Skid Steer Log Splitter Buyer's Guide
How to Pick the Perfect Skid Steer Log Splitter
If you own a skid steer (also known as a Bobcat or loader) you already know it's a versatile tool.
What you might not realize is just how versatile it really is.
With a skid steer log splitter, you can harness the power of your machine to make short work of big logs. What kinds of people can put one to good use?
- Owners of large properties
Here's what to consider when shopping for a log splitter to mount to your skid steer.
Convenience of Working from Your Vehicle
Skid steer wood splitters are available in two styles. The traditional style, like smaller log splitters, uses a ram to drive a wedge into a log and split the log apart. The cone style uses a cone-shaped drill to bore into a log.
If your budget is at the front of your mind, look for a traditional log splitter with a horizontal orientation. These will require you or a work buddy to manually load each log onto the log cradle. You might not be able to sit in the cab of your Bobcat the whole time, but you will save some money on the upfront cost of your splitter.
However, if you prefer the convenience of splitting log after log without getting out of your skid steer, you have several options:
- Traditional log splitter with an upside-down configuration: pick up logs between the wedge and the back plate, like using a crane
- Traditional log splitter with a "flip-flop" configuration: switch between the horizontal and the upside-down configuration
- Cone-style log splitter: use the skid steer's controls to drive the cone into each log
The choice is yours as to whether it's better to save money up front with a splitter you have to load or to save time with a splitter you can use without interruption!
Size of Your Logs
Both traditional and cone-style skid steer splitters are made to handle larger logs. However, you will notice that traditional-style splitters have an upper limit.
Like smaller gas-powered log splitters, traditional skid steer splitters will have a tonnage rating. The tonnage is the amount of pressure that the wedge can apply to split logs. It's based on several factors:
- The size of the logs
- Whether the logs have been cured
- The hardness of the wood
Traditional skid steer splitters will be able to apply enough pressure to split many large logs. However, if you need to break down the trunks of large trees, you might be better served by a cone-style splitter.
Cone log splitters neither force a wedge into logs nor require you to place logs on a cradle. As a result, there's no upper limit to the size of the logs they can handle. You wouldn't want to use one on a 6" branch, but for the largest logs, they're the best tool available.
Compatibility with Your Skid Steer
Not every log splitter can be mounted to every skid steer. Before making your purchase, look for these three details on your vehicle:
- The vehicle's weight
- The hydraulic system's flow rate
- The hydraulic system's pump pressure
The flow rate and pump pressure are essential to know no matter what style of skid steer wood splitter interests you. Every skid steer log splitter will depend on your skid steer's hydraulic system for power, so it will list a recommended flow rate and pressure.
If your skid steer's hydraulics can't provide the recommended flow rate (measured in gallons per minute, or GPM) or the recommended pressure (measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI), then your splitter simply won't work effectively.
Because cone-style log splitters are designed to fit the largest vehicles and split the largest logs, it's important to make sure that your skid steer doesn't exceed the recommended weight for your log splitter of choice.