Bruce Springsteen famously sang “you can’t start a fire without a spark,” and while that’s true, it’s incomplete — you also need tinder, kindling and firewood to start a fire. Admittedly, that doesn’t flow as well, which is why Bruce Springsteen does what he does and I don’t. But when it comes to firewood, the best way to make sure you have a fire that’ll befit your campfire Springsteen singalongs is with a firewood splitter.
Tinder consists of dry leaves and needles that can be used to start the fire, kindling consists of smaller pieces of wood like twigs to help the fire grow and firewood (also called fuel) are larger logs that keep the fire roaring. Tinder is pretty easy to collect, but wood will rarely be the right size when you find it. That’s why a firewood splitter deserves a spot next to your log holder and pokers. A firewood splitter can help you make break apart larger chunks of wood to make fuel and kindling.
A firewood splitter helps split larger logs into firewood that will light more easily and burn longer. The traditional method involves using nothing but an axe, but this takes strength and skill. Many modern tools allow you to work smarter, not harder, and the best firewood splitters definitely fall into this category. That means you’ll be spending less time outside in the cold splitting logs and more time huddled around a roaring campfire or fireplace. These are some of the best firewood splitters to buy right now. Some of these options can break up big logs for firewood, while others can break up firewood to make kindling.
1. Kindling Cracker Firewood Splitter
The oft-imitated Kindling Cracker firewood splitter is one of the most popular options out there, and it’s not hard to see why. The innovative design allows you to more quickly split larger logs into firewood and kindling. The splitter has a toothed wedge in the middle, and the log is placed through the ring and on top of the wedge. Then, you hit the wood with a mallet to split it. While there are some limitations (it takes up more space, and not every piece of wood will fit) it’s an easy way to make kindling.
2. Stikkan – Norwegian Kindling Splitter
This kindling splitter from Stikkan features a somewhat similar mechanism to guillotine-style paper trimmers, except it’s for making kindling. The splitter is meant to be mounted to a secure post or wall, and the piece of wood is then mounted on one of the teeth. Then, you bring the handle down on the wood to neatly split it. You can move the wood up and down the teeth to find the best angle. There’s a ring that helps to keep the handle in place when not in use.
3. Fiskars Forged Steel Single Bit Splitting Axe
There’s nothing wrong with doing things the old school way, and if you want to use an axe to split wood, then one from Fiskars is one of the most reliable bets. It’s made from forged steel, and it has an extra-long 36″ handle. That gives users more leverage when swinging the axe, and also makes it more comfortable for taller users.
4. EasyGoProducts Jack Jr. Wood Log Splitter
This splitter from EasyGoProducts is compact and lightweight, so it’s easy to move around as needed. Or, you can use the drill holes to mount this splitter to a secure base. The splitter has a wedge design — you place the wood on the wedge and use a mallet to hit the wood into the wedge. You can use it to make larger logs or kindling.
5. Logger Joe 10 Ton Hydraulic Log Splitter
This log splitter uses a hydraulic mechanism to deliver up to 10 tons of splitting force on logs that are up to 18″ long. But all that power comes in a fairly small package. It weighs less than 90 pounds and has wheels, so you can move it around when it’s not in use. Plus, it can be stood upright to take up less floor space. The machine has two arms that you move back and forth, similar to the arms of an elliptical, to drive the log into the wedge on the opposite end of the splitter. That means no bending or brute force is required to split the logs.
6. Truper Tru Pro Splitting Wedge
BEST FOR LARGE LOGS
For larger pieces of wood that you can’t fit into a machine or split with an axe, you might need to make use of a wedge, like this option from Truper. The way it works is that you place the wedge into the top of the wood and hit the wedge. As the wedge drives into the wood, it’ll split off part of the wood.
7. Estwing Forged Steel Camp Axe
If you want to use a traditional axe to split wood, then this option from Estwing is a good option to get. It has a 14″ handle, which is shorter than the 36″ Fiskars axe, so it may be easier to use for shorter users or those who’d prefer a more compact tool. The handle has a textured grip that’s comfortable to use and reduces shock, making the axe more comfortable to use. The American-made axe also has a double-tempered head for greater durability.
8. Spantan Handheld Kindling Splitter
BEST FOR SMALL KINDLING
If you want something specifically for kindling, this compact tool from Spantan is great for splitting softwood into smaller pieces. The unique tool has a blade in the middle with handles on either side, making it easier to move the blade through the wood. It’s made from cast iron with a zinc finish. It’s small and lightweight, so it’s easy to use if you take it camping.