Best Axes For Chopping Wood in 2021
There’s more to think about than you’d expect when selecting your pick out of the best axes in the world. Woodcutting is a lost art, flushed away with the rest of the industrial revolution. Don’t rock the new-age lumberjack beard without possessing some of the know-how. With our guide, and the best made axe models on the market today, you’ll be a force of nature in your own right.
The Best Axe For Chopping Wood
The Fiskars X7 Hatchet was not only crafted out of superior blade cutting knowledge and expertise but was also constructed based on a special technique that was implemented to achieve maximum results. This is what is referred to as a grinding technique, which forms the sharp edges around the head of the ax, for better effectivity and outcomes during cutting processes. What’s more, the sharp edges allow an effortless flow when diving through the wood, in order to achieve a greater degree of contact as supposed to other grades of manufacturing. No doubt, the advanced level of contact it achieves with the wood being cut, helps in providing cleaner and superior type of cuts and the premium blade design that the Fiskars Hatchet wields also guarantees a sharp feel for the longest span, without deteriorating in effectivity. This was undergone through a reduced amount of friction required in the coating process, which helps greatly during cutting, as it ensures that the blade is not restricted when going through the wood to be chopped.
Additionally, the Fiskars X7 Hatchet, which is marked at a total length of 14 inches, was carefully constructed to have the most suitable weight separation to deliver effectivity at its peak. The handle of the ax, as well as the head region, have been weighed and positioned accordingly, to maximize the power that is being transmitted by the user onto the chopping block. This greatly multiplies the driving force, making the chopping process extremely convenient. And the most appealing feature about the Fiskars X7 Hatchet is that it is unbreakable and was manufactured with a FiberComp material on the handles, while the head of the ax has been perfectly molded and fused into the handle, assured to be undoubtedly inseparable.
14 inches long
Perfect weight distribution feature
Inseparable and unbreakable construction
Grinding technique for construction of the blade
- Weight1.38 pounds
The traditional axe is made of solid, slightly curved wood, with a heavy, all-metal head at the end—there’s no better representation of a classic-looking axe than Husqvarna’s model. Husqvarna 26” Woodcutter’s Axe is great for all purposes, and includes a leather edge cover for safe storage. The axe head is attached to the shaft with a steel wedge to ensure that it’s fastened nice and tightly.
There’s a certain feeling you get that shoots through you when you’re holding the wooden handle of an axe as opposed to a composite material. It’s just in your blood, even if you don’t realize it yet. This brand of axe comes in multiple sizes, materials, and for different purposes, but we honed in on the 26” woodcutter’s axe. When you’re hitting the trail for the weekend, you need the best camping axe by your side, and Husqvarna’s got it right here.
26 inches in length
Head made with hickory and Swedish steel
Fastened with wooden and steel wedges
- Weight2.1 lbs
If you’re into the Viking look, you’re going to love the CRKT Woods Nobo Tomahawk Axe. It has an ancient look that will make you feel primitive and you chop wood with one hand and drink from your cup of mead in the other. In truth though, this is an ultra-modern tactical axe, designed for utility as well as aesthetics. It has a hot-forged 1055 carbon steel blade with a large and precise blade curve, perfect for taking large chunks out of trees. This is mounted on a Tennessee Hickory handle and has been perfectly balanced for steady swings.
It might look like an ancient tool but the CRKT Woods Nobo Tomahawk Axe is as good for chopping firewood as any of the axes on this list. The handle is perfectly smooth and comfortable, even after hours of chopping. We were also impressed by the quality of the leather sheath that comes with the axe. Not only does it look fantastic, but it also keeps the blade super sharp for years without the need for regular sharpening.
Hot-forged 1055 carbon steel blade
Tennessee Hickory handle
Snug leather sheath included
Limited lifetime warranty
- Weight9.9 ounces
We’d really call this one more of a hatchet, but we’ll let it slide. Estwing 14” Sportsman’s Axe comes out with a sleek design, including a leather grip and wood-lookalike handle. The head of the axe blends seamlessly into the top half of the handle, so you won’t run into an axe head slipping off after extended use. One of the best features of choosing this brand is knowing that they produce American made axes, so when you choose Estwing, you’re choosing to keep work in the United States.
With this model, you get an all-inclusive heavy duty ballistic nylon sheath, so you won’t have to dish out the cash and purchase an additional item. American-grade steel doesn’t lie, and it sharpens better than imported steel. Thanks to higher manufacturing requirements here in the homeland, it’s assured, and backed by an exceptional warranty. Also, this is a great gift for gardeners in your life.
14 inches total length
Hand sharpened and polished
- Weight14.9 oz
Finnish steel coated in PTFE reduces friction, and gives you cleaner cuts. Gerber’s take on the outdoorsman’s axe brings you a new-age, sophisticated look, while keeping the functionality straightforward and trustworthy. The composite handle absorbs shock, and is designed to not strain your hands and cause blisters as frequently.
One of the most important aspects to your axe is proper weight distribution. If you’re using an imbalanced, cheap axe, you’re going to have sloppy chops, and when you bring the hammer down, the lack of aerodynamics are going to make that axe head wiggle through the air, giving you an unclear cut, or a complete miss. The Gerber 23.5” Axe is designed with every possibility already covered with its unique geometric angles. Be sure to also check out our list of the best camping saws for more great items like this.
The main difference between an axe and a hatchet is the length of the handle, which also defines the overall weight and size of the axe head. A hatchet is one-handed, while an axe should always be two-handed for optimum power and the perfect cut. The H900 Composite is ready for anything—will you be?
With a soft, ergonomic grip along the handle, you’ll be able to stave off blisters and callouses in awkward spots. This is perfect for hacking up some small bits of firewood to get a fire going immediately. Without exerting yourself, you can get a great pile of small firewood pieces and start up your campfire almost immediately. The H900 comes with weight distribution in mind—you won’t experience and wind resistance, because the good folks over at Husqvarna thought of every little trick that your axe likes to pull on you and took care of everything from the get go.
If you’re wondering what a fell axe is, it’s the same type that you use to actually hack down a tree—true blue lumberjack style. The art of felling a tree takes time, and a sharp axe. When an axe is specifically designed for felling, it’s made of a more tempered steel, which is perfect for sharpening to a fine point. Keeping a sharp head (proverbially as well as literally) will allow you to get a tree down faster, with less exertion, and with a cleaner cut.
This model comes with a slightly curved, solid wooden handle, as well as a leather sheath to get you started. The expertly-forged head is built to withstand multiple sharpening sessions, so you won’t need to replace this anytime soon, even if you’re getting intense use out of it. For splitting, there’s the other guys—for felling and carving up your bounty, there’s Hults Bruk Kalix.
It looks like a demonic version of Thor’s hammer—Fiskars 28” all-black chopping axe comes with a built-in handle along the top, and an ever-sharp axe head that’s ideal for felling. The handle is designed to feel like you’re swinging an aluminum baseball bat—lightweight and fast, and delivers a bigger kick than wood.
There’s a perfect balance of weight and power here. The tempered steel blade keeps its sharp edge longer than traditional axes. The harder the steel, the longer you can go between sharpening sessions; if you’re not planning on using this axe more than 4-6 times per year, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the lack of maintenance required.
The Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe is a product of Gransfors Bruks AB, a Swedish company that’s been in the business of manufacturing tools for outdoor activities for over a century now. With its experience in the business, Gransfors Bruk has made some truly iconic products. The Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe, however, is one of the most impressive of the fold. The product was forged by hand in Sweden, and each approved ax head is even stamped with the initials of the ax smith.
One of the most prominent parts of this product, like others from the manufacturer, is the sheath. It’s made with thick leather and a full welt, and it’s generally styled better than what you can find on a lot of other axes. There’s a snap fastener on the sheath that makes it easy to put on and off too.
The ax measures 19.25”. It’s a bit too long to be used as a hatchet, and people who want a two-handed ax might find it to be a bit too short. The head is also impressive, with its classic Swedish and Western-style.
The Small Forest Axe delivers on its promise and cuts rather well across the grain, both in smaller branches and more massive logs. It’s evident that the ax was built for this, and it does so rather well. It can split firewood quite smoothly too, although given that this one’s head is much smaller than that of a splitting ax, you might experience a bit of difficulty. Otherwise, it’s a solid choice any day.
You’re not in a fantasy RPG—this axe is real, and one of the most badass-looking axes ever. With a full pound of steel on the head of a 15” hickory handle, you’re holding a borderline hatchet. It comes with a leather sheath, complete with steel studs to prevent the sheath tearing from the immense sharpness of this premier blade.
As one of the best wood chopping axes out there, Gransfors ensures their unique design and perfect distribution of weight and power goes without rival. You can pick up a dozen different axes, not know the difference between them, but when you raise a Gransfors Bruks Outdoos, something inside you awakens, like this was the axe meant just for you. Tempered steel means minimal sharpening, and it comes with the “Axe Book” included in your purchase.
If you’re in the market for a modern, mean-looking axe, you can’t ignore the Fiskars IsoCore Maul. Designed to optimize the wood-cutting process, this axe will be your best friend when you’re staring at a pile of uncut logs. The head of the axe is forged from steel and then heat-treated and finished with a rust-resistant coating, to ensure a long lifetime. The geometry of the blade is optimized to penetrate through even the toughest logs with minimal effort.
The Fiskars IsoCore Maul is designed for comfort, as well as performance. It has a patented technology called the IsoCore Shock Control System, which absorbs the shock of each impact and reduces the vibration in the handle. The end result is more comfortable chopping and the ability to work for longer without injuring yourself. Another interesting feature is the flared handle, which stops it from slipping out of your hand.
Forged heat-treated steel blade
IsoCore Shock Control System
Optimized blade geometry
- Weight10.4 pounds
The Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe is a traditional-looking axe with a beautiful American hickory handle. This is the kind of wood that people have been using to make tools for thousands of years and it’s still one of the best materials to work with. It’s lightweight, super-strong, and comfortable in your hands. The blade is made from drop-forged 1055 carbon steel, a material often used in knife making. It’s known for its durability and toughness, so you can be as heavy-handed as you want, and this axe won’t let you down. The Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe is small enough to strap onto your pack but big enough to handle serious cutting and chopping work. If you’re a serious woodsman, this is the axe for you.
Drop-forged 1055 carbon steel blade
American hickory handle
- BrandCold Steel
- ModelTrail Boss Axe
- Weight8 ounces
Chopping Wood Axe Buyers Guide
It sounds simple—toss some sharp steel on the end of a stick, and you’ve got an axe, right? Not in the slightest. Even if you look at the way axes were designed in the 1950s, there’s a difference in modern construction. Everything comes down to precise angles, weight distribution, and the perfect blend of lightweight material and power.
What To Consider When Buying An Axe
There’s three s’s when it comes to finding the perfect axe for you: strength, sharpness, and size. You want to be able to give it your best go, be certain that it can be sharp as a tack to split logs, and that it’s the right size for your height. You don’t want to throw your back out or incur other injuries from having an awkward distribution of weight and power. Another thing to consider is this: do you want an axe, or are you actually in the market for a hatchet? Here are the key differences:
After 14”, you’re dealing with axes—not hatchets. Axes are designed to be used with two hands, which is why they come up to about 36”. Axes are primarily used for chopping logs, felling trees, and anything else that requires great power, while hatchets are the one-handed baby brother to the mighty axe. Hatches come with one primary use, but axes can be specifically designed for different purposes. If you’re a true outdoorsman, you may already be looking for a unique felling axe, and a separate one for splitting. It’s all about additional power for the bigger tasks.
Hatchets are always smaller, and are usually defined at the 14” line. Anything higher than that, and it’s your judgment call, but we’re saying that they’re axes. Hatchets are also designed to be used one-handed; another judgment call. If you’re a behemoth that can wing an 18” axe one-handed without issue, we bow before your manliness. Hatchets are the preference for wildness backpackers who are looking to make use of fallen trees for wood, or hack up smaller trees. They don’t possess the proper power to fell a tree, unless you want to be there all day.
Chopping Wood Axe FAQ
Q: How To Cut Wood Perfectly With An Axe?
A: Woodcutting has become a lost art. It’s a shame, really. There’s a lot of tactic to getting that perfect cut, but you’re diligent enough to get it done. A properly cut piece of firewood is going to actually burn properly in your fireplace or when constructing a campfire. It’s not just about making it look awesome—it’s about what that awesomeness is going to do for you.
- Focus on Accuracy
It’s great to just smash that axe down and smash that wood in half, right? Wrong. So very wrong. Especially if you’re never swung an axe before, you need to focus on actually hitting the wood, not just obliterating it. When you get an accurate hit, you can build on that. Exhausting yourself with overpowered swings, when you’re embarrassingly not even hitting the wood in the first place, isn’t going to do you any good. If you have to hit the same spot on a log five times to split it, at least you’re hitting it, right? Build on that.
- Don’t Hold It Like An Axe
This isn’t a Halloween movie; however you’ve seen it done on the big screen, isn’t how it’s really done. The best hatchet you’ve got deserves the best handle you can possible manage. Put your right a few inches below the actual heat of the axe, your left hand at the very end of the handle, grasping firmly. Your palms should be aimed towards you. Then, pull back, focus, and swing.
- Familiarize Yourself With the Terms
Bucking, splitting, and limbing—what does it all mean? Axes have been used every single imaginable way; they’re one of history’s oldest tools. Every term and use has a purpose. Get yourself familiar with the short list of terminology and what each of them mean, so you can start chopping like a pro.
Safety Precautions When Using An Axe
When dealing with sharpened iron and steel, it’s best to practice the proper safety precautions. It’s easy to leave this leaning against the threshold of the backdoor, and even easier to forget that it’s there, and trip over it later. These things have to be sharpened enough to cut through a tree, remember? Think about what it’ll do to your boots and your feet. Not good. It doesn’t make you any less manly to maintain safety around your axe. A man isn’t measured by his carelessness.
- Sheathe The Beast
Put a protective cover on your axe, even if it’s not in storage. You may think that you’re the only one that’s accessing your shed out back, but if you have kids, you can rest assured that they’re poking around from time to time. You should keep a cover on your axe head even if you’re only putting it down for a moment to tend to something else, even at the chopping block. It can’t be stressed enough how easy it is to accidentally kick or trip over an axe, kept in its sheath or not.
2.Hold Her Steady
There’s a right and a wrong way to hold your axe. Holding it near the head, with the rest of the handle behind you, while the axe head is facing a forty-five degree angle (think southwest of your position). Keep a firm grip on the axe, especially while walking from one area of your campsite to the other, or around your backyard.
3. Cold Chopping
This is both personal safety, as well as maintenance on your axe. When your axe gets chilly in the garage or shed, the steel of the head is going to become far more susceptible to chipping and breakage. If it’s the dead of winter, and you’re roughing it in the woods of Maine, you’re going to want to hear this: start a small fire, and heat up your axe just enough to take the chill off. It should be warm enough to touch with your bare hand, but not hot enough that you immediately recoil. Cold chopping is going to send fragments of steel your way, potentially hurting you or someone nearby, and you’ll be left with a useless axe.
Additional Items You Need For Your Axe
Style N Craft Head Guard
Taking safety into concern just like we said? Excellent choice. You need a head guard that’s going to act as the perfect sheath to your axe. Style N Craft’s model fits to most standard shaped axes, single bladed, of course. Between leather, nylon stitching, and rivets holding this piece of beautiful craftsmanship together, you’ll be able to stow your axe with no worry in the world.
Planer Blade Sharpener
Whether you go for a more inexpensive model or not, one thing’s for sure: you want to maintain your axe, regardless of the size or cost. This high-end blade sharpener is going to do the trick for you. If you want to puck-and-file like the good ole days, be our guest. Don’t have the time? Use precision cutting with minimal effort on your part, and get that perfect blade’s edge.
Lansky Sharpening Puck and Nicholson Axe File
Just like how they’ve done it for ages. Using a puck and file is the ideal method to sharpening your axe, by maintaining it with your own two hands. You control how sharp the blade is, fitting it to your specific needs. Plus, it doesn’t require electricity. Electric, automatic blade sharpeners are nice, but it’s impractical to bring it along with you into the great outdoors. For a fraction of the cost, under twenty dollars in total, you can have the perfect duo to sharpen your steel at any point during your trip.
While axes may not be as necessary as they were even a hundred years ago, they are still essential survival items as well as crucial teaching tools. Being able to cut your own food and set a proper fire is just something that every man should know how to do, and should teach to their sons. Models, maintenance, and safety—you’re ready.