It deserted me in an instant. Without even making a noise, it was a piece of history. I had spent the previous year neglecting it, true, but I wasn’t expecting it to ditch me on such a cold, windy night. And that too at a time when I had a stack of potential firewood sitting outside in my garage. What was it, I hear you ask? Well, it was my log splitter pump.
Just a few months after I had bought it, my machine pump had burned out. However, I would be lying if I would say that I hadn’t seen the day coming.
In fact, now that I have the benefit of hindsight, I could recall all the mistakes I made while choosing the pump, narrating whom is not the purpose of this article. The purpose of this article, rather, is to make sure you don’t repeat them.
Want to learn from my mistakes? Can’t afford to make a bad choice?
Single Stage or Double Stage Pump?
The first mistake which I committed was ignoring the differences between a single and a double stage hydraulic pump. Although my ambivalence in selecting the pump wasn’t the reason for its failure later in the day, it was a contributing factor. Hence, before we take a look at the five best log splitter pumps, let’s find out which of them will suit your needs.
For simplicity, we have decided to compare both the pumps on five different counts, the first of which is performance.
When it comes to performance, there is virtually NO difference between single and double stage pumps. As the difference lies in the operating conditions.
For example, if you want to have more volume coming out of your pump, you may need a single stage pump. For, these pumps are known for operating very close to their rated capacity. However, if more pressure is what you desire, a double stage pump may suit you.
Single stage pumps can operate at or near their rated capacity. While the reason for this behavior is beyond the scope of this article, you should know that most log splitters DO NOT recommend operating their pumps at their full capacity for the reason that doing so might burn the pump.
As for the two stage pumps, they are known for operating at 70% of the rated capacity. While they provide less engine speed, such pumps can be run for longer periods without any dangers of overheating.
Put simply, when it comes to flow rates, double stage pumps provide better flowrates than their single stage counterparts.
Until now, we have noticed that apart from high flow rates, double stage pumps are more efficient than their single stage compatriots. But what does it really mean? And more importantly, how will it help you?
To answer this question, consider a scenario. Assume you are running your log splitter at less than its rated tonnage. In such a scenario – if you are using a single stage pump, you’d have to spin the engine more quickly, resulting in more fuel consumption.
In contrast, even when required to run at low speeds, double-stage pumps consume the same amount of fuel as they did when running at higher speeds. Therefore, if you want a pump with lower fuel consumption, go for the double stage pump.
Life of the Pump
When operating at a low speed, you’d have to run the engine faster to compensate for the shortcoming of the single stage pump.
This, in turn, would result in wear and tear not only on the engine but also on driveline components. As a result, the pump which might have lasted one year in an ideal scenario would be a goner within six months.
Hence, one of the biggest advantages which the choice of a double stage pump will give you is increased shelf life. Therefore, if your budget is always tight – and you cannot afford to or aren’t willing to spend more than absolutely necessary on a log splitter pump, but also want it to last longer, go for a double stage pump.
So far, we have been signing paeans of the glory of double stage pumps. However, here comes a minor caveat: double stage pumps are more expensive than their single stage counterparts.
What is the reason, you might ask?
Well, the reasons are numerous. Double stage pump manufacturers know that their pump stands a better chance of lasting longer than a single stage pump. Also, they know that in the long run, its fuel consumption will also be less. Finally, they are aware that with less wear-and-tear, a double stage pump would require less maintenance over its shelf life.
As a result, they willing put the price of double stage pumps over their single stage compatriots. Still, if you ask me, the abovementioned benefits dictate than even if it means paying more money up front, we should be biased towards a double stage pump.
How do Log Splitter Pumps work
Also known as gear pumps, these pumps provide their services in various applications ranging from power transfer units to oil pumps in engines and for providing lubrication in machine tools. Before you know the features which define a quality gear or log splitter pump – both are the same, you need to know how they work.
The pump operate when both their gears come in contact with each other. With the first gear being operated by the motor, it comes into contact with the second gear to rotate it. From then on, here’s how the log splitter pump works to lubricate your entire log splitter:
- As the gears rotate with each other, an expanding volume is created on the inlet side of your pump. This, in turn, allows the pump to trap more liquid between the gear teeth.
- Once the liquid is trapped, the rotating gears use it for lubricating the surface between their teeth and the casing. For efficient working of a pump, this lubrication is a must.
- Once the lubrication capacity of the trapped liquid is exhausted, it gets forced through the outlet port under pressure from the gears.
What to look for in a Log Splitter Pump?
Now that you know how they work, we can turn our attention to the features which define a quality log splitter pump. Although not many pumps will have all these features, you should select a pump which has the most of them. Take a look.
Material of construction
Since we are talking about log splitters here, we can assume that the pump won’t have to deal with corrosive liquids which it has to face while operating in high pressure environments. That doesn’t mean, however, that the importance of material of construction can be ignored.
For, provided the material of construction of the pump happens to be of poor quality, the whole pump will rust in no time. Therefore, when choosing a pump, make sure it is made of stainless steel. If you think that stainless steel pumps are too expensive, aluminum is the next better option.
It is a no brainer that the more the GPM (or gallons per minute) a pump is capable of delivering, the more powerful it be. As a result, you can use it for heavy duty applications with no doubts as to whether it can bear the extra burden or not.
But how much GPM is heavy-duty GPM, you may ask?
Of the pumps we have selected for this review, 2 Stage Hydraulic Log Splitter Pump is the most powerful by oozing out 28GPM. Put simply, this much GPM means that this pump can be used for heavy duty applications.
Although there are many ways one can differentiate between a small and large-capacity gear pump, the most important is that of RPM or revolutions per minute. For example, while large models operate at as high as speeds as 6400RPM, the best small capacity pumps can muster is 1750 or 3450RPM.
If someone asks you to differentiate between small and large capacity pumps, RPM is the first factor you should explain. Afterward, once you are done explaining the significance of RPM, it is PSI or pressure per square inch which you should turn to.
Talking about large-capacity log splitter pumps, shaft support is on both the sides of the gears. Similarly, they have close tolerances. Such geometry allows them to amp us as much as 3000PSI. Conversely, if you are using a low capacity pump, it would be able to run at around 1500PSI or below.
One of the problems which my last (now deceased) pump often encountered was the release of viscous liquids from the inside. On further research, I found out that its internal threads weren’t up to the mark to stop the leakage.
So which threads stop the leakage, you might ask?
The NPT threads. Thanks to their tapered thread series, such threads provide pressure-tight sealing as well as rigidity. Approved by a US regulatory body, the NPT threads are a must-have if you do not want any leakage inside or outside your pump.
External Gear Pumps
Finally, there are two types of gear pumps: external and internal gear pumps. Although both these types may seem remarkably similar to a layman, they have one major difference particular when we talk about their usage in log splitters.
One of the two types – aka the external gear pump – can and is used in log splitters. The other type, known as the internal gear pump, is NOT FIT to be used as a log splitter pump. Hence, it should be the former and NOT the latter which you should always choose for your log splitter.
Otherwise, while the world may not crashing down if you choose an internal gear pump, it won’t just fit inside your log splitter, meaning that if the manufacturer wouldn’t replace it with its external counterpart, your money would go to waste.
11 GPM 2 Stage Log Splitter Gear Pump [91-129-PUMP-11]
The 11GPM log splitter pump has what it takes to make it ideal for a large number of log splitter applications.
Take, for example, its GPM range which makes the pump available for any log splitter which has a rated force of less than 35tons. As veteran woodworkers might testify, this is an impressive range for a pump costing less than $100.
Thanks to its two-stage construction, this pump could provide maximum speed without having any bearing on its pressure. It means you can use it both on heavy duty splitters as well as the lightweight ones which occasionally handle heavy tasks.
Unlike many cheap pumps which are mostly available in the same price spectrum as this pump, this pump isn’t uni-directional. Regardless of the type of your log splitter, it WILL WORK in both the vertical and horizontal positions.
Finally, to prevent the inner hydraulic fluid from leaking, this pump has ½’’ NPT threads on its outlet port. These threads form a secure seal against the pump body to rule out any chance of leakage.
- Minimum leakage thanks to ½’’NPT threads
- Has an aluminum body
- The slot for the keyway is low quality
Apart from its brilliant performance, this pump is easy to install and doesn’t cost a fortune. What more can you ask!
ToolTuff Direct 16 GPM 2 Stage Hydraulic Log Splitter Pump
To provide adequate protection against rust, more manufacturers churning out low-priced pumps turn to aluminum as the material of construction (MOC) of their product. In fact, now that we know that the previous product is inexpensive, a mere glance at its MOC suggests the presence of aluminum.
While using aluminum has its advantages, providing lifelong protection against rust isn’t one of them. For, when subject to wear-and-tear, the scratches on the aluminum body make it susceptible to rust. To prevent this from being the case here, Tool Tuff has provided this pump with a combination of aluminum and cast iron mounting.
While the former will make the pump lightweight, cast iron will protect the pump from the inevitable wear-and-tear. As a result, the shelf life of this pump will automatically increase.
Since the pump is preset at 900psi, it is recommended you use this pump in applications where the log splitter undergoes a light startup operation. That is, when starting the pump, make sure the load is on the lighter side, before increasing it gradually.
- Switches easily between low/high pressure loads
- Cannot be used for heavy startup
In addition to being lightweight and durable, this pump has an inexpensive price tag. Therefore, it will be best suited for conditions where the wood splitting requirements aren’t huge.
28 GPM 2 Stage Hydraulic Log Splitter Pump
Whether your log splitter requires low speed, high pressure or high speed, low pressure circuit, this high quality, the versatile and competitively priced pump has all the traits to match all your log splitting needs.
As you might have guessed by its GPM rating, this pump is an undoubtedly heavy duty. No pump reviewed thus far in this article has as higher a GPM flow rate as the 28GPM 2 Stage Pump. But, what does the GPM mean to you? And more importantly, how will it help?
To answer both these questions, I’d like to point out two of the most important features of this pump: its PSI rating and the RPM value.
This pump has a built-in capability of operating at 3000PSI regardless of whether you put it under load or not. However, provided you have a huge load coming forward, you can operate this pump at its maximum 4000PSI capacity for a few minutes to get the job done. Afterward, get the PSI down to enjoy the optimal performance of this pump.
As for the RPM value, this pump has a maximum speed of 3000RPM. However, just like the maximum PSI rating – which the pump can attain but cannot sustain, its optimal RPM lies somewhere much less than that.
On the flip side, one thing I found slightly discomforting about this pump was its HP requirement. It won’t operate as long as you don’t provide it 15HP on a consistent basis. This much HP requirement means the pump might not be efficient in its fuel consumption.
- Brilliant for low speed, high pressure and high speed, low pressure circuits
- Huge PSI rating
- Has a maximum RPM of 4000
- Might not be efficient in fuel consumption
If you want a pump to do heavy duty tasks without any trouble, you’d have to be prepared to meet its fuel consumption requirements. And if you can afford to do that, this pump is a must-have.
16 GPM GEAR PUMP & 25 GPM VALVE COMBO KIT [Combo-16-25-Combo-Kit]
If you are a person who uses wood splitters just to have some firewood for your home – meaning you aren’t in the woodworking profession, the previous 28GPM pump might exceed your requirements, while also costing more. What you need, therefore, is a pump with a low GPM rating but equally impressive features.
It is where the 16GPM Gear Pump from Rugged Made comes into play.
Most home owners want log splitter pumps to be a little less noisy than their commercial counterparts. However, as research tells us, pumps with RPM greater than 3000 RPM – a benchmark for commercially used pumps, are way too noisy.
Put simply, then, if you want your pump to operate silently, you need it to be operating at less than 3000RPM. And there are no prizes for guessing that the 16GPM hydraulic log splitter pump does just that! It means you can operate it indoors without the noise level hurting your ears.
Turning our attention to the combo kit, I’ve to say that this is a unique and an excellent combination with which you can power the log splitter. For, while the pump gives the splitter the required speed, the valve will disperse the hydraulic fluid efficiently throughout the pump to prevent it from overheating.
- Less noise than commercial pumps
- Inexpensive for the combo set on offer
- Has an efficiency of 85%
Sometimes, we have to pay a bit over the odds for the product which meets our needs. That said, despite costing you more up front, this pump has all the attributes – as suggested by its 85% efficiency, to save your money in the long run.
22 GPM 2 Stage Log Splitter Gear Pump
Search the Internet for the most reputed pump manufacturers, and the name of Rugged Made will inevitably be on that list. Still, while the manufacturer of this pump is famous, it was its features which forced us to give this pump a slot in our review.
Most pumps – and especially those which turn to ½’’ shaft keyways, encounter problems in the long run, as you have to lock tight it every few months. Some rugged made pumps also displayed this tendency in the past.
To get rid of this shortcoming, Rugged Made has provided this pump with a 5/8’’ shaft keyway. As a result, you won’t have to reset this pump with a lock tight every few months.
Just like its 11GPM pump, Rugged made has provided this pump with ¾’’ NPT threads on its outlet port. Due to the addition of these threads, you’d encounter no leakage problem as the threads form an effective seal against the pump’s body.
Finally, in a clue that this pump is easy to install, you can see 2-hole bolt patterns on the outside. And to make it long lasting, the use of aluminum body has provided this pump with a brilliant deterrent against rust.
- Easy to install
- No leakage
- Not rust proof
For people who use log splitters with a rated force of less than 35ton, their search for the best log splitter pump ends here. Without losing an inch of pressure, this 2 stage pump provides maximum speed, while working in both the horizontal and vertical positions.
Searching the best log splitter pump isn’t easy. In addition to the usual constraints posed by your requirements and the price you can afford to pay, these pumps have a jargon, one which a normal log splitter user doesn’t understand. However, now that you have this article in front of you, you can either select a pump from it or use our research to select one from the market.