YARDMAX™ Electric Log Splitter: Product Review
An excellent product that splits logs really, really well
Available on Amazon
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.
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.”
|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|
|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.|
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
Before Using the Log Splitter
- Be sure to loosen the hydraulic bleed screw prior to operating the log splitter or you could permanently damage it.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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:
The YARDMAX Electric Log Splitter comes with a 2 year limited warranty for residential use and a 90-day limited warranty for commercial use.
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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