Logging

Best Axe – Buying Guide & Recommendations

An axe may seem like a rather traditional choice when you consider the range of high-powered tools on the market, but a good axe is still a must-have item. Suitable for chipping, cutting or splitting timber, there are still a range of uses for a high-quality axe.

Whether you’re spilitting wood for use in a fire or log-burner, clearing land, cutting logs for craftwork or want to be fully prepared when you go camping, having the right axe is essential.

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Husqvarna A2400 Axes, Orange/Gray
Fiskars IsoCore Maul, 36-Inch (751110-1003)
Snow & Nealley 016S Our Best Single Bit Snow & Neally Axe, Hickory
Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5", 23.5 Inch, Orange/Black,Yellow/Black
Estwing E6-25A Estwing 14" Blue Camper's Axe
Manufacturer
Husqvarna
Fiskars
Snow & Nealley
Fiskars
Estwing
Length
27"
36"
28 3/16"
23.5"
14"
Reviews
Price
$96.31
$59.37
$89.95
$45.75
$36.98
Preview
Husqvarna A2400 Axes, Orange/Gray
Manufacturer
Husqvarna
Length
27"
Reviews
Price
$96.31
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Preview
Fiskars IsoCore Maul, 36-Inch (751110-1003)
Manufacturer
Fiskars
Length
36"
Reviews
Price
$59.37
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Preview
Snow & Nealley 016S Our Best Single Bit Snow & Neally Axe, Hickory
Manufacturer
Snow & Nealley
Length
28 3/16"
Reviews
Price
$89.95
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Preview
Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5", 23.5 Inch, Orange/Black,Yellow/Black
Manufacturer
Fiskars
Length
23.5"
Reviews
Price
$45.75
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Estwing E6-25A Estwing 14" Blue Camper's Axe
Manufacturer
Estwing
Length
14"
Reviews
Price
$36.98
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Our Pick Of The Best Axes

To help you choose the best axe for you, here’s an overview of the axes that made our top 5 best axes. You could say they are the axes that made the cut!

If you are unsure of the meaning of any of the features of the axes, we’ve compiled a handy Buying Guide for you after the reviews.

1. Husqvarna A2400 27” Composite Multi-Purpose Axe

A single-bit axe, the Husqvarna A2400 27” Composite Multi-Purpose Axe is a powerful universal axe for various needs, including contractor or forest work. The fiber-reinforced Pa shaft makes the axe durable and robust and excellent weight distribution. It features a drop-forged blade and head that is geometry adapted to different applications for an easy entry into the wood and the best splitting performance.

With no assembly required, Husqvarna composite axes feature a hammer function and shaft protection for easy and effective use of splitting wedges (no steel wedges). The long handle gives you extra power when you swing the axe, so it’s ideal for felling trees and dealing with larger pieces of wood. Whilst it can be a useful companion when camping or backpacking, the longer handle may make it slightly more difficult to transport. But overall, it’s a great all-rounder. 

Forged from Swedish axe steel, Husqvarna maintains their axes are built to last for a long time, so you should be able to rely on this 27” model to carry you through a number of projects. One of the most well-known axe manufacturers in the world, the Husqvarna A2400 27” Composite Multi-Purpose Axe may not be the cheapest axe on the market, but it’s worth the price tag if you need a handy multi-purpose tool for regular use.

Husqvarna A2400 Axes, Orange/Gray
3,126 Reviews
Husqvarna A2400 Axes, Orange/Gray
  • Powerful Universal Axe For Various Needs, Including Contractor Or Forest Work
  • Fiber-Reinforced Pa Shaft Makes The Axe Durable And Robust
  • Hammer Function For An Easy And Effective Use Of Splitting Wedges (No Steel Wedges)
  • No Assembly Required

2. Fiskars Iso Core

Fiskars Iso Core review
The Fiskars Iso Core

The Fiskars Iso Core 8lb 36” axe is routinely considered to be one of the best on the market. Designed for splitting or driving face, the Fiskars Iso Core delivers a whole lot of power. If you’re cutting large logs or felling trees, the Fiskars Iso Core should be your go-to tool. Its long handle ensures you can get enough power behind each swing, whilst the optimized blade gives you the best cut, every time.

With heavy-duty construction, the Fiskars Iso Core will stand the test of time, regardless of how often it’s used. At just over 10lbs, it may not be the most portable of tools, but its one of the more lightweight mauls on the market. Needless to say, this isn’t the tool for you if you’re looking for a camping companion or an axe to prepare kindling, but if you want to split logs fast and fell trees in an instant, the Fiskars Iso Core will give you everything you need.

Although Fiskars deliver when it comes to high-quality tools, they offer much, much more. Their patented IsoCore Shock Control System absorbs vibrations and strike shocks, so your body takes less of the strain. Typically, wooden handles transfer twice as much shock as the IsoCore Shock Control System, so it’s easy to see why Fiskars is such a popular brand.

In addition to this, their high-performance handles offer comfort and increased accuracy, as well as improved safety. Easy-to-grip, the Fiskars Iso Core features a textured and slightly flared handle. This helps you to keep your grip through swings and ensures minimal movement.

At just over $50, it’s hard to argue against the Fiskars Iso Core maul axe. With exceptional durability and strength, as well as a lifetime warranty, you’re guaranteed to get more than you pay for with this tool. Perfect for homeowners and professionals, the Fiskars Iso Core has got to be one of the best axes out there.

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Fiskars IsoCore Maul, 36-Inch (751110-1003)
4,333 Reviews
Fiskars IsoCore Maul, 36-Inch (751110-1003)
  • Ideal for splitting wood (splitting face) or driving wedges and stakes (driving face)
  • Optimized blade geometry offers better penetration and blasts tough logs apart
  • Patented IsoCore Shock Control System absorbs strike shock and vibration to reduce the punishment your body takes, transferring 2X less shock and vibration than wood handles
  • Inseparable riveted head will not slide down or snap off, even when swinging with maximum force
  • Full lifetime. Forged, heat-treated steel is finished with a rust-resistant coating. Softgrip handle features a sculpted profile to fit the natural shape of your hand

3. Snow & Nealley Axe

Snow & Neally claim that this 27-1/2″ single bit axe is their very best, providing the right size for the job. This versatile & practical axe is ideal for a variety of everyday task.

It works well on fence posts, garden stakes, limbing a felled tree, and all sorts of other practical jobs around the home and campsite. Ground on stone wheels, it has a factory blade edge like no other axe on the market today.

Further, it’s tempered in fires to produce a hardness to the tool that you can’t find on any other axe. With an overall length of 28-3/16” and overall weight of 3.4lbs, It’s cmall enough to be practical for all jobs, yet big enough to get the job done.

This Snow & Neally axe comes with a brown leather sheath blade guard and the classic, sturdy, and trustworthy American Hickory handle, making it a great wooden multi-purpose axe.

Snow & Nealley 016S Our Best Single Bit Snow & Neally Axe, Hickory
71 Reviews
Snow & Nealley 016S Our Best Single Bit Snow & Neally Axe, Hickory
  • Snow & Nealley "our best" 2-1/4 lb. Single bit axe is a versatile utility axe that works well on fence posts, garden stakes, limbing a felled tree, and all sorts of other practical jobs around the home and campsite.
  • Ground on stone wheels, it has a factory edge like no other axe on the market today. Tempered in fires to produce a hardness to the tool that you can't find on any other axe.
  • Small enough to be practical for all jobs, yet big enough to get the job done.
  • Overall length: 28 3/16"
  • Overall weight: 3 lb., 3.6 oz

4. Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe

Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe review
The Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe

Founded in the 17th century, Fiskars has been producing high-quality tools for centuries, and it certainly shows in this X15 Chopping Axe.

Built from steel, the X15 Chopping Axe is an all-purpose tool, and ideal for use in the garden or out camping. 23.5” in size, the Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe is sturdy enough for felling trees, yet portable enough to take with you when you’re backpacking.

This axe weighs just 3.6lbs, so it’s lightweight and easy to transport too.

Whilst the X15 is advertised as a chopping axe, it’s superb for felling trees too. In fact, many users have switched from longer-handled axes to the Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe simply because of its ability to fell trees, despite its shorter handle.

The power-to-weight ratio is designed to increase swing speed and maximize power, so you can rely on the Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe to get the job done without requiring too much exertion.

The FiberComp handle is shock-absorbing, so you won’t feel as much impact when it’s in use, and it prevents overstrike damage too. With a handle that’s lightweight and easy-to-hold, the fact that it’s stronger than steel seals the deal.

Delivered with a plastic sheath for safety and a lifetime warranty, the functionality and quality of the Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe has seen owners hail it as the best axe they’ve ever used.

Available for under $40 in a black and orange design, the Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe delivers an awful lot for a relatively small outlay. Suitable for a range of projects and uses, if you’re only going to buy one axe, the Fiskars X15 Chopping should probably be it.

Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5', 23.5 Inch, Orange/Black,Yellow/Black
1,120 Reviews
Fiskars 378571-1002 X15 Chopping Axe 23.5", 23.5 Inch, Orange/Black,Yellow/Black
  • Ideal for felling trees
  • Chops deeper with each swing to get more done faster
  • Perfected balance and power-to-weight ratio increases swing speed to multiply power, much like an aluminum baseball bat
  • Shock-absorbing FiberComp handle is lightweight yet stronger than steel to prevent overstrike damage
  • Lifetime warranty

5. Estwing Camper’s Axe – 14″ Hatchet

The Estwing Camper’s Axe E6-25A 14″ Hatchet with Forged Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip should be top of your list if you want something light enough to take out camping, but strong enough to deliver premium power.

Constructed from American steel and forged in one piece, the Estwing Camper’s Axe is certainly high-quality. With increased durability, Estwing prides itself on its long-lasting tools, and it’s hard to see how anything could put a dent in this handy tool.

As well as being hardwearing, the Estwing Camper’s Axe is supremely versatile, which is just what you need when you’re hitting the trails or camping overnight.

Whether you need to split kindling and firewood or chop logs, branches, and even small trees, the Estwing Camper’s Axe will deliver. With a hand-sharpened cutting-edge of 3.5”, you’ll be able to make precise cuts and slice through logs quickly and efficiently.

Furthermore, Estwing’s patented shock reduction grip makes their Camper’s Axe easy to hold and comfortable to use. Reducing impact vibration by up to 70%, you’ll find that the Estwing Camper’s Axe takes the strain and places far less impact on your body than other comparable models produced by other manufacturers.

As well as chopping through wood and cutting through logs, the Estwing Camper’s Axe will come in handy when you’re putting up your tent too. It features a useful tent stake puller notch, so it will come in handy whether you’re setting up your campsite in dense woodland or camping out overnight in your backyard!

Priced at around $35 and designed to last for generations, the Estwing Camper’s Axe is a great tool, particularly at such a low price.

Whilst its small size ensures it’s perfect for taking with you on the trails, it’s strong enough to pack a punch. With a weight of just 2.25lb, you’ll find the Estwing Camper’s Axe perfect for outdoor adventures.

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Estwing E6-25A Estwing 14' Blue Camper's Axe
1,528 Reviews
Estwing E6-25A Estwing 14" Blue Camper's Axe
  • FORGED IN ONE PIECE – The most durable, longest lasting striking tools available
  • OUTDOOR VERSITILITY - Perfect for chopping logs, small trees & branches or splitting firewood & kindling
  • HEAVY DUTY SHEATH - Includes ballistic nylon sheath to protect hand sharpened cutting edge
  • PATENTED SHOCK REDUCTION GRIP – Comfortable, durable & reduces impact vibration by 70%
  • MADE IN THE USA – Our tools are proudly crafted in Rockford, IL using the finest American steel

Axe Buyers Guide

If you are still a bit confused about which wood axe is the best axe for you, here’s an explanation of some of the features to look out for when chopping down the list of the 5 best axes to just one axe.

Axe Head

The axe head is the part of the axe that contains the metal chopping blade.
Things to look for here:

Head Weight

You need to think about the weight of the head as a heavy head will gain more momentum as you swing it and power through wood more easily as well as generally be stronger, but if it is too heavy you may struggle and not be able to handle it.

Even if you can handle it you may tire more quickly.

On the other hand, you may enjoy the workout it gives you.

The best axes perfectly balance head weight with the size of the axe.

Another choice you need to make is which type of axe head as there are options available.

These are:

Single Bit Head

This is what most would consider to be a traditional axe with a blade on one side of the head and a flat part on the other side. Perhaps you aren’t aware that the flat part is in itself useful as it can be used with a splitting wedge to split logs.

As well as other jobs like driving posts into the ground.

So if you want a combination of traditional chopping with a blade and splitting with a wedge, or hammering, consider a single bit head axe.

Double Bit Head

A double bit axe has chopping blades on both sides of the head.

These are most useful when you need two different types of blades for more wood chopping options. Also, you can cut for longer before you need to sharpen the blades as you can rotate the axe and use the second blade when the first becomes blunt.

Blade Material

The axe blade literally takes a hammering so the stronger the metal used, the longer the blade will stay sharp and the better it will chop. Carbon steel and forged steel are the most durable metals used for axe blades.

Carbon Steel

All steel is made of iron and carbon but more carbon content will make a stronger/harder alloy. ‘Carbon steel’ has a higher level of carbon (0.05-2.1% by weight to be precise) than regular mild steel thus making it a harder steel, ideal for tools.

Forged Steel

Forged steel is steel that has been shaped using mechanical force and normally heat. An example we would all know would be a blacksmith making hand-forged steel horseshoes by heating them and then pounding them into the correct size and shape using his tools on a shaped anvil.

The alternative is cast steel which is heating it to liquid form and then pouring it into a mold or cast to give its shape.

The different methods mean forged and cast steel have different internal structures; forged being the stronger and less brittle of the two, making it much better for axes.

Drop forged is as it sounds – the metal is shaped by having a shaped die dropped onto it at force.

Axe Handle

The handle plays a major role in how the axe will be used.

Handle Material

An often overlooked aspect in an axe handle is shock absorption. Swinging an axe into a large solid tree for hours on end takes its toll on your body, particularly shoulders and back. The choice of material in your axe handle can make a big difference.

A wood, metal, composite or fiberglass handle are among the choices.

Wood

Most of us think of a traditional axe with a wooden handle and some people still prefer an axe with a wooden handle. Wood is flexible, strong and has a natural feel that some like.

If traditional wooden axes are what you’re looking for, then the Snow & Neally in our list has a lovely American hickory wood handle that may swing the balance for you.

Composite

Modern manufacturing and science have brought us new materials that are being used in handles for modern axes.

Common types are a fiberglass handle or composite materials as they are ideal for axe handles giving them strength, flexibility, durability and excellent shock absorption. As well as being easier and more cost-effective to mass-produce.

Number 1 in our list, the Husqvarna multi-purpose axe, uses a composite axe handle material. It is made from fiber-reinforced PA.

*PA is Polyamide, otherwise known as Nylon. Most people think of Nylon as being a fabric so it doesn’t sound very tough and strong as a material in an axe handle. But as a solid material in a handle it is very durable, and PA sounds much more tough and rugged.

Metal

Some axes like the Estwing Camper’s in our list are entirely forged from one piece of metal, so the handle is also steel. This eliminates the risk of the handle separating from the head.

Handle Length

The length of the handle is very important. A long handle will give you more swing and therefore more power but can be cumbersome, less precise and harder to transport and store.

Conversely, axes with short handles will be much easier to carry around and store, much easier to handle for more precise chopping, but won’t be able to chop through as much with each swing.

Handle Grip

Other options to look for in axe handles are the shape and the grip. Soft grip handles help with comfort, shock absorption and prevent the axe from slipping out of your hands which can be very dangerous.

Common Uses Of An Axe

Finding the right tool is a lot easier when you know what you will be using it for, so here are the common uses to help you choose.

Tree Felling Axe

If you will primarily use your axe for chopping down trees then you will be better off with a larger forest axe/felling axe that you use with two hands to swing and generate more power to chop through larger tree trunks.

In that case, the larger size is more important than ease of transporting and storing.

If you will only be felling small trees from time to time then you could go for a mid-size axe as a compromise.

Chopping Axe

Any axe can, of course, be used for chopping wood, but if an axe is called a ‘chopping axe’ it is often thought of as the mid-sized axe. It is shorter so doesn’t generate as much power as a tree felling axe so will make smaller cuts into wood.

But you can chop wood with a little more precision and it is easier to handle so makes a good choice for cutting small trees, branches and firewood.

Wood chopping is still physically demanding so think about the weight of the axe and the comfort of the handle.

The Fiskars X15 is our choice for a great all-around chopping axe that can handle most jobs.

If you are only chopping firewood for a campfire then a small camping axe like the Estwing Camper’s Axe may be a better choice.

Top Tip – Bear in mind that when cutting into tree trunks and branches, and chopping wood that you are cutting across the grain of the wood so it’s even more important to keep your axe blade sharp.

Trimming Branches

It would be useful to think about the size of any potential branches you could be chopping through as this will determine the size of the axe. Not just from the axe’s ability to cut through the branches but also on your ability to wield the axe, often in awkward places.

Think about if you are better off with a smaller axe you can handle more easily up a ladder, which may need a few more swings to cut through the branch compared to using a larger axe.

Splitting Wood

By splitting wood we mean splitting the wood along its grain, so it is not cutting or chopping as such. Again when choosing an axe for splitting wood, the size of the wood you will be splitting determines which axe is best for you.

If you are just splitting small logs then an all-purpose axe will be sufficient.

If you will be splitting larger logs then you may want to consider a specialist axe for splitting like the Fiskars Iso Core. It is one of the best splitting axes available.

Splitting Axe Features

A log splitting axe features include a single bit head with a hammer-like side specially designed for hitting a splitting wedge.

When splitting logs you can use this side of the head to drive the wedge down, making it much easier to split wood as the wedge stays in place and you can continue swinging to drive it down until the wood splits.

A wood splitting axe tends to also have a fatter shaped blade. This is better to split wood open rather than a slimmer blade that is better just for cutting the wood.

Splitting Maul

A splitting maul has an even fatter head that is built specifically for splitting wood rather than chopping. Its head is more like a sharp sledgehammer.

Camping Axe

Probably the most important thing to consider when looking for a camping axe or survival axe is its portability. You need a lightweight and small axe.

You don’t want to be hiking up a hill carrying a 3-feet, 8 lb. axe in your rucksack! Or even in the back of your car.

The lightest axe in our list is the Estwing Camper’s Axe weighing just 2.25 lbs. That’s light enough to not be a burden but big enough for useful wood chopping. The back of the head can also be used to knock pegs and stakes into the ground.

This axe also has a feature that is useful in any camping axe, a notch to help pull out those stubborn tent stakes when packing up.

Your best camp axe will be a combination of all of these things – a lightweight and small axe that is capable of cutting some branches and chopping up kindling for firewood, as well as helping you pitch your tent.

Less Common Uses Of An Axe

Sculpture

If you want something a little different to decorate your garden then why not bring out your artistic side and create a wood sculpture.

Axe Throwing

Axes aren’t just for chopping or for art, they are also for sport. If the idea of throwing an axe at a target appeals to you then a perfectly balanced throwing axe could be another to add to your list.

Axe Care

Sharp Blade

It’s extremely important to maintain a sharp blade edge on your axe. The extra work to keep a sharp head will pay dividends. A consistently sharp blade will result in quicker and easier jobs as well as cleaner cuts.

You should also protect the axe from the elements. Not just the metal parts but also any wooden handles.

Rust

The blade and other metal parts can be oiled regularly to prevent rust. The blade can also be protected with a plastic or leather sheath, which also protects you from the sharp blade.

Handle Integrity

Any axe, but particularly one with a wooden handle should be stored in a dry place. If it is left out in the wet or damp the wood can weaken and ultimately rot and can lead to the dangerous situation of the head detaching from the handle during use.

Whichever type of axe you choose, you must regularly check the integrity of the connection between head and handle.

Overview Of Axe Types

Here is a great video showing the different types of axes, and the advantages of each:

Related Articles

Sources:

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Author

Timberland Enthusiast Jan 1977 – Present Columbia, South Carolina Since graduating from law school I have worked in various capacities within the real estate, timber management, lumber production and pine straw harvesting markets in South Carolina. Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler May 2016 – Dec 2020 Columbia, South Carolina Det Bowers joined Newmark Grubb Wilson Kibler in May of 2016. Prior to joining Wilson Kibler, Mr. Bowers served as a licensed attorney practicing in Federal, State and Municipal Courts. Other business involvements have included real estate development, retail development and operations, agribusiness, forestry products, outdoor advertising and insurance.

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