Full Beam vs Half Beam Log Splitters

Full Beam vs Half Beam Log Splitters

Comparing Full Beam and Half Beam Log Splitters

Dale, the Log Splitter Expert
Log Splitter Expert

It takes power to split large logs. However, you don’t necessarily need oversized equipment to get the power you require.

Half beam log splitters are a smaller alternative to traditional splitters (which often are referred to as full beam log splitters when half beams are discussed). Among those who have heard of them, there’s a misconception that half beam splitters are less powerful than full beam splitters.

Several qualities set these two types of log splitters apart. Power isn’t one of them.

Full Beam vs. Half Beam Log Splitter Comparison


Construction of Full Beam and Half Beam Log Splitters

The easiest way to compare full beam and half beam wood splitters is to compare how they’re built and examine all the differences and similarities in their structures.


Differences in Construction

The biggest difference between full beam and half beam log splitters is the one that gives half beam splitters their name.

Hydraulic Cylinder

Every log splitter has a hydraulic cylinder that either drives a wedge into a log or pushes a log against a stationary wedge. The beam to which this cylinder is mounted is shorter on a half beam splitter than it is on a full beam splitter.

In addition to the size, the mounting position is different as well. On half beam splitters, the cylinder is mounted to the center of the beam. On full beam wood splitters, the cylinder is mounted to a connection point near the front or towing end of the machine.

Overall, a half beam wood splitter will be 18” shorter than a full beam splitter. But the beam isn’t the only part of the structure where people will notice differences:

  • Control valve: the control valve is mounted to the top of a half beam log splitter but mounted to the side of a full beam splitter
  • Engine, axle, and wheels: all these parts are mounted farther forward or closer to the towing hitch on a half beam splitter than on a full beam splitter
  • Towing components: a half beam splitter has a shorter tow bar and a narrower axle than a full beam counterpart

Together, these details should paint a picture of how compact a half beam log splitter is.


Similarities in Construction

For all their differences, it’s important to note that half beam and full beam splitters are capable of providing equal amounts of power.

This is evident in the fact that half beam and full beam splitters from the same manufacturer that provide the same amount of tonnage will have the same key features:

  • Engine horsepower
  • Hydraulic pump flow rate
  • Cycle time

The differences lie solely in the framework that houses these features.


Differences in Using Full Beam and Half Beam Log Splitters

Manufacturers wouldn’t bother making two different styles of log splitters if each one didn’t have its advantages. So, what makes half beam log splitters and full beam log splitters functionally different?

  • Ergonomics and comfort
  • Ease of towing
  • Cost


Ergonomics of Half Beam Log Splitters

Ease of use is one of the standout benefits of half beam log splitters. It’s common to hear that half beam models make log splitting more comfortable.

Vertical Horizontal Log Splitter

One of the reasons for this is the different layout of components found on half beam splitters. Due to the top-mounted control valve and the narrower wheel position, many people find that they bend over less when using a half beam splitter. Anyone with back pain or sore knees knows what a lifesaver this can be.

The shape and design of a half beam splitter also make the splitter easier to use if it’s a combination vertical and horizontal wood splitter. The shorter cylinder support beam is less cumbersome to lift into the vertical position. Once the splitter is in the vertical position, the top-mounted control handle is in a spot where it’s easy to reach and adjust.


Ease of Towing Full Beam Log Splitters

One benefit of full beam log splitters is the stability they provide when towed behind a vehicle.

Full Beam Log Splitter with Tow Bar

As mentioned before, full beam splitters have both a longer tow bar and a wider wheelbase than their half beam counterparts. This makes them less likely to rock or shift when being towed along a road.

It should be noted that both are safe to tow at low speeds. However, logging and forestry professionals often travel long distances between job sites and can’t depend on traveling only on local roads. Full beam splitters are excellent for the stability and dependability they need.


Cost of Half Beam Log Splitters

Half Beam Splitter Close-UpThe price tag doesn’t influence how people use their log splitters day in and day out—but it does influence whether they’ll buy a log splitter.

In general, half beam log splitters tend to carry a lower price tag than full beam log splitters. This is simply a result of half beams requiring less material in their construction.

Because half beam wood splitters contain less material, they weigh less. This makes them not only easier to move but also less expensive to ship (if shipping rates are being charged).


Who Uses Full Beam and Half Beam Log Splitters

For the property owner who owns a large lot and would like to save money on a powerful splitter that’s easy to use, a half beam wood splitter might be the answer.

For the commercial user who wants a dependable splitter that’s easy to transport from one location to the next, a full beam splitter might be just what’s needed.

But these guidelines aren’t absolute. In the end, anyone can choose either type of log splitter that provides the splitting force needed for their logs. Half beam and full beam splitters differ in several ways, but splitting power isn’t one of them.


 NEXT: How to Handle Super-Sized Logs With Ease

Dale, the Log Splitter Expert
Log Splitter Expert
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