Best Manual Log Splitter UK Reviews & Full Buyer's Guide

Pump Operated Manual Log Splitter

Thanks for taking the time to read our reviews on the best manual log splitter options. If you have a need to split logs for something like a wood burning stove, or a fire, then there are ways you can do that manually. That will involve using an axe or hatchet, and something like a wedge. It is hard work!

Now there are a few more automated options such as using an electric log splitter, or a petrol driven log splitter. The problem with those two options is that both types of automated log splitter are expensive. We shall explain those price ranges below.

In this article we will take you through the detail of manual log splitting options in this article, and explain what options are available out there in the UK stores. More importantly we will explain which type you should buy, depending on the purpose that you want to use it for. Hopefully that will help point you in the right direction.

Just below we have provided a quick index so as you can jump to any section that may be of particular interest to you. However we recommend reading the whole article if you have the time. If you have the time, then we are sure you will be much better informed after you have read the entire article.

There are three main types of log splitter which are:

  1. Electric Log Splitter (the most popular) and powered by electricity and hydraulics
  2. Petrol Log Splitter (Powered by a petrol motor and hydraulics)
  3. Manual Log Splitter (No power required and usually operated by a foot pump)

We will explain the differences and also show you the brands who make these, along with the most popular and highest buyer rated models of each brand.

It is however also worth mentioning at this early stage that manual log splitters come in two design types which are:

  1. Horizontal - mainly used around the home and yards for light log splitting
  2. Vertical - mainly used for commercial or businesses for heavy log splitting

Hopefully that has given you a general idea of what is available. Below we get into more detail of what is available and which are the best options for you.

In a Hurry?

We know that some people will not have the time to read this detailed article. So if you are in a hurry we have answered your question just below.

The best manual log splitter on the UK market right now is the Forest Master Ltd Log Splitter. This is a 10 ton model with twin splitting blades, a rapid lift jack and can be used vertically or horizontally operated by foot pedal or hand lever.

You can check availability at Amazon UK by clicking here.

Manual Log Splitters Explained

There is always the manual option. This type of log splitter is operated by a lever or foot pump. Unlike the two designs above, they do not need electricity or petrol.

They are a more simple machine, and really only suitable for smaller volumes of logs. One advantage of these machines is that most models can be used in either the vertical or the horizontal position.

The manual version is usually the cheapest option, though they are still expensive enough so you should consider any purchase as an investment.

They also have less parts to go faulty. These are a good choice to take to something like a fallen tree, where there will not be any power available. The only other choice to do that is a petrol option and they are very expensive.

It is worth mentioning here that these are designed for light and occasional domestic use, so not suitable for heavy or daily work loads.

Pump Operated Manual Log Splitter

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Manual Vertical Log Splitters Explained

There is of course the vertical log splitter. These are also available as manual, electric and petrol powered options.

The reason that you would pick a vertical splitter will be down to the size of the logs you need to cut. Vertical horizontal log splitters can be pivoted into a vertical position and that allows you to roll the log and position it into place without having to lift it.

The splitting wedge is built onto the ram and the base is flat so you can roll your log on without lifting. You can lower the splitter end to the ground and roll on a large log.

When you're finished splitting the larger log, you can then raise the splitter back to a horizontal position for splitting the chunks into smaller pieces.

These are made by brands like Titan Pro and Mitox.

vertical log splitter

Click to see a larger image

So those are the different types of log splitter that are available on the UK market. The petrol ones are used mainly for commercial purposes or in the forestry business. Unless you have a lot of logs to get through on a regular basis you will not need the petrol option. These are an expensive buy at around £2,000 for the machine.

That leaves most home owners with the choice of either a manual or an electric log splitter. If you need one where there will be no power, then you should buy a manual one. If you are going to be using it in a yard or somewhere there is power, then we would recommend an electric option as it involves less manual effort, and is faster and more efficient.

Underneath we have done a summary review of each of the manual log splitters in the table shown above.

Top 5 Buyer Rated Manual Log Splitters

Just below you will find a top 5 table, where we have rated these manual splitters based on buyer ratings. Some buyers will leave reviews and also rate their purchase. They do this from a variety of online websites. What we do is look at those and then summarise what they say.

That should save you some time doing your own research. In the table below you will find the product name, the average online buyer rating, and an average price. By clicking on any of the product name links you can then read a more detailed review of each manual splitter.

Swedish Log Splitter Review

88% buyer satisfaction based on 650+ online buyer reviews

  • Reviews
  • Specification
  • Buyers have given this manual log splitter an 88% buyer satisfaction rating
  • 83% have given this splitter a full 5 star review
  • 5% have given this one a bad review - those complaints are about the splitter struggling to split harder older wood such as silver birch or acacia
  • Most buyers said this splits small to medium sized blocks easily enough, but takes a few more blows on the bigger blocks
  • Buyers loved the fact that this was easy to store and didn't take up much room

Forest Master Ltd Log Splitter Review

84% buyer satisfaction based on 200+ online buyer reviews

Measures 18 x 7 x 160 cm and weighs 13.1 Kg

It is classed as a heavy duty splitter and uses a drop weight on a guide pole to direct the force onto a stationary splitting blade

The upper wedge is designed to open the log when it splits and that stops the blade from getting stuck

This model has a second blade that doubles the efficiency as it can split from both ends

  • There are not a lot of online buyer reviews on this product, but those that do exist are very good.
  • All of them say this is a good choice for splitting larger logs
  • Buyers also like the way that there is a blade at both ends as this makes splitting a great deal simpler
  • Buyers also like this Forest Master brand

Sealey LS450H Horizontal Foot Operated Log Splitter Review

58% buyer satisfaction based on 40+ online buyer reviews

  • Reviews
  • Specification
  • 40% of all buyers gave this log splitter a full 5 star review with 19% giving it a bad review
  • Those that complained said that the ratchet system was poor, and a few found that the back stop broke
  • The satisfied buyers said that this was easy to use and so far was working well for them
  • Those buyers also said that for the price this is very good value and ideal for anyone who has to occasionally split logs

Manual Log Splitter Full Buying Guide

Below I will offer you some important tips for buying a log splitter. As mentioned earlier there are manual types (horizontal and vertical, and the more popular choice is the electric log splitter. Manual ones cost anything between £60-200 depending on which type you buy.

Types of Log Splitter Explained in Detail

In the introduction we mentioned the different types of log splitter that are available. In this section we will go into a lot more detail about the different types available, and why you should select one type over the other. The vast majority of home owners will pick the electric log splitter, as they are affordable and also work really well for most general log splitting.

The manual or old fashioned method of splitting logs was to use a splitting wedge and a sledge or club hammer. Apart from the physical effort that this took, it was also a dangerous thing to do. The hammer could miss, the wedge might dislodge and fly about and the risk of injury was high.

Most people have moved away from this and we believe you should avoid doing this, unless you only have a small amount of work to do.

Electric Log Splitters Explained

For the typical home owner this will always be the best choice. In terms of design, these are usually horizontal log splitters. When compared to the vertical type, the horizontal design is normally smaller, less expensive and is a good solid choice for domestic use.

To use these your load the logs onto the machine horizontally. The good news about these is that they are used at about waist height and ideally with a stand. It is worth noting that some models come with a stand otherwise the stand can be purchased as an accessory.

These electric splitters are plugged into the main's electric using a standard 3 pin UK plug. The splitter also has a motor which then powers a set of hydraulics, and it is those which move the splitting arm, and it is that which splits the log.

Forest Master FM8 Log Splitter

These are made by brands such as Forest Master, Logmaster, Mitox and Eberth. These are by quite a way the most popular choice for many people in the UK. They are a great choice for anyone who needs to regularly split logs.


Petrol Log Splitters Explained

You can also buy petrol log splitters which again then use hydraulics as explained above. The splitter in this case is powered by a small petrol engine, instead of electricity.

If you are likely to be splitting logs from tougher woods, such as cherry or basswood, then petrol log splitters are likely to be more suitable.

Likewise if you plan on working in an area where there is no power source, then a petrol one will always be a much better choice. These are used by a lot of businesses and in the forestry business.

They can use a 2 stroke engine, but more often they will use a 4 stroke air controlled engine. These are designed for heavy duty use and can easily split larger logs.

Most home owners simply will not need one of those and they are expensive.

petrol driven log splitter

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Manual vs Electric Log Splitters

The electric log splitters do all of the manual work, but these range in price from £200-350 depending on what force (measured in tonnes) that you want to have. Manual log splitters cost between £80-130 so are about one third of the price.

The manual products are as you can see a cheaper option, but still require a high degree of manual intervention. The electric option take all of the back breaking work out of splitting your logs.

Manual Log Splitter Expectation and Perception

We found out that when reading through the countless buyer reviews, that the expectations of buyers were high. Most people wanted to move away from swinging an axe to a machine that did most of the work for them. The buyer perception appeared to be that they could push logs of different sizes into these, push some sort of lever and the log would split in two.


If you look at the actual buyer satisfaction ratings that users have left, this perception gets tossed out. On average this type of manual log splitter gets average buyer ratings of between 60-85%. That is quite a distance short of 100%.

Most of these use a foot pedal which connects to some type of hydraulic pump. The pump then pushes an arm with a blade into the log to split it.

You are however restricted by the length of the log, and also by the diameter of the log. That makes it really important to read the specifications which we have included above. Great frustration is felt from buyers who believe that these can split larger logs.

They don't. These are designed mainly for light occasional log splitting, and not for regular daily use.

Who Buys Manual Log Splitters?

An adult of any age can buy a log splitter, but for the most part this is bought by those over the age of 40. At that age the days of swinging an axe have either got a bad back, or are on their way to having one. When people figure this out, they will naturally turn their eyes towards some type of machinery.

Now although the manual log splitter replaces the axe, in all reality, that is pretty much all it does. You still have to lift the logs and place them on the log splitter, then gather the blocks or kindling and then stack them. So they do take some of the work out, and mainly all of the dangerous work, which is of course important.

In the main, people with wood burners are the natural customer for this type of log splitter.

It's All About the Force

The force exerted on a log is what makes it split. The more of that the better in most cases. You certainly need a bigger force for the larger logs of for hard woods and any "green logs." Irrespective of this force, which is measured in tonnes, we have found that the reality is, these are really only suitable for light domestic work.

In fact we would go as far as to say these are really only suitable for occasional light domestic work. They will turn small logs into firewood and if you try and force bigger blocks through they can bend, and some can even break. If they break they are to all intensive purposes useless.

Quick, Quiet and Environmentally Friendly

Most buyers of this type of manual splitter want to be able to quickly get the splitter out of the shed or garage, split some logs quickly and then put the splitter back. There are no leads, no extension leads or noisy petrol engines or complicated setting up procedures to worry about.

The manual log splitter is easy to use, light in weight and will split small logs really well.

That of course does make these manual splitters quick, quiet and environmentally friendly.

Check the Weight & Effort Required

These do take some of the work out of manual splitting. However these are still heavy enough to move around, and still take some manual intervention.


One of the main advantages of these is that they will fold up, and they are easy enough to store.

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