Splitting Wood by Hand VS Splitter – Which is Better?

Splitting wood by hand vs splitter, which is better?

Well, that’s what I’ll be going over in this post.

I love the images used by the various manufacturers of equipment for the cutting of trees and making firewood. With muscular arms crossed holding a chainsaw or an axe with a neat stack of firewood in the background. 

Splitting firewood with a maul is good exercise, working both upper body and legs. Not only does it provide a healthy workout but there is an undisputed satisfaction in the result of a skilfully wielded maul and a neatly split log.

The maul in the hands of a younger person deftly swinging at logs that are straight and true with no knots and an even grain is an efficient and economical way of preparing wood for the fire.  

The advantage of the maul is the relative cash saving when compared to the cost of a motorized splitter and then of course there are no running costs apart from some sore muscles from time to time. Naturally, you can also factor in the cost saving of gym fees while you sweat it out among the logs.

The gentle thud of the maul and the collective clatter as the split logs tumble to the ground is a far happier sound than the thumping noise of a gas driven splitter. Ask the neighbors. They will tell you.

Pros and cons splitting by hand, is it really quick to split by hand?

The answer is that it depends on two or three issues. Factor one is the muscle power of the maul wielder. And to be sure there is an inverse relationship between speed and experience over time.

Secondly, the type of log is going to play a huge role in the splitting speed.

Nice straight logs with no knots and you will be able to beat the mechanical splitter or stand a good chance of doing so. 

But getting one log that snatches the maul in a grip of twisted grain and your race is done. While you wedge and tug at the handcuffed maul the mechanical splitter will be gently purring away in the background, split logs piling up on the floor

Pros and cons splitting with a splitter

Possibly the most important factor to consider is the safety comparison. The mechanical splitter is a far safer scenario than the axe or maul wielding muscle man. There are no flying blades around with the splitter. Things are slow and controlled but the production rate is high.

There must be some advantage in spending considerably more money on a splitter than what a maul would cost, and it is the relative ease of operation that makes the additional cost worthwhile. 

Small and lightweight electric splitters offer particularly good value for splitting smaller logs typically found for home use. With about seven tons of power, they will happily work away at smaller logs hour after hour without tiring.

What’s more, they are relatively quiet and being lightweight, is easily moved around. Operating them on an early Sunday morning will also not antagonize the neighbors. 

But what about the situation when the larger logs are difficult? When the wood is twisted and filled with knots. At times like these when a serious and irritating amount of time is spent trying to extricate the maul or axe from a reluctant log, the gas engine splitter comes into play.

Large and powerful enough to be more than a match for all but the very toughest of logs, these machines will venture forth where not even the bravest of maul wielding muscle would dare.

The trouble is though, they are expensive to purchase, and then there are also the added running costs to consider. 

It is a balancing act, and you need to look closely at the average size and quantity of logs you will be dealing with. The sad truth of the matter is that one day muscle will bow out to mechanical power. Maybe not this season, but the time will come.