3-Point Log Splitter Buyer's Guide
How to Pick the Perfect 3-Point Log Splitter
If you've already spent the money on a tractor, adding a 3-point log splitter can make the most of your investment.
Your tractor makes it easier to move a large log splitter over rough terrain without the hassle of dragging a trailer. Why not use it to help power the log splitter as well? These wood splitters attach to the 3-point hitch on your tractor to put its hydraulics to use.
A 3-point log splitter is capable of producing 13-31 tons of force, making it well suited for big logs. Depending on the model, a 3-point log splitter can be used with a Category 1, 2, or 3 hitch.
Here's what to look for when searching for the right model for you.
3-Point Hydraulic and PTO Log Splitters
Because your tractor's hydraulic system will provide the power that moves your log splitter's ram, it's essential to know that your tractor's hydraulics are compatible with your log splitter.
The important measurement you want to look for on your tractor is its hydraulic oil flow rate or total flow. You'll see it measured in gallons per minute, or GPM. If you don't have that information available in your tractor's manual, you might be able to find it using the website TractorData.
Each 3-point log splitter will list a minimum recommended flow rate. Before buying a splitter, make sure that your tractor is capable of a flow rate at least that high.
Some log splitters can use your tractor's power take-off, or PTO, instead of or in addition to its hydraulic system to power your log splitter's pump. In those cases, you might find a PTO conversion kit included with your log splitter or available as an additional purchase.
Log Splitter Tonnage and Tractor PSI
In addition to knowing the flow rate of your tractor's hydraulic fluid, you have to know one more detail about its hydraulics before you can pair it with a 3-point log splitter: the pressure of the fluid while the tractor is in use. This is measured in pounds per square inch, or PSI.
Your tractor's hydraulic fluid pressure affects two important qualities of your log splitter:
- The amount of force it applies when splitting time, or the tonnage
- The amount of time it takes for the ram to fully extend and then return to the starting point, or the cycle time (also affected by flow rate)
When shopping 3-point log splitters, you'll find a recommended PSI range provided. You'll also likely see an upper limit -- a PSI value that your tractor should not exceed while running your log splitter. Be sure that your tractor can operate within the given limits.
Additional 3-Point Splitter Features
Once you've made sure that your hydraulic or PTO log splitter is compatible with your tractor, you can check to see if it offers any other benefits to make log splitting easier.
A favorite feature is the ability to split logs in either a horizontal or a vertical position. A vertical/horizontal splitter that can switch positions provides users with two comfortable ways to split logs:
- Horizontally for easily lifting and catching smaller, lighter logs
- Vertically for splitting larger, heavier logs without having to lift them
In addition to making splitting easier, some 3-point splitters can make splitting faster. Look for a model that offers two-way return, meaning that it can split a log when the ram is extending and then split another log when the ram is returning to the start position.
A 3-point log splitter is a great investment for a tractor owner who has a large property to clear and lots of logs to split, or for firewood sellers looking to split larger logs. With the power of your tractor behind you, large logs don't stand a chance.