What Size Hydraulic Pump for Log Splitters?

Wondering what size hydraulic pump is best for your log splitter? This will depend on two factors; the amount of power you require and how fast you want the splitter to go. Most pumps will need to get an 11 GPM pump, which produces 2,500 PSI.

The pump is one of the most important parts of your log splitter. It maintains pressure inside the cylinder, controlling the movement of the ram. So, what’s the best pump size?

The pump is one of the most important parts of your log splitter. But with so many options on the market, it can be hard to find the right one for you. Keep reading to learn more about how you can get the right size.

Close up of hydraulic pump with white background

Related Reading: What is the Best Size Hydraulic Cylinder for Log Splitters?

How to Get the Right Size

There are plenty of things that you need to consider when trying to find your ideal log splitter size. These include:

  • Size of the logs. The larger the log will be, the more force you will require to cut through them. This often means using a bigger log splitter and a larger hydraulic cylinder and a thicker ram. It will also require a more powerful pump.
  • Speed. Some log cutters, though, are built for speed. The bigger the pump is, the more fluid it needs to pump. As a consequence, it will have a slower speed. Because of this, smaller pumps will often move faster than their larger counterparts.
  • The cylinder you are using. You should think about the type of cylinder you are using with the pump. Often, it will tell you how many GPM the pump will need to be.
  • Engine size. You also need to make sure that the engine is capable of providing enough power to operate the pump properly. Engine power will be measured in horsepower.
  • Size of the hydraulic tank. Finally, check the amount of fluid you can store in the tank. This will need to be compatible with the pump. If it’s not, there is a risk that the pump will end up overheating.

The pump will be measured in GPM. This stands for Gallons Per Minute. The more GPM it can produce, the more powerful the pump will be. You should also take note of the maximum pressure that the pump is applying. This is measured in PSI.

As a general “best practice”, most backyard log splitters will be using an 11 GPM pump. This will require a 5.5 horsepower engine to operate. It’s most common for a hydraulic log splitter pump to produce around 2,500 PSI of force.

If you are replacing an existing pump, you can turn to the owner’s manual. This will tell you the technical specifications, making it easy to replace.

Related Reading: Brief Breakdown of Log Splitters and How They Work

Type of Hydraulic Pump

Once you know how powerful the pump will need to be, it’s time to start thinking about the type of pump you want to purchase. Though there are a few options to choose from, it’s usually best to pick a two-stage pump.

This type of pump has been designed to use two gears. This will ensure that the pump runs smoothly, so you can get the best possible speeds. If you are interested in how this type of pump works, you can check out this blog post.

After you’ve purchased a good hydraulic pump, it’s time to put it to use. This means installing it on your log splitter. The owner’s manual will often contain the steps that you need to follow.

Adjusting the Pump to Suit Your Log Splitter

You will be able to change the amount of pressure your pump is putting out. This can be a good way of applying more force to larger pieces of wood and getting more speed for smaller pieces. Here are the steps you need to follow to adjust the speed of the pump:

  1. Start the engine. Allow it to start idling. This allows the hydraulic fluid to warm up.
  2. Put the splitter into neutral. This should stop the ram from moving. You’ll need to be careful to avoid any sharp parts, like the end of the piston.
  3. Lower the guards. This should expose the pump, so you can change the settings. 
  4. Change the settings. You’ll need to use a flathead screwdriver to do this. If you want to increase the pressure, to get more power, turn it clockwise. If you want less pressure, turn it anti-clockwise.
  5. Raise the guards. This ensures that the engine and pump are protected from splinters.
  6. Take the machine out of neutral. You should notice the change immediately.

It should be noted that most backyard log splitters will operate on a standard pressure of 2,500 PSI. However, if you are facing some thicker pieces of wood, you might be able to increase it to 3,000 PSI.

You shouldn’t make a habit of using a high PSI too long. This will cause more wear on the pump, so you’ll need to replace it more frequently.

Tips to Speed up a Hydraulic Pump

You might be dissatisfied with the current speed of your hydraulic pump. One option is to replace it with a more powerful model. You might not need to spend any additional money to solve the problem. Here are some things you should try first:

  • Use a three-way valve. This is a simple attachment you can add to the pump. This will make the forward stroke faster.
  • Change the size of your cylinder. This will let you see an instant increase in the amount of speed. On the downside, you will have less cutting force.
  • Increase the size of the rod. The bigger the rod, the less pressure it takes to get back into position. But it will take more force to push it out.

However, how effective these solutions will be is limited.  If you are still having problems, you might need to upgrade the pump. Remember, you’ll also need to upgrade the engine and increase the capacity of the hydraulic fluid tank.

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Last update on 2023-01-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Final Thoughts

Getting the right size pump for your log splitter is important, particularly if you are building the machine yourself. But, as long as you stick to the standard 11 GPM, 2,500 PSI models you won’t have too many problems.