The DR RapidFire Log Splitter is what’s known as a “kinetic log splitter” or a “kinetic splitter”. That means that it works completely differently from most log splitters out there. Most log splitters are hydraulic, which means that the engine pushes oil into a hydraulic cylinder and the pressure of that oil pushes the ram through a log. These machines are great in some respects — namely that they can be really powerful. When it comes to speed, though, they pale in comparison to a kinetic log splitter.
So, what is it?
A kinetic log splitter doesn’t use oil and hydraulics. Instead, these machines have an engine that turns two enormous flywheels. The flywheels in the DR RapidFires weigh either 75 or 55 lbs., depending on the model you choose. Because of their weight, they store kinetic energy as they spin. And the heavier the flywheel, the more energy they store. The flywheels turn a 5-lb. pinion gear made of hardened steel. When you engage the handle of the splitter, the rack comes down onto the pinion gear, which pushes the ram out of the flywheel housing and through your log with a quick burst. The whole cycle time is only about 3 seconds. Compare that to hydraulic splitters’ cycle times that can be anywhere from 15 seconds to upwards of a minute! Plus, the kinetic splitters require a lot less maintenance because there are no valves or oil to worry about.
What’s the tonnage?
When shopping for a log splitter, the thing you most often look for is its tonnage — how much force the ram exerts on a log. The higher the tonnage, the bigger and tougher the logs it can go through. So what’s the tonnage on a kinetic splitter? Because the kinetic splitter uses speed rather than just brute force, it doesn’t have a tonnage rating in the same way that hydraulic splitters do. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t powerful, though! The PRO model has comparable splitting force to a 28-ton hydraulic, while the Pro-XL model is roughly comparable to a 34-ton. Check out the video below, and see how the DR Pro-XL RapidFire actually outsplits a 34-ton hydraulic splitter: