Maybe you still have a teenager to split wood for you. Maybe that’s only a fond memory at this point. Maybe your freshly delivered woodpile is sitting out in the yard, patiently waiting for you to attend to it. If you’re at the point where splitting wood has become more of a hassle than a meditative joy, you might want to consider a log splitter.
The two models we’ll be examining today, the WEN 56207 and Sun Joe LJ10M are excellent for getting your wood in shape for stacking and burning, but they operate by two different mechanisms: hydraulics and electricity. Everyone has a different preference for machines like this, so we’ll try to break everything down into specific features and allow you to choose which of these devices will best serve your specific needs.
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Hydraulic or Electric?
Sun Joe LJ10M
We’ll start with the basic major difference. This model is operated manually, but hydraulics make the actual action much easier than if you were doing everything with an axe. Using levers, you’ll be able to deliver powerful force with relative ease and split logs at a rate that gets you home for dinner to keep your spouse happy.
Electricity is what powers this machine, and that cranks up your log-splitting potential by a significant amount. Plug this into an outlet, and you’ll be able to split logs in record time. A 15-amp motor gives this device incredible power when it comes to splitting logs in a clean and efficient manner. You don’t have to worry about gas-power or emissions, and your work will be reduced to picking up logs and putting them down.
Verdict: Electric power certainly makes thing more convenient for whoever splits logs among your family. While the Sun Joe’s hydraulics make splitting wood much easier than it would be with an axe, you’ll still be operating the levers manually in order to deliver the required force. With electric power, your workload will be reduced, and you can get all your splitting done without getting too tired.
Sun Joe LJ10M
Small to medium-sized logs will do best in this device. Because you’ll be operating it manually, your splitting power will be limited to your strength. For this reason, logs beyond 18 inches long or 8 inches in diameter will be more difficult to handle. This should be fine for most homeowners who get their wood delivered by the cord, but it might be difficult if you’re someone who cuts in the forest and runs into irregular sizes frequently.
Because of its electric power advantage, this machine can take logs that are up to 20.5 inches in length or 10 inches in diameter. This kind of capacity gives you a nice range of flexibility when it comes to the type of logs you’ll be able to split with this device. Pretty much any medium-sized log that comes your way can be easily placed on the machine and split down the middle with minimal labor on your part.
Verdict: This is an area where it might behoove you to think about the kind of wood you’ve been receiving in orders over the past few years if you order your wood at all. At the end of the day, you might want to stay prepared and go with the larger capacity offered by the WEN, since you never know when you’ll end up with a weird-sized log in a cord of wood.
Sun Joe LJ10M
The hydraulics in this machine allows you to deliver a whopping 10 tons of force when splitting wood. If you’ve ever spent hours over a stump splitting with two strokes at a time, you’ll be amazed at the way 10 tons of force can make splitting seem completely effortless. Like watching an elegant dunk in basketball, you’ll wish you could make it that easy, but you’ll be happy you know someone that can.
This model doesn’t provide as much force potential as its competitor, offering only 6.5 tons, or 13,000 pounds of pressure. This means that the machine will work a little harder to accomplish what the Sun Joe does with hydraulics, but since you’re using electric power, you won’t be the one who takes on the burden. That being said, tough-to-split logs will give you a little more trouble with this machine than the other one.
Verdict: The Sun Joe simply delivers more force, and that’s what determines the winner in this category. Because of advanced hydraulic technology, your machine won’t have to work as hard to knock that wood in half, and you’ll be the one who reaps the rewards: saved time and an extra-warm house during the winter months. It’s important to note, however, that since the Sun Joe can’t handle logs as big as its competitor, this doesn’t mean that it’ll be able to split anything.
Getting a log-splitter can totally change your late summer and early fall. Instead of sitting on the couch, looking out the window at that ominously blue-tarped woodpile, you’ll be out in the yard knocking the whole lot out in half the time. Your only choice now is between two solidly manufactured devices with a couple of big differences.
We’ve looked at the differences in hydraulics and electric power. We’ve also examined the actual log capacity. Finally, we checked out how much pressure each of these machines could deliver to a stubborn, knotty piece of wood. While Sun Joe came back at the end with a terrific 10 tons of force, the WEN 56207 offering ultimately will save you the most time and energy with its electric power and superior log capacity.