Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray
One of my favorite things about woodworking is collecting the wood. There is something very soothing about the rhythmic swinging of the axe.
To get the most out of your axe, you need to choose one that is suitable for your needs.
But wait a minute. Aren’t all axes the same? No, they are not!
Most axes have similar builds, but they are NOT the same. Some axes are better for chopping firewood, some come in handy when you go camping, while some others are more useful for felling trees.
Here is a list of 7 of the best wood axes for all your needs.
- Best Wood Axe for Professional Use – Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
- Best Axe for Chopping Firewood – Estwing E44A Camper’s Axe Hatchet
- Best Versatile Axe – 1844 Helko Werk Forester Axe
- Best Axe for Splitting Large Pieces of Wood – Fiskars 378841-1002 X27
- Best Axe for Camping – Iunio Survival Axe
- Best Lightest Axe – Hults Bruk Akka Forester’s Premium Outdoor Axe
- Best Value for The Money – Husqvarna S1600 Composite Splitting Axe
I have added a guide towards the end to help you understand how to choose the best axe. Let’s get started!
Best Wood Axe for Professional Use – Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
- Length: 14.5 inches
- Handle type: Wood
- Head weight: 1 lbs
The Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe is a premium handmade Swedish wood axe that is ideal for professional use. This tool was developed with the help of Lars Falt, the famous survival expert.
So it really isn’t surprising that this axe doubles up as a survival axe apart from being capable of felling and limbing trees, bushcrafting, and splitting wood. You can even use it as a large knife!
This Gransfors Bruks comes with a sturdy hickory handle and a full grain leather sheath to protect the blade. The handle is long enough to allow you to fell trees and narrow enough to let you hold it steadily. The protective metal collar protects you and the handle from overstriking while splitting wood. The axe is lightweight and portable, making it ideal to carry around in your backpack when you go camping.
The blade is annealed and tempered, so it is tough and sharp enough to make clean cuts through the wood. It is well-built and chews through wood pretty fast. Many even go as far as calling it a “piece of art.” However, do keep in mind that this won’t be ideal for cutting large hardwoods. The only downside is its hefty price tag, but considering that this tool will last you a lifetime, it is justified.
- Sturdy and well-built
- Easy to use
- Ideal for professional use
- Lightweight and portable
- Very sharp
- Protective metal collar
- Full grain leather sheath
- 20 year warranty
- Very expensive
- Not suitable for cutting large hardwoods
My Thoughts: This is one of the best axes you will find in the market. If you are looking to get some serious chopping done, this tool makes for a great investment as you will be able to use it for years to come!
Best Axe for Chopping Firewood – Estwing E44A Camper’s Axe Hatchet
- Length: 16 inches
- Handle type: Molded vinyl
- Head weight: 2.8 lbs
Chopping firewood is no easy feat, but the Estwing Camper’s Axe will help you make quick work of the wood.
The entire axe is forged from a single piece of solid steel, which means the head won’t come flying off when you are working! This feature also makes it durable and long-lasting. However, the single piece also means you will feel the weight of it with each swing.
The axe is very versatile and perfect for outdoor use – whether it be chopping logs and small trees or splitting firewood. It will prove to be a great companion when you go hunting or camping.
It has a 4 inch cutting edge which makes for faster and deeper cuts. The head is drop forged and double tempered which adds to its strength. The tool is lightweight, which means you can easily work it without tiring out your muscles. It also has a hand-polished head and neck.
The best part about the Estwing camper’s axe is its patented shock reduction grip that reduces shock and vibration up to 70%! The bonded cushion grips the handle, making it very easy and comfortable to hold. There is also a nylon sheath included to protect the cutting edge.
- Forged with a single piece of steel, so the head won’t come flying off.
- Durable and will last a long time.
- 4 inch cutting edge.
- Drop forged and double tempered.
- Patented shock reduction grip reduces vibrations and makes it easy to hold.
- The single piece makes the axe seem heavier.
- The upper part of the handle is a narrow piece of steel, so it is difficult to do precision work.
- Some complaints of the edge rolling after a few uses.
My Thoughts: If you are looking for a relatively smaller axe that you can carry around in your backpack, I definitely recommend this one! It has an amazing grip and will last you for a very very long time.
Best Versatile Axe – 1844 Helko Werk Forester Axe
- Length: 31 inches
- Handle type: Wood
- Head weight: 3.5 lbs
The Helko Werk Forester Axe is handmade in Germany and can be used for several purposes – be it cutting, splitting, or felling medium to large trees. The head of the axe is made out of German C50 high carbon steel with a HRC score of 53-56 and is drop forged. It is hefty and powerful enough to tackle some heavy-duty tasks.
The axe head is also highly polished to reduce friction while cutting and improve rust resistance. Whether you need a full-sized axe for your farm, cabin, or rural home, the Helko Werk Forester is a solid choice.
The curved handle is made using Grade A American hickory with a linseed oil finish which is smooth and comfortable to hold. The curved design provides for some excellent balance as well. The axe is not too heavy and can be carried around comfortably. This is a great general purpose axe!
- Hand forged.
- Hefty and powerful head.
- Can be used to cut medium and large-sized trees.
- Highly polished axe head.
- Hickory handle with a linseed oil finish.
- The curved handle provides for some great balance.
- Sheath and axe guard included.
- Not suitable for splitting tough knotted wood.
- Enamel tends to scrape away when splitting wood.
My Thoughts: A premium quality full-size general purpose axe that will come in handy for various uses. The product is definitely worth the price you will be paying as long as you take good care of it.
Best Axe for Splitting Large Pieces of Wood – Fiskars 378841-1002 X27
- Length: 36 inches
- Handle type: Fiberglass
- Head weight: 4 lbs
The Fiskars X27 is specifically designed to split medium to large logs and is one of the best axes out there. It is ideal for taller users and packs a lot of efficiency and power in each strike. The tool offers a great power-to-balance ratio and distributes weight perfectly. This increases swing speed, allowing for more one-strike splits.
The steel blade is hardened and forged and has an ultra-sharp edge. It features an advanced bevel complex design that makes it easy to take the axe out of the wood. The blade also has a low-friction coating that reduces binding, pinching, and sticking. The head is insert-molded and won’t come flying off. The head shape allows for very clean cuts as well.
One of the best things about this axe is its FiberComp handle which is textured and offers a non-slip grip. It is lightweight and absorbs shock to reduce any overstrike damage. The handle flare also makes it very comfortable for you to hold and use the tool. The product comes with a sheath to protect the blade and a lifetime warranty.
Some things to keep in mind is that it won’t be suitable for large, knotty pieces of wood. Moreover, this is a long axe, so unless you know you will be able to swing it, go for one of the smaller ones.
- Ideal for splitting large pieces of wood
- Great power-to-balance ratio
- Ultra-sharp blade
- Low friction coating
- Head shape allows for very clean cuts
- The head is insert-molded, so won’t come flying off
- Dust resistant
- Lightweight, textured, and non-slip fiberglass handle
- The handle absorbs shock well
- Lifetime warranty
- Not ideal for shorter users
- Not suitable for knotty wood
- The hollow composite handle may sting your hands if you strike beyond your target
My Thoughts: This axe is safe and durable and is one of my favorites. I love that it is long enough for tall people to be able to use comfortably. This tool will make quick work of any logs you throw at it!
Best Axe for Camping – Iunio Survival Axe
- Length: 16 inches
- Handle type: Aluminum
- Weight: 2.05 lbs
The Iunio Survival Axe is just that – an axe that helps you survive the outdoors. It is an ideal tool for anybody who likes camping or hunting frequently. It is not just an axe though, it is several tools in one! There is a hammer, bottle opener, compass, an emergency whistle, a fish scaler tool, and many more! That’s right – all of these tools are contained within a single axe.
The axe is lightweight and highly practical. It is easy to assemble and disassemble. Its length can be adjusted, too! It has a tubular design, meaning you can store small first-aid kits in the tube sections. The safety integrated axe head is a great touch. The handle comes with a safety sheath/ camo wrap, making it very easy to grip. You can carry the axe in your backpack or attach it to your belt.
- Several tools in one
- Easy to grip and carry
- Very practical
- Safety integrated axe head
- Safety sheath/ camo wrap
- Lifetime warranty
- Parts tend to loosen sometimes
- Complaints of the axe head breaking off
- Not suitable for very thick branches
My Thoughts: This is an affordable multi-tool axe that will come in handy for any outdoors enthusiast. You are essentially getting several tools for the price of one. I love that you can adjust the length of the axe according to your needs. This tool will make for a great camping companion.
Best Lightest Axe – Hults Bruk Akka Forester’s Premium Outdoor Axe
- Length: 24 inches
- Handle type: Wood
- Head weight: 1.5 lbs
With a total weight of just 2.2 pounds, this axe is one of the lightest ones out there.
Hand forged from Swedish axe steel, the head is tempered to hold a very sharp edge, even after multiple uses. The razor-sharp edge will help you with all your tasks. This axe can be used for a variety of things – off grid forestry, splitting logs, and even carving.
The handle is made using American hickory, so it is sturdy and durable. The curved handle helps with strike surety and absorbs shock. It is also protected with linseed oil.
The axe has a finger notch near the head which makes carving super easy. You can use this tool to split firewood with just one or two strikes! It is very accurate and will let you make deep cuts with ease.
With each purchase, you get a premium leather sheath to protect the blade. This axe may be expensive, but it is a great investment, especially if you are looking for a lighter and smaller axe.
- Hand forged
- Razor sharp edge
- The curved handle helps you make accurate cuts
- The finger notch allows for a lot of dexterity
- Easy to swing and carry around
- Complaints of the axe head snapping off
- Very expensive
My Thoughts: This axe is perfect for anybody who wants a lightweight tool that can be swung with ease. The handle is long enough to take care of most light to medium-duty tasks. This axe will especially come in handy when you go hiking or camping!
Best Value for The Money – Husqvarna S1600 Composite Splitting Axe
- Length: 23 inches
- Handle type: Fiber-reinforced plastic
- Head weight: 2.65 lbs
The Husqvarna brand is a trusted name when it comes to power tools such as chainsaws, and this axe is no different. The S1600 is designed for splitting logs and chunks of wood. Whether you use both your hands or just a single one, this axe will take care of your needs. It is lightweight and versatile.
The handle is made using fiber-reinforced PA, so the tool is durable and powerful. The ergonomic composite handles offer comfort as well as shock absorption. The axe offers perfect balance and optimized weight distribution. All the power is concentrated into the cut, which allows you to split logs easier and faster.
The blade is drop forged and the head is coated with a non-stick coating which reduces friction while in use and protects against corrosion. You can use this axe to split even medium-sized logs. The back of the axe can be used as a hammer as well.
My favorite feature is the hooked end which guarantees comfort when splitting wood. One downside is that the Husqvarna logo is stamped right on the blade which tends to weaken the blade, thereby splitting it.
- Designed for splitting
- Optimized weight distribution
- Non-stick coating
- Hooked end
- Drop forged blade
- The handle offers comfort and absorbs shock well
- Logo is stamped right on the blade. There have been complaints of the blade splitting at this exact point
- The axe head is a bit heavy
- The finishing quality is not that great
My Thoughts: This axe has a good edge and a great handle. It can be used to fell and split even medium-sized trees. It feels good in the hands, so you will be able to swing it with ease.
How To Choose a Wood Axe?
All axes are not the same. Most of them are designed for very specific purposes. There are splitting axes, felling axes, camping axes, tactical axes, and so on. Luckily, most axes these days are versatile enough, so you don’t need to worry too much about it.
Apart from use, the effectiveness of an axe also varies based on your height. Here are some of the things to consider before you choose the best axe for you.
Axe handles are usually made using one of three materials: wood, composite fiberglass, or forged steel (usually covered with a rubber-like material). The handle material you choose should be based on your comfort.
Wood handles are lightweight and are preferred by many people because it feels nice to the touch. They also absorb shock and vibrations very well. The downside is that wood tends to break and the handle may need replacement after a few years.
Fiberglass handles are stronger than wood but not as strong as steel. They are also lightweight and smooth, making them easy to hold. But they may shatter if you mis-strike and hit the handle instead of the head. Moreover, many axes with fiberglass handles tend to be machine made tools of a lesser quality.
Steel handles are the strongest of them all, but they also tend to be the heaviest. Axes with steel handles are usually forged using a single piece of steel, so you will really feel the weight when you swing it. They are also very durable. A steel handle by itself won’t absorb shock, so always look for handles that are covered with a non-slip shock absorbent material.
Apart from handle material, handle length is also important. Longer axes do generate more power, but longer is not always better. Longer axes are also difficult to control. You should select handle length based on your height and capability.
An axe with a handle ranging from 28 to 31 inches should be enough for most tasks. If you are a shorter person, go for even smaller axes!
The heavier the axe head, the more power you can generate when you swing. However, you need to find a balance because working with a heavy axe head will tire out your muscles faster. These days, most axes feature lightweight heads without compromising on quality. A head weight of 3 pounds or less should do the trick.
But if you are going to work with stubborn, knotty hardwood trees, you will have to invest in a heavier head.
We have reached the end of the article. I hope this guide was valuable in helping you choose your next axe. No matter which one you choose, don’t forget to sharpen and maintain it. Happy woodworking!