Lumberjack Dreams: Best Axes for Chopping Wood
Who hasn’t dreamt of being a lumberjack at one time or another? There’s a reason they are so revered — chopping and splitting wood requires excellent technique, decent strength, and, ideally, a good flannel shirt. However, a reliable axe can make all the difference whether you are felling a tree, chopping wood, or preparing firewood for your wood-burning stove or a bonfire. Axes can also be a critical tool on your next camping trip or outdoor adventure.
Whether you want to dress in plaid and fulfill your dreams of being lumberjack royalty, or you need a sturdy backyard axe, we’ve got something on this list for you. Get ready for your next summer bonfire or camping trip with our guide to the Best Axes for Chopping Wood.
- Best Heavy Duty: Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Axe For Chopping Wood
- Best Light Duty: Estwing Fireside Friend Axe For Chopping Wood
- Best Chopping: Fiskars 375581-1001 Axe For Chopping Wood
- Best Wooden Handle: CRKT Freyr Axe For Chopping Wood
- Best for Camping: WilFiks Axe For Chopping Wood
- Most Budget-Friendly: LEXIVON V18 Chopping Axe
The Best Axe for Chopping Wood Review
The biggest test for the Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Axe For Chopping Wood was splitting 14 inch and larger birch stump blocks for seasoning. The axe handled well and the additional weight in the head made for excellent power and momentum and made splitting easier. The composite fiberglass flared handle kept my sweaty hands from slipping as I worked. The blade is a little wider than most splitting axes, and when splitting, it did not nest into my chopping block well, so I had to store it on the ground between chops and jobs. However, the protective sheath does come with a hanging hole for easy storage when not in use.
Overall, this product worked incredibly well, especially for bigger tasks, but it felt a bit large and unwieldy for me. This feeling might be because the axe length is over half my height. However, for a much taller tester, this tool was perfect, and he used it to execute quite a few large tasks at one of his properties after a windstorm knocked a tree down. Read the in-depth review here.
- Weight5.85 Pounds
As far as this Estwing model goes, it truly is a fireside friend and the best axe for splitting wood. We have an outdoor fire pit at our house, and this 14-inch axe has become our go-to for preparing firewood. Additionally, the size makes this device easy to use for me and my roommate, who is even smaller than I am. The shock-reduction grip reduces vibration and impact on the hands so you can split for longer. The edge is hand sharpened and comes with a ballistic nylon sheath to protect it. Lastly, the entire product is forged in the USA and uses American steel. This tool is excellent for a backyard firepit or preparing firewood for your wood-burning stove.
The Estwing Fireside Friend Axe conveniently arrived on the day of a backyard party to celebrate Cinco De Mayo and, more importantly, my roommate’s last day of working for someone else before she embarked on her self-employed dreams. Because we are all adults around here, we ordered a pinata from a local pinata store and filled it with tiny liquor bottles, and other “adult” treats. When it was time to smash the thing to smithereens (while blindfolded) we allowed Moriah a choice of weapons. She picked weapon number two, which happened to be this product. She proceeded to destroy the pinata and rain tiny liquor bottles down on nearly a dozen already drunk adults. Should we have given a blindfolded and already drunk person an axe? Debatable. Regardless, the Fireside Friend gets a 10/10 for pinata destruction. But you’re probably more worried about firewood, right? Read the in-depth review here.
Hand sharpened edge
Made in the USA
- Weight7 Ounces
One of the best axes for chopping trees is the Fiskars 375581-1001 Chopping Axe. This product has a 28-inch handle and is 31 inches in total length. That hefty size generates maximum power when felling trees and chopping wood. Fiskars advertises this axe as “virtually unbreakable,” which sounds like a challenge to us. But they back it up with a full lifetime warranty if that claim proves untrue.
A low-friction blade coating increases bite and cut depth so you can do more work while expending less energy. For long days of chopping, the lightweight handle is aids in absorbing shock to keep your hands from getting tired. Lastly, this product comes with a blade protector so you can store your new axe conveniently. For more handy tools, check out our list of the best electric chainsaws on the market.
31-inch total length
- Weight3.74 Pounds
Any Viking would be more than proud to carry the CRKT Freyr Axe. If it’s good enough for a Viking, it’s good enough for me. With a Tennessee hickory handle and 1055 carbon steel blade, few axes beam with the craftsmanship and quality this one does. The elongated “beard” blade is great for chopping and controlled cuts. This wood-cutting axe weighs under two pounds and is 16″ in length with an ergonomic handle, making it easy to use regardless of your size and portable for any task at hand.
Columbia River Knife and Tool (CRKT) is local to the Pacific Northwest and in the heart of the US lumber and logging industry. If anyone knows wood, it’s the PNW, which boasts three of the top 10 lumber product states: Oregon, Washington, and Idaho. CRKT also has a veteran’s program where veterans design axes (including this one), and 10% of the proceeds go to that person’s charity of choice. Ten percent of your purchase of this axe goes to The Green Beret Foundation. And who doesn’t love a product with a great cause?
Hot-forged 1055 carbon steel head
Tennessee Hickory handle
- Weight1.79 Pounds
When it comes to versatile and portable camping axes, the WilFiks Chopping Axe is a standout. Weighing in at 2.94 pounds and measuring 15 inches, this model is incredibly portable and easy to use, perfect for your next camping trip. While this axe specializes in felling small trees, it is versatile enough to split some firewood for your fire too.
The blade of the Wilfiks Chopping Axe is heat-treated carbon steel. When dull, you can sharpen it with a file. The handle is a composite fiberglass handle for shock absorption so that you can chop longer. Lastly, there’s a rubber sheath for the blade and a hole in the handle for hanging storage when not in use.
Heat-treated carbon steel blade
- Weight2.94 Pounds
Although the LEXIVON V18 Chopping Axe is the most budget-friendly axe on our list, it doesn’t skimp on quality or features. Under the protective sheath is a heat-treated carbon steel blade built for felling trees and chopping wood. The handle is composite fiberglass that is shock absorbent and resists breakage. At 18 inches long, this axe is easy to use while still providing plenty of power and momentum. This product weighs 2.94 pounds, making it portable and easy to throw in a camping pack.
Whether you need to fell trees, prepare firewood, or limb trees around your yard or property, this LEXIVON product is at the ready. A limited lifetime warranty also backs this product for some peace of mind with your purchase. Don’t forget to browse our selection of the most sought-after bow saws currently on the market.
Heat-treated carbon steel blade
- Weight2.94 Pounds
How We Picked
When curating this list, I focused on bringing a variety of products to the selection, including single-piece axes, chopping axes, splitting axes for firewood and wood axes. Each product needed solid construction, excellent reviews, and something special to bring to the table.
Why Trust Us
With the combination of backgrounds in my testing team, we form a solid group of varied axe users. I spent many days back in Texas chopping and preparing wood for fires and clearing brush on my uncles' land.
Additionally, when your only heat in the winter is a wood-burning stove, you get really good at splitting firewood. Evan also brings the experience of preparing wood for a wood-burning stove, clearing trees and limbs on a homestead, and the construction background of our misfit team. Mo brings enthusiasm, and you can't have a solid testing team without that.
Who Is This For
Whether you need a chopping axe, splitting axe, camping axe, or a maul, this list has a product for you. I curated this list with a variety of jobs and uses in mind. Additionally, each product is rather versatile while still specializing in a particular purpose, such as chopping or splitting.
How We Tested
Testing axes might sound like every wannabe lumberjack's dream, and, well, it kind of is. More importantly, these are everyday use tools for many folks, and testing them still requires the utmost care and intention. I utilized my at-home team of enthusiastic product testers (AKA my roommates) for this job.
Meet the Team:
- Me: 5'8", lived on a farm for a year, and grew up in Texas helping uncles build things. Is into all the outdoorsy and active things.
- Evan: all-around handyman, and fixer who grew up on a homestead in rural Washington. He's 6' 3" and works for himself converting properties and camper trailers can build you anything.
- Mo: 5'2" and down for anything. Her background is in accounting but she’s more than willing to grab an axe and wreak havoc on some wood.
- Leo: the dog, a great sidekick and really good at barking at the mailman.
Shortly after axes arrived for testing, a windstorm came through and knocked down a tree on one of Evan's properties, creating the perfect job for axe testing. Additionally, we have a backyard fire pit and indulge in almost weekly fires, so these axes got to take on little jobs every week splitting firewood and big jobs of clearing limbs and trees.
Features to Look for in Axes for Chopping Wood
Handle material - Handle material can make a difference in how much reverberation you get with each strike of an axe.
A steel handle will be durable but will provide little shock absorption.
A wood handle offers shock absorption and generally feels good to handle but can weather and eventually break over time.
Fiberglass composite handles have some shock absorption but don't perform well in very cold temperatures.
Handle length - Axe handles range from 14 inches to 36 inches. Shorter handles are great for precision and smaller pieces of wood.
You can have more power and velocity with a longer handle, but precision drops the longer the handle gets. Starting with a mid-range handle length is excellent until you develop a solid splitting and chopping technique.
Overall weight - You can't chop something if you can't lift your axe. Thankfully, this isn't much of a problem with most axes. The heavier the axe head, the more force you can generate. But go too heavy and control goes out the window. For most folks, a 4- to 6-pound axe head is reliably suitable.
Construction quality - No one wants a poorly made axe. Quality construction is a must-have, or you will quickly see pieces of your axe flying as you chop.
Solid piece vs. multi-piece - Most axes are multi-piece axes. However, some axes are solid steel with a coating or covering on the handle for shock absorption.
Solid-piece axes are heavier due to their construction and usually are mauls or heavy axes designed for splitting.
Versatility - A versatile axe is rarely a bad thing, especially if you will be completing various jobs. Hatchets are versatile tools for camping and light-duty jobs. Splitting axes can perform some chopping, and some chopping axes can also split.
Most axes have a particular purpose but specialize in one realm or another.
Hatchet - Hatchets are specifically designed for use with one hand. Hatchets are also lightweight and cannot generate as much force and velocity as a regular axe. They're generally chosen for their light weight, portablility, and multi-functionality. Also, they're much easier to throw accurately than regular axes. If you're into that sort of thing (which we very much are).
Chopping Wood Axe FAQ
Q: What is the difference between a splitting axe and a chopping axe?
A: A splitting axe is for spitting wood for firewood and other uses, whereas a chopping axe is for felling trees, limbs, and other wood. A splitting axe can still chop small trees, but you are best off using a chopping axe for that purpose.
Q: Can you chop with a splitting axe?
A: Yes, you can chop with a splitting axe but usually tree limbs or small trees. It is best to opt for a chopping axe for chopping jobs, so you don't wear your tool too quickly.
Q: What are the benefits of chopping wood manually?
A: Aside from feeling like a capable lumberjack or woodsman you've always dreamed of being, chopping wood yourself saves money, allows you to customize the wood size and shape, and is an excellent workout for keeping you in shape. There's a reason lumberjacks are so revered and muscular.
Q: How do you cut wood perfectly with an axe?
A: While perfect is difficult to achieve, I'll walk you through the wood splitting technique, and you can practice until you are nearly perfect and at bonafide lumberjack status.
First, you'll position yourself where the axe hits the wood with your arms extended. Err on the side of hitting closer to closer to you, so the handle does not hit the wood if you miss. Have your legs shoulder-width apart in a stable and athletic position.
Set the wood on its end, on a chopping block if possible.
Pull the device back straight over your head and build up speed as you swing but allow the axe head's weight and momentum to do the work for you. Before chopping or splitting, ensure there is nothing and no one that can be easily broken nearby and nothing overhead that you could accidentally destroy in your lumberjack-inspired excitement.
Q: What length axe should I get?
A: The axe length depends on the size of the jobs you intend to do. We recommend starting with mid-range length (26 inches to 31 inches), and once you develop your technique and find your most common uses, you can get a new product that better suits those needs.