Does a Log Splitter Need to be Registered?

Log splitters come in different sizes, designs, and capacities. Some logs splitters are hand-operated, easy to take around while some splitters are large and built for heavy-duty use. Small and compact logs splitters are mostly for home use, for cutting a few pieces of seasoned wood for a furnace or wood stove.

Meanwhile, large splitters are mostly gas-powered, used for residential, commercial, and industrial settings. You need to tow a large splitter from the shop to your home or any location because of its massive size. And this has led many users to ask if you need to register a  splitter before you tow it away.

Do you need to register a log splitter?

A massive splitter is like towing heavy equipment or a recreational vehicle. You may or may not need a permit, license plate, pay a registration fee, or registration sticker for a splitter. It depends on where you’re located or from what state you reside.

  • Wood splitters are legal to tow even on U.S. public roads because it’s not a vehicle.
  • The utility trailer where the splitter sits has to be registered.
  • The law on transporting and towing a splitter varies from state to state. Review your local law before you move your splitter.
  • Some states require plates for splitters so check your local DMV office.

Safety When Towing Your Log Splitter

Whether you need a wood splitter registered before towing, you need to remember some important points.

  • Tow your splitter during the day for enhanced safety and to reduce the chance of getting pulled over or getting a ticket.
  • Maintain the correct speed when transporting a splitter. Most local laws have a 45mph speed limit on public roads. But on private roads, take your time and travel slowly and safely.
  • Low speed, can cause traffic on the highway. So, never go over towable speed limit.
  • Take alternative routes to your destination to avoid heavy traffic on public roads and to keep safe from other vehicles.
  • Tow your wood splitter using the correct trailer vehicle. Most wheels fitted on a splitter are not for highway use. Secure the wheels with a harness as you tow the splitter.
  • It is more convenient, quicker, and safer to use a trailer to transport your wood splitter.
  • Refer to your local law or regulations about equipment transport and safety.

Does a Log Splitter Need a License Plate?

This kind of equipment is not a vehicle and thus, won’t need a license plate or registration when transported. Also, it should not be towed from a vehicle as the tires on a splitter are not designed for highway use or road use. Never attempt to tow your equipment. You need to place it on a trailer and tow it with an appropriate vehicle.

How do You Transport a Wood Splitter?

Portable splitters are a breeze to transport but bigger models may be more complicated. To transport a large splitter, you can use a tractor, a trailer, or a closed truck.

Using a tractor

With a tractor, you can haul the log splitter through the vehicle’s hydraulics. For a tow-behind version, attach this to the rig just like you would a trailer. The splitting machine must be in the correct position before you start moving: the engine and hydraulic valves must be off. Do not place wood in the machine when you pull it.

When attaching the machine to the hydraulics, place the arms all the way down. The hoses should be placed on the tractor’s hydraulics. Secure the equipment on either end. Make sure to follow the provided manufacturer’s instructions.

Using a utility trailer

The ideal way to move this machine is to haul it in a trailer with a motor vehicle. Utility trailers have license plates and come with turn signals, brake lights, tail lamps, stop lamps, and safety chains to secure your splitter upon transport.

Trailers are registered so you don’t need to register your splitter. You can have a trailer company transport your tractor or rent a trailer and use your motor vehicle to move your equipment.

Like all hauled equipment, splitters need to be secured on the trailer before transport. Padded wooden boards are placed in between the trailer and the equipment to secure it. Just like loading a log trailer to a tractor, turn off the engine and the hydraulic valves. Remove any loaded wood. Don’t place extra wood on the trailer.

Your motor vehicle must be able to tow a heavy trailer and a splitter. You may also rent a motor vehicle or a truck designed for towing a trailer.

Trailers are available for hire everywhere. There is a trailer designed to haul almost anything on site including air compressors, generators, a wood chipper, and other similar equipment.

Using a closed truck

Probably the safest way to transport any equipment is to haul it in a closed truck. A truck will safely carry large and complicated splitters along with its accessories and extra parts to any destination and securely over city streets.

Use safety harnesses or safety chains to keep the machine from moving and to keep it safe. Power off the engine and close the hydraulic valves. Remove loaded wood.

A closed truck for hire is also equipped with steel or wooden planks to load and unload your equipment. Trucking companies also carry insurance to secure your property.

Look for reliable, efficient trucking services to get the best value out of your money.


Wood splitters are handy and can help you stock up on firewood more efficiently. Transporting this machine, especially large splitters, may be a challenge but not completely impossible.

You don’t need to get registration for your machine as long as you use registered trailers. You may also hire a closed truck which is the safest and the most efficient method.