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  1. #1
    Veteran Member Charlesaf3's Avatar
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    Default Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    Before I bought one, I searched all over the web for reviews, and couldn't find much, so I thought I'd put one here, though I don't really know if this is the place.

    I bought the 30 ton Harbor Freight Log splitter with the 9hp robin engine for $1099. Shipping was $50 which is a ridiculous bargain out to me. I've had it for around a month, and am generally quite happy with it.

    It is a case of you get what you pay for, and "some assembly required" as per most harbor freight stuff. It comes in a couple of pieces, each of which weigh around 300 odd pounds. Putting them together, especially on unlevel ground in the woods beside my driveway, was NOT fun. I'm a 6'5 strong guy, and using a farm jack I was just barely able to tilt things into place. The instructions say 2 people required for assembly, and they aren't lying. A forklift and 2 people would make the job far easier.

    I had a nut missing from the package - once again typical harbor freight, but not a big deal.

    Filling fluids was a pain. Many of the things about this splitter could be improved with minor design tweaks, and the fluid fills are certainly one of them. A right angle funnel, or better yet some sort of transfer pump, would have been far easier than my approach of gently tilting a 5 gallon can of hydraulic fluid into a horizontal hole. I don't think I got more than 40% of the stuff on me... Oil fill is the same joy.

    Fired it up - Robin subaru engine seems really nice on initial use. Beats the **** out of Briggs and Stratton (I hate briggs and Stratton - total junk)

    Run it for a little while - it's splitting green oak and tupelo very nicely. THe control lever, which you have to hold onto the whole time in forward, is very awkwardly situated. (Yet another future tweak). There is an automatic high speed return.

    Then the hydraulic filter blew, and sprayed hydraulic fluid everywhere. More fun. Got a new hydraulic filter at napa for under $10 - harbor freight said they'd ship it to me, but it was on back order. We'll see... Runs fine with the new filter.

    I'm really happy with it now. Yes, it could have some design improvements, but its built tough, and splits well. And the engine is subaru, not B&S. I'd definitely buy it again - it seems better than stuff I've seen for 5-600 more.

    Other minor issues - the adjustable kickstand, which really requires three hands to make it trailerable. The height of the hitch couple - good 2-3' above ground.

    I'll post again if I have anything to add, but currently I'm very pro. Cheaper than most 3 point stuff to boot - TSCs was $200 less, but much less powerful.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member BTDT's Avatar
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    Sep 2006
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    North Texas
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    IH M Farmall-propane powered, H Farmall (father-in-laws), Ford 1300 diesel

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    Sounds great. Boy, I would love to have a log splitter. But then I would have to buy a wood stove, and a chain saw, and a truck....nevermind.

  3. #3
    Super Member Dargo's Avatar
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    S. IN
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    Jinma, Foton, TYM, Belarus, Yanmar, Branson, Montana, Mahindra and maybe some green and orange too.

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    You have me beat by 2 ton; mine is only a 28 ton unit. I bought mine from a close out sale at Lowe's a couple of years ago in the early part of summer. Log splitters were not exactly moving fast for them at that time of the year. I was very pleased with the price (that's why I bought it - it was $795 and still in the crate). I'll have to agree with you on the B&S engine. I think it's an 8 hp (?) B&S engine. At first it seemed to run okay, but after the first couple of hours I had to start playing with the choke to get it to run right. It still starts and runs okay, but it is a pain to have to fiddle with the choke to get it set just right.

    Mine is a Yard something brand I think. I've split quite a bit of wood with it and it, like yours, has actually panned out to be a pretty decent splitter overall. I'm glad it has plastic fenders. If not, I would have metal fenders all bent to heck after the first use. Thanks for your review. It seems to go along with mine in that it is possible to get a relatively decent and powerful splitter for not a huge amount of money. I had borrowed a 3 pt. splitter to use on my 50 hp tractor, and it sucked! The stand alone unit is the way to go. Good luck with yours, and don't tease me about my B&S engine too much.
    1982 18" Murray push mower (B&S industrial 8 hp engine!) custom deck, new blade - became unbalanced when one side old blade broke off!
    HF moving dolly - high torque! Dogbone multi-wrench too..wait, it split on first use.
    My trash man is the greatest. No matter how bad the economy gets and how bad stocks drop or how bad home values drop, his business is always picking up.

  4. #4
    Super Member schmism's Avatar
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    5,092
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    Peoria IL
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    New holland TC(33)

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    ever considered converting it to tractor hydrolics and selling the robin (or useing it on a diffrent project... like perhaps a pressurewasher)
    Steve - TC33D 4x4 FEL, dual rear remotes with toys

  5. #5
    Super Star Member
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    VA
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    JD2010, Kubota3450,2550, Mahindra 7520 w FEL w Skid Steer QC w/Tilt Tatch, & BH, BX1500

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    Charlesaf3, Thats a lot of tonnage for a 9HP. You trade off speed when you go to the bigger (5+") cylinders needed to provide this force safely. Unless you are using a 4 way wedge you will never need more than 20 tons. I have been using my homemade 18 ton (verified by gauge) for 20 years and have never run into something I couldnt split. There have been about 5 times that I had to try twice. You got a good price for that force capability, but you pay in speed unless you go to a 4 way wedge.
    Larry

  6. #6
    Platinum Member BTI's Avatar
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    Feb 2002
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    758
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    Nelsonville, Ohio
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    CK20S Hydro TLB

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    The "off brand" at the big box stores and "Harbor Freights" stuff will become more and more similar as time goes on.
    Some of the stuff HF has is the same as Northern Hydraulics, but HF is cheaper.
    Usually....

    BTI
    **EARTH FIRST----We'll Clear-cut the other planets LATER**

    *******The poster formerly known as Kiohio******

    740-753-9242

  7. #7
    Silver Member Stoweski's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
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    Altamont, NY
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    Kubota B3200 Kubota RTV900

    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    Yep, like Charles I purchased a HF log splitter. Bought it just over a year ago. Unlike Charles I did go with the B&S because that's all they had in the size I wanted... a 24 ton, 8hp. A few months later they changed to the Robin engine.
    A year and 8 cord later I have had no major issues with the splitter. My original thought was to pick up something at a reasonable price. The splitter I got retailed for $949. It was on sale for $899. With my good-old 20% off coupon I picked it up for $720. I had a friend who has a truck and they loaded it right on it in no time. Yep, the tough part was getting the thing off of it.

    Small problems range from a loose nut (teflon fixed that) and recently a loose filter. The issue with the hydraulic fill is a problem. I used a long neck funnel and bent it. Seems to work... except how the heck do you tell how much is in the tank? It's a pain.

    The manual states not to split anything larger than 8". HA! Try 3'. Vertical splitting definitely is a back saver. For the price this thing definitely takes the cake!

    Keith
    kubota B7610

  8. #8
    Veteran Member Charlesaf3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    Quote Originally Posted by BTDT
    Sounds great. Boy, I would love to have a log splitter. But then I would have to buy a wood stove, and a chain saw, and a truck....nevermind.
    That just about sums up my life. Hi, my name is Charles and I have a tool addiction problem...

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Charlesaf3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    Quote Originally Posted by Dargo
    You have me beat by 2 ton; mine is only a 28 ton unit. I bought mine from a close out sale at Lowe's a couple of years ago in the early part of summer. Log splitters were not exactly moving fast for them at that time of the year. I was very pleased with the price (that's why I bought it - it was $795 and still in the crate). I'll have to agree with you on the B&S engine. I think it's an 8 hp (?) B&S engine. At first it seemed to run okay, but after the first couple of hours I had to start playing with the choke to get it to run right. It still starts and runs okay, but it is a pain to have to fiddle with the choke to get it set just right.

    Mine is a Yard something brand I think. I've split quite a bit of wood with it and it, like yours, has actually panned out to be a pretty decent splitter overall. I'm glad it has plastic fenders. If not, I would have metal fenders all bent to heck after the first use. Thanks for your review. It seems to go along with mine in that it is possible to get a relatively decent and powerful splitter for not a huge amount of money. I had borrowed a 3 pt. splitter to use on my 50 hp tractor, and it sucked! The stand alone unit is the way to go. Good luck with yours, and don't tease me about my B&S engine too much.
    I wouldn't dream of teasing you about your B&S - it's a great way to meet cute girls who hang out at your local BS repair shop That is, assuming you have cute girls there - my BS repair shop has an ugly old guy named jim... But sounds like you got a great deal!

    And I agree with you, the cheap ones seem to do well - the PTO stuff seemed to cost way too much. And why put the hours on the tractor engine? Its also nice to have something else on the 3 point, while the splitter lives at the log pile.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Charlesaf3's Avatar
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    Default Re: Harbor Freight Log Splitter Review

    Quote Originally Posted by SPYDERLK
    Charlesaf3, Thats a lot of tonnage for a 9HP. You trade off speed when you go to the bigger (5+") cylinders needed to provide this force safely. Unless you are using a 4 way wedge you will never need more than 20 tons. I have been using my homemade 18 ton (verified by gauge) for 20 years and have never run into something I couldnt split. There have been about 5 times that I had to try twice. You got a good price for that force capability, but you pay in speed unless you go to a 4 way wedge.
    Larry
    Yeah, it is slow, though its a 2 way so its pretty fast back. And to tell the truth, it isn't that slow, and I see the speed as a safety thing - tough to get a hand caught in this one.

    I was thinking of having someone make me up a four way head, actually. Don't know how to weld myself so I'd have to get it done. Head seems pretty replaceable - one bolt to the cylinder, and some bolts on the I beam.

    On the power washer front, nah, I've got one. A Briggs and Stratton (Dargo, feel free to give it back to me now!)

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