What’s the Best 5-Ton Log Splitter? We review 3 models we feel are worth your money. They all have their advantages and disadvantages, which we discuss so you can decide which one is right for you.
When winter comes and the temperature drops having a 5-ton log splitter nearby will ensure that you can keep the firewood burning whenever you need it.
5-Ton Log Splitter
Is a 5-ton log splitter big enough? I see this question being asked quite a lot. Large gas-powered log splitters usually range from 25-tons up to about 35-tons. So I can see why many people are skeptical about buying an electric 5-ton log splitter. What you really need to be asking is what size logs do you need to split and what type of wood. This is going to determine what size wood splitter, you need to use.
For most homeowners, electric log splitters are much more convenient, they’re much lighter than the gas-powered machines and are also way more compact – making them easier to store and transport. You also don’t have the noise that comes from using a gas engine, a quieter wood splitter isn’t going drive your neighbors up the wall. Then, of course, an electric log splitter isn’t going to require nearly as much maintenance. This means that they are a lot less hassle and cheaper to run.
If you’re on a tight budget the Dirty Hand Tools 100481 is a good choice
Another big factor that plays in favor of going is electric is price, they’re much cheaper than gas wood splitters. The one thing that an electric wood splitter doesn’t have is the power you that get from a gas engine. This means that electric log splitters are limited to around 5 tons of hydraulic pressure.
Wood splitters use a hydraulic ram to force a wedge into the log that they’re splitting. The force with which the ram presses against the log is measured in tons. So you can look at this as the amount of weight that would be pressing down on the wedge if it were in a vertical position. Of course, most wood splitters work in a horizontal position, though many can work either upright or flat. This really makes no difference, you’ll still be placing the equivalent of 5-tons force if this were done by gravity. The only difference is that this force is provided by hydraulic pressure – a 5-ton axe wouldn’t exactly be practical, never mind 35-tons.
So, what size logs can a 5-ton wood splitter handle?
If you’re dealing with really soft, dry wood, you could be able to split beams up to 10-inches in diameter. Though, in most cases, you’re looking at about 6-inches. It’s not that simple to determine how many tons you need to split a log. Hardwood will require much more pressure and this can be up to three times the power that you need to split really soft wood.
VIDEO | Watch the Sun Joe LJ602E 5-ton log splitter in action
Moisture content plays a big role in this. Wet, freshly cut wood won’t split as easily as dry wood. Generally, it’s recommended to leave your firewood to cure for about a year before burning it. This is also true if you want to split the wood using less power. Wood that’s been left to dry properly is more brittle and will split much easier.
I’d say that if you’re splitting pine or similar wood, it’s possible to split wood that’s about 6” thick, but some people claim to have split wood that’s around 12” thick. I think it also depends on whether the wood has knots in it or not, a log with knots is much harder to split. If you’re splitting Oak, maybe 3”-4” – you may be lucky and get through 6” pieces, but I wouldn’t recommend going much thicker than this. This is assuming that the wood has been left to dry out sufficiently. When looking at the length of the wood that you’re splitting with the 5-ton machine, it depends entirely on the length of your table. This is usually in the region of about 20”.
So a 5-ton electric log splitter doesn’t give anything like the power you’d get from a gas-powered machine. Though for most home users, this is sufficient and you’ll be able to split logs of a reasonable size into pieces that will fit easily into your fireplace or stove. Splitting your wood into a manageable size is not just for convenience. Wood that has been split will burn easier and you have more control over your fire.
While a 5-ton electric wood splitter costs considerably less than a large gas-powered log splitter, they’ll set you back a bit and this could be anything from around $250 up to $500. So you may wonder if it’s worth paying this much when you could buy wood that has already been split.
How much splitting power do you need? 30-tons? — YARDMAX YS3065
You really have to look at the price difference between a cord of wood that has been split and that which hasn’t. Multiply this by the number of cords you’ll be buying over the next 5-10 years and you’ll have your answer. My guess is that you’re going to be saving thousands of dollars over the years. It’s going to take a bit of effort on your part, someone actually has to operate the wood splitter. But compared to using an ax or a manual wood splitter, the work involved is minimal.
If you’re in the market for a high-quality 5-ton wood splitter, this review is going cover three of the best. When you look at these log splitters, they all provide the same sort of power and do very much the same job. Their prices range from the lower end to mid-priced options. The price difference is partly due to brand reputation, but mostly it’s about durability. The more expensive models are designed for more rugged and frequent use. So if you don’t intend working the machine too hard, a cheaper model should be fine. If you intend splitting larger volumes of wood more regularly, it would be better to consider one of the higher priced options.
Affordable 5-Ton Log Splitter w/ Hydraulic Ram
- Maximum Log Size : 10″ x 20.5″ logs
- Motor: 15 AMP
- Cycle time : 20 sec
- Maximum Splitting Force: 5 ton
- Maximum Log Diameter: 10″
- Maximum Log Length: 20.5″
- Easy Portability: 6″ wheels
- Dual handed safety switch system
- Comfort grip handle
- Weight: 92.6 pounds
- ETL approved
- Full 2-year warranty
Overview | Sun Joe LJ602E
This is the cheapest log splitter we’ll be reviewing here. The price tag of the Sun Joe LJ602E makes it excellent value for money. Though it’s recommended for light-duty residential use and may not be up to the kind of workload that you’ll get from the other two.
I would, by no means, call the Sun Joe a cheap piece of junk. It’s made from durable steel and has a really powerful 15A motor with a 1-gallon hydraulic capacity, providing 5-tons of log splitting force. The manufacturer recommendation is for logs up to 10” in diameter and 20.5” in length.
It weighs 97 LBS, which quite light and two large wheels make it easy to move. The wheels are one area where this log splitter shows a little bit of cost cutting – they don’t look all that tough. If I were to look for one other complaint, it would be that it only stands about 18” from the ground. This is not uncommon with log splitters, but as a tall guy, I find the strain of bending down all the time quite uncomfortable. Others may prefer the low height because it means that you’re not lifting the logs as high. So this is more of a personal thing.
It has a safety feature that requires you to use two hands to operate it. This means holding in the run button while you feed the wood through. This prevents you from accidentally starting the ram, but it does mean that you only have one free hand whilst working. It also has an overload reset to protect the motor.
So, in conclusion, I’d say that the Sun Joe LJ602 is a very easy and safe wood splitter to use, capable of handling the same size logs as any of the best. It’s affordability and good quality standard makes it a real winner for most home users. It comes with a very good 2-year warranty.
Well-made, versatile, ergonomic. Overall, an excellent 5-ton log splitter.
- Electric motors are designed, engineered and manufactured in-house to ensure years of worry-free use.
- Powerful, 5 ton RAM force to get the job done fast.
- Stand, log tray and stroke limiter included.
- Stand ensures a stable work surface — no squatting or bending over to operate.
- Log tray ensures split logs lay safely rather than falling to the ground.
- Stroke limiter will shorten the amount of time it takes to split shorter logs.
- Two-handed operation puts operator safety first.
- 6″ wheel diameter and lightweight design.
- Portable and can be operated indoors in the winter.
- Log capacity — 20.5″ in length and 10″ in diameter.
- Short cylinder cycle time — 16 seconds.
- None or minimal assembly required.
- No assembly required for benchtop unit — simply clip on the wheels and start splitting.
- Minimal assembly required for stand option.
Yardmax garden tools are a big favorite amongst many homeowners. I think this is because they offer great quality and are designed with the DIY home user in mind, so they’re really easy and safe to use. You’ll pay a bit more for the Yardmax YS0552, but many will see the value in this for a number of reasons.
My first big thumbs up to the Yardmax is for the fantastic stand. You can choose between working close to the ground or in a standing position. The extended steel stand provides a comfortable working height or one can remove the extension legs and work at a low height if that’s more preferable. Another feature that sets this log splitter apart from the rest is that you can adjust the cylinder stroke. If you’re splitting shorter logs, you can set the ram to return sooner and this reduces the cycle time accordingly. The full length cycle time isn’t too shabby though at 16-seconds.
It uses the same two-hand safety operation as the Sun Joe and also has a 15A electric motor. The hydraulic capacity is almost the same at 0.93-gallons. This means it matches in terms of power at 5-tons. It weighs slightly more (108 LBS) and also has wheels for easier transportation. I must say that the 10” wheels on the Yardmax are as unimpressive as those on the Sun Joe. This is a minor issue, though, it’s not going to affect the operation of the machine.
VIDEO | How to Operate the YARDMAX YS0552
The Yardmax YS0552 has a few features that make it superior to the Sun Joe LJ602 and this certainly justifies its higher price. You get a 2-year warranty on the Yardmax YS0552 for residential use and 90-days for commercial use.
Best 5-ton log splitter for the money. Great for homeowners.
- Durable 1.8 HP Electric motor
- One handed operation, Automatic ram return.
- Lightweight and portable, can fit in the truck of most cars
- 2 year residential, 180 day commercial warranty
✓ View or download the MANUAL for the Boss Industrial EC5T20.
Overview | Boss Industrial ECT20
The Boss Industrial ECT20 is my personal favorite of the bunch. It costs roughly the same as the Yardmax YS0552 but is, in my humble opinion, a more durable machine. From the more solid stand to the really tough steel-rimmed wheels, the build quality and materials on this log splitter seems to beat the others. Of course, one can never say this for sure – you’d need to compare the three over a period of years to see which is actually more durable. Let’s say that from a first impression, the Boss Industrial ECT20 seems to be the most robust.
My only complaint would be that it doesn’t have the high stand that you get with the Yardmax, you have to work close to the ground with this machine. I also have a very petty complaint, well, not really a complaint, but more of an irritation. They call this wood splitter the Boss Industrial, this should mean that it’s a commercial grade machine but they don’t offer a warranty for commercial use to match.
Optional : Get the 4-way cross splitting wedge for increased wood splitting:
Compatible with BOSS Splitters : ES5T20, ED7T15, ES7T20, ED8T20
From a user perspective, it’s very similar to the other two, in that it’s a 5-ton log splitter with a powerful electric motor. It doesn’t have the two hand safety feature, though I prefer this. Using one hand to hold a switch in, means you’re less likely to make a stupid mistake, but you lose the use of one hand.
The Boss Industrial ECT20 is an extremely well-made wood splitter and seems to be a tough piece of machinery. It comes with a 2-year residential warranty and 180-day commercial warranty.
For more power, consider the Boss Industrial ES7T20 at 7-tons of log splitting power.
- Powerful 2 HP electric motor
- 7 tons of splitting force
- Convenient one-Handed operation
- Automatic ram return
- 2-year residential warranty
Heating your home with a fire is really nice but it can become quite expensive. Buying your firewood in pre-packed bundles that have been cut and split to size is the most convenient way to go, but it’s also the most expensive. If you need a lot of firewood to keep your home warm through the winter, cutting down on your costs is probably quite important. So here are some great tips on how you can save on your firewood costs.
Cutting your own firewood is the cheapest way to go. When it comes to saving on your firewood costs, it’s mostly a question of how much effort you’re prepared to put into it. Cutting down trees in your yard or getting a permit to cut wood in a forested area means that you won’t be paying for the wood itself. You’ll need a chainsaw and this means the cost of hiring it or buying one. In the long run, having your own chainsaw is going to save you more money than hiring one every time. You’ll also have pay for the gas and possibly a permit (which can be around $20). These costs are minimal when compared to buying firewood from a merchant.
Buying full logs is going to be much cheaper than buying wood that’s been cut and split. So even if you’re not cutting down the tree yourself, simply cutting it to size is going to bring down your cost. Wood merchants have to put in extra labor to cut and split your firewood for you and, naturally, they’re going to charge for this. By doing it yourself, you’re going eliminate the labor cost factor. Again, you’ll need a chainsaw and owning a log splitter is certainly going to make the job much easier.
Buying large quantities of firewood is usually a lot cheaper than small loads. Buying a full cord or several cords of firewood can save you quite a bit and it doesn’t require any extra effort.
Buying out of season is another way to save money on your firewood without actually putting in any extra work. The basic principle of supply and demand means that firewood is more expensive in winter when the demand is at its highest. Simply by buying your firewood in summer, you could save a lot.
Buying green firewood is cheaper than wood that has been properly cured. Firewood burns best when it’s dry. Freshly cut (green) firewood has a high moisture content which makes it difficult to burn and it produces less heat. To dry firewood naturally, takes about a year. Some merchants will use a kiln to heat up the wood in order to dry it out quicker. When you buy firewood that’s already been dried for you, you’re paying for this. Either in the energy cost of kiln-dried wood (usually the most expensive) or for the storage that’s needed to keep the wood in the right conditions to dry out naturally.
Shop around for firewood. Firewood merchants have to make a profit, this is understandable. Buying your firewood from a trustworthy seller does take the stress and risk out of getting a dodgy deal. But if you’re prepared to do some homework and know a bit about recognizing what is good firewood, you can get fantastic deals. Local classifieds and websites like Craigslist often have firewood advertised at prices well below what you’d expect to pay commercially. This will usually mean collecting it yourself and you need to make sure you’re not being ripped off. You’ll need to do a thorough inspection of what you’re buying and this requires some knowledge.
To learn more about firewood, read : How much is a cord of wood and more firewood facts.
How to select the best firewood
Hardwood always costs a lot more than softwood but this doesn’t mean that buying hardwood is actually going to push up your heating costs. Hardwood burns hotter and it burns for longer. Hardwood also makes coals that last for a very long time. This means that you’ll be burning less hardwood through the winter than you would using softwood.
The benefit of using softwood is that it burns easier, so it’s easier to get the fire started using softwood. It also burns much faster and will, therefore, heat the room more rapidly. It’s a good idea to keep a mixed supply of hard and soft woods.
What’s important here, is to make sure that you get what you pay for, especially if you’re buying from an unknown source. If you arrive to buy your firewood and it hasn’t been correctly stored, turn and walk away. Freshly cut wood that’s been lying in direct contact with the ground is fine, but if it’s been left like this for a long time it’s probably got rot in it and it’s also very likely that termites and other insects have made their way into the wood. This makes the wood basically worthless.
Another thing that you want to be sure of is that if you’re paying for hardwood, you’re actually getting hardwood. You can tell simply by lifting the piece – hardwood is considerably heavier. You also need to check the moisture content. Green (freshly cut) wood is always heavier than dry wood, so going by weight alone can be confusing.
You can usually tell, just by looking at it, if the wood is cured or not. Dry wood will usually have cracks in it and the color will be dull. Dry wood is denser than wet wood. This means that by tapping on the wood you can also get an idea of the moisture content. Wet wood will have a more resonant sound, whereas dry wood will give you a dull thud. If in doubt, you can use a wood moisture meter that will give you an accurate reading of the moisture percentage of the wood.
ShelterLogic firewood rack | 4 to 12 feet models
Correctly Storing Your Firewood
Buying large quantities of firewood in advance is going to save you money but you have to store it correctly. You get commercially available wood storage racks that will ensure that the wood is stored under the best conditions and these racks can be decorative – making your wood storage attractive, rather than an eye-sore.
You can store your firewood anywhere, without any extra equipment if you observe a few basic rules.
- Always store your firewood so that it can’t be harmed by rain or snow. This means that you should store it in a shed, under a roof awning or a tarpaulin.
- Make sure that the storage area has good ventilation to assist in the drying process.
- Store your firewood at least 4” from the ground. This prevents moisture and rot from getting into your firewood and reduces the likelihood of insects like termites getting at it.
- Stack your firewood with gaps between the pieces to allow for good airflow.