The 5 Best Wood Splitting Maul Axes for Cutting Lumber (2022)

Last Updated on October 9, 2022 by Barry Gray

Even though it’s great fun using machinery to carry out tasks, there are times when I do enjoy the age-old way of doing things. Take cutting lumber. Sure, you can use tools to complete the job instantly, but there’s something fun about using a wood splitting maul axe.

I would strongly suggest everyone who works with wood as a hobby to ensure they own a quality wood splitting maul axe. You never know when it may be helpful. 

Now I know it’s all fine me telling you to go out and get a wood splitting maul axe, but so many are out there on the market that I know it’s tough to make a decision. It may even be the case you don’t know what to look for with this, so I’m going to help.

I’m using my tool knowledge and love of searching through a long list of options to collect a list of the five best wood splitting maul axes on the market. I’m also going to throw in some tips on what you should be looking out for when it comes to making your decision.

firewood wood splitting maul axe

How I Made My Decision

To get on my list, each wood splitting maul axe had to go through specific criteria. First, I wanted reliability with both the blade and the shaft. You don’t want a maul axe effectively breaking down when you need it the most.

Also, I wanted to ensure each maul was then easy to maintain. You want to be capable of keeping that blade nice and sharp for years to come, but not all are made equally.

Finally, there was the general effectiveness of the maul axe. Did it actually manage to do the job it was designed to do?

As you can see, the price is hardly featured. I feel practicality and its ability to perform well on every occasion are far more important with a maul than the price.

Best Small Size Wood Splitting Maul – Estwing Fireside Friend

  • Length: 14”
  • Weight: 4 lbs

The first maul on my list is not the biggest on the market, but don’t let that put you off checking out what the Estwing Fireside Friend offers. This hatchet-sized wood splitting maul axe packs a punch and delivers outstanding results every time.

At only 4 lbs, it’s one of the lightest axes available, but I love this because of its convenience. It takes up little in the way of space, and yet it’s still capable of splitting that wood with amazing ease.

The grip feels good, and it does provide you with a sense of confidence through your swing. However, don’t expect this maul axe to be capable of splitting anything aside from the smallest of logs. It just doesn’t have those capabilities.

But while that sounds disappointing, I still see this axe as the perfect one for several situations. Camping is undoubtedly one of those situations, as is dealing with those smaller jobs around your yard.

Actually, if you need an axe for splitting firewood into kindling, I see this as the ideal axe. 

What helps is the fact the head is drop forged from American steel. That gives it some amazing strength and durability, but it’s pretty staggering that the axe weighs so little. But I also love this model because the handle does a stunning job of absorbing the shock upon impact.

By absorbing the shock and vibrations, it means less fatigue through the grip, leading to the axe feeling even more comfortable.

Pros

  • This axe is lightweight
  • The grip feels good in your hand
  • It’s perfect for splitting firewood
  • People going camping will find this the ideal axe

Cons

  • It only works with the smallest of logs

Best Value for Money Wood Splitting Maul – Council Tool 6lb Splitting Maul

  • Length: 36”
  • Weight: 6 lbs

I love this splitting maul axe not just because of how it looks but also how it performs over and over again. Council Tool has been responsible for producing quality hand tools for over a century, and there’s something retro about the design of this model. I know looks don’t play a part in how an axe functions, but it just looks cool.

This particular model comes with a 36” handle, pushing itself up to the upper end of the available sizes for splitting mauls. The handle is made from hickory, with the wood being treated to deliver a fantastic grip in your hand.

Moving to the head, it’s manufactured from toughened steel, while lacquer has been laid over the top of the metal. The intention here is to reduce the chances of rust developing; I think this is a fantastic idea.

Also, I see this head as broader and heavier than you would expect. That means it can transfer more power down through the wood, making a huge difference when it comes to splitting.

At 6 lbs in weight, this axe will not feel too heavy through the swing, but it has enough weight behind it to deliver a substantial amount of striking power. Ultimately, this axe can split large logs with a fair amount of ease.

Overall, you feel this is a well-made axe that will last for years. It’s comfortable and has enough weight behind it to make a massive difference in its effectiveness.

Pros

  • The toughened steel head is razor sharp
  • It has enough weight behind it without the axe feeling too heavy
  • The hickory handle feels good in your hand
  • The axe feels well-balanced, making it easier to swing with confidence
  • It is exceptionally well made throughout

Cons

  • The only negative, for some people, could be the traditional design

Best Axe with Driving Poll – Fiskars IsoCore Maul

  • Length: 36”
  • Weight: 8 lbs

I love this Fiskars IsoCore Maul not just because of the stunning axe blade but also the size of the driving poll. The driving poll on this axe is classed as extra-large, and it’s easy to see why when you check it out.

What I like about this is that it makes driving stakes into the ground so much easier. So, the axe almost becomes a multi-purpose tool, which is always a good thing in my book.

But that’s not all.

The head is made from toughened steel and has a special rust-prevention coating. This head is very durable, and I also love the more convex shape of the head. This shape helps drive the axe down through the grain leading to the wood being split open with a bit more ease.

This model comes with a composite handle designed to help absorb as many vibrations as possible, making it far more comfortable to hold. Thermoplastic rubber on the handle makes a real difference, and you feel you can really let go with your swing.

But as I said, I do love the driving poll. It’s larger than the average, so it does help when it comes to specific tasks. However, the rest of the axe is impressive, so overall, this is a model that I know you will love.

Pros

  • The handle absorbs so many vibrations
  • The convex-shaped head helps with splitting wood
  • The axe is highly durable and will last a lifetime
  • The driving poll is very impressive and is also effective

Cons

  • At 8 lbs, some people may feel it’s slightly too heavy

Best Lightweight Wood Splitting Maul Axe – Fiskars Super Splitting Axe

  • Length: 36”
  • Weight: 4 lbs

If you want a lightweight wood splitting maul axe that still comes with a full-length shaft, I suggest checking out the Fiskars Super Splitting axe. At 36” long and complete with a 4 lb head, this axe is indeed lightweight, but it still has the ability to split those logs without too much effort.

The blade is forged steel, then heat-treated, giving it real durability and strength. The ultra-sharp edge will also make quick work of biting into those logs, helping you split them in seconds.

Also, the axe blade is helped by a special coating designed to reduce friction. That means the blade will not simply stop as soon as it strikes the log leading to more power being transferred into the actual splitting.

Moving to the handle, and I do like the fact it’s a composite handle. Made from fiberglass, it may be lightweight, but it’s clear that the handle is exceptionally strong. Also, the handle will soak up the shock while it has a hooked end to reduce the chances of slipping.

But I don’t want you to worry about this axe only weighing 4 lbs. Yes, it’s light, but the length of the shaft allows for better speed, which will boost your power ratio. I promise you will be awestruck by this axe’s efficiency and effectiveness under even harsh conditions.

Overall, this lightweight axe still delivers. If you were previously worried about fatigue and the weight of your old axe, this version could easily be the answer you are looking for.

Pros

  • It is very light at only 4 lbs
  • The head has a low-friction coating
  • The blade and shaft are over-molded, so no slipping
  • The composite handle absorbs shock
  • It’s comfortable to hold and won’t tire you out quickly

Cons

  • If you have previously used a heavier axe, this may take some getting used to

Best Overall Wood Splitting Maul Axe – Gerber Power Splitting Axe

  • Length: 23.5”
  • Weight: 3.3 lbs

Finally, I have the wood splitting maul axe I feel is the best on the market, and it’s the Gerber Power Splitting Axe. Aside from looking amazing, it’s the impact that this axe has on anything you strike with it that really stands out.

The axe is 23.5” in length, which alone will help you deliver more speed and power. Also, the head is a fraction under 3.3 lbs in weight, so it’s also not one of the heaviest maul axes out there on the market.

The blade is crafted from forged steel so that it immediately gives you some real strength and power. It’s also razor-sharp and has a PTFE coating. That means the blade doesn’t stick when it starts splitting the wood. As a result, the axe blade pushes through the log rather than slowing down.

I’m also a fan of composite handles when it comes to maul axes, so I’m glad that this model has one as well. I feel a composite handle helps absorb vibrations, making it far more comfortable to use.

But the handle does come with a special grip included. That should mean no slipping, even when working out in wet conditions. I love how this will give you far more confidence in using the axe while it also doesn’t then reduce your accuracy.

Overall, I know this axe is more than capable of doing the job it was designed to do. It strikes a balance perfectly when it comes to the weight aspect. It’s not too heavy yet has enough weight to help you generate more power.

Pros

  • The composite handle feels comfortable in your hand
  • The forged head is durable and will last for years
  • The special coating helps the blade pass through logs with ease
  • The handle is excellent at soaking up those vibrations

Cons

  • It genuinely does not have any drawbacks or issues

How to Choose the Right Wood Splitting Maul Axe

two maul axes and firewood

So the five different wood splitting maul axes I’ve listed above are all excellent in their own right. But you might want to know of a few tips to help you in making your decision as to which one you need to buy.

Well, I have those tips for you, and I believe it will mean you will find it easier when making your purchase.

What Do You Plan on Splitting?

The first thing I must mention is the need for you to think about what you will be splitting. Some axes are better for smaller wood, while others are aimed more at larger logs

Knowing the size of logs you will be splitting will then determine the size of the axe. I see this as the perfect starting point to finding the correct maul axe for your needs.

The Difference between a Splitting Axe Blade and a Normal Axe Blade

I also need to point out that there’s a difference between a splitting axe blade and a standard axe blade. Generally, a splitting axe blade is heavier and carries a bit more weight behind it. Also, the shafts will usually be slightly longer.

This longer shaft means you generate more speed and, as a result, more power.

That speed and power combination makes a huge difference with the actual splitting. When you add in a razor-sharp blade, you will find it easier to split even those larger logs.

Grip

It’s also important that the axe feels comfortable in your hand. You want to feel that it won’t slip out of your hand even if conditions are poor.

Thankfully, each maul axe I’ve listed has the perfect handle. They sit nicely in your grip, and you can go with a full swing of the axe, confident it will stay there with you throughout the swing.

But I do still suggest you take time to look at the grip and how well it performs. The grip is one of the key components for successfully splitting logs of any size.

Maintenance

I also suggest taking time to think about the maintenance of the blade. How easy is it to sharpen the blade in the future? You know it will lose some of its edge via regular use, so you must know how to hone that blade to get it functioning at its best.

Length

Your average wood splitting maul axe will come with a length of anywhere from 24” to 36”. That gives some scope, but you need to consider something other than your own height.

An axe with a longer shaft sees a significant drop in precision. If you plan on splitting smaller logs, I suggest going for an axe closer to 24” in length. However, a hatchet ax is best if you plan on splitting or chopping thin pieces of wood, perhaps for kindling while camping.

But that’s not me saying your height doesn’t matter. It does play a role in the length of axe you use. A taller individual does require a longer axe simply because they have more distance to cover, thanks to their shoulder height. 

An axe should not force you to stoop over too much when making contact with the log. If you have to bend over quite considerably, then the axe is too short.

Overall, these points are the key to choosing the perfect wood-splitting maul axe. There really is not that much to it as an axe is one of the simplest tools out there. 

Overall Conclusion

A wood splitting maul axe is a handy tool to have at your disposal and it also doesn’t have to cost you a fortune to own one. A good, solid axe can make short work of splitting logs, and as I said at the outset, it can also be immensely satisfying.

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Barry Gray

Hi, I’m Barry. I’ve loved woodworking and bringing things back to life for more years than I care to remember. I hope my passion for tools comes across loud and clear in everything you read here on The Tool Square.

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