28 tons of power will suffice.

If slow-burning hard wood will be in your wood stove this winter, then how many tons of force your log splitter can produce is much more of a factor. Types of hard wood, like oak, ash, and poplar require a little more power to split. Especially a hard wood like elm, which is extremely difficult to split because of its interlocking grain.

A 37 ton splitter like the RS-537 or RS-737 will make short work of most variations of hard wood. With 37 tons of power, that “un-split-able” pile will start going away real quick. It has the tonnage to bust through large diameter rounds, and will even handle that tough green wood.

The speed of your log splitter may be a more detrimental factor in your buying decision. A fast cycle time, like you will enjoy with the RS-322, 22 ton log splitter is a great choice. The 300 series of wood splitters also comes with an optional hydraulic log lift, making the back-breaking task of lifting logs onto the beam a thing of the past.

The 700 series is even fast enough to compete with some wood processors. A two-man team can produce a cord of 30 inch wood to feed the hungriest outdoor boiler in just over an hour – sometimes less!

Bottle necks are an important operational factor. Oversize ports on valves and cylinders increase flow while reducing friction, and therefore, heat – a log splitter’s worst enemy. Our splitters all have large fluid capacity and ¾ inch ports where it matters most, keeping hydraulic fluid cool and flowing freely.

Technical Factors

How many tons of force and how fast a log splitter is depends on its cylinder, power source, and pump. You can’t get more power or speed by just increasing the size of one of these components. All three are the heart and soul of a log splitter.

Consider a log splitter’s cylinder. The inner diameter (ID) and the rod size of a cylinder are the specs that matter most. The larger a cylinder’s rod, the faster it will be on the return stroke, reducing overall cycle time.

The length of the rod will also be important. The longer the rod, the longer the cycle time will be. If you need longer pieces of wood to burn more efficiently in your furnace, then you will need a 30” stroke, like you will get with the RS-737-LE-LK.

The engine on your splitter must be able to maintain 3,600 rpms under load to be a viable source of power. We only use commercial grade motors on all our log splitters. That means they are more than capable of powering your log splitter cord after cord, season after season. A cast iron sleeve and overhead valves (OHV) are specs of a true workhorse. Low oil sensors that stop your engine are standard on a RuggedMade log splitter engine, taking the fear factor out of the picture.

The hydraulic pump completes the trinity of overall performance of your log splitter. Pump size does matter – and, in this case, that means flow rate. How many gallons per minute (GPM) of hydraulic fluid the pump can push through the system directly correlates with how fast your cylinder rod will move in and out. The fluid capacity of your log splitter should be about half the GPM of your pump. So, a 16 GPM pump needs an 8 gallon system.

Engine Choice

The convenience of electric start is a no-brainer for those of us who have previously only dealt with pull start engines. Our electric start option will not break the bank like our competitors will do to you. E-start is just $100 more. We offer a battery at a great price, so you know you are getting the right size and amps.

What Are My Blade Choices?

A 4-way blade is more than twice as fast as a simple blade. Once you split four ways, you will wonder why you never did before.

RuggedMade log splitters all come standard with a 4-way blade because we are log splitter people and we understand why you should not be without that feature.

Horizontal vs. Horizontal/Vertical

Both types of log splitters can split logs that are too heavy to lift. Determining which type is best for you largely depends on your budget and if you want to split large rounds on the ground or not.

Splitters that can tip up into a vertical work mode allow you to split a log on the ground that you do not want to lift onto the beam. It is a design feature that makes the machine cost less.

Horizontal (push-through) log splitters allow a more efficient continuous flow onto a catcher tray or conveyor belt; and a hydraulic log lift can be added, like on the RS-322-LE-LK and RS-737-LE-LK.

Our horizontal models also come with a very unique and useful feature you will not find elsewhere: the stroke restrictor. For example, with this device in place, you can produce 24” or 30” logs on the RS-737.

Ergonomics

All our models are ergonomically friendly and easy to configure for storage and towing. RuggedMade log splitters are all designed with the operator in mind. Where every component is on the splitter was taken into consideration, leaving room to stand and operate safely and comfortably.

With a waist-height work surface (about 31” from level ground to the top of the beam), bending over is minimized and your back will thank you for that. Centrally mounted valves means no unnatural reaching to work the controls, and it can be operated from either side.

Log lifts can be installed on either side of applicable models. Operators working solo usually install the log lift on the same side as the engine for convenient loading, splitting and engine management. Two or more operators can install it on the opposite side from the engine so people do not get in each other’s way.

Quality

Heavy Duty, Commercial Grade

RuggedMade products allow you to tackle the tougher logs that light-duty splitters from big box stores cannot handle. Heavy gauge steel is used throughout, including structural steel beams, the tongue, the cradles, the log stripper, the blade and the tank. Most of our steel is laser-cut (not stamped) and the precision and strength we put into the quality of our welds means you are splitting with a machine that can stand the test of time.

Value

Loaded with features and build quality usually found only on machines three times the price. RuggedMade splitters are priced right for the homeowner or independent firewood seller.

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