Wood splitters – hydraulic vs. kinetic

Splitting wood using a traditional ax has its charm but it takes skill and is not very time-efficient. Nowadays, splitting large amounts of wood is mainly done using a mechanical wood splitter that can be easily operated by almost any adult person. There are two main kinds of these machines, hydraulic wood splitters and kinetic wood splitters. Each has its pros and cons.

Hydraulic wood splitters

Hydraulic wood splitters are still the most common type on the market. A hydraulic cylinder powered by oil inside of the wood splitter’s tank pushes the log onto a sharp wedge that then splits it into pieces. Hydraulic wood splitters are very powerful and can split almost any log you put in it.

Most hydraulic wood splitters can be positioned both horizontally and vertically. There are some horizontal-only models so make sure to check that before you purchase one. By using a vertical position you can split larger logs and save yourself some manual labor because there is no need to lift the log onto the splitter, you can just roll it into the right position.

Hydraulic wood splitters were standard in the industry but lately, kinetic wood splitters have become an alternative worth taking a look at.

Kinetic wood splitters

A kinetic wood splitter uses energy stored in a large flywheel. The energy is released in one burst to split the log open in record speed. Most often kinetic wood splitters will be powered by electricity although there are some gas-powered models available. The electric ones are obviously more environment-friendly than any oil-powered hydraulic wood splitter. They are no lightweight machines but are still smaller than hydraulic wood splitters.

The main advantage of kinetic wood splitters is speed. They can be even 15 times faster than hydraulic wood splitters which means that a massive amount of time is saved. So why doesn’t everyone opt for a kinetic wood splitter? Well, their biggest drawback is said to be the decreased power when compared to the hydraulic ones.

However, keep in mind that power is measured differently in hydraulic and kinetic wood splitters. Hydraulic splitters use tonnage but it doesn’t apply to kinetic wood splitters because the energy is released by the splitter makes the ram move faster so it can achieve the same results using less force. It is difficult to accurately assess a kinetic wood splitter’s power so it is best to search for information about the size of the logs it is able to split.

A kinetic wood splitter is much easier to maintain than a hydraulic one as there are no chances of oil leakage. If you use an electric one then you don’t even need to remember to bring any power-source with you, just plug it into the nearby socket and you’re ready to go.

With kinetic wood splitters, there is some risk that they may not be powerful enough to split the largest logs but many manufacturers claim that their products are able to match most of hydraulic splitters when it comes to wood splitting abilities. They are still relatively new machines and undoubtedly they will only get more powerful in the near future.