Chopping wood and splitting logs is far from easy!
Whether you are a professional lumberjack or not, if you have ever swung an axe at a tree, you know it takes a lot of strength and precision. From tree felling to kindling wood for a fire, an ax or hatchet is your biggest ally for a wide range of wood-related work.
Let’s face it, not all of us can use bulky and expensive machines like stump grinders, log splitters, and wood lathes. That’s where the traditional ax (or the modern hatchet) comes in handy be it a felling axe or a splitting axe, here you will find the best!
How do you select the best axe from hundreds of options available in the market? Chopping wood is a strenuous physical exercise even with a proper splitting axe. But choosing the best axe should not become a tiresome mental exercise. That’s why we have come up with this guide for you.
You will find the reviews of 13 of the best axes that you must consider today. And that’s not all; we have an exciting buyers’ guide after the reviews to help you make an informed decision about the best axe for you!
We have used each of these recommendations extensively for different kinds of wood-chopping projects. This helped us gain a comprehensive, unbiased understanding of the pros and cons of each of these hatchets and axes.
Here’s the list of the 9 best axes that will provide you with the perfect balance of strength and reliability.
1. Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe – Best Overall
The numero uno spot on our list goes to a premium ax from Gransfors Bruks. The Outdoor Ax is one of the most expensive options on this list, with a price tag of 200 dollars. But that price is justified, as it comes with a 20-year warranty and top-notch wood-chopping capability.
When it comes to axes, it doesn’t get much better than the Outdoor Ax from Gransfors Bruks. We have used over a dozen axes, but somehow, this one never fails to impress us. It’s almost like you can feel the difference as soon as you pick this ax up and swing it for the first time.
Although it is named otherwise, you can think of it as a hatchet. And a mighty one at that! It has a hickory handle that measures approximately 15 inches. But the reason we picked it as the first option for you is that it serves several purposes.
It is one of the best axes you can find out there for climbing. And its steel collar facilitates light splitting. But that’s not all; its long handle gives you enough power to fell trees. There is hardly anything you cannot accomplish with the Outdoor Ax! Whether you will use it as a limbing axe, a splitting axe, or a felling axe, the GRÄNSFORS of Sweden will be by your side and that’s why it stands 1st in our guide.
Another win-win aspect of this ax is how light it is – weighing slightly more than one pound. So the next time you have an extensive wood-chopping project to finish, this is the ax you would want to have at your disposal.
You will appreciate the Collar Guard, which prevents overstriking and protects the handle when you are splitting logs. You also get a leather sheath to protect the axe head and the “Ax Book” with this top-notch ax.
What We Like
- Backed by a 20-year warranty
- Comes with a leather sheath and the Ax Book
- Collar Guard protects the handle against overstriking
- Lightweight, versatile design
What We Don’t Like
2. Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe – Best for Splitting Efficiency
The X27 Super Splitting Ax from the reputed brand of Fiskars takes the second spot on this list. It is available in several sizes and hatchet packs. We have used and reviewed the 36-inch, Black variant. It provides excellent value for money, given its affordable price of 55 bucks.
Straight off the bat, we were impressed by the reviews of the X27 Super Splitting Ax on Amazon. After all, not many products can boast a rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars, based on over 7,600 reviews. We were looking for a 36-inch durable ax for 75 bucks. And the X27 splitting axe fits the bill perfectly!
When we talk about chopping wood with an ax, the blade is of utmost importance…
Like all Fiskars axes, this one features a blade that is crafted with a proprietary grinding technique. You get a blade that has a sharper edge, which facilitates cleaner cuts and better contact. Moreover, the blade comes with a low-friction coating that allows it to stay sharp for a long time.
We especially liked the FiberComp handle on this ax, which makes it more durable than steel. Fiskars sells the X27 as a virtually unbreakable ax. And as far as we are concerned, it seems to do justice to that claim. We used it to split several logs of varying sizes, without any hassle.
The X27 is built to last for years. No wonder it comes with a lifetime warranty! Swinging it reminded us of swinging an aluminum baseball bat – that’s how perfect its weight distribution is. Its optimal power-to-weight ratio increases swing speed and multiplies power, thereby allowing you to get the most out of every swing!
What We Like
- Works best for splitting small logs into kindling diameters
- Provides optimal power-to-weight ratio
- FiberComp handles and insert-molded heads offer unparalleled durability
- Features a superior blade design
What We Don’t Like
3. Estwing Sportsman’s Axe – Best for All-American Durability
If you are all about using products manufactured in the USA, Estwing is one of the top ax brands that you must consider. And its Sportsman’s Aex is an excellent, affordable option that deserves the fourth spot on our list. It is available in two leather finishes – regular and special edition.
This next product is more of a hatchet, given its size. But since the brand labels it as an axe, we will do the same. There are very few axes out there that come close to the Sportsman’s Ax, especially in its price range. Arriving at a price of a mere 35 bucks, it offers exceptional value for money.
With this ax, you need not worry about durability and longevity. It is forged in one piece, using the finest tool-grade steel. Moreover, it is sharpened and polished by hand and tempered for optimal strength.
We especially liked the beautiful and ergonomic leather grip on the handle, which is sanded and lacquered to look like wood. You will not feel any discomfort while using this ax even for extensive projects.
And if you are a firm believer in using products made in the USA, you’ll be pleased to know that this ax is manufactured in Illinois using the best American steel.
What makes this ax even better and adds to its value for money is the thoughtful inclusion of a rugged, ballistic nylon sheath with a belt loop. Unlike your average blade cover, this one is durable enough to last almost as long as the hatchet will. Your axe head will stay safe and clean.
What We Like
- Forged in one piece
- Hand polished for a beautiful finish
- Manufactured in the USA using the finest steel
- Perfect for chopping small branches, trees, and logs
- Genuine leather grip is sanded and lacquered to look like wood
- Comes with a durable nylon sheath
What We Don’t Like
When it comes to outdoor tools and equipment, Husqvarna enjoys substantial goodwill. The Wooden Multi-Purpose Ax is available in several sizes, including 26 inches, 27 inches, and 30 inches. We have reviewed the 26-inch variant for you today. It is forged in Sweden and comes for a somewhat reasonable price of 84 bucks.
We were looking for a traditional-style ax within a hundred dollars. Hatches and modern axes are good, but we wanted something that would stand the test of time while tackling extensive wood-chopping endeavors. And we found the Wooden Multi-Purpose Ax from Husqvarna to be an ideal match!
Straight off the bat, we were impressed by the durability of this ax. The use of both wooden and steel wedges for attaching the head to the hickory shaft ensures that it is fastened securely. It boasts a top-notch construction using hand-forged Swedish steel.
Irrespective of how you want to use it, this ax will not disappoint as it is ideal for versatile use. We used it for clearing bushes, trimming branches, limbing logs, and felling trees. And the long handle provides adequate power to each swing.
We were pleasantly surprised to get such an excellent felling axe at a reasonable price of $84. And that’s when we found that Husqvarna subcontracted production of this ax to Hults Bruks. Hults Bruks is one of the oldest and finest ax makers across the globe. To keep the cost of production down, the edges were left a bit rough.
It is not meant for splitting wood, especially large logs, not a splitting axe for sure but one can use it as such on occasion with small logs. Other than that, it can do almost anything that a larger (more expensive) ax can!
What We Like
- Versatile ax ideal for multiple uses
- Hickory handle and hand-forged Swedish steel
- Comes with a leather edge cover
- Durable build ensures that it will last for years
What We Don’t Like
If you were looking for a stronger axe than our last Husqvarna pick, maybe the Composite Splitting Axe is what you need! The S2800 measures 27 inches long and packs a powerful punch, ideal for splitting large wood chunks and logs, a proper splitting axe. And the best part is that it comes at an affordable price of fewer than 90 dollars.
Unlike traditional wooden axes, the S2800 features a composite construction consisting of a fiberglass handle and a drop-forged blade. It is nothing like any wooden or synthetic axe we have used before. And it delivers on its promise of splitting large wood logs. The only time we had to hit repeatedly was when there were many knots in the wood.
The design, of both the head and the handle, ensures an effortless swing. Moreover, the fiberglass handle eliminates the possibility of getting splinters or blisters on your hand after prolonged use.
This splitting axe has a couple of unique features that you will appreciate. First, it has unparalleled aerodynamics that ensures zero wind resistance on each swing. And if you do it properly, you can balance it on one finger – that’s how perfectly its weight is distributed.
What makes this ax even better is the thoughtful inclusion of a hammer function and shaft protection.
The only downside of this splitting axe is that it does not come with a sharp blade. So, we recommend buying a blade sharpener with it, if you haven’t already got one. Apart from that added expenditure and hassle, we couldn’t find anything to complain about.
What We Like
- Affordable price
- Ideal for splitting large wood chunks and logs
- Comes with shaft protection and hammer function
- Ensures zero wind-resistance while swinging
What We Don’t Like
The next recommendation we have for you is another top-notch product from the reputed brand Estwing. After the Sportsman’s Ax bagged the fourth spot on this list, here comes the Camper’s Axe. This 26-inch wood-splitting tool is available in two colors – black and blue and comes at an affordable price of $75.
We were looking for a durable and versatile axe when we came across Estwing’s Camper’s Axe. And from the very first time we put it to use, we were deeply impressed. With this axe, you can rest assured of a lifetime of hassle-free wood-chopping work, a brilliant chopping axe this is.
We used this axe for various projects, and it didn’t disappoint one bit. It is ideal for chopping small trees, branches, or logs as well as splitting and kindling firewood. And it is hand-polished and sharpened, ensuring that you get the best finish you could’ve hoped for.
The ax is drop forged using the finest tool-grade steel and then tempered to ensure that it performs optimally even after heavy use. And it is made in the USA.
We especially liked the patented grip that is bonded to the handle. The axe handle material is rugged and provides unparalleled shock reduction even with the most powerful swing. This grip has been proven to reduce the vibration on impact by around 70%.
But don’t let the name fool you. It’s not like you can use the Estwing camper axe can be used only for splitting wood to light a fire when you go camping. If anything, you can use it in place of any other ax. But it is not meant to tackle excessively large or knotty logs.
What We Like
- Hand-polished and sharpened
- Drop-forged using the finest quality steel
- Top-notch, shock-absorbing grip
- Durable and versatile design
What We Don’t Like
The penultimate pick we have for you is the XL Axe II from Gerber. It is available in several size options, including 9-inch and 14-inch hatchets, as well as 17-inch, 23.5-inch, and 36-inch axes. We chose to buy the 23-inch variant as it seemed to be the perfect size for our requirements.
If you are looking for an affordable quality chopping axe, look no further than Gerber’s XL Axe II. It comes at an affordable price of 55 bucks and offers a comfortable and reliable swing. What we were curious to test was the claim that this axe can chop three times deeper than average. And when we put it to the test, it proved that claim to be 100% accurate.
Its ability to chop deeper comes mainly from the super-sharp blade that is made from hardened, forged steel. Moreover, it is coated with PTFE to reduce friction. So, the next time you have an extensive wood-chopping project to complete, having this axe at your disposal could save a lot of time as well as effort on your part.
We especially liked the composite handle of this axe, which makes it shock-absorbent and reduces possible strain on your hands. It is an exceptional product made in Finland. And lest we forget, it also comes with a slim yet durable sheath that ensures safe transport and storage.
This axe is one of the lightest options on our list and has a super sharp blade. The composite, nylon handle comes with a tactile grip that ensures optimal swing control and comfort.
What We Like
- Comes with a sheath
- PTFE coated blade reduces friction
- Durable forged steel head
- Tactile grip on composite, nylon handle
- Cuts three times deeper than average
What We Don’t Like
It is time to look at the final recommendation on this list. And we have saved the most stylish hatchet for the end, so this one is sure to please you! The Tactical Tomahawk Hunting and Survival Hatchet from SOG is available in three finishes – black, green, and clear skull, this can be used as a proper survival axe.
Although the clear skull pattern is unique, we chose the black variant for subtlety. And ever since this hatchet was delivered to our doorstep, it has not failed to impress us even once.
Straight off the bat, you will appreciate the material of the blade on this hatchet. It is high-quality, black oxide-coated stainless steel with a thickness of 20mm. And the handle material is just as great – strong nylon glass fiber that will not break easily. So you can rest assured that this hatchet is as durable as they come!
Also, we can’t help but praise the value for money that this hatchet provides. You won’t get many axes or hatchets on the market for as little as 33 bucks, that too of this exceptional quality. Moreover, you also get a thick, three-layer nylon sheath with this hatchet. We especially liked the thoughtful inclusion of the hanging capability of this sturdy sheath.
Another vital aspect to highlight is its lightweight design, which allows you to throw it from a distance conveniently. But it is a small and compact hatchet that is not meant for chopping large and knotty wood logs. Instead, it is better suited for slashing and breaking smaller objects like bricks, glass, and stone.
To cut a long story short, SOG’s Tactical Tomahawk Hunting and Survival Hatchet not only looks classy but also offers top-notch performance.
What We Like
- Available in three fresh design/color variants
- Ideal for slashing and breaking stones, bricks, and glass
- Nylon glass fiber handle material
- Blade made from 20mm thick steel
- Vacuum black titanium ion treatment on the surface prevents rust
What We Don’t Like
Best Axes Comparison Table
|Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
|Hand-forged Carbon Steel
|Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe
|Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
|Husqvarna 26” Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
|Husqvarna S2800 27” Composite Splitting Axe
|Husqvarna H900 13” Composite Hatchet
|Blade and Hammer
|Estwing Camper’s Axe
|Gerber 23.5-Inch Axe
|Tactical Tomahawk Hunting and Survival Hatchet
|420 Stainless Steel
|Axe and Hammer
Best Axes Buyers’ Guide
Now that you know the 13 best hatchets and axes available in the market today, how do you pick one of those? You want to buy an ax that perfectly meets your needs without exceeding your budget.
We have compiled an informative buyer guide to help you select the best ax. So, strap in and read on…
1. Axe or Hatchet?
The very first question you need to answer is, “Am I looking for an ax or a hatchet?”
If you are looking for anything bigger than 14 inches, it is an ax. So starting from 14 inches all the way up to 36 inches in length, you are dealing with axes. An ax is supposed to be used with both hands.
Axes can be specifically designed for different purposes. You can find an ax to be ideal for tree felling, while another for splitting logs. So it is imperative that you first identify your requirements and then choose an axe to buy.
It’s not rocket science that if anything bigger than 14 inches qualifies to be an axe, everything smaller is a hatchet. Unlike their bigger counterparts, hatchets do not pack enough power to bring down an entire tree. These are mostly used by wildlife explorers who may need to chop smaller logs for firewood or use them as survival axes and hunting tools.
In a nutshell, an axe and a hatchet differ on only two grounds – size and power. So you need to choose between the two depending on these two factors.
2. Wood Chopping Tips
Chopping wood is not as easy as it may seem at first! And you may find large, well-built men unable to cut wood as well as they ideally should. So what does it take to get better at this age-old art?
Getting into Hulk mode and smashing the ax all over a log will not help. You need to focus on accuracy, especially when you’re trying to chop more massive (or knottier) logs. Keep hitting the same spot consistently, and even the most durable woods will cave in!
It’s impossible to hit a home run if you’re holding the bat wrong! Likewise, it’s impossible to get a clean cut if you’re holding an ax wrong. Place your right palm a few inches below the handle’s topmost part and your left palm at the bottom end of it. Make sure that your palms are facing towards you.
3. Safety Precautions
An axe means serious business. No wonder it is overused in horror flicks as a go-to tool to kill zombies! But when it comes to chopping wood with an ax or even storing it when it is not in use, there are a few security precautions that you need to have in place.
Sheath the ax whenever it is not being used, not just when you are storing it away.
Make sure that you always have a secure grip on the axe. You should hold it steady even when you are walking from one place to another, and it is uncovered.
Avoid cold chopping at all costs if you don’t want small steel fragments flying toward you when you’re chopping wood. During winter, the ax blade is prone to chipping and breakage. You should start a small fire and heat your ax to take the chill off. Make sure that it is not too hot for you to touch it with your bare hand.
4. Maintenance Guideline
A top-notch axe or hatchet is built to last for a very long time. But for that to happen, you must ensure that you maintain it properly. Here are some general guidelines to follow:
- Never store it in a place that gets too warm, because that kind of heat may damage the handle.
- Clean the ax and moisten it before putting a cover on it.
- If you plan to keep it away for a long time, it makes sense to grease it to avoid rust.
What is the best axe for general use?
A general-purpose axe is the best choice for a variety of tasks. These axes are designed to be a good all-around tool, with the ability to handle a wide range of tasks, from chopping wood to splitting logs.
What is the best way to sharpen an axe?
The best way to sharpen an axe is to use a sharpening stone, a file, and some oil. Start by lightly running the file over the edge of the axe, then use the sharpening stone to hone the blade to a razor-sharp edge. Apply oil to the blade after sharpening it to protect it from rust.
What are the best axes for splitting logs?
Heavier axes with longer handles are ideal for splitting logs. Look for models with wider heads and longer handles for more power and accuracy.
What are the best axes for camping?
A good camping axe should be lightweight, durable, and easy to carry. Look for axes with rubberized or textured handles for additional comfort and grip.
Throughout our extensive testing and examination of various axes, we have identified the top performers that offer exceptional value, quality, and functionality. Our goal was to find the very best axes for various purposes and match them to the specific needs of users, whether it be for outdoor adventures, woodworking, or simply for home use.
From the above 12 stylus pens, here are the top three expert recommendations:
For the highest overall quality, the Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is an ideal option, excelling in durability, versatility, and performance. Backed by a 20-year warranty and a long list of features, including its lightweight design and collar guard, this axe is perfect for climbing, light splitting, and felling trees.
If splitting logs is your main concern, the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe is a good option. Boasting an optimal power-to-weight ratio, durable FiberComp handle, and superior blade design, this axe delivers exceptional value and will reliably split small logs into kindling diameters with ease.
Lastly, for a great all-around axe that is made in the USA, the Estwing Sportsman’s Axe is the right choice. With a genuine leather grip that is sanded and lacquered to resemble wood, a hand-polished finish, and durable construction, this axe is appropriate for chopping small trees, branches, and logs.
By considering your specific needs and our expert recommendations, you can confidently choose the best axe for your requirements. Rest assured that our top picks have been thoroughly tested for quality, performance, and reliability, ensuring you invest in a tool that will serve you effectively for years to come.