How to Find the Best Manual Log Splitter

A manual log splitter helps make the tedious job of cutting wood easier and less labor intensive so that you can focus your energy elsewhere. But, with so many different styles and types of manual log splitters on the market, how can you select the best one for your needs? Today, we’ll cover everything you need to know so you can select the best manual log splitter, and we’ll take a closer look at five of the top models on the market today.

Let’s get right into it, shall we? Here are the top five best manual log splitter options that are available today.

5 Best Manual Log Splitters 2019 -Reviewed

1. Logosol Smart-Splitter

The Smart-Splitter from Logosol is one of the most popular and well-engineered slide hammers on the market, and it might be the ideal tool for you if you’re looking for a slide hammer to handle your wood splitting needs.

This well-designed splitter makes using a slide hammer safer, easier, and more precise than ever before. The Smart-Splitter features a long, adjustable foot which clamps down on the wood to hold it in place while you split the log.

Once secured, simply raise the handle and drive it down into the log to begin splitting. Depending on the thickness of the log, you should have a perfectly split log with just a few strikes.

The Smart-Splitter can handle logs up to 21 ¾” long and any width, which makes this product uniquely suited for wider logs that need to be split into multiple pieces.

The tool itself is small, lightweight, and easy to store away when it’s not in use. This splitter comes backed by a two-year warranty, but with so few moving parts it’s easy to see this splitter lasting for decades.

What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • More precise than other slide hammers
  • Accommodates logs of any width

What Could Be Better

  • Expensive

2. EasyGoProducts Kindle Jack

The Kindle Jack from EasyGoProducts is a uniquely designed kindle splitter that allows you to get twice as much done in half the time.

Unlike other kindle splitters, which feature one wedge which splits the log in two, this splitter has two wedges, and it can split logs into four pieces.

This splitter is made from durable cast iron, and it can accommodate logs up to 6 ½” in diameter. This portable splitter can be picked up and moved to anywhere you need it to go, or, it can also be attached to a tree stump or other work surface thanks to the integrated bolt holes on the base of the tool.

What We Like

  • Easy to use
  • Splits logs into four pieces – cuts working time in half
  • Built to last

What Could Be Better

  • Only accommodates logs up to 6 ½” in diameter

3. Sun Joe Logger Joe LJ10M

The Logger Joe from Sun Joe is an easy to use and powerful hydraulic log splitter that allows you to make quick work of your log splitting tasks.

This hydraulic splitter is made from solid steel for added durability, and it has wheels so you can easily transport it wherever you need.

The powerful hydraulic mechanism can generate up to 10 tons of splitting force, making it ideal for splitting even the strongest hardwoods. Extra long handles make it easier to generate the leverage you need for splitting large, dense, logs.

The Logger Joe can accommodate logs up to 18” long with an 8” diameter, and Sun Joe backs this product with a full two-year warranty.

What We Like

  • Powerful – generates up to 10 tons of force
  • Long handles for added leverage
  • Easy to use

What Could Be Better

  • Slightly more time consuming than other hydraulic models


4. Kindling Cracker King XL Kindling Splitter

If you’re looking for a kindle splitter, but you haven’t been able to find one that’s large enough to accommodate bigger logs, the King XL from Kindling Cracker may be ideal for you.

The King XL is 40% larger than the original Kindling Cracker, which allows it to accommodate logs up to 9” in diameter. This model is also taller, allowing you to split longer logs without running out of room.

This portable log splitter can be carried to wherever you need it, or it can be bolted in place by using the bolt holes located on the base of the tool. The Kindling Cracker is made from solid cast iron in Australia, and it’s built for years of use.

What We Like

  • Accommodates larger logs than other kindle splitters
  • Never needs sharpening
  • Built to last

What Could Be Better

  • Has difficulty splitting extremely dense hardwoods

5. Ironton 10-Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter

As one of the most trusted names in the business, Ironton’s hydraulic log splitters are among the most popular and well-used on the market.

This splitter features an impressive 10 tons of splitting force with its two-speed manual pump. It can make quick work of logs up to 18” long with a diameter of 6 ½” or narrower.

It features a 4” wedge with a log cradle for preventing split logs from falling to the sides, and the hydraulic cylinder has an automatic return feature to help save time and energy as you split logs.

Large 4” wheels and an integrated pull handle make it easy to transport the splitter wherever you need to go. While this splitter is indeed built to last, it only includes a one-year warranty, which is half the length of most competitors.

What We Like

  • Plenty of power
  • Easy to use and transport
  • Log cradle keeps cut logs from falling

What Could Be Better

  • Only recommended for logs 6 ½” in diameter or narrower

Manual Log Splitter Buying Guide

Before you head out to shop for a new log splitter, there’s some important characteristics and features you’ll need to consider before you buy. Depending on which style of log splitter and features are best for you, you’ll be able to narrow the field and select a perfect match.

Types of Manual Log Splitters

There are four different types of manual log splitters you’ll need to be become familiar with before deciding on which type is best for you.


Hydraulic log splitters are usually the most popular for homeowners. These splitters make use of hydraulic force to make it easier to split wood and help you conserve energy.

Hydraulic splitters feature two handles that you pump back and forth to engage the hydraulic mechanism inside. Once engaged, the downward force of the hydraulics drives a wedge through the log, splitting it in half.

These splitters tend to be easy to use, and they’re less labor intensive than other manual splitters.

Slide Hammer

A slide hammer is an ingenious tool that combines the functionality of a hammer and wedge into one tool.

Slide hammers feature a large, heavy wedge attaches to a shaft. A heavily weighted sleeve is placed over the shaft, and it’s able to slide up and down the length of the shaft.

To use a slide hammer, you place the wedge along the grain in the area you’d like to split the wood, raise the weight, and drive it down to the wedge. It usually takes several thrusts to split the log, especially if it’s thick.

Kindle Splitter

A kindle splitter provides a safer alternative to splitting logs with an axe or hatchet, but still follows the same basic premise of those tools.

Kindle splitters are usually made from steel or iron and feature a cage that you feed the log through, with a wedge in the middle. To use a kindle splitter, simply place the log into the cage, and hit the top of the wood with a hammer or mallet until the wedge in the middle splits the log.

Features to Consider

Once you’ve decided on which type of log splitter is going to be the best fit for your needs, you’ll want to take a closer look at some of the features which differentiate each type of splitter.


Perhaps the most important feature to consider is the power of the splitter or lack thereof.

Of the three types of manual log splitters we discussed above, only the hydraulic splitters are powered. That means that with a slide hammer or kindle splitter, the user is responsible for generating all the power.

If you’re strong and capable, or if you’re just looking for a good workout, a slide hammer or kindle splitter may be good options for you. Meanwhile, if you’re looking to spend less effort splitting logs, a hydraulic splitter may be the best choice for you.

The power of a hydraulic splitter is measured in tons, and a splitting force of somewhere in the realm of 10 tons is usually more than enough to tackle any size log.


A major point to consider when dealing with most log splitters is their capacity. While slide hammers can be used with virtually any size log, hydraulic splitters and kindle splitters both have inherent capacity restrictions you’ll want to be aware of.

With hydraulic splitters, the length of the log is the most considerable concern. Most hydraulic splitters can only handle logs that are 18-24” long.

With a kindle splitter, the diameter of the log is the concern, as logs that are too large in diameter will not be able to fit through the cage for cutting. Most kindle splitters can only handle logs up to 6 ½” in diameter. But, some larger models can accommodate logs with larger diameters.


The last thing you’ll want to consider is how quickly the product can split logs. With kindle splitters and slide hammers, the work is relatively slow, and working through a large number of logs can soon become an all-day affair.

Meanwhile, hydraulic splitters allow you to work more quickly, while also preserving more energy. However, if you’re looking for the fastest operation possible, you’ll want to consider an gas powered or electric log splitter.


Q: Which manual log splitter is easiest to use?

All manual log splitters require hard work and elbow grease to get the job done. However, you may find that one is more comfortable for you to use than the others.

With a hydraulic splitter, you’ll have less physical work to do to split the logs, but you’ll still need to bend over to remove the split wood and replace it with the next log you’re cutting. This is tedious, and after a while, it can be especially taxing on your back.

Slide hammers and kindle splitters require less of this up and down motion, but they need the user to generate the force used to split the log, and it’s easy to get fatigued.

In general, most people find hydraulic splitters to be the easiest to use, but your mileage may vary.

Q: Do I have to sharpen the splitting wedge?

Sharpening the splitting wedge ensures that your log splitter is always in good condition and able to split logs as easily as possible. While it’s not required, sharpening the splitting wedge at the beginning of each season is a good way to keep your tool in top shape.

Final Verdict

When it comes to manual log splitters, there’s plenty of products on the market that can get the job done right. We covered five of the best options above, but, we believe one model rises to the top as the best manual log splitter available, and that’s the Sun Joe Logger Joe.

The Logger Joe features an impressive 10 tons of force, it’s capable of splitting larger logs than most competitors, and it’s built to last and backed by a strong warranty.

If you’re in the market for a hydraulic splitter, the Logger Joe is our personal favorite. Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a kindle splitter or slide hammer, we’d recommend the Kindle Jack or Logosol Smart-Splitter. Which will you choose? Sound off in the comments.

About Brandon Potters

Hi, I’m Brandon and I can’t express how excited I am that you chose The Saw Guy as your resource for project ideas, tool reviews, and all-around guide to the world of DIY. I spent years in the construction industry refining my knowledge of various trades and even spent a few years working at a major hardware store. ​If there is anyone who can help you make a well-informed, unbiased, budget-conscious decision, it’s me and my team.

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