Last Updated on November 18, 2022 by Barry Gray
Look, I admit it, I love my power tools. I feel lost without them, but I accept they allow me to reach my end goals in a fraction of the time.
And yet, I also understand the value of manual hand tools. Even though we find ourselves surrounded by technology, there’s still a place for more traditional tools and what they can offer.
So that has brought me to the topic today: wood chisels.
Yes, I know you can use routers, planers, jointers, and a whole host of tools designed to cut through wood and shape it as you want. I know all about that because, over the years, I’ve tried everything. However, there’s something cool about using a traditional wood chisel to carve out notches and just change how the wood looks.
But here’s the thing. Just as you have a massive number of options when it comes to power tools, the same vast array of wood chisels exists when you want to purchase a manual tool.
So, I don’t want you to sit there for an eternity trying to choose the correct wood chisels for you. Instead, I’m going to help by narrowing down the different options that I see as representing the best wood chisels on the market.
- Best Overall Wood Chisels – REXBETI 10-Piece Set
- Best Beginner Wood Chisels – GREBSTK Professional Wood Chisel Set
- Best All-Purpose Wood Chisel – Stanley 3 Piece Wood Chisel Set
- Best Durable Wood Chisel – Hurricane 4 Piece Wood Chisel Set
- Best Budget Wood Chisels – Amazon Basics 8-Piece Chisel Set
Oh, and don’t worry if you have no idea what to look for when purchasing wood chisels. I’m also going to include a series of tips that should answer some of the questions you probably have on your mind.
How I Made My List
But first, let me quickly explain how I ended up with my list. You see, I’ve spent a vast amount of time checking out the various options on the market, and I’ve used all my experience of working with wood and tools over the years to narrow things down.
For this, I had a few specific points that I felt the wood chisels had to fall into line with before they stood a chance of appearing on my list.
The first thing was that the chisels had to be sharp and maintain their sharpness for as long as possible. You see, some brands produce chisels that just lose their edge almost immediately, and that’s no good.
Also, I wanted something solid that won’t just bend or break under pressure. Remember, you will add pressure to the chisel when trying to carve out those notches. That means each chisel must be manufactured from the best material to ensure you can continue to use them for an extended period.
In addition, I also paid attention to the handle and how comfortable they were to hold. After all, you want to know you get a good grip at a comfortable angle, or the chisels will then feel more difficult to use, and nobody wants that to happen.
Finally, I didn’t just go with my own opinion on this. I also looked at what other owners had to say about their experiences with the chisels. That meant I could then provide you with a better overall sense of what it could be like to own these chisels should you go ahead and buy them.
Best Overall Wood Chisels – REXBETI 10-Piece Set
I see this 10-piece wood chisel set by REXBETI as one of the best on the market, and I say this for several reasons.
First, you get several chisels of varying sizes, and I appreciate that you can then carry on with different projects while sticking with the same brand. The sizes range from ¼” up to a maximum of 1 ½”, and that’s quite a size difference.
I see these chisels as perfect for beginners, and they do come with a rubber grip which offers you a more comfortable handle. This will prove to be especially helpful when using them for an extended period, as I feel they don’t tire out your grip as easily as other sets.
But in addition, I do appreciate how they incorporated metal striking caps. That does protect the rubber grip and it increases the lifespan of the set.
Moving onto the blade part it’s crafted from vanadium steel. Now, the set is sharpened in the factory, but don’t worry because you do pick up a sharpening stone complete with a fine and rough grit to keep things sharp at home.
Overall, I think it’s the fact you do not just get a set of chisels here, but you also get pencils and sharpening stones as well. That means this set will last for longer than you expect.
- It’s a complete set of chisels for a fantastic price
- The handles are comfortable and easy to hold
- The metal striking cap will last forever
- The sharpening stone is pretty good and will help keep your chisels fresh
- The storage case feels sturdy
- Double-check how sharp the chisels are before using them
Best Beginner Wood Chisels – GREBSTK Professional Wood Chisel Set
Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the fact that this set of wood chisels by GREBSTK has the word ‘professional’ in the title, as these chisels are indeed perfect for beginners. This time, you get four chisels of varying sizes, and I feel it simplifies things when it comes to choosing the correct one for the job in question.
Here, you will receive a ¼”, ½”, ¾”, and 1” chisel, which covers more than enough bases, in my opinion. Also, there’s a cool little carry bag for them, so at least it keeps them all in one place.
Looking at the blade, the edges are chrome vanadium steel, and I noticed they come with the slightest of bevels. In addition, GREBSTK oils the blade ever so slightly, and it does help prevent them from sticking in the material.
But one thing that is mentioned regularly with these chisels is the balance. The weight distribution between the handle and blade feels just right in hand, improving your control over the chisel when in use.
Overall, you should find it easy to make a clean mark with these chisels, even if you have never really used one before. For that reason alone, I see them as a great beginner set.
- This is a solid beginner set of chisels
- Each blade has a guard to protect the blade from damage
- They are slightly oiled, meaning less sticking
- The balance is outstanding when holding them
- They are short, so they work perfectly for the finer aspects of woodworking
- The handle is comfortable but not the most durable
Best All-Purpose Wood Chisel – Stanley 3 Piece Wood Chisel Set
Stanley is a name you know you can trust, and this 3 piece wood chisel set is not about to let you down any time soon. I know they do not come across as the most attractive chisels in the world, but this is all about what they can do, not their appearances.
Here, you receive a ½”, ¾” and a 1” chisel, so while you may feel your options are limited, these chisels are designed to be able to work on a wide range of projects. I do appreciate that they measure just under 8” in length, and that helps with the jobs you can carry out with them as you feel they can perform finer tasks, and also cope with a whole lot of punishment.
The blades in this instance are carbon steel, so they are certainly durable enough for most people. I also love the handles, even though they do not look the best. They are made from black polypropylene, and you should find you can get a great grip no matter the conditions.
Overall, these chisels will work well, no matter if you plan on carrying out some finer aspects of woodworking or need to deal with the rougher side of some projects.
- These chisels work well in all conditions
- The handle is comfortable and gives a great grip
- The blades are durable enough, so they should last some time
- They are very easy to sharpen
- They are the perfect length for doing any type of work
- They don’t come with any guards on the blade
Best Durable Wood Chisel – Hurricane 4 Piece Wood Chisel Set
If you feel you will be using your wood chisels regularly, then durability will play a significant role. However, I feel durability is not an issue with this set by Hurricane.
I admit some people may feel slightly disappointed at only receiving four chisels in this set, but it does cover from ¼” up to 1”, so that does offer an array of options.
I particularly love the handle that comes with these chisels. Made from clear PVC, it does offer you quite a firm grip that is also reasonably comfortable. I see this as a key because you do require a lot of control over the grip to get the best results with any chisel set.
I also love the material combination in the blade. Here, you have a mix of steel, vanadium, and chromium resulting in a strong blade that won’t let you down. It stays relatively sharp for a considerable period, so you can work on those projects for longer than you expect.
Overall, this chisel set is basic, but the materials used in the manufacturing does mean it’s highly durable and will last an eternity.
- The handle is very comfortable to hold
- The blade remains sharp for longer than most
- The set does cover the main chisel sizes you should be looking for
- The bevel-shaped edge helps with sharpness
- You get blade guards with each chisel
- The handles do make a lot of noise when striking them
Best Budget Wood Chisels – Amazon Basics 8-Piece Chisel Set
If you want to really just get your hands on a budget set of chisels, then this 8-piece set by Amazon could prove helpful to some individuals. However, do be aware that these chisels are not intended to be used regularly.
It comes with a blend of chromium and vanadium steel, so the blades are pretty sharp and should last some time before you think about sharpening them. I do also appreciate that the blades are then heat-treated, so that does make them even more durable.
I love the array of sizes that come with the set. This set ranges from ¼” to 1 ½” means you should have the ability to carry out a wide array of projects with this one single set.
You also receive a carry case and sharpening stone, making it easier for you to keep these chisels in top shape.
Overall, these chisels are pretty good for their price. This set could be ideal if you don’t feel like you will use chisels regularly.
- They are value for money
- The handles offer a pretty good grip
- The blades are stronger than you think
- You do get a reasonable case
- They are easy to sharpen
- They do not have a flex, so they produce rougher edges
How to Choose the Correct Wood Chisel Set
The different sets above are all excellent in their own right, but I know some people will still feel confused about how to choose the correct set. So, don’t worry because I’m going to help guide you through your decision to make life easier.
The Three Types of Wood Chisels
First, you typically have three different types of wood chisels to choose from, and it’s important to know what the different types do to know you have the correct one for the job in question.
The Bench Chisel
The bench chisel is the most widely used, thanks to it being multi-functional. Thanks to a bench chisel, you can quickly create wood joints or even shave off those rougher parts of timber.
It will come with either a bevel or straight edge, with a straight edge better for the harder material. You will find these chisels in sizes ranging from ¼” up to 3” in size.
The Mortise Chisel
This chisel was designed for a specific job, creating a mortise and tenon joint. These chisels are heavier and more solid, as they need to dive deep into the wood to create those joints. This chisel type is certainly not as common as the bench chisel, but they still prove useful for tougher material.
The Paring Chisel
A paring chisel is a different tool that typically comes with a longer blade that is also usually thinner than you would expect. I see this chisel as being better for the finer aspects of woodwork, so if you intend to carry out those types of projects, then having some paring chisels in your tool bag is essential.
But aside from knowing the type of chisel you need, there are other aspects you should know about before buying chisels.
Know the Purpose
I think the first thing to do is to think about why you are using chisels in the first place. That clearly narrows down the type of chisel you need to purchase, making life that bit easier.
But if you feel unsure about what you will use your chisels for, I suggest going for a bench chisel set. These chisels are more multi-purpose than anything else, so they would be your best bet.
You have two different handle types to choose from socket or tang. Out of the two, the socket is the more resilient, but they are also more expensive. Tang blades are less expensive, but if you use them regularly, don’t be surprised if the handle and chisel start to fall apart.
The handle material is another thing you need to consider. Rubber, wood, and even PVC can be used, but I feel wooden handles are more for experienced users. Rubberized grips are best for any individual new to using chisels or where you will use them in various conditions.
They will provide you with a better hold of the chisel and absorb the shock that comes from striking the chisel in the first place.
For the blade, you will notice a chisel either uses carbon steel or vanadium steel. Both are solid options, but with a couple of differences.
Vanadium steel does mean the blade will often retain its sharpness longer than carbon steel. If you plan on using your chisels regularly, then that’s the material I would go for.
Overall, those are the key areas I would focus on when it comes to choosing chisels. Also, ensure you get a set with an array of widths of blades since that then determines the exact projects you can then work on.
And that is my list of the five best wood chisels I think should take pride of place in your tool bag. I know they may not prove to be a tool that you will use on a regular basis, but I still advise you to go ahead and own some. You never know when they may be helpful.
But if you do still find yourself to be struggling with all of this, then remember to run over my tips. I hope they make your life a bit easier when it comes to making your decision.
Chisels are amazing, and even though they do take longer to get results compared to power tools, I don’t want you to overlook them. Honestly, the fun you have from carving out something with pretty much your bare hands will stay with you, and that alone makes it worthwhile buying some chisels for your collection.