yardmax-log-splitter-featured Lawn & Yard Care

YARDMAX™ Electric Log Splitter: Product Review


GPR RECOMMENDATION

Ease of Use
Quality
Performance
Summary

An excellent product that splits logs really, really well

Overall Score 4.8

Available on Amazon

Buy It

Got Firewood? The YARDMAXTM Electric Log Splitter Makes Quick Work of It

“WOW. This thing is great!” said The Undergardener, as he split our first log. “I like how it’s engineered.”

“Wait, wait, it was done before I could get a picture!” I said.

And that about sums it up – the YARDMAXTM  Electric Log Splitter is fast and it does what it’s supposed to do.

yardmax-log-splitter-hardware

It’s a simple looking device but it works extremely well.

The YARDMAXTM  electric log splitter comes with a wheeled stand, partially assembled, and is solidly built. It took under 30 minutes to put together.

I’m not generally drawn to single-purpose tools, but the YARDMAXTM  electric log splitter is an exception. Hurricane Sandy, ice storms, and microbursts have all taken a heavy toll on our wooded lot and left us with literally tons of tree trunks that can only be used for firewood (we previously salvaged what could be made into boards). Splitting firewood by hand is not an option due to physical and time constraints.

Last year, we bought a foot-powered log splitter, which worked well for The Undergardener, but not for me. No leverage and a bad back meant I couldn’t use it at all. A gas splitter would be overkill for us. But like Goldilocks, I’d say the YARDMAXTM  Electric Log Splitter feels “just-right.”

Specifications

Material: Powder-coated, stamped steel body; tubular steel legs
Dimensions, with stand: 40.5L x 17.7″W x 39″H
Dimensions, without stand: 40.5L x 17.7″W x 19.3″H
Weight: 108 lbs.
Wedge: 5″ welded stamped steel
Motor: 15 amp, cast aluminum, hand-wound
Cycle time: 16 seconds
Splitting force: 5 ton
Log Capacity: 20.5″ L X 10″ Diam.
Wheels: 7″ Plastic

Packaging

The YARDMAXTM  Electric Log Splitter arrives in a sturdy cardboard (recyclable) box with a shipping weight of 125lbs., so you may want to use a hand truck or get some help with moving it.

yardmax-log-splitter-in-package

The YARDMAX™ Electric Log Splitter arrives in a compact cardboard box.

Assembly

Consider assembling the splitter where it will be used. While it’s “portable,” it’s heavy to move. You’ll need to operate it within 30 feet of a 3-pronged, grounded outlet.

Minimal assembly is required with simple tools: A 6mm socket or Allen wrench, a 13mm wrench, and pliers.

yardmax-log-splitter-assembly

The log splitter itself (motor, ram, wedge, etc., comes pre-assembled). It can be used with the included stand, or operated on the ground or a workbench by attaching the wheels directly to the splitter.

The easy-to-follow instructions are straightforward, well-illustrated, and numbered step-by-step. They also illustrate which tools are needed for each step and provide an instructional video on the YARDMAXTM  website. All of the hardware is mounted on a card that is clearly marked and labeled. Open each hardware section only when you’re ready to use it.

yardmax-log-splitter-instructions

All of the hardware is mounted on a card that is clearly marked and labeled.

Attaching the Wheeled Stand:  The Undergardener (at 6’ 4”) struggled momentarily while inserting the rear support legs into the log splitter frame. It’s a snug fit (a good thing) and I’m not sure I (at 5’ 1”) could have done that by myself.

However, the stand is not required in order for the log splitter to run safely. Just attach the wheels and it can be operated on a workbench inside a garage or shed, or placed on the ground.

yardmax-log-splitter-pre-assembly

Close-up of the pre-assembled portion of the log splitter.

yardmax-log-splitter-in-action

The YARDMAXTM  zipped through our 10” diameter log as easily as it handled the smaller ones.

IT’S EASY TO USE THE YARDMAX LOG SPLITTER

Choose a work location that’s within 30 feet of a 3-pronged grounded electrical outlet. If you need to use an extension cord, it must be a heavy-duty one.

Once you’ve assembled the splitter, all you have to do is plug it in, loosen the hydraulic oil bleed screw, load your log between the ram and the wedge, and turn it on.

The YARDMAXTM  log splitter does all of the work for you. Rated at 5 tons of splitting force, it handles logs up to 21.5 inches long and 10 inches in diameter, with no noticeable loss of speed – we tested it.

yardmax-log-splitter-safety

The YARDMAXTM  Electric Log Splitter requires two hands to operate; switches are mounted for right-handed people.

Safety Feature

Like many power tools, this log splitter has a dead-man control system that requires two hands to operate: One on the hydraulic control lever that activates the ram and one on the green push button that runs the motor. Let go of either one, and the system stops.

Nice Touches

  • The split log is held in place by a tray table that prevents it from falling to the ground (or onto your foot!), making it easy to split the half-logs into quarters by running them through the YARDMAXTM  a second time.
  • The ram plate’s run is easily adjusted, which allows you to split shorter logs without having to wait for the ram to complete its full stroke cycle.
yardmax-log-splitter-work-table

The tray table means less bending and fewer sore toes as it keeps logs from falling off the work table.

yardmax-log-splitter-loading-instruction

Be sure to loosen the hydraulic bleed screw before operating the log splitter. The screw is flat on one side.

Before Using the Log Splitter

  1. Be sure to loosen the hydraulic bleed screw prior to operating the log splitter or you could permanently damage it.
  2. Check that the log is loaded properly and does not exceed the splitter’s maximum size capacity.

HOW IT WORKS

Like all log splitters, the YARDMAXTM  Electric Log Splitter is a simple mechanical device that drives a wedge into a log parallel to the wood grain, causing the log to split. But instead of using the power of your back, arms, or foot, it uses electricity to power a ram that pushes the log into the wedge.

yardmax-log-splitter-working-method

The YARDMAXTM  uses electricity to power a ram that pushes the log into the wedge. A tray table keeps the pieces from falling onto the ground. The stroke control saves time by adjusting the splitter to accommodate shorter logs

For folks who regularly use wood as a heat source, this can save hundreds of hours of work. It also saves a lot of bending, lifting, crouching, twisting, etc.

I’m not sure whether an electric log splitter is any more efficient than a gas-powered one, but it’s smaller and it does eliminate the odors and noise. For the average homeowner, it’s all you’ll ever need and should last as long as you do.

HOW MUCH WOOD WOULD A WOODCHUCK CHUCK?

At a leisurely pace, in 15 minutes we were able to split a stack of wood 51” at the base and 28” high (about 55 quarter pieces). That includes The Undergardener selecting logs from the pile, inserting them into the splitter, and doing the actual splitting. We didn’t count the time it took to stack the wood.

yardmax-log-splitter-wood-chucking

In 15 minutes, our split wood stacked up to 51”W X 21”H, about 55 quarter pieces.

We used well-seasoned wood. Expect some variation depending on how hard and how green your wood is. Much of ours was Ash, which has very straight grain and splits evenly.

To really test the YARDMAX splitter, we added some ringers, such as seasoned Black Cherry, which is very hard.

Try as we might, we weren’t able to jam the splitter until we chose a log with a big knot that ran all the way into its center. But even that wasn’t a problem. Following the manual’s instructions, we had previously cut a wood wedge, which we inserted between the ram and the log to free it up. It worked like a charm.

yardmax-log-splitter-wood-cut

It took a pretty gnarly piece of black cherry to stump the YARDMAX, but I quickly un-jammed it using a wooden wedge we had cut in advance.

MAINTENANCE TIPS

  • Brush off any wood chips or debris that accumulates along the log rails, tray, or other parts of the log splitter and wipe with a soft cloth.
  • Periodically check the level of the hydraulic oil.
  • Replace hydraulic oil after every 150 hours of operation.
  • Periodically check cords and plugs for damage.
  • Like any cutting tool, the wedge may need to be sharpened from time to time.

SAFETY FIRST

DO NOT try to “make do” by using improperly-sized tools when assembling the log splitter – you could damage the bolt heads.

DO read the safety precautions in the manual. While many of them are common sense, they serve as good reminders and will help you avoid injuries that could occur if the electric log splitter is overloaded or operated improperly. ALWAYS use it on a level surface and wear eye protection.

DO NOT allow children to play in or on the YARDMAXTM . Keep everyone’s fingers away from the splitter while it’s operating.

TIPPING: Use caution if you try to push the YARDMAXTM  electric log splitter uphill over rough terrain. It will be difficult to maneuver and could tip over, because its center of gravity is at the same end as the wheels. However, this isn’t an issue on asphalt, concrete, or other hard, or level surfaces.

Good Customer Service

I called customer service to do some fact-checking. After a few moments on “hold,” and a bit of cross-checking, I got the answers I needed. It was a very pleasant experience.

To ensure that you end up with a log splitter that best fits your needs, YARDMAX has a good video on their website where you can learn more about choosing the right size splitter.

They also have videos on the following topics:

WARRANTY

The YARDMAX Electric Log Splitter comes with a 2 year limited warranty for residential use and a 90-day limited warranty for commercial use.

RECOMMENDATION

Once you’ve decided you want to use the YARDMAXTM  Electric Log Splitter, there isn’t much to do, since it essentially does all of the work for you. Just assemble it, open the bleeder screw, load a log onto it, and turn it on. Arthritic fingers or a bad back will no longer keep you from enjoying a toasty fire.

This is a very-high quality product, except for the wheels. While they may be adequate for the average suburban homeowner, our ¾-inch quarry-process gravel driveway and generally rough terrain challenged their limits. I’d like to see a larger-diameter, rubber wheel, at least as an option, for those of us who live in rural areas.

The YARDMAXTM  does only one thing – splits wood – and does it really well. I love it and couldn’t be more pleased with the results. It’s sturdy, works fast, is easy to use, and eliminates the usual stresses and strains of splitting wood.

Where to Buy

YARDMAXTM  Electric Log Splitter is priced at $299. Be sure to check whether shipping charges are included when ordering online.  PED and Log Splitters Direct offer financing. The YARDMAXTM  log splitter is also available at Hayneedle but your best option is at Amazon where it’s only $249 with free shipping for Prime members.

And now over to you – Have you used an electric log splitter? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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Disclaimer – GPReview would like to thank Yardmax for giving us a free sample to review. There was no expectation that it would be a positive review and we received no compensation for writing it. All opinions expressed here are those of the author based on personal experience using the product.

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