A wooden axe may invoke images of big, burly lumberjacks spending their days chopping down the largest trees across the world. Or perhaps when thinking about axes, you remember the tall tale of Paul Bunyan who traveled the United States of America with his blue pet Ox, Babe.
Paul had supernatural strength and carved out the Grand Canyon with his mighty axe, according to American folklore.
Axes have become much more mainstream these days and are no longer just for lumberjacks or serious outdoors enthusiasts.
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
Best Axes for Splitting Wood in Our Rating
- Reliable blade, does not rust and does not crumble
- Withstands the strongest blows
- Robust grip for durable grip
- Lightweight material
Selecting the Best Axes for Splitting Wood in January, 2021
20.3 x 8.8 x 1.8 inches
30 x 8.7 x 2 inches
Helko Werk Vario
35.4 x 7 x 2.2 inches
1844 Helko Werk Germany
20 x 7.2 x 1.6 inches
|Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb|
3.2 x 7.8 x 36 inches
2 x 9.5 x 36 inches
|Estwing Fireside Friend|
14.2 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches
26 x 1.4 x 7 inches
2.5 x 8.5 x 36 inches
|Fiskars Super Splitting|
1 x 1 x 1 inches
1. Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe : Best Smaller-Sized Axe for Soft Woods
The Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe measures just 19 inches and weighs a mere two pounds. Don’t let the size fool you as this axe is a mighty tool that can fit into your backpack.
Our testing team was able to use the Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe to splitter smaller ranches and limb wood with no issues whatsoever.
The Small Forest Axe’s head is entirely created from recycled steel.
2. Husqvarna 30-Inch Wooden Splitting Axe : Best for Splitting Logs from Hardwood Trees
The Husqvarna 30-Inch Wooden Splitting Axe is perfectly suited to splitting thicker wood. The head of the axe had been attached to a hickory shaft utilizing a duo of a wooden as well as a steel wedge to provide the securest fastening possible.
Our testing team loved using this axe due to its ability to sink the head of the axe easily into the wood, requiring only minimal effort to split wood into two pieces.
This offering from Husqvarna has an extra-long handle, which allows you to use a two-handed grip and exert a larger amount of force with less effort.
3. Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter : Best for Individuals with Previous Wood Axe Chopping Experience
The sheer size of this option from German axe makers Helko Werk requires that its user exercise a higher level of controlled strength as opposed to smaller axes marketed towards wood chopping beginners.
The head of the Vario 2000 is created using German C50 high-grade carbon steel.
4. Husqvarna 19-Inch Wooden Splitting Axe : Best for Use with Lighter Firewood
This axe helps you to split through wood easily and is small enough to be comfortably held in one hand.
The Husqvarna Small Splitting Axe weighs just 3 pounds making it a lovely option for individuals concerned about upper body strength.
5. Fiskars Iso Core Eight Pound Maul : Best Heavy-Duty Wood Splitting Maul
Our testing team was astounded at the brute force afforded through the use of this axe.
The Fiskars Iso Core Eight Pound Maul features a patented IsoCore Shock System which works to absorb shocks from strikes as well as vibration.
6. Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe : Best for Preventing Hand Strain
The handle absorbs shock and vibration, keeping your hands from straining or cramping up.
At 36 inches, it is a heavy-duty choice, but since it weighs less than similar versions, you will not tire as quickly.
7. Estwing Fireside Friend Axe : Best All Around Wood Chopping Axe Choice
The Estwing Fireside Friend Axe is a heavy-duty option that has been forged into one piece. This detail is actually a terrific safety feature since you will not need to worry about the head or handle loosening or flying off during use.
Our testing team absolutely loved using the Estwing Fireside Friend Axe to provide firewood for chilly, winter nights or to use while camping or participating in survivalist activities.
The Estwing Fireside Friend Axe features a shock reduction grip. This specification offers a trusty handhold while also reducing impact vibration up to seventy percent.
8. Estwing Camper’s Axe : Best Budget Pick
This option is a lovely choice for chopping logs, cutting down small trees, or splitting wood and kindling for fires.
The Estwing Camper’s Axe features a genuine leather hand grip. The grip has been hand-sanded and lacquered to maximize both comfort and durability.
9. Truper 30958 8-Pound Splitting Maul : Best Fiberglass Handled Option
There is a rubber grip on the handle that provides less straining or pain when compared to other axes.
This offering from Truper features a rubber protected overstrike to prevent accidents. The head has a beveled-edge striking face to produce clean, easier cuts.
10. Fiskars x27 Super Splitting Axe: Best Wood Splitting Axe for Taller Individuals
The handle measures in at 36 inches and the axe weighs a mere 5.85 pounds.
The Fiskars x27 Super Splitting Axe has been designed for maximized efficiency which will allow you to complete more one-strike passes to split the wood.
Best Axes for Splitting Wood – Buyer’s Guide
Now that the weather outside is frightful, using an axe to split wood for a fire sure sounds delightful. Wood splitting axes are a wonderful investment for chopping firewood and kindling to keep you warm during cold, snowy nights. They can also be extremely helpful during a camping trip.
There are thousands of wood splitting axes currently on the market. Finding the best one for your needs may seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Not to worry! In addition to reviewing the top ten wood splitting axes, we created this buyer’s guide to explain the important details needed for an informed purchase.
Do I really Need a Wood Splitting Axe?
Axes have been around for centuries. As technology has advanced, new ways of chopping firewood have become more popular. We may be old-fashioned, but the idea of using a fuel-powered wood splitter just doesn’t provide the same sense of accomplishment and the awesome results of doing it yourself with an axe.
An axe is also a very versatile tool. They are perfect to take along on camping trips to ensure you have the proper kindling to keep warm by the fire or to clear your way through the forest. It is also helpful to stash one in your vehicle’s emergency kit, just in case.
As energy and heating costs continue to skyrocket, finding other ways to stay toasty warm has become an important practice. Using a wood stove or fireplace can alleviate some costs while still warming your home and family. After the initial investment cost to buy an axe, there are no other costs to continue to use them or maintain the axe to keep it in tip-top shape. You will save money in multiple ways, which is a definite plus.
Key Considerations When Purchasing a New Wood Splitting Axe
Let’s take a closer look at the crucial points to ponder when shopping for a new axe to split wood.
Thinking about the types of jobs you will be using your new axe for is a great place to start. What type or types of wood will you be you will be working with. For larger pieces of wood, you should select a larger axe which is also necessary for harder varieties of wood. A smaller axe works well for smaller or softer woods. Bigger is not always better when it comes to axes, though, as the larger they are, the harder they become to handle and use.
The Axe’s Head Weight
The weight of your new axe’s head has a huge effect on performance. Heavier heads will require more energy to hold and raise. The heavier heads will also give you a higher output. A lighter axe head will be much easier to use and swing, allowing you to work for longer periods of time.
If this will be your first wood splitting axe, try to select a version that weighs no more than 5 pounds. The heftier models provide you with a greater level of force, but your swing’s accuracy will be decreased. If you are just starting out, selecting a lighter axe and then working up to a heavier version as you get stronger and more acclimated to wielding an axe.
Axe Handle Materials
Your new axe’s handle may be crafted from a variety of materials. The most common materials used include steel, wood, or fiberglass. Manufacturers often seal the handle with lacquer for aesthetical purposes, but this can make it difficult to get a good grip. You can sand the varnish off easily to increase the comfort and grip action if needed.
You might find handles made from plastic as well. While they will be lighter and less expensive, a plastic handle most likely will break quickly. Wooden handles made from hickory or ash are usually the highest in quality and longest lasting.
If you decide on a wooden handle for your new axe, you should carefully inspect the wood’s grain. A parallel grain to the bit of the axe will provide extra strength whereas a perpendicular grain will be weaker and more prone to snapping or splintering. Additionally, examine the handle for growth-rings noting their width. The growth rings should be plentiful, narrow, and closely spaced rather than only a few rings that are spaced far apart as it will not be as strong.
By selecting a solid axe head that lacks noticeable joints, you can rest assured that the strength of the head has not been compromised in any way. The head must be intact with the shaft in order to use it safely while getting a good thrust on the lumber you are working with. Check that the axe is solid which will also work to prevent it from breaking or splintering.
Contrary to popular belief, there is more than one type of axe. There are three different types of axes. Let’s take a closer look at the different types.
- Chopping Axes: The chopping axe features a lighter head when compared to the other versions. This model cuts against the grain of the wood. They also have sharper edges.
- Mauls: A maul has a duller blade than the chopping axe in order to split along with the wood’s grain. They are also larger making them more appropriate for larger woods and projects.
- Splitting Axes: Splitting axes also have duller blades and cut with the grain. Splitting axes are best used for splitting wood, preparing kindling, chopping limbs, branches, and smaller woods or trees.
Tips for Splitting Wood
Now that you’ve gained an understanding of the important features in a wood splitting axe, let’s explore some tips for getting the most out of your new investment.
- Inspect your splitting axe to ensure it is in proper working order. You do not need to be overly concerned with sharpness. As long as the head in intact with the handle, you are good to go.
- While seasoned wood tends to split easier, using green wood means you won’t need to stack it before splitting it. You will be first cutting the wood into manageable sections, stacking it, letting it season, unstacking the wood, finally split it, and then finally restacking it. It really is a matter of preference, time, and patience.
- Never attempt to split wood with nails in it. You can damage your axe, or you could send a nail flying into the air, or worse, your eye.
- Wood that has a lot of knots in it can be extremely difficult to split. Curvy wood is also difficult to deal with.
- Use a chopping block if at all possible.
- Place your piece of wood on its end either on your chopping block or on the ground, propping it up if necessary.
- Swing the splitting axe using straight arms and aim for the center of the wood. With your feet slightly apart, raise the axe up again straight over your head. Swing the axe straightforward.
- Utilize speed and momentum instead of relying too much on upper body strength. Let the axe do the work.
- It may take several hits to split, and that is fine. You may need to wrestle the axe free from the wood at times as well. Just keep a slow and steady pace.
Finding the best axe for splitting wood may seem overwhelming at first. Keeping the basics, you’ve learned today in mind along with your specific needs will make finding the best wood splitting axe a breeze. You will soon go from novice wood splitter to a seasoned pro by practicing and taking your time.
We hope our wood splitting axe reviews and buyer’s guide were helpful to you. We love hearing from our readers. Drop us a quick line below with your favorite axes and tips for splitting wood.