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Chopping wood and splitting logs is far from easy!
Whether you are a professional lumberjack or not, if you have ever swung an ax 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!
How do you select the best ax from hundreds of options available in the market? Chopping wood is a strenuous physical exercise. But choosing the best ax 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 ax for you!
- Best Axes
- 1. Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Ax
- 2. Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Ax
- 3. Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
- 4. Estwing Sportsman’s Ax
- 5. Husqvarna 26” Wooden Multi-Purpose Ax
- 6. Husqvarna S2800 27” Composite Splitting Ax
- 7. Fiskars Chopping Ax
- 8. Husqvarna H900 13” Composite Hatchet
- 9. Estwing Camper’s Ax
- 10. Hults Bruk Kalix Felling Ax
- 11. Hultafors Classic Hunting Ax
- 12. Gerber 23.5-Inch Ax
- 13. CIMA Tactical Tomahawk Hunting and Survival Hatchet
- Best Ax Buyers’ Guide
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.
Without further ado, let’s get to the reviews.
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 limbing. 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![easyazon_image align=”center” height=”461″ identifier=”B0041TMPHW” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41r5UA-gVwL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
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 and the “Ax Book” with this top-notch ax.
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 within 75 bucks. And the X27 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.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B004M3BAQE” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51MsvSRW2fL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”328″]
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!
The third spot on our list is bagged by one of the most economical hatchets you will find out there. With a price of only 33 bucks, the Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet from Gerber makes for an excellent buy! If you’re looking for a compact, lightweight, and ergonomic hatchet, this is the perfect option for you.
If you are a fan of shows like “Man vs. Wild” or “Running Wild,” you know who Bear Grylls is. What if you could buy a survival hatchet trusted and recommended by your favorite wildlife explorer and adventurer? Sounds amazing, right?
That’s precisely what got us excited to place an order for the Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet from Gerber. And another reason that convinced us to try this hatchet was its extremely affordable price of $33.
One of the problems with a large ax is how heavy it tends to be. That’s why people prefer hatchets for chopping small-to-medium-sized wood logs. No other hatchet comes close to this masterpiece from Gerber, which weighs a mere 1.3 pounds.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B00B0I2DBK” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/314vGyGmveL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”441″]
But don’t let the compact size and lightweight design of this hatchet fool you. It is durable enough to chop medium-sized wood logs, thanks to its 3.5-inch, razor-sharp blade, and massive heft head.
And that’s not all – there are some more features of this hatchet that you will love. We especially liked the rubberized handle that fills our hands, creating a lock-tight grip. Even when your hands are wet, you need not worry about it slipping when you swing it.
The thoughtful inclusion of finger notches below the head allows you to use the hatchet securely and precisely for stripping or kindling bark. And did we mention that you also get a sturdy sheath to keep it safe when not in use!
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 Ax 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 ax, 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.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”334″ identifier=”B00BNQR4SG” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41rLRVbAh8L.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
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.
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.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B004WJGXAQ” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41cjG0Lr6iL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
We were pleasantly surprised to get such an excellent ax 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. Other than that, it can do almost anything that a larger (more expensive) ax can!
If you were looking for a stronger ax than our last Husqvarna pick, maybe the Composite Splitting Ax is what you need! The S2800 measures 27 inches long and packs a powerful punch, ideal for splitting large wood chunks and logs. 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 ax 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.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”167″ identifier=”B00OKS5058″ locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/31hE-KUN-BL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
This ax 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 ax 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.
We are halfway through with our recommendations, and it is time to introduce you to another top-notch ax from Fiskars. The Chopping Ax is perfect for all kinds of tree felling projects you may undertake. And with its all-black finish, it looks nothing like your average traditional ax.
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If you want an ax dedicated for tree felling, look no further than the 28-inch Chopping Ax from Fiskars. When we saw its impressive rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars on Amazon, based on nearly 300 reviews, we knew we had found a masterpiece…
And it is a masterpiece, not only in terms of its functionality but also its look! As soon as it arrived at our doorstep, its black finish and sleek design made us nod in approval. And it was only when we tested it that we genuinely appreciated its features.
First of all, its DuraFrame handle can absorb shocks quite well. Don’t let the light weight of this ax fool you – the handle is stronger than steel and efficiently prevents overstrike damage. The head is inseparable and will not break or loosen even after the most potent strike.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”167″ identifier=”B00OKS5058″ locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/31hE-KUN-BL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
Like all Fiskars tools, the Chopping Ax boasts perfect weight distribution and advanced blade geometry to ensure an unparalleled experience for the user. The ultra-sharp edge allows you to cut three times deeper when chopping wood. Enhanced blade penetration on each swing lets you do more in less time!
Lest we forget, one of the best things about this ax is its affordable price. At less than 40 bucks, it makes an excellent buy! And you get a lifetime warranty on this ax, along with a blade guard.
If you liked the S2800 from Husqvarna but wished that there was a smaller variant of it, here it is! The H900 Composite Hatchet measures 13 inches long and is a miniature S2800, both in terms of look and functionality. With a price tag of $60, it is one of the best hatchets you can find out there.
For those of you who want a small hatchet for garden work, firewood, hiking, and other outdoor activities, the H900 from Husqvarna is the ideal option. It features a fiber-reinforced PA shaft that makes it extremely durable. So, don’t think that it is not going to last for a long time just because it is small and lightweight.
In fact, its low weight comes as a significant advantage. Hatchets are meant for single-handed operation, and you do not want to be swinging a heavy tool with one hand. Its perfect weight distribution and less than 2-pound weight ensure that you do not face any trouble while using it. The balance point was carefully kept near the head to ensure this![easyazon_image align=”center” height=”167″ identifier=”B00OKS5058″ locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/31hE-KUN-BL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
We especially liked the non-stick coating on the hatchet head, which ensures a smooth cut every time through reduced friction. And the back of the head can be used as a hammer to split wedges easily.
And to top it off, this hatchet comes with an exceptionally ergonomic design, consisting of a soft grip that allows comfortable and secure handling. Even when you are using it in a tight spot, you need not worry about getting any splinters or blisters on your hand.
The next recommendation we have for you is another top-notch product from the reputed brand of Estwing. After the Sportsman’s Ax bagged the fourth spot on this list, here comes the Camper’s Ax. 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 ax when we came across Estwing’s Camper’s Ax. And from the very first time we put it to use, we were deeply impressed. With this ax, you can rest assured of a lifetime of hassle-free wood chopping work.
We used this ax 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.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”274″ identifier=”B00047F130″ locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/51RMBy9FssL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
We especially liked the patented grip that is bonded to the handle. This grip is rugged and provides unparalleled shock reduction even with the most powerful swing. In fact, 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 this ax 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.
The next recommendation we have for you is the Kalix Felling Ax from Hults Bruk, which is one of the best names in the business. Hults Bruk has a long, positive history of providing top-notch products. So, when you buy the Felling Ax, you can rest assured that it will not disappoint you.
We did a lot of research before buying the Kalix Felling Ax. And when it arrived on our doorstep, and we took it out to test it, we were ecstatic with the results. This ax packs a powerful punch, doing complete justice to the sheer goodwill of the Hults Bruk name.
The first thing you will notice about this ax is its perfect build quality. The slight imperfections you will see on the head is the result of it being hand-forged. But that is not at all a downside. In fact, it just shows that the ax was constructed with a lot of care by humans.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B011ZY1SNM” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/31lxSrmiCqL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
We especially liked the durable handle of this ax, which is made from American hickory. The non-varnish finish of the handle preserves excellent grain orientation. And the linseed oil finish ensures that your hands do not get blisters even after an entire day of wood chopping.
Its lightweight design makes it easy to swing and gives it great speed. And as a bonus, you get a top-notch leather sheath to protect the blade. Make sure that you take some time out to read the small booklet that comes with this ax because it talks about the history of the brand and explains the best ways to take care of this ax.
The next product you need to consider is the Classic Hunting Ax from the reputed brand of Hultafors. For a traditional-style ax that is 20 inches long and weighs nearly two pounds, this ax comes at an attractive price of $139. And it is almost as good as other premium axes that cost two to three times more.
Unlike the majority of our recommendations on this list, the Classic Hunting Ax ships from the UK. As such, it can take a while to get delivered to you – ours took nearly three weeks to arrive. But once we got our hands on it, we had zero complaints!
As far as casual hunting and wood chopping is concerned, there are only a handful of axes out there that can compete with this masterpiece from Hultafors. We especially liked its perfect size of 20 inches – neither too big to fit in a camping backpack, nor too small to tackle challenging projects.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”500″ identifier=”B002GKC0VO” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/41lFO04nuQL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”333″]
Now, let’s talk about the finishing of this ax. You will appreciate the grain orientation on the handle, which seemed almost flawless to us. Although the blade does not look super sharp out of the box, you will be pleasantly surprised when you see how effortlessly it cuts through wood.
You know you have found a quality ax when there is no deterioration in the sharpness of the blade even after a couple of hours of chopping large wood logs. Another highlight of this ax is the thoughtful inclusion of a top-notch leather cover.
The penultimate pick we have for you is the XL Ax 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 ax, look no further than Gerber’s XL Ax 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 ax 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 ax at your disposal could save a lot of time as well as effort on your part.[easyazon_image align=”center” height=”226″ identifier=”B00KQB1QXI” locale=”US” src=”https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/21GBrm0zRHL.jpg” tag=”architecture_lab-20″ width=”500″]
We especially liked the composite handle of this ax, 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 ax 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.
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 CIMA is available in three finishes – black, green, and clear skull.
Although the clear skull pattern is unique, we chose the black variant for subtlety. And ever since this hatchet was delivered on 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 which 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, CIMA’s Tactical Tomahawk Hunting and Survival Hatchet not only looks classy but also offers top-notch performance.
Best Ax 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 put together an informative buyers’ guide to help you select the best ax. So, strap in and read on…
1. Ax 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 ax to buy.
It’s not rocket science that if anything bigger than 14 inches qualifies to be an ax, 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 it as a survival and hunting tool.
In a nutshell, an ax 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 ax 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 ax. In fact, 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 towards you when you’re chopping wood. During winters, the ax blade is prone to chipping and breakage. You should start a small fire and heat up 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 ax 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.
That brings us to the end of this comprehensive guide. And we hope you got all the answers you have been seeking.
As you know by now, there’s a lot that goes into choosing the perfect ax or hatchet for your needs and then using it correctly and safely.
Let us know in the comments section below if there’s anything we missed.
Till next time!