Choosing the Best Log Splitter: Kindling Cracker Firewood Splitter Review (We Approve!)

Updated: Nov. 28, 2023

Take a swing at this clever, well-made and easy to use log splitter. The Kindling Cracker is everything a lumberjack's dreams are made of.

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Since the start of the pandemic, many of my friends and family purchased or built wood-fired pizza ovens, smokeless fire pits and extravagant backyard bonfire setups. For many of these, you can’t simply toss on any old logs and expect them to burn. You need a well-constructed fire to ensure consistent oven temperature or bonfire longevity.

While surfing the web, I came across a photo of a neat-looking, cast iron log-splitting contraption. I did some digging and discovered the Kindling Cracker!  With 8,000 near-perfect reviews—and an impressive 4.8-star rating—I just had to pull the trigger. Out came the credit card and a few days later the king-sized version showed up at my door.

What is the Kindling Cracker?

The Kindling Cracker uses a stationary blade and a blunt object like a hammer or mallet to easily split logs into smaller manageable pieces or kindling. A New Zealand teenager looking to stay warm and safe in the winter developed it as a school project.

Kindling Cracker

A safe and easy way to make kindling with no moving blade or sharpened object passing by your hands

Kindling Cracker Features

The Kindling Cracker comes in two sizes. The original can split logs up to 6.5 inches in diameter; the king can handle up to nine-inch diameter wood chunks. Usable indoors or out, the Kindling Cracker features mounting options on the base so it can be permanently affixed near your fireplace hearth or an outdoor wood pile.

The Kindling Cracker isn’t portable. It’s heavy (a bit over 20 pounds) and bulky. It ships without a mallet or blunt-force instrument; you’ll need to provide your own.

How We Tested It

I chose 49 logs from my wood pile to run through the king-size Kindling Cracker, a mixture of aspen, birch, oak and a boxelder tree. They ranged from three to nine inches wide and 12 to 19 inches long.

I planned on quartering these logs into four semi-uniform pieces, using several hammers and mallets to test and see how they compared. With a few friends heading over for a bonfire this weekend, it was time to get cracking!

Fh22d Approved Kindlingcracker 06 09 003 Family Handyman Approved Kindling CrackerFamily Handyman

The Kindling Cracker is an impressive tool. Splitting wood is still labor intensive, but I had all 49 logs quartered and re-stacked in a little over an hour.

As when splitting any wood, this tool works best on straight-grained and adequately dried logs.  Even when I came across a chunk with a big knot in it or a weird grain pattern, the Kindling Cracker was up to the task with an extra hammer swing or two.

Speaking of hammers, my handheld four-pound club hammer was the clear winner with the Kindling Cracker.  My long-handled framing hammer wasn’t stout enough and my 10-lb. full-size sledgehammer worked well on the greener logs but was overkill on most others.

I even tried using another log as the mallet, as shown on the packaging. This also worked, but swinging another log proved awkward. A three- or four-pound club hammer is the way to go.

The Kindling Cracker is a great conversation piece as well. While quartering the pile of logs, two neighbors struck up a conversation about the tool’s ins and outs and the neat story behind its invention. The Kindling Cracker is unique and interesting. From now on, I’ll keep it right next to our woodpile for all to see.


  • Easy to use
  • Constructed from one solid piece of heavy-duty cast iron
  • Splits firewood with less force than a standard axe
  • Virtually maintenance-free
  • Bolt holes for permanent mounting


  • Heavy, weighs just over 20 pounds


How does a kindling splitter work?

According to our guide to splitting firewood, design details for kindling splitters vary. However, most feature a steel wedge attached to a shaft, mounted in or next to each log. A sliding weight on the shaft (or a mallet) slams into the thick edge of the wedge, driving it into the wood’s end grain and eventually splitting the log.

How do I use a kindling splitter?

Log splitters (or wood splitters) can be used by first balancing a piece of wood vertically atop a cutting wedge, usually made from cast iron. Then, the designated lumberjack uses a mallet to hit the log’s end with enough force to split it against the cutting edge.

What Other Reviewers Are Saying

Verified purchaser Don A. found the Kindling cracker useful for a well-seasoned load of firewood he was having trouble splitting. “I purchased a full 5-star hatchet, but that was useless,” he says. “I found Kindling Cracker Firewood Splitter as my final attempt.”

“It’s perfect,” he continues. “Using a short-handle sledgehammer, I’m splitting each piece of firewood in seconds. Two hits as most, job done. The splitter is stable, holds steady, doesn’t topple and cuts through evenly. I’m sending the hatchet back and keeping the kindling splitter. It’s worth the upgrade.”

All It’s Cracked Up to Be?

I really like how easy and safe the Kindling Cracker is. There’s no swinging of a sharp axe or hatchet blade and no dangerous splitting machines. With just a blunt object, a little elbow grease and the Kindling Cracker, nearly anyone, young or old, can split firewood perfectly in no time.

Apart from making you feel like a lumberjack, this firewood splitter also offers years and years of service. If you’re looking for an effective, safe and interesting way to split firewood for your pit, fireplace, stove or oven, try the Kindling Cracker.  It’s well-made, easy to use and available in two sizes, though the king size is the way to go!

Where to Buy the Kindling Cracker

Both sizes of the Kindling Cracker are available at Walmart, Northern Tool and on Amazon.

Kindling Cracker

A safe and easy way to make kindling with no moving blade or sharpened object passing by your hands