Homeowner Review: Champion Log Splitter makes firewood easy

We’re from the city and always had a thermostat controlled heating system. Until now. This is our fourth winter on a secluded mountain with only a half dozen neighbors or so, and we’ve been heating almost exclusively with a wood stove since we moved in.

For the first two years, we only burned pre-split and delivered wood from craigslist.  About four or five cords a year.  Our third year, I picked up splitting wedges and sledge hammer.  I’m glad I got the experience, I learned how to hand process firewood. But after splitting a few cords of firewood by hand, I decided it was time for machinery. 

DECIDED WHAT LOG SPLITTER FOR HOME USE

After thorough research, I narrowed it down to a Champion Power Equipment 27 Ton 224cc Log Splitter, sold by Home Depot.  Here’s why:

  • Supported by a USA based company with American support personnel – but better, I’ve had great experience with Champion support in the past;  I’ve had a small Champion gas generator for about six years. Emailed technical support a few times and called once.  Always an informative, useful USA-based reply – no canned responses or broken hard to understand English from foreign agents, AND reasonable response times – emails within 24 hours and fast human contact by phone.
  • Our local Home Depot sells the brand, so maybe parts or help will be easier to find;
  • Most of the reviews I could find were favorable, at time of purchase – in fact, 95% satisfaction from nearly 400 responses!;  Be careful of fake reviews & forum posts! I’ve found rampant false reviews for other products… and bad actors who fraudulently pretend to be consumers on interweb forums, while they really work for the manufacturer or retail agent, giving horrible advice.  More on that in another post.
  • Lowest price in this category, really good value.
  • After talking with neighbors and reading a lot about log splitters, a 27-ton was good match for our needs;

GETTING LOG SPLITTER HOME

Ordered my 27 ton Champion log splitter online at HomeDepot.com, then picked up in person at our local store.  It was December 2018 and I had a promo coupon and got it for about $957 out the door. 

There was no assembly to do, Home Depot already assembled it.  I just arrived at store, went to customer service with my ID, and they helped me hook up splitter to car hitch.   They also provided all the necessary hydraulic and engine oil was also included – in pre-measured containers to just pour in.  Hooked it up to my 2″ ball hitch, and away we went!

I’ve heard sometimes the hydraulic tanks on this type of log splitter design develop leaks because the tank also serves as the axle – there is no separate axle, wheels are welded to side of tank. We live up a long mountain gravel road, with a half dozen switchbacks and not easily navigable in the winter, lots of switch backs and pot holes.  So I was extra careful to drive slow. 

Once home, I unhitched it near a pile of huge red oak rounds that have been seasoning for nearly a year.  This 27 ton splitter was easy to move around by hand, didn’t seem heavy at all.  I tried a slightly larger unit of another brand, in the 35 ton range, but it was just too heavy to move around our property by hand – parts with 40+% grade.  The 27 ton seems like the sweet spot.

PREPARING LOG SPLITTER

There was no assembly to do, it came fully assembled from Home Depot.  Adding fluids to this Champion splitter was so easy, too…

Hydraulic fluid reservoir has simple plug (not vent with dipstick).  It also sight glass on outside for levels, which makes it really easy to keep an eye on fluid level at all times while using the unit.  (Unlike other brands which have a vented plug with dipstick – which makes it easier for water infiltration when left outside and hard to keep continuous watch on fluid levels.)

Engine oil was easily filled through perfectly positioned port.  A funnel was even included!  (Other brands have awkward engine mounting causing awkward oil fill ports, sometimes impossible to reach without dangerously tilting equipment into odd positions for filling.)

Filled gasoline tank about 1/3 full, just to get it started and see if everything was working.  Although not required, I try to use non-ethanol gasoline, always seems to do good for my equipment.

Engine control labels on the Champion are clear and easy to understand.  (Other manufactures seem to put unclear, ambiguous or confusing labels or marks on equipment controls.)

FIRST ROUND: NEW 27-TON CHAMPION LOG SPLITTER

Run switch ON, Fuel ON, Choke ON, Throttle ‘mid way’… pull… pull… I think it started on the third pull.  Starts very easily ever since, too, in all weather.  Let it warm up about five minutes, ran hydraulic cylinder back and fourth a few times, and it was ready.

This 27-ton Champion Log Splitter was the second splitter we purchased this year. It was slightly smaller than our first, which was a 35-ton.  I wasn’t sure it tough enough for our stringy white oak, locust, and red oak… but YES, it is!

Our first purchase, a 35-ton wood splitter of different well known brand, from online retailer, went horribly wrong.  Never received a working product, defective and leaked from the start.  After several weeks of disappointing response from the other manufacturer, we were able to send it back.  But nothing bad to say about them since they made it right and refunded our money – but we’ll be shopping locally for equipment from now on!

Put in horizontal position and bullied over the first round.  A very slight hesitation, but secondary kicked in and split like butter – no problem at all. 

As I work with the log splitter more, will update this blog a bit more…

WHAT I LEARNED TO LOOK FOR WHEN PURCHASING EQUIPMENT
WHAT I DON’T LIKE ABOUT THE CHAMPION 27 TON LOG SPLITTER
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT THE CHAMPION 27 TON LOG SPLITTER

 

 

Phil

Grown up in Cleveland, Ohio, USA., previously lived in Phoenix, Arizona and Tampa, Florida areas, and recently co-located to Asheville, North Carolina area. Trained as an Army MP, but bit of a renegade career wise. Phil has owned businesses in insurance, private investigations, surety bail bond industries, and has experience in computer network engineering, hospitality in-room advertising, asset recovery and repossession, and even a few years traveling most of the lower 48 states, Ontario and Northern Mexico as a commercial over the road truck driver. Career long entrepreneur, property investor and rental manager. Phil loves sharing his experiences of great food, travel, experiences and products.