Checked and updated on November 27, 2020 by Aaron Barnett
The best axe is fun to use and is also good exercise. When you find a well-balanced axe that feels great in your hands, you will chop wood smoother and develop a more controlled chopping and cutting technique. The more you become accustomed to your axe and become familiar with its feel and performance it will become easier to use, and you will want to go split wood more to pass a bit of time.
Best wood splitting axes
#2 Best value axe for splitting wood at home
Tabor tools j55a 32 Inch
#4 Best felling axe
Husqvarna s1600 23 inch composite splitting axe
Best camping axe
#3 Best hand axe
Husqvarna H900 13 composite hatchet
#4 Best woodcutting axe
Estwing E24A sportsman’s axe – 14″
Best tactical throwing axe
#3 Best bushcraft axe
M48 tactical tomahawk axe with a durable nylon sheath
#4 Best tactical axe
Schrade SCAXE5 12.8in full tang tactical hatchet
A good axe can be very helpful in a wide variety of settings. You can use to chop up wood for your fireplace, clear out fallen logs in your yard, or even take it with you when you go out in the outdoors. When you are out camping in the wilderness and the temperature drops, you definitely need to be able to make a fire quickly. And as far as camping tools go, a good ax is the most useful thing you can have in your pack.
There are a few qualities that make some axes better suited for certain jobs than others. Some axes are better suited for splitting logs and chopping wood at home, while others make for excellent camping axes, and some are better than others for throwing, it can be a bit of fun to learning to throw an ax. With so many different makes and models of axes out there, you will need to assess what you want, and what the best type of axe for you is.
Spare yourself the headache and get an axe with a fiberglass handle. These axes are a lot more durable and longer-lasting than a cheap wooden handle axe. You can safely leave a fiberglass handle outside without having them breaking down, and eventually snap on you. Wood-handled axes have a tendency to break at the worst moments, which is really frustrating when you need to stock up on firewood for the wintertime.
Features to consider
Before buying a wood splitting axe…
Choose the right handle material.
Wood-handled axes have a tendency to break easily and aren’t really suited for regular heavy use. Leave a wood-handled axe outdoors often enough, and it will break sooner or later. It can be really frustrating when you haven’t used your axe in a while, only to find that the handle breaks when you give it a good swing.
Fiberglass-handled axes are a much better choice for heavy-duty work. They are very low maintenance, and you could safely leave them outside the tool shed without any issues. They are usually more comfortable on the hands as well, so you can use them for longer periods. So get a light fiberglass handle or a forged steel handle.
Whats the durablity of the axe head.
At the very least, your axe should be strong enough to handle any task you throw at it. The very best axe heads are made of forged steel, which is about the strongest and hardest material around. A good axe with a forged steel-head will be able to cut through the densest wood with ease without showing the least sign of wear-and-tear.
Steer clear of axes with heads made of recycled metal. More often than not, such heads will chip or break, and some have even been known to split in half after a few solid chops.
Consider the right tool weight.
Power at the expense of weight, so don’t be surprised to find that the most powerful axes have heavy heads as well. If you really are dead-set on getting the most powerful axe you can, you will have to suck it up and manage the weight somehow.
But if you are willing to give up a bit of power in exchange for easier handling, you should be able to find a fairly lightweight ax that still provides adequate power for heavy jobs.
Make sure the tool has good balance.
Apart from weight, the balance and weight distribution of an axe will have a significant effect on handling and ease of use. This is one factor that often sets good axes apart from mediocre ones. A well-balanced ax will be a joy to use, enabling you to swing with ease. Conversely, a poorly-balanced axe will result in bad form and misplaced chops and simply won’t feel right when in use.
Furthermore, a heavy but well-balanced axe will actually be easier to use than a lightweight but a poorly-balanced axe. Properly balanced, a slightly heavier axe will provide the best combination of power and easy handling.
Will the tool last in the elements.
The durability of the axe head should be a foremost consideration. After all, this is the part of the axe that will bear the brunt of the impact. But consider the durability of the other parts of the axe as well.
One-piece designs tend to be a lot more durable than axes put together from different components. In general, one-piece axes provide longer and more reliable service than axes that have a few different sections glued or welded together.
What sized handle is right for you.
A short-handled axe will actually be easier to handle than a long-handled ax …within reason. Although a long handle will enable you to swing the axe with more power behind your stroke.
Choose a handle length that will give you sufficient chopping power yet remains easy enough to handle. This will give you the best of both worlds in terms of efficiency and manageability.
What’s the cost.
There’s no getting around it: the best axes will cost more than a cheap wooden handle axe. But you definitely won’t want to get the cheapest axe you can buy, as these will likely result in quality and performance compromises.
As with all tools it is best to set your price point and choose the best quality axe you can get at that price. Don’t get an ax that will require you to replace the handle later on.
Best wood splitting axe for at home
Most people purchase axes for splitting wood at home. If this is your primary reason for buying an axe, you need to consider a number of factors that will make the job easier and more efficient.
First off, you need an axe that isn’t too heavy or too light. The heavier your ax is, the more power you can put into the swing. But a heavy ax can be difficult to handle and can cause fatigue much sooner. You should, therefore, go for an axe that is heavy enough to split wood effectively, yet still, be light enough to handle.
Length is another factor that will affect the effectiveness of the ax and your swing. Again, long handles enable you to swing the axe with much more force. But they can also be difficult to manage. Choose a length that is best suited to your working style and preferences, and you will be able to work more efficiently.
The Tabor tools j55a 32 Inch axe is a good value for money plastic handle axe with good handle length for wood splitting jobs at home.
At 10.4Lbs the Fiskars iso core has a 36-inch handle for more swing power and with a heavier head, you can more easily cut through and split large wet logs. With a bash plate above the blade, it means that if you get the axe stuck in a log without splitting simply give it an additional wack with a sledgehammer to finish the split.
What’s the best camping axe’s
An axe that is ideally-suited for wood-splitting many not necessarily be the best choice for camping. Sure you need good product material and durability, but you also have to consider size, weight, and portability. You need to find a good balance between sufficient power to handle fairly heavy tasks and the portability that makes your axe easy to carry around.
Some of the best camping axes have handles that are better suited to single-handed use than double-handed operation. Although it may be possible to use such axes two-handed, they might feel awkward for people with large hands and long arms.
Portability isn’t the only factor to consider when shopping for a camping axe. A heavy ax might help you chop wood more efficiently, but it will also be heavier to carry around. Besides, a lighter axe can still be effective at chopping wood. Of course, you might have to do smaller–as opposed to larger–cuts, but a good axe should be able to get the job done without too much trouble.
The Estwing Camper’s Axe E45ASE is made of forged steel, giving it the strength and durability to handle even the most demanding tasks. This is a good choice for clearing out branches or small trees, splitting wood for your campfire, or even chopping up sizeable logs.
The axe has a leather-coated grip that is sanded by hand and lacquered to perfection, ensuring comfortable handling. The grip itself is designed for shock reduction, reducing vibration by 70%. You also get a heavy-duty nylon sheath that protects the cutting-edge from chipping and dulling.
The Estwing Camper’s Axe is the best camping axe, it has a 26 inch long handle for a decent swing while being lighter and more portable than a standard axe. The Estwing black edition axe can split medium-sized logs for the fire and can tap in tent pegs.
The shorter version is more portable for fitting inside a backpack but has slightly less swing with the shorter handle. When portability is more important than swing power the shorter Estwing axe is the best camping tool.
What’s the best tactical throwing axe
A tactical axe is a versatile tool that can be used for chopping wood for fires, recreational ax-throwing, and worst-case scenario personal defense. Hopefully, you won’t ever get into a hand-to-hand combat scenario. But instead, tactical ax’s are a lighter weight ax for hiking long distances are also useful for several tasks at home, in your yard, or a range of great outdoor activities, and emergency extraction in case of the event such as a fire or earthquake.
Tactical axes are especially suitable for those into ax throwing as a hobby. For this purpose, the grip is especially important. Some of the best tactical axes have reinforced nylon handles that provide a secure grip even when wet. Many also have ergonomically-designed handles that ensure comfortable use.
Durability is a factor to consider when shopping for a tactical ax for camping and/or hiking. A tactical should be able to withstand regular use in extreme outdoor environments without showing signs of wear-and-tear. Choose your tactical axe carefully, and it should provide reliable use for a long time to come.
The Browning Shock N Awe Tomahawk is a handy and capable ax that can be used for chopping as well as throwing. The tan camo powder coating gives it the look and feel of a serious piece of equipment, and the sword-grade blade leaves no doubt as to its ability to withstand heavy use.
The Shock N Awe Tomahawk has a curved penetration spike that can bore a hole into the hardest and densest material. The one-piece handle has a nylon paracord wrapping that ensures a solid grip under any condition. It even has a large lanyard hole for added portability and convenience.
For a throwing axe you want a short and comfortable handle, with more weight in the head, the Shock N Awe Tomahawk has a handle that is easy to grip, weight balanced in the head and is ready for you to learn ax throwing.
What’s the best tree felling axe
Cutting down a tree with an axe can be fun, a felling ax is also a good way to finish the last bit of a chain saw cut. For a felling axe, you want one that is strong and durable and light enough to cut sideways instead of up and down.
The Husqvarna S2800 is a good choice for splitting apart logs. A powerful and versatile axe, it can cut through even dense wood fairly easily due to the non-stick coating applied to the ax head. By reducing friction and allowing the cutting-edge to penetrate the wood more easily, the S2800 makes wood splitting quick and easy.
The head design is especially suited for felling trees. The axe also has a shaft that focuses the energy toward the cutting edge. And with the balance point positioned close to the head, the S2800 has excellent balance and weight distribution.
Tips for splitting wood
Using an ax is easy after you learn the fundamentals. The first and most important thing to learn is hand positioning. If you are right-handed, place your left hand just above the end of the handle, with the palm slightly turned towards you. Place your right hand up toward the neck, a few inches below the head. If you’re left-handed, simply reverse your hand positions.
Keep a firm grip on the axe but don’t grip it too tightly. As you swing the axe toward your target, your top hand should slide down the handle toward your bottom hand at the end of the swing.
Try to develop accuracy before you work on strength. You could generally work more efficiently with accurate hits even if you don’t swing as hard as you can. As you get better at consistently hitting your target, you can try to put more strength into your swings. Let the weight of the head do the work.
For maintenance work rather than wood splitting make sure to have a mini chainsaw.
|Fiskars Iso Core||TABOR TOOLS J55A||Husqvarna S2800||Husqvarna S1600||Estwing Camper's Axe |
|Estwing Camper's Axe EB-25A||Husqvarna H900 Hatchet||Browning Shock N Awe Tomahawk||Estwing Axe E24A||SOG Tomahawk F182N-CP||M48 Tactical Tomahawk Axe||Schrade SCAXE5|
|Verdict:||Best splitting axe||Best value splitting axe||Top tree felling axe||Best long handle camping axe||Top short handle camping axe||Best throwing axe|
|Weight:||10.4 lbs||8.95 lbs||6.17 lbs||3.8 lbs||3 lb. 5.7 oz||2.4 lbs||2.1 lbs||2 lbs. 8 oz||1.91 lbs||23.1 ozs||7 ozs||2 lbs|
|Cutting edge:||9”||4”||?||?||4"||3.5”||?||2.75"||3.25”||2.75”||3 7/8”||3.1”|
The Fiskars iso core it is an effective wood-splitting ax that can handle the toughest jobs with ease. For sheer power and durability, this one is pretty hard to beat. Even so, it is remarkably easy to handle due to being lightweight and having good weight distribution.
The Estwing Camper’s Axe E45ASE wins top marks for versatility. Built to withstand the rigors of outdoor use, it can handle more delicate clearing jobs as well. You can even use it comfortably for long periods due to the excellent shock-reduction grip. Estwing also makes popular hammers used by many builders.
The Browning Shock N Awe Tomahawk is a tough and impressive-looking implement that delivers performance at par with its appearance. For throwing and small splitting wood jobs, it is a cinch with its curved penetration spike.
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