The size of a log splitter is determined by its tonnage. What is tonnage? Tonnage is the amount of force that the ram of a log splitter will exert as it splits a log. So to put it simply, the higher the tonnage the harder the ram will push on the log and the easier it will push through bigger logs. Lower tonnage would equal less force.
The tonnage of the splitter that you need depends on the type and size of firewood that you need or want to spilt. Also consider if you are going to be splitting green or seasoned firewood. Green firewood will require more force to split than seasoned firewood, just like if you were swinging an axe. Hardwoods like oak and maple will also require more force to split than softer woods like pine. When making a decision make sure that you are basing your decision on the tonnage needed for the biggest or most difficult wood that you will be splitting. Use the chart below for a general guideline of the tonnage your log splitter should have based on the diameter of the wood that you will be splitting.
On a similar note, the log length and diameter that a log splitter will accept will determine the amount of work you can get done with it. It is better to have a log splitter that will accept a larger size log than what you need rather than having the splitting area be too small. Cycle time is important also but don’t let it be the most important feature; remember you have to keep up with the machine as it is not going to tire out. A splitter that has a faster cycle time will be able to split more wood in less time.