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Best manual log splitters reviewed

If you fancy a manual go splitter over an electric log splitter I know you’re looking for exercise and to save a bit of money. With that said, the amount you save is pretty minimal so let’s focus on exercise. Are you looking for a hand pump or foot pump manual log splitter? If you just want to get the job one a foot pedal seems easier – but is it? My pick for the best manual log splitter is a super arm operated design from Forest Master.


You can give your arms a real workout with a 10 ton manual log splitter 🙂 without the need to waste time or money at the gym or use the Forest Master I have highlighted for you 😀

So here’s a guide to the best log splitters where we show you the best value based on quality of hydraulic ram, how easy it’ll split tough knotty logs, the range of log length it can handle, safety, and of course manoeuvrability.

Comparison table: Best manual log splitters hand and pedal operated that split logs with ease

ProductWhat We ThinkRatingPrice

SMART SPLITTER MANUAL LOG WOOD KINDLING HATCHET SWEDISH AXE

  • SUPPLIED WITH A KINDLING SPLITTER
  • Ergonomic. The drop weight has been designed so it is easier to hold and more comfortable...
  • Economical. The Smart Splitter is of high quality
  • Convenient. The Smart Splitter takes up little space and is easy to use and to store...
  • For any further information please contact our UK customer helpline on 0191 2966966

4.9/5 from 48 reviews

Charles Bentley 10 Ton Hand Operated Heavy Duty Hydraulic Log Splitter

Charles Bentley 10 Ton Hand Operated Heavy Duty Hydraulic Log Splitter

  • Features : 10 ton splitting force
  • Material : Steel
  • Dimensions : H30 x D26 x W113cm
  • Weight : 39.5kg, Capacity: 270kg
  • Colour : Green

4.5/5 from 88 reviews

Sealey LS450H Foot Operated Horizontal Manual Log Splitter

  • Simple to use, splits firewood easily.
  • Each step on the foot pedal exerts a splitting force of up to 1.2tonne....
  • Foot pedal adjusts to suit user.
  • Constructed from heavy-duty steel
  • Max. Log Diameter/Length: 250/450mm.

4.5/5 from 199 reviews

Forest Master Ltd DUO10T Log Splitter

  • Produces 10 Tonnes of force
  • Duocut twin blades work together using two splitting blades rather than one to optimise the splitting capacity...
  • Twin lever rapid lift jack for faster splitting with a 16mm-20mm lift per crank...
  • Adjustable blade position so the blade starts splitting the log immediately
  • Can be used vertically or horizontally operated by foot pedal or hand lever...

4.4/5 from 93 reviews

1. SMART SPLITTER MANUAL LOG WOOD KINDLING HATCHET SWEDISH AXE

This new design blows the competition away in my opinion as the best manual log splitter. It literally ticks all the boxes and is probably the way forward unless you give up on manual and go electric. I mean look at the stats:

  • weight: 12kg
  • log split size: 400mm diameter no problem
  • log length: 45cm so plenty
  • force: similar to conventional arm operated splitters but applied with gravity so much easier
  • price: cheaper than all the other options for this size log by some distance

No, I’m not a salesman for Forest Master, they’ve genuinely nailed this model. Take a look at the reviews on the internet to be sure.

If you want space saving manual log splitter that literally weighs 12kg and can split 400mm logs (yes you read that right) then this might work well. You can handle pretty big logs too and there’s minimal upfront setup out the box. If you’ve never seen one of these then be prepared for a cool tool 🙂 that ACTUALLY works.

Firstly the setup is about literally a few minutes. You’ll need to sort yourself out a solid log base and attach the log splitter. Don’t worry, normally log splitters are extremely heavy. This thing comes with the distinct advantage of only being a couple of stone including the ram weight.

You simply lift the weight and sling it down. With both hands firmly on the weight. Personally I would wear gloves in case you slip or run your hand into the base as you throw the weight with an over follow through. Here’s a look at that with credit to Forest Master as this is a snap from their video that simplifies the process:

Two hands on the weight and slide it up, then sling it down and watch the magic from Forest Master

It’ll need a decent bit of force and probably a few throws of the weight to get it to split but what you lose in cut time, you more than make up for in adjustment time for different height logs. A few strikes and you’ve split a decent size log:

Cuts through chunky reasonably knotty logs with a few good strikes

Unlike a conventional log splitter this one has the distinct advantage of changing height effortlessly. You simply lift the ram as you can see in the picture below:

Adjusting the height for the log splitter is as simple as lifting it onto the log – image credit: Forest Master

You can see a wedge on the right of the log above. If you do get a really knotty log you can place an additional wedge under the base once its stuck in the top to double up the split from both ends as you use the rammer a second time.

If I had one request it would be to make the arm slightly longer to keep your arms away from the ram slider a bit more. However it’s appreciated the further away the less balance you would have. I’ll contact them to find out if they’ve tested this and update you soon.

So overall without any question this is my pick for the best manual log splitter. Well done to Forest Master for the implementation and design of this splitter.


2. Sealey LS450H Foot Operated Horizontal Manual Log Splitter


I’m a fan of the Sealey LS450H Foot Operated Horizontal Manual Log Splitter and it’s no surprise many agree. Firstly its a foot pump pedal which in my opinion is much better than an arm workout unless it’s the unconventional rammer I’ve chosen as best manual log splitter above :). Some may disagree so move onto the next review if you want an arm burn of note :D. If you wan’t minimal fuss however on a tight budget this is a cracking manual log splitter. Don’t let me jazz this up though, it needs a good bit of leg work to split up logs.

Right out the box it requires minimal assembly which also lends itself to folding away too. Well designed on the space saving front it’s pretty compact too. I would say though, this is by far a heavier, more robust option so you can look at it two ways. Either heavy to lug about and setup or excellent structural bulled quality. Are you a glass half full or half empty type? 😀

There are plenty of manual splitters that claim big tonnage in terms of squeeze pressure. I ask you then, with this rated at a merger 1.2 tons, how is this the best manual log splitter? The answers simple, it does its job cracking knotty logs with minimal fuss and effort. There are very few knotty logs it can’t handle.
It comes with it’s drawbacks though. When I tested it I found that I needed an 8 inch log. This gave me the ability to swap the log over if it didn’t split first time. I’d like to see the bar push a bit closer to the axe head. This would definitely help break down more stubborn knotty logs.

I wouldn’t try splitting more than a ten inch diameter either. I’d like to see the bar push a bit closer to the axe head. This would definitely help break down more stubborn knotty logs. Though with those constraints I will say it’ll handle just short of half a metre so if you cut or are supplied with long-ish logs with medium diameter then this is just the kit.

3. Charles Bentley 10 Ton Hand Operated Heavy Duty Hydraulic Log Splitter

If you’re looking for a conventional manual log splitter then the Charles Bentley 10 Ton Hand Operated Heavy Duty Hydraulic Log Splitter isn’t a bad shout. It has tons of power for small to mid sized logs. It’s well built and being Charles Bentley the customer service is good too. This is the real deal for a good workout!

One lever pumps faster and the other slower. The idea being the faster piston brings the log against the splitter quickly and then the slower pump is designed to push into the splitter and split the log. This massively reduces the time between splitting logs and well thought out. It’s a robust bit of kit with limited failures (they do happen when ten ton of pressure is involved). At 40 kg this isn’t too heavy to move about, especially given the wheels help mobilise it well.

Word of warning, given the way this is setup. You’ll find an 8-9 inch log minimum is best If you go shorter, the log may not push through the splitter deep enough to split the log as the stammer stops short. This is no problem at all if you have 8 inch and up logs. Just worth a mention if they are really short, in which case they probably don’t need much splitting anyway!

I would also say keep an eye out on the seals. Sometimes too much pressured can cause them to leak oil. It’s a rare problem but worth a mention

Overall a very decent product from Charles Bentley.

4. Forest Master Ltd DUO10T Log Splitter

Another Forest Master splitter that made the top pick – this one a conventional splitter that offers both arm or foot pedal use (not sure what madness would make you use the arms other than for a workout :D)

The big thing for me with any manual splitter is an adjustable blade position so you can start the cut immediately. It’s quite clear to me that Forest Master themselves genuinely split logs so they understand what we need to make an optimal performing splitter. Their system allows you to adjust the position easily meaning less pumping per split log for maximum efficiency. Talking efficiency, they’ve made a good improvement too. A quick release for the foot pedal which saves time releasing the ram on their 2021 model.

You can split a decent length log too. Half a metre using it horizontally or vertically. The diameter is 30cm so plenty of scope to cut big logs if you need the power and in horizontal position you can split much wider than 30cm. I would say though, unless you do need all that power, I still prefer the Forest master smart manual log splitter on price, performance, and portability for smaller logs and this for larger.

I prefer thee vertical position and despite advertising this as a 30cm diameter cut, it’ll smash that to pieces and take much more. I will say though, the height of the pedal isn’t ideal for anyone with bad knees. Naturally the machine attempts to take advantage of a big sweeping lunge for maximum pressure which makes sense, except you need to get your knee up high enough to do so. If you have grief with the knees as I do sometimes then turning it horizontal and working the ams is probably a fair option and solution.

At 35kg it’s pretty mobile and while the wheels are small it does make it easy on flat hard surfaces to reposition if necessary.

Overall a great big if you need a heavy duty manual log splitter.