Swisher LSRB875281350 28-Ton Log Splitter – Enough Power?
If you heat with wood, a log splitter can save you a LOT of time and energy. If you need to split more than a cord here and there, a 7- or 15-ton splitter may not be enough for you. A 28-ton splitter is hugely more powerful, and the Swisher LSRB875281350, with its 5-star reviews on Amazon, has probably come to your attention. But is it a good choice? We've done the research, and we'll lay it all out for you here.
Splitting Power: 28 Tons
Engine: Briggs & Stratton, 190cc, 4-stroke
Engine Torque: 8.75
Fuel: Gasoline (89+ octane)
Fuel tank: 0.25 gallons
Hydraulic reservoir: 2.5 gallons
Low Oil Shutdown: No
Orientation: Horizontal / Vertical
Max. log length: 24 inches
Hydraulic Fluid Filter: No
Log Cradles: Yes
Tires: 4.00 X 4.80 X 8 inches
Wedge Height: 7 inches
Dimensions: 78.25" L x 45" W x 25" H
Weight: 580 Pounds (shipping weight)
Model Number**: LSRB875281350 / LSRB87528
*Most engine makers measure power in terms of horsepower, but Briggs & Stratton maintain that torque is a better indicator or rotational power, so uses that to rate its engines. 8.75 pound-feet of torque is equivalent to about 6 HP at 3600 RPM.
** Amazon lists this as the LSRB875281350, but other vendors say that model has been discontinued, and list it as an LSRB87528. The Swisher website uses the LSRB87528 model number.
Swisher is a Missouri-based company, started by the guy who invented the self-propelling lawn mower and in business since 1945. The specialize in lawn and yard equipment and ATV/UTV vehicles. The Swisher Inc. website claims that all its machines are manufactured in the U.S.A.
This 28-ton Swisher splitter is powered by a Briggs & Stratton 190 cc Engine. This engine comes in two models: 6.75 torque/4 HP and 8.75 torgue/6 HP. This splitter has the more powerful of the two, but at 6 HP, it is undersized compared to some competitor splitters, which have engines that deliver closer to 8 HP. The power of the engine is a factor in how much pressure the hydraulic pump can produce - a more powerful engine means more hydraulic power.
Briggs and Stratton is one of the leading manufacturers of small engines in the U.S.A. They have more of the market than Honda, which is their closest competitor, and produce a wide variety of engines. In contrast, Honda essentially produces only 3 models. Some contend that this means that Briggs & Stratton engines are less consistent in quality, but there are others who feel that they are a better value than the Honda engines. Briggs and Stratton engines are assembled in the U.S.A., from U.S. and global parts.
The pump provides the pressure to push the cylinder that either has a wedge on the end of it or has a flat end that pushes the log onto a fixed wedge. In either case, if the pump doesn't hold up its end of things, the splitter will be underpowered. Like most gas-powered splitters, this one uses a 2-cycle pump, which needs less power from the engine to produce the same pressure.
A 28-ton splitter should be able to handle the needs of a homeowner or small farmer or rancher. A team of 2 will probably be needed to take advantage of its full potential, especially because the operator has to stand behind the cylinder for safe operation. If working alone, this means the operator would have to do a lot of walking back and forth to load and unload logs and operate the splitter.
The pump also determines the cycle time, which for this splitter is about 20 seconds. This is significantly slower than at least one competitor, which has a cycle time of 13 seconds. This means that you can have only 3 cycles per minute, as opposed to 4.5. That adds up to 90 cycles per hour, which could really slow you down. Of course, you'd need a team of 2 to really take advantage of the extra speed, as it would take one person longer than 20 seconds to operate the splitter, and unload and load it.
This splitter ships only partly assembled. While no specifics were given on the Amazon or the Swisher website, it is safe to assume that the engine and the hydraulic assembly will be assembled, but that they will need to be mounted on the chassis and various other parts will need to be attached, including the wheels. The owner's manual available online does not provide assembly instructions, but says to refer to the uncrating and assembly instructions, which presumably come with the machine.
You will need to provide hydraulic fluid. The tank holds about 2.5 gallons, but you will probably need a little more than that, as, after the first use, some fluid will remain in the pump and the cylinder, so you will need to top it off.
You will also need to provide engine oil. If you will be using the machine in weather above 40 F, you can use SAE 30W oil. If you work in an area where the temperature goes below 40 F, you should use 10W-30 or 5W-30 oil.
Swisher offers a consumer warranty of 1 year on the hydraulics, and 3 years on steel components. If the machine is used for commercial or rental purposes, the warranty is only 90 days.
The engine warranty is offered by Briggs and Stratton. It is difficult to know exactly what the warranty on the engine used on this splitter is, because you have to have the engine model number, which is not given in the specs on the splitter. However, the shortest warranty that Briggs & Stratton offers is 2 years consumer and 90 days commercial, so it would not be any less than that.
While this splitter has only 5 reviews on Amazon, 100% of them are five stars (since 2014). This is VERY unusual. There is usually at least one bad review. If you remember that unhappy customers tend to comment more often, this speaks very highly of the quality of this machine.
The only real complaint was that there is no dipstick in the hydraulic fluid container. A small "L"-shaped piece of metal for this purpose is supplied, but this would be very easy to lose. On the other hand, other users reported that they could easily see the level of the hydraulic fluid in the tank, so a dipstick was not really necessary.
Integrated log cradles to catch the split logs are a nice feature as they mean less bending to pick logs up off the ground.
The splitter is only 25" high, and although this is advertised as "comfortable waist height", given that men's inseams are usually 30 inches or more, this is going to be significantly below waist height. A comparable competitor machine comes in at 45" high, which would seem to mean less bending although, to be fair, you have to bend to pick up the log from the ground anyway.
Being able to use the splitter horizontally or vertically means it can be used on larger diameter logs that might not sit well on the horizontal beam. A very large diameter log could be attacked little by little with the splitter, rather than trying to split it right down the middle. Keep min mind that the maximum length will still be 24", even when using the machine vertically.
It is hard to imagine that one could really go wrong buying this splitter, seeing as how it has a 100% positive rating on Amazon. The engine comes from a good manufacturer, Briggs and Stratton, and is at least assembled in the U.S.A., although some parts may be sourced globally.
It is a little underpowered compared to some competitor machines, and has a smaller gas tank, but it still should provide the 28-tons of power as advertised, which is going to be able to tackle all but the biggest logs.
At a little over $1500 but below $2000, it is a good value - you don't have to split many cords of wood to make that money back.
The Swisher should satisfy the needs of a homeowner who heats with wood, or even someone with a side business selling split firewood.