Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray
A Pulaski axe is the more fanciful name for what is basically a fire axe. However, don’t make the mistake of thinking that this axe only has one role. That’s not the case, as I’m about to show.
Also sometimes referred to as a cutter mattock, you can use this axe for many jobs. Whether it’s fighting an actual fire, chopping small wood, or clearing away some branches, it’s the ideal solution for many problems surrounding the need to clear away some scrub.
What I love about a Pulaski axe is the ease with which you can use it. I’m not talking about something that is heavy and cumbersome. Instead, these axes are designed to generate power without requiring too much speed and gravity to do the job.
But I think the best way to describe a Pulaski axe is to show you some examples. So, I’ve pulled together five different Pulaski axes that I feel represent the best value. Also, after my list, I’ll also provide you with a guide on finding the best Pulaski axe for your own personal needs.
But first, a brief description of how to identify a Pulaski axe. The key is in the blade. You will see that one side has an axe blade while the other has an adze blade. That’s the key difference between this form of axe and others you may be more familiar with.
- Best Overall Pulaski Axe – Council Tool Pulaski Fire Axe
- Best Pulaski Axe for Outdoor Living – Barebones Living Pulaski 1055
- Best Pulaski Axe with Ergonomic Handle – Nupla PA375-LESG
- Best Low-Impact Pulaski Axe – Truper 30529
- Best Value Pulaski Axe – Westward 36” Hickory Handle
How I Chose the Axes
So to come up with my list, I had to consider several things. First, there was durability. I certainly don’t want you getting an axe that just gives up on you almost immediately.
Next, there’s how easy it is to handle. A good axe can sit comfortably in your hand without allowing shock vibrations to move along the shaft and into your arm.
I also wanted to focus on the blade. You need a solid and sturdy blade, which you can then hone to keep it sharp, so no axe on this list has an inferior blade.
By considering just those few things, I could go ahead and find these five pretty cool Pulaski axes.
Best Overall Pulaski Axe – Council Tool Pulaski Fire Axe
- Length: 36”
- Weight: 4 lbs
The first Pulaski axe I wanted to add to my list was this Council Tool Pulaski Axe, which is regularly viewed as one of the best Pulaski axes on the market. At 36” long, it’s more to the upper end regarding length, but I don’t see that as a problem.
This axe is for real heavy-duty work and comes complete with a steel head and a hickory handle. So, it certainly has a more traditional look about it. But also, I love the weight and feel of this axe. It just has this absolute comfort in your hand, and you feel it will not go anywhere and slip as you wield it.
This model also comes with an oil-quenched steel head. That means it’s highly durable and can cope with a whole lot of punishment without having to be honed on a regular basis. I do like this fact, as sharpening an axe head is a bit of a tedious task that holds you up, so anything that reduces that need is fine by me.
Overall, the main thing I love about this Pulaski axe is that the handle and head feel well-balanced. People report it’s comfortable to use, and the blade feels extra sharp, resulting in a clean cut every time.
- The axe comes with a tough, durable head
- The hickory handle sits nicely in your hand
- The axe feels very well-balanced
- It weighs almost nothing at 4 lbs
- It comes with a 4 ¾” long cutting edge
- At 36”, it may feel too long for some people
Best Pulaski Axe for Outdoor Living – Barebones Living Pulaski 1055
- Length: 21”
- Weight: 5.5 lbs
If you are in the market for a Pulaski axe that is not that full 36” in length, I suggest the Barebones Living Pulaski axe for several reasons.
First, it’s shorter at only 21” in length, but I feel that can help at times, mainly when space is restricted. Also, one difference is in the head, as this version is crafted from carbon steel. That makes it a bit different from others on the market, but it still offers a solid head.
But I need to turn your attention to the adze blade. It’s really sharp and highly effective, but it also feels exceptionally balanced when in use. You feel capable of generating a smooth motion leading to better end results.
This axe also has a steel core that runs the length of the handle. I love this idea as it gives you that extra bit of strength, so you gain even more confidence in using this axe.
But that’s not the only thing that stands out with this axe. There is also the fact that this model makes it very easy to update the handle in the future. It’s all held together via a hex nut, meaning you can change the handle in minutes.
Overall, this axe strikes you as a handy tool at your disposal. I love the length and weight, while the balance of the axe is second to none.
- The ability to change the handle is brilliant
- That steel core through the handle does give extra strength
- At 21” in length, it may prove highly useful in different situations
- The adze blade is highly effective
- It’s relatively lightweight and easy to wield
- If you are tall, you need to change how you use the axe to get the most out of it
Best Pulaski Axe with Ergonomic Handle – Nupla PA375-LESG
- Length: 36”
- Weight: 7 lbs
The reason why I have included the Nupla PA375-LESG axe is all because of the handle. It has been ergonomically designed, which means it provides you with one of the best grips on the market.
I feel that it means this axe is a wonderful option if you know you will be using it in harsher conditions on a regular basis. There’s no sense of it slipping out of your hand, thanks to the design of the handle, and that’s a huge bonus.
The handle is also lightweight as it’s made from fiberglass. That does mean the handle is exceptionally strong.
But it’s not just the handle that makes this axe stand out. The head on this model is hardened steel, and it’s covered with an epoxy coating to prevent rust. This coating also ensures the axe blade doesn’t stick, allowing for easier use.
Overall, I like how this brand has focused so much on the grip aspect. It makes things more comfortable and safer at the same time.
- The handle is super strong
- The grip is second to none
- The axe feels balanced in your hand
- The hardened steel head is excellent
- Some people report the blade turns up quite dull, meaning you need to sharpen it
Best Low-Impact Pulaski Axe – Truper 30529
- Length: 35.5”
- Weight 3.5 lbs
If you know in advance you only require a Pulaski axe for a minimal number of jobs, then the Truper 30529 could be perfect. It’s lightweight at under 4 lbs, but it does come with a 35.5” handle allowing you to generate a lot of power and speed through your swing.
This steel blade has been heat treated, giving it a reasonable level of durability. However, it does lack a bit of weight for more heavy-duty tasks.
The axe handle, in this instance, is the traditional hickory, but it sits nicely in hand through your swing. It certainly feels like a solid Pulaski axe, even though its primary aim is for those low-impact jobs you may have to do around your garden.
This could be the perfect one for you if you are looking for a Pulaski axe that is more for the average at-home gardener.
- It’s lightweight, which may help some people
- The head is durable
- It has a traditional hickory handle
- It sits well in your hand
- It’s certainly not designed for heavy-duty tasks
Best Value Pulaski Axe – Westward 36” Hickory Handle
- Length: 36”
- Weight: 4 lbs
Finally, if you want a Pulaski axe without spending too much money, I suggest the Westward 36” with a hickory handle. This axe is crafted to a high standard, and I know you won’t be disappointed if this is the one you go for.
You get a hardened steel head with a cutting edge of over 4”, and while that’s standard, the blade is seriously sharp. Also, the adze part is reasonably sized, resulting in a head that comes across as well balanced.
The handle is a single piece of hickory, but it does sit well in your hand and feels comfortable when in use. You certainly feel that the handle is supportive and won’t simply snap, which is always good.
Overall, there’s not much to say about this axe, as it does the job it was designed to do. It’s not too heavy, has a long handle, and is very easy to use.
- The axe feels balanced when in use
- The handle is comfortable and sturdy
- The head is razor sharp
- It represents real value for money
- You can find models with a larger cutting edge than you get here
How to Choose the Right Pulaski Axe
Of course, there are many more Pulaski axes on the market than those I’ve listed above. However, I want to give you some tips and guidance on choosing the right one for you.
Handles can be manufactured from various materials, including wood, steel, and composite materials. The price of your axe can vary depending on the material.
The traditional Pulaski axe will tend to come with a hickory handle and a steel head. But the problem with the more traditional axe design is it’s heavier than those that use a composite handle.
So, if you worry about the weight when swinging the axe, I suggest skipping a wood handle and focusing on those lighter materials.
I also need to mention the length. Typically, most Pulaski axes will sit around 36” in length, but you can easily find shorter ones if required. The perfect length for you depends on a couple of main points.
First, how do you see yourself using this axe? If you are using it to chop branches, a shorter length may be the better choice. Also, a shorter length would give you more control and accuracy in those situations.
But then your own height also plays a role. If you are tall, a shorter handle means more bending over if you use it more to ground level. That will tire you out and prevent you from using the axe correctly.
So, I would suggest focusing more on how the axe will be used when deciding which length of handle to go for.
Blade length is quite uniform when it comes to a Pulaski axe. You will generally find the blade length, which means the cutting edge, sitting around 4 ½” in length. However, some may be shorter while others are around 5”.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the cutting edge length. Generally speaking, it won’t make much of a difference for the average user. I certainly believe there are more important things to consider when purchasing this type of axe.
Changing the Head?
One difference with this type of axe is the easy ability to change the head and handle. It usually happens due to damage to the handle over time, but most of these axes make it easy to do this.
I would look for something that is bolted on. It is easy to swap things out, and it’s also very easy for you to know everything is back securely.
The weight of the axe is something that can vary by a considerable amount. I’ve seen Pulaski axes under 4 lbs in weight, and also those where the head is closer to 7 lbs. That may not sound like much from a weight perspective, but it completely changes how the axe moves.
Also, some people prefer a heavier axe as it feels like it can generate more power. Mix that in with a 36” handle, and you have an axe that will chop through wood in no time.
But that doesn’t mean you should rule out the lightweight options. They are easier to handle, and you won’t feel the same fatigue using them. Also, your primary focus should be on the sharpness of the blade and how well it cuts rather than the weight. This is especially true when you already know that you will not be using the axe for an extended period of time.
I do suggest a couple of things when it comes to caring for your Pulaski axe. First, look to see if it comes with a cover for the head. It does help keep the head clean, and it protects it from some accidental damage when not in use.
Also, I personally prefer an axe where the head has a special protective coating on it. This doesn’t only protect it from rust, but it also makes it easier for the head to slice through wood without sticking all the time.
I feel it makes for a smoother action, and it’s certainly less frustrating than when you experience your axe sticking whenever you try to use it.
Aside from those few things, there is not that much else to think about when it comes to purchasing your Pulaski axe.
A Pulaski axe can prove to be a highly effective and useful tool, and with so many available on the market it’s easy to get your hands on one. However, I do suggest you seek to remember the tips and advice I’ve mentioned above to make life that bit easier when making your purchase.
This is one of those tools where you never know when you may have to take it out. But with so many uses, I think every individual should invest in one, and with them not breaking the bank from a price point of view, there’s no reason not to go ahead and grab one.