Skip to content

How to Safely Use a Log Splitter – Log Splitter Safety Tips

How to Safely Use a Log Splitter - Log Splitter Safety Tips

Do you often use log splitters to chop your firewood? Are you planning to invest in a log splitter in preparation for the winter? Or are you  upgrading your log cutting equipment?

 Of course, the log splitter is a great addition to your workshop. In fact, you will learn it is not only convenient but also safer and easier to use than the axe or chainsaw.

But the most recurrent question could be how can you safely use a log splitter? First, you need to learn how to use the log splitter by reading and understanding the user’s guide manual. Then, wear appropriate safety gear and make sure you are using the machine correctly.

As long as you do this, you will already have learnt how to use a log splitter safely to avoid injuries and inconveniences. And, our guide aims at helping you keep off injuries associated with splitting logs and enjoy the fun.

What are Log Splitters?

A log splitter is a machine that uses hydraulic force to split wood into smaller pieces. Such a machine can be electric, gas, or manually powered. It cuts softwoods and hardwoods into small usable pieces of firewood. First, the wood is cut into short pieces using chainsaws or the show banshee. Then, the small short pieces are inserted into the log splitter. In short, the log splitter or wood splitter is the power tool that replaces the manual hand axe. Of course, it is much quicker than the axe and has lots of reduced risks and strains on your body. However, be aware to follow wood splitter safety.

How Does a Log Splitter Work?

Log splitters normally rely on Fluid Power. The process begins by using a chainsaw or table saw to cut short pieces of logs. Typically, this is what you would do with a hand axe.

And, when you place the piece of wood into the machine, the directional valve will shift and this will send fluid to the hydraulic cylinder. The hydraulic cylinder will then generate force that will move the pistons. And, because the log is engaged, a lot of pressure will build up and they always will force its way through the wood therefore splitting it.

Each of the machines and brands are different and they operate in a distinct way. So, it’s very important for you to read the user guide before you start operating your log splitter.

Noteworthy, some log splitters are gas-powered while others are manual or electric powered. And, every type has its own perks. You need to research widely about every type of powered log splitter so that you can know if it’s good for you. If you have the skills you can build your own mechanical log splitter using the hydraulic press.

Are Log Splitters Dangerous?

A log splitter is a relatively safe equipment but you need to use it the right way. There are so many benefits that you get from log splitter as long as you have the required skill level and knowledge. Safety comes first with using the log splitter.

But, if you don’t use it correctly, the log splitter can be dangerous. Log splitters become dangerous for any you fail to exercise enough caution when using it. This is hydraulic equipment with up to 20 tons of Force at the wedge. Such an amount of power is enough to break bones and wood.

So, if an incompetent operator is using this machine, they are vulnerable to injuries caused by loose logs, flying debris, and the crashing wood. Experienced and careful operators don’t have a problem with the log splitter. As long as you’re using the safety guidelines, you have no reason to worry. 

The majority of risks and dangers associated with log splitters are mainly caused by errors in operation. Few of these risks are part of the machines’ flaws. If you place logs incorrectly, then that could be dangerous as they could break the wrong way and hurt you. 

And, when you’re using a gas-powered log splitter, the machine must have enough airflow.  You cannot use a gas-powered engine indoors or else you will suffocate yourself with carbon monoxide.

Electric log splitters have a lower risk than the gas-powered log splitters. At least, the moving parts are few and you’re not using any toxic gases to split your wood. In fact, the powered log splitters are actually safer and easier to use than manual log splitters. However, you need to wear your protective clothing. In this case, make sure that all electrical cords are working correctly and  insulated. 

And, of course, the log splitters are even far safer than the axe. Remember, the axe requires a lot of force and precision to avoid injury. If you are using access to split wood, then you must protect yourself using all possible protective gear. 

It goes without saying that the log splitter is actually more efficient than the chainsaw. Chainsaws do a great job when it comes to clearing the ground, removing branches, pruning trees and hedges and cutting small-sized logs. But, when it comes to heavy duty logs, use the log splitter. In fact, it is safer to use the log splitter to split logs than the chainsaw. 

Log Splitter Safety Tips

Safety comes first and every time you are using a log splitter, you must understand that you are prone to injuries. And, any machine with a sharp blade or hydraulic wedge, that exerts more than 20 tons of hydraulic force needs to be used carefully. And, anytime you decide to use a log splitter make sure to follow the following safety tips for using log splitters:

  • Be sober and energized
  • Know your machine well and understand how it works. At least, familiarize yourself with new machines so that you can know how to control or use the log splitter.
  • Read the manual user guide thoroughly to understand how each of the unit’s parts work.
  • While it might sound exciting to pass on your skills to the Next Generation, just keep the children away.
  • Adjust a log splitter to a convenient height. This will help you reduce strains on your spine.
  • Never use the log splitter in the dark. In fact, it’s advisable to use the machine in daylight as opposed to nighttime. Make sure you can see everything that’s happening.
  • Avoid loose clothing or jewelry that may get pulled into the log splitter.
  • Wear sturdy work boots, safety glasses, helmets and all appropriate work gear. Sometimes the wood splits and some pieces fly into the air. Make sure your body is protected from such debris.
  • Lock the beam before starting.
  • Cut one log at a time. This is not a 100m race and you should never try to cut several pieces simultaneously.
  • Start by cutting logs with squared off ends before you even start splitting your wood.
  • Operate the log splitter alone. avoid situations where one person is loading the logs while the other stabilizes it or controls the handle. Too many operators means too many errors and this sets you up for unnecessary mistakes and injuries.
  • Remember to clean your work area. Get rid of any wood or debris around the machine that may get you tripping. 
  • If you are operating a gas-powered log splitter, make sure it is placed on flat dry and solid ground. Remember that your machine must always remain stable.
  • Secure your tires with heavy blocks to avoid any recoil. 
  • You can use the horizontal or vertical splitter positions depending on your preference.
  • Repair your log splitter machine and make sure the hydraulic pipes have no leakage.
  • Use your hands and not legs when stabilizing a log.
  • Lock the supporting beams before operating the machine.

Log Splitter Injuries

Mishandling a log splitter can cause severe injuries. For some people, these injuries become nightmares. Which is why you must always follow the safety tips that we’ve listed above. Remember, the log splitter wedge exerts a force of about 20 tons and this is enough to break through the hardest of your bones. And, there are so many flying pieces during the splitting of wood that may get into your eyes. Plus, logs can easily fall and crush your toes.

Here are some of the most common log splitter injuries:

  •  finger amputation
  •  disruption of ligaments
  •  ragged skin flaps
  •  spect of wood in the eyes
  •  Crashed toes
  •  compromised vascular

Learn How to Use A Log Splitter Safely

The best way to ensure that you are using a log splitter safely is to check whether it’s functional. Once you learn how to use it, the process is safer. Most of the accidents that happen with people using log splitters are mostly to newbies. So, before you use a farm tool, always make sure to know how it works. Especially, a log splitter needs certain expertise so that you cut efficiently and avoid any injuries.

Here is a step-by-step process of using a log splitter safely:

  1.  First, place the log against your end plate. if you position the log well,  the splitter will go against the grain of the wood.
  2.  Then, position the log in a steady position using your left hand. That is, if your left-handed, then you should use the right hand and vice versa. After placing it on the side of the leg that is directly opposite the beam, it’s time to make sure that it is well held in position. And, you should never use your hand especially by putting it on the head of the log or even between the end plates and the log.
  3.  Now is the time to check the control handle and move it forward as it wedges the log apart.
  4.  When the wedge starts coming into contact with the log,make sure it goes deep enough and remove your hand  after ensuring that it is in steady forward position.
  5. Then, stop the wedge by releasing the control handle.
  6.  Hold the control handle and move it towards the reverse position. Don’t forget to return the wedge to its initial starting study position.
  7. In case the wedge becomes stuck or splits the wrong portion of the wood, just move the handle to the reverse position. Also, the control handle can be taken back to the forward position and to allow it to gain enough momentum to push its way through the log.
  8.  Take caution and observe the safety rules. Avoid the temptation to remove partially split logs with your hands.

Using the Log Splitter’s Control Handle

The log splitter has a control handle with three main settings namely: the Neutral, the Forward, and the Reverse. Each of these settings helps you control the log splitter to perform specific tasks. And, when you are splitting wood, you will require to use and understand how every setting works.

Neutral:  The Neutral position is when you release the control handle or when you move it manually to the Neutral setting. The wedge immediately stops moving. In this setting, the wood comes to a standstill  and acts as a handbrake to a car for your wood splitter.

Forward:  If you have already set the wood in place and you are totally ready to start splitting the logs, just set the splitter to forward. The wedge will push through the wood, and when it is through, you will need to release  the handle so that the wage goes back to neutral position.

Reverse: After the wedge has cut through the log and you have put it in neutral setting, it’s time to return it back to its initial position. The reverse control handle returns the wood back to its initial starting position. Here it is ready to cut through the next log. But, never keep the handle in the reverse position after the wage is retracted.

Video Showing How to Safely Use a Log Splitter

Benefits of Safe Log Splitters

As long as your log splitter is safe, and you are abiding by the precautions, then you will reap a lot of benefits from this machine.

They are fast

Your wood splitter is normally faster than the hand axe or even the chainsaw. Of course, time is valuable and if you don’t want to waste a second of your life, then a log splitter will help you increase your speed.


It’s common for people to complain about  back pains and shoulder aches after splitting wood with an axe. It’s such an expensive toll on your body and you don’t have to walk that route. With the log splitter, you are going to stand straight and walk without bending. The Machine will do the physical work and reduce your chances of getting strained or injured. 

Cuts regular-sized firewood

It’s difficult for you to determine the shape of your firewood especially when you’re using a hand axe. But, if you are using a log splitter, you can set it so that your wedge gets you regular shapes and sizes that fit your fireplace.

Hardwoods have nothing on you

The hydraulic press wedge is so powerful that it will break through any solid. And this makes your log splitter ideal for hardwoods that seem impossible to cut with your hand axe.

About Author