Comparing petrol, electric, and manual log splitters for price and performance

Nothing quite beats relaxing on your patio while watching flames do their trance-inducing dance. It doesn’t matter if it’s in your living room fireplace or the fire pit in the garden, the cosiness that comes from a log burning fire is hard to top.

To create those warming fires you need fuel, and that means getting your hands on a fair number of logs. Now, you can choose to order them delivered from outside, and there’s nothing wrong with that, or you can save yourself a lot of money and make your own firewood.

Of course, you’ll need to have your own land with trees to cut down, or access and permission to somewhere that does, a good old chainsaw, and a log splitter. Log splitters are amazing tools for creating firewood and kindling, and there are quite a few different types to choose from.

This article s dedicated to comparing petrol, electric, and manual log splitters, to see how they stack up against each other for things like price, performance, and other important factors. Hopefully, we can guide you in the right direction and help you buy the right type for your needs.

Or you can just go old school like this, if you prefer (second video down)- 😉

How do petrol, electric, and manual log splitters compare for price?

There is a huge difference in price between the cheapest log splitters and the most expensive, so it’s important to understand what you should expect to pay for each type. To keep things as easy to follow as possible, we have broken down this section into separate parts and will look at the price ranges for each kind of log splitter, and also their sub-types when deemed relevant.

Manual log splitter prices

There are a few tools that could be classified as manual log splitters. For example, you have the type that use gravity to drop a cutting wedge down to spit the wood, these are sometimes called Swedish splitters and usually cost around 80-100 pounds on Amazon.

Then there are the splitting wedges that you use with a sledgehammer. These are the lowest-tech, and therefore the cheapest option, with some wedges costing less than ten pounds and even the best ones being available for thirty quid.

Foot-operated log splitters resemble oversized foot pumps and work in a similar way. You use your foot to create hydraulic pressure and that in turn splits the wood via a wedge. These can vary in price from around 80 quid for a cheap one, right up to 300 pounds or so for a high-quality model with a few extra features.

This guy decided to really save money on his and built it himself! Clever guy.

Electric log splitter prices

The size of your electric log splitter will affect the price, as will the size of the engine that is powering it. You can expect to pay around 250 pounds for a smaller electric log splitter and in excess of 600 pounds for a larger one with more power. There are 2 main types of electric log splitter and they are horizontal ones and vertical ones, but this doesn’t seem to affect the price and you can find cheaper and more expensive versions of each type.

Petrol log splitters prices

Petrol log splitters are the most expensive type available, and it is not that shocking to have to pay in the thousands for one. There are also the fuel costs to consider with petrol log splitters, as well as money spent on maintenance and services too. These machines are usually used by professionals though, and would probably be an exorbitant treat for most average homeowners. This is how I feel when I think about buying a top tier petrol log splitter-

There are numerous accessories available for log splitters, and we have reviewed the best of them in our article, simply named best log splitter accessories that you can check out by clicking the link provided.


Log splitting performance- petrol, electric, and manual splitters compared

There is a correlation between price and performance when it comes to log splitters, the more you pay, the more powerful the machine. However, that doesn’t mean that you have to spend thousands on a petrol splitter to get something useful. In fact, for most people a petrol machine is far more than they would ever need, and should only be considered for commercial use, or if you intend to split tough woods like oak, elm, and ash, at large diameters.

An electric splitter, especially one of the larger ones, should more than suffice for the vast majority of people, and will have enough power to split most, if not all, types of wood depending on the size of the logs. For example, a Forest Master 2200-watt, 5-ton, electric splitter can handle logs of up to 12 inches in diameter, and that isn’t even a particularly large machine. Here’s a 10 ton electric splitter in action-

Manual log splitters are really only mean to be used with smaller logs, say around 4-6 inches in diameter and 18 inches long, but it does depend on the particular product. It is possible to split larger logs with just a splitting wedge and sledgehammer, but it takes some knowledge and skill to do it properly. You can of course, always use an axe and pretend you’re a lumberjack but, again, that is a lot of hard work.

Different types of log splitters- pros and cons

No product is perfect, and here we will highlight the pros and cons of each type of log splitter so that you know exactly what you’ll be getting yourself into.

Manual log splitters

One of the best things about manual log splitters is that they are much cheaper than electric and petrol models. Even a high-end product would cost a fraction of a mid-range electric splitter. As well as a low price, there is very little maintenance involved with manual machines, and no running costs either. There are also no fumes and very little noise while using them.

The downsides to manual log splitters are that it takes a fair bit of physical work to operate them, and this might not be ideal for some people, especially those with injuries or disabilities. The fact that they are only really suited to splitting smaller logs also reduces their practicality for some tasks. This tweet shows how they can be used for just this type pf splitting job-

Electric log splitters

When compared with petrol machines, electric versions of any tool tend to be quieter and easier to operate. It is as true with log splitters as it is with chippers, leaf blowers, and any other garden tool. Electric log splitters can handle much larger logs than any manual tool, and you won’t be exhausted after working through a pile of logs.

There are higher costs with electric splitters than manual ones, both for the initial layout and running costs in the form of an electric bill, and these machines are usually much larger too, so you’ll need to find space in your garage or shed to store it. Another thing to consider is that electric tools, apart from cordless ones, need to be connected to the mains so you’ll have to work near an outlet or invest in a good waterproof extension lead.

Petrol log splitters

For pure power, nothing really beats a petrol garden tool. Petrol chainsaws cut better than electric ones, petrol hedge trimmers get the job done faster than cordless ones, and petrol log splitters split the largest and thickest logs. Although they take some practice to become familiar with how to work them, petrol machines will last for years if kept serviced and will certainly outlive any electrical splitter.

Louder, smellier, and larger, are all ways to describe petrol log splitters, but that’s just par for the course, and to be fair, modern petrol splitters, just like petrol brush cutters and lawnmowers, have been designed to keep the noise and fumes down to a minimum and they aren’t that unpleasant to use at all.

That’s all for today folks. We feel we have covered the main things to know about the different types of log splitters and how they compare, even in a short article like this one. We sincerely hope that this has helped steer you towards making the right choice, and possibly even have saved you from making a costly mistake. If you have any other queries about garden tools or DIY projects, please use our search function as we have hundreds of articles on this website just waiting to be read.

About Terry Smith

I’m Terry Smith from, a professional landscape designer, hobbyist gardener, and barbecue fanatic with 20 years experience building and restoring. So as you go through my site you'll watch me document some of the professional garden installs I make as well as the major projects I take on at home. While sharing those experiences and guiding you, I'll be recommending some great tools I use to enable this along the way so you can really buy in confidence. Always feel free to pop me a message:

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