Splitter Cycle Time
Splitter speed (the cycle time to split a log and return
to the start position) is determined by the volume of fluid flow, or
gallons per minute (GPM).
To increase the speed of a log splitters operation, a bigger
hydraulic fluid pump is required to pump more volume of
However, upgrading a hydraulic pump may
also require you to increase the size of your hydraulic
tank to prevent overheating the hydraulic fluid.
In turn, you may need to increase the size
of your hydraulic hoses to accommodate the increased flow
of hydraulic fluid.
Plus, you may be required to increase the size of your
power plant (engine) to drive the bigger pump. Oh My!
Increasing Log Splitter
Return Stroke Speed
If your desire is simply to just increase the return
stroke speed, you can just replace the hydraulic cylinder
with one that has a larger push rod diameter. This
decreases the volume of fluid between the rod and the
bore so that less fluid is required to retract the cylinder.
effectively speed up the return stroke of you wood
Another way is to use a 2
stage hydraulic pump
Two stage hydraulic pumps operate in 2 modes. When there
is no load (on the return stroke), it pumps a larger
volume at low pressure and moves the ram back quickly.
When the ram hits the wood the pressure increases and
the pump switches to hi pressure / low flow mode. A two
stage pump speeds up the whole cycle process due to the
fact that 3/4 of the time the ram is moving with little
or no load, which requires less power or less force to
move the splitting ram. Optionally, there is also a
3 way valve solution that may
be a better fit.
How 2 Stage Hydraulic
If you've ever wondered how a 2 stage pumps work, here's
what's inside! There are generally 2 gear pumps running
in parallel. One of them includes a spring-loaded
pop-off valve that opens up at higher pressure (300 psi
+- adjustable). This disables one of the pumps. If the
valve is stuck or leaking, you effectively have a
single-stage pump. This will cause the splitter
operation to be S.L.O.W.
Hydraulic Log Splitter Speed &
Cycle Time Calculator
You can calculate the cycle time of your
wood splitter to determine how long it takes to extend
for splitting the log and then return to its starting
position. Do this with the calculator below by entering
the gallons per minute rating on your hydraulic pump,
and the bore, stroke, and rod size of your hydraulic
Implementing a 3-Way Valve For
Faster Cycle Time
Another way to speed up your log
splitter is by applying a little-known trick that
involves adding a 3-way valve (i.e. 3-port, 2-position
valve). This action will only speed up the forward
stroke, as it reduces the splitting force
The extra valve has a "common" port that
"depending on which way the control leaver is set",
connects to one or the other of the ports. This common
port is what connects to the ROD end of the cylinder.
One of the remaining valve ports is
connected to the line that previously went directly to
the rod end of the hydraulic cylinder. The other port is
spliced into the line feeding the BASE end of the
hydraulic cylinder with a tee fitting.
With the auxiliary valve set in position
one, the cylinder operates normally as originally
intended under both the forward and backward strokes.
When the auxiliary valve is moved to
position two, the cylinder only operates on the forward
stroke. This supplies pressure to BOTH ends of the
cylinder simultaneously as one side exerts less force
(because the rod occupies part of the surface area) so
the cylinder still extends. Simultaneously the fluid
forced out of the rod end circulates back to the base
end. This increases the rate at which the cylinder moves
through the splitting stroke.
In this position with both ends of the
cylinder linked together and pressurized, you are
operating the cylinder in single-action mode with fluid
operating the diameter of the rod, rather than the
diameter of the piston.
To operate: Set the auxiliary valve to
position 2 and set the main valve to extend the
cylinder. If the splitter starts to bog down, switch the
auxiliary valve back to position 1 for normal operation.
The auxiliary valve must be in position 1 to activate
the retract mode and return the cylinder to start