Here is a post from a friend Joe Miller on the Homelite UT49103 Log Splitter
If you heat your home with wood, gathering fuel is a year-round occupation. We’ve heated our home in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, this way for decades. At first we cut and split it by hand, then we used a log splitter and finally, as I got older, we simply bought pre-split wood from a local seller. Recently, after a storm brought down several old trees on our property, I decided to handle the wood duties again myself.
I dragged out the chainsaw, took the maul from its hiding place in the shed, and got ready to go to work. It wasn’t long before it became obvious that a good log splitter was in order. The $1,000+ price tag, however, nearly threatened to bring the entire operation to a halt. Even to rent one locally would be over $260 for a week.
Some days later, while on an expedition to Home Depot, I ran across a display of Homelite 5 ton electric log splitters. My masculinity offended, I walked on by. Real log splitters were supposed to be as big as a trailer, make a lot of noise and spew gray smoke. But an electric log splitter? It was obviously a piece of junk. Still, the price tag – under $300 – intrigued me. I stopped and went back. That afternoon, I brought one home, convinced that I’d be returning it before sundown. I was wrong. Big time.
The Homelite Model UT49103 weighs in at a hefty 105 pounds and is built like a brick doghouse. Operating horizontally (only), it’s relatively small compared to its big, gas-powered cousins. It measures about 3 feet long and stands only 16 inches tall. It’s very low to the ground, which can be a blessing or a curse. It’s a blessing when you can practically roll logs up onto the beam, a curse when you have to constantly bend down to work.
Unless you’re splitting giant redwoods, the Homelite is powerful enough to do most consumer-level jobs. It accepts logs up to 20.5 inches long and although the manual claims it’s limited to 10 inch diameter logs, we’ve successfully split 20 inch maple and oak. It can bog down on extremely knotty pieces or crotches but by turning the log and looking for cracks, even these can often be overcome. Out of the three cords we recently split, I ran into only six pieces that stopped the Homelite cold. Several of these, when first split in half by hand, could then be reduced to kindling.
A criticism is that as originally manufactured, the Homelite requires two handed operation. One hand is needed to hold down the power button and the other to activate the ram control lever. That can leave you wishing for a third hand to steady the log on the beam. An on-off power switch, as opposed to a button that needs to be held down, would make operation a good deal easier.
All of the things one would normally consider when operating a gas log splitter are true here as well. You need to wear goggles and keep alert for flying chunks and pieces. This is no toy. There are, however, no fumes and no noise. This log splitter can be used in a shed or garage without fear of asphyxiation.
Another fear that seemed to be unfounded was that the cost of running the 15 amp motor would be high. Though this is certainly no scientific analysis, despite heavy use we noticed no change in our electric bill.
The Homelite electric log splitter is ready to use right out of the box. The only assembly required is attaching the plastic wheels. The wheels are functional but despite what the Home Depot web site says, it is clearly not towable. There is a handle on the end opposite the wheels for dragging the splitter about and it stores horizontally, taking up only a little more than a square foot of floor space in the garage. You will need to have a 5/16 Allen wrench available to check the hydraulic level from time to time.
The UT49103 comes with a 2 year manufacturer’s warranty. According to Steve Holmes at Home Depot, the Homelite log splitter is not available in all stores but the good news is that if you order online, shipping to your home is free — pretty amazing given its considerable weight.
We’ve found the $299.00 Homelite log splitter to be affordable, durable and perfect for our needs.
Joe Miller is a former broadcast journalist, magazine publisher and long-time practitioner of prepared, sustainable living.