You have a small budget, but the logs in your backyard are waiting to be cut for use as firewood in winter. Or maybe you are looking to supply wood to a local store and earn money on it. It doesn’t matter what your goal is – you need a log splitter to get going.
Your limited budget certainly doesn’t do you a favor. But this doesn’t mean that your situation is hopeless.
Below, we would like to give a few tips on choosing a log splitter on a budget, as well as talk about the options you have.
Buying VS Renting
On a tight budget, you might have been thinking about renting a log splitter. And while renting is a good option since it allows you to distribute your expenses over a long period, it isn’t always optimal.
If you are looking to complete only a few jobs, renting is excellent. In this case, you would likely spend less money on renting a log splitter than buying one.
Otherwise, if you have a high-volume splitting job that spans weeks or months, renting is actually not the most cost-efficient option. In the long run, you will spend a huge amount of money on a rented log splitter, much more than it would cost you to buy it.
What this means is that for high-volume jobs, it’s worth paying extra money to buy a high-performance log splitter.
Another option would be to find a tool service that is using the rent-to-own model. At the end of the lease, rent-to-own allows you to pay a small amount of money to purchase the tool. This could be costlier than outright buying the tool, but it would allow you to split the expenses over a long period.
If you have a good credit score, then consider taking a loan as well, but this may not be a feasible option if you are on a very tight budget.
Consider The Type Of The Splitter
Perhaps the most important thing to consider on a tight budget is the type of log splitter. There are three main log splitter types that you will see out there:
- Manual log splitters. In these log splitters, you split the wood manually by pulling a lever, striking the log with a sledgehammer, or wedge-splitting.
- Electric log splitters. These log splitters split logs at a push of a button. Check out best electric log splitter
- Gas log splitters. The same as electric log splitters, but the splitting mechanism runs on gas.
On a tight budget, nothing is going to beat a manual log splitter. Manual log splitters tend to be the cheapest of the three. Electric log splitters are a little pricier, and gas log splitters are usually the most expensive.
Manual log splitters require more effort from you for log splitting, but there are various designs that assist you with the job. Among the more capable options are hydraulic log splitters whose manual pumps can deliver up to 10 tons of force, depending on the model.
For some perspective, electric log splitters tend to deliver 5-15 tons of force, while gas splitters often produce over 30 tons.
Another type of manual log splitter is the slide log splitter. These log splitters operate like a wedge and can generate up to 10-15 tons of force depending on the model.
You also have simpler and cheaper cast iron splitters that have built-in ax blades. You place the log on top of the blade and hit it with a hammer or sledgehammer to force the log through the blade and split it. Such log splitters are cheaper and easier to maintain, but they won’t generate as much force as other manual splitters would.
What Wood Type Will You Be Splitting?
The type of wood is critical as well.
First off, is your wood hardwood or softwood? Hardwood will require more splitting force than softwood, so you’ll need a more powerful log splitter.
Then, is your wood freshly cut or seasoned? Freshly cut logs still have moisture in them and are more difficult to cut, thus requiring higher tonnage. Seasoned wood splits much easier than freshly cut wood.
By the way, what this means is that you can wait until your wood is seasoned before splitting. This will make your job much easier, and you won’t need as much tonnage.
How Big Are Your Logs?
The second thing to take into account is the size of your logs – namely, their length and diameter. The bigger your logs, the more force you will need to split them.
Usually, log splitter manufacturers list the maximum size of logs that their tool can split, so you should follow the given recommendations.
If you are on a tight budget and have small logs to split, a less powerful manual log splitter will most likely suffice. If you have thick and hard logs though, you may need more power than any manual splitter can deliver.
In this case, you’ll have to go for an electric or even a gas splitter. If you can afford to spend a few hundred dollars on these (which you probably can’t), then great. Otherwise, the best bet would be to rent an electric or gas splitter, at least initially.
Assess The Volume Of Your Job
How many logs you are intending to split and how often is also important.
Due to their nature, manual log splitters are better for low-volume jobs. This is because you need to apply some manual force to split the log. Such a manner of operation is tedious and time-consuming.
In contrast, electric and gas logs with their easy log setup and splitting are much better for high-volume jobs, especially if you have large and hard logs.
Well, what to do if you need to split a lot of wood every day but can’t afford gas or electric splitter? If you are not willing to spend hours a day on manually splitting logs, renting again is a decent option in this case. But do remember that renting can be costly in the long run, so if possible, do buy the desired log splitter.
I’ve been cutting wood since I was 8 years old with my father. I have been using log splitters for 7 years now and have a great deal of experience with them. Now I’ve got my own wood cutting & logging business and want to share my experience with my readers.