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72 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
Hey gang,

I bought this log splitter from the Sportsman Guide and thought you might enjoy a review.

Here goes!

I got it here:

Swisher Log splitter

And here it is:

I've been on the hunt for the smallest gas powered splitter I could find. I don't have an abundance of storage space for a full-sized splitter, and I don't think my needs require one.

This splitter can be had for $539 if you belong to the Sportsman Guide Club (a $29 membership will save you $60 off the regular price.) Of course, you need it delivered to where you are, so add $120 for truck shipping. (I opted to spend an additional $75 to have lift gate service.) So delivered, my unit cost $763.99.

The unit came in about a week, very well packaged on a pallet.

You do have to do a small amount of assembly-attaching the handle/hydro oil tank to the frame, and attaching the piston assembly to the frame. A few bolts, a few minutes, and you're ready to go.

I did have one problem, albeit minor--one hydraulic hose was slightly kinked. A minute with a few wrenches solved that problem.

Let's check it out. The specs:

Swisher 12 Ton Log splitter
19" log length
500 Series (158cc) Briggs & Stratton engine (website claims 475 series, w/ 148 cc)
2-stage pump with heavy-duty bearings, 11 gallons per minute
Heavy-duty 13 x 5" pneumatic rubber tires and steel pull handle for easy transport

It has an interesting clutch system which allows you to disconnect the pump when starting the engine. Easier starts in the cold, I guess.

Here's the clutch lever (yellow):

And underneath. A simple pulley/tensioner system to engage/disengage the pump.

The vertical setup is a bit unusual in that this model has an exposed, plastic hydraulic tank attached at the handle.

At first this turned me off, but as I've gotten more familiar with the splitter the design is growing on me. It is made of a very heavy-duty plastic.

Another nice touch: Zerk fittings on the wheels, with sealed bearings.

As far as I can tell, all the hoses are of high quality, stamped "Made in USA." The hydro valve is marked "Energy."

She comes bone dry, so some fluids are in order before we start!

It comes with 20 oz. of SAE30 oil. In it goes.

The manual calls for either ATF or Hydro oil. I opted for 2 gallons of Walmart's finest. (You'll use most of it.)

Here's where that plastic tank is cool--instant visual check of fluid level anytime!

Okay, tank filled:

Added some gasoline, and fired her up.

The Briggs engine is probably the least impressive part of this setup in my book. Don't get me wrong, it starts and runs fine...does it's job without working too hard. I guess I've been spoiled with the newer designs of the Hondas and Kohlers in my outdoor power equipment stable. My only real complaint is there is no way to drain the oil. A look underneath the splitter shows no access to the usual drain hole on these engines. There is no other drain. I suppose your options are to tip the whole unit on it's side (yikes!) or buy some sort of vacuum drain kit.

Anyway, after getting the engine primed it started fine. At full throttle I'd guess the engine is running around 2,800 or so RPMs....somewhat loafing along. That's good in my book--should last longer.

So, how does it work?

Check it out!

The second round you see in the video is about 18" in diameter, 17" long. The 2 stage pump does it's job and just powers through the wood. I've since thrown some nasty crotch pieces under there, and it handles it all just fine. My guess is that it will handle 99% of my wood splitting needs.

I'm very happy with my purchase. Of course, we're still on our honeymoon, and I'll have to check in after living together a few years.

This is a fantastic value for the homeowner. If you need one, you'd better snatch one quick.

This model is no longer shown on Swisher's website, so it's probably a discontinued unit. I did call customer service regarding the hose kink, and they were very helpful and happy to talk to me. It has a 1 year warranty.

If anyone has any questions, I'm happy to answer them!

Retired Super Moderator - Deceased September 2015
26,679 Posts
:thanku: Nice write up and nice rig! Have some fun with it. :thThumbsU

Deceased October 2017
21,767 Posts
Nice compact splitter !! :fing32: I wish mine was a vertical type like your at times, especially when I wrestling 20 and 30" logs up onto my horizontal bed splitter. Which is 36" off the ground.

The auto return feature is nice too, a real time saver for sure.

My only dislike of a vertical is the fact that your bent over way to much.

Good luck with it. And happy splitting !! :fing32:

I'm headed AGAIN shortly to continue on my quest to get my 8-10 cords split and stacked. :trink39:

Administrator - We’re all friends here
15,037 Posts
Great review and video Greg. Looks like a nice unit. I've used both horizontal and vertical splitters and can truthfully say they both kill my back, more from lifting the logs than from using the machine. I recently split 2+ cords with two helpers on a vertical setup. One to pull the handle and one to hump the logs over to the splitter and stack the split wood (he is under 35 :D). It went rather quickly but my back still ached from leaning over and positioning the logs while I sat on a stump.

Ken, I can't even fathom splitting and stacking 8 cords. :swow:

72 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Yes, I need to invest in a milk crate! That video shows the first 2 rounds I ever split with the machine......I hope that once I get more comfortable and familiar with the setup I'll be able to not be hunched over so much.

Thanks for the kind words, fellas.....
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