If you're looking for the best axe for splitting wood, you may not be sure if you should choose an axe, maul, or hatchet.There are so many axes out there in a variety of sizes. They all serve a different purpose, whether that's chopping, splitting, or kindling. It can be challenging to decide which one will be the best for splitting wood.
Before you blindly choose one, it's essential to know the differences between different types of axes and mauls.
Best Axe for Splitting Wood: Comparison Table
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How to Choose the Best Axe for Splitting Wood
There are a lot of factors that go into axes and mauls, and they have more differences than you might realize.
Is an axe better than a maul for splitting wood?
Many people prefer a maul for splitting wood. The reason for this is because a maul is meant to split wood, while an axe is generally designed for cutting wood. Because of that, we included a few mauls in our list of the top choices for the best axe for splitting wood.
A splitting axe is meant to split along the grain of the wood to break apart its fibers, rather than cutting them. Splitting axes have a tapered head and generally weigh between three and six pounds.
It's also, in most cases, going to be more lightweight than a splitting maul. So, it can be used for a longer period. You won't get tired as quickly with a splitting axe. For a splitting axe, you can choose between a wooden handle and a composite handle. A composite handle will be lighter than a wooden one will, as well as more durable. However, a lot of axe users prefer the feel of a traditional wooden axe.
As for a splitting maul, it's basically a larger sledgehammer with a pointed axe head. It usually weighs between six and eight pounds. That can be a disadvantage to a maul because it's heavier when compared with a splitting axe. The fact is, you'll use more energy and get tired much faster.
However, a maul has a longer handle, and the blade edge is duller than that of an axe. So, the maul will split wood bluntly simply from force.
Which one is better?
So, which is better, a splitting axe or maul? There isn't a clear answer. It's all about personal preference. It also depends on the size of the wood you'll be splitting, and how much of it you'll be splitting.
If you'll be splitting large chunks of wood, then you may want to choose a splitting maul. Because it's heavier, you'll get greater power, so you'll spend less time working on it. But, if you are a bit smaller, then you could find a maul challenging to use. Plus, if you're splitting small pieces of wood, then an axe could be the better choice. These are easier to swing and are lightweight.
It could be a good idea to have both an axe and maul in your collection. They can be used together for all your wood-splitting needs.
Things to Consider
When you're searching for the best axe for splitting wood, there are many factors to consider. There are a few questions that you should ask yourself to determine what the best one would be for your needs.
Will you be chopping wood or splitting it?
If you landed on this article, you're most likely looking for an axe to split wood. When you're splitting wood, you'll want an axe that offers a one-strike split with a swing. That way, you can split logs with minimal time and effort. Plus, you won't have to strain your hands too much.
In the chance that you'll be chopping wood, you will need an axe that has some more power. That will give you more blade penetration when you swing, so it will be easier to chop more wood.
What size wood will you be chopping?
We touched on this slightly, but it's important to consider whether you'll be splitting small logs or medium to large-sized logs. If you're splitting small or medium logs, you might consider a traditional wood-splitting axe. You might look at a smaller axe that's still powerful. It will give you both power and speed.
If you'll be splitting medium to larger sized logs, you'll want to either choose a maul or an axe with a longer handle. That will give you a better power-to-weight ratio. It will also increase your swing speed and give you more power.
How We Reviewed
To choose our top options for the best axe for splitting wood, we made sure not to choose any that have below a 4.0 out of 5.0-star rating on Amazon. If users aren't a fan of the axe, then it probably isn't the right choice.
We also took a look at professional reviews to make sure that each axe is well-rated within the community. You can find links to these throughout the article.
Additionally, we gave a wide variety of options. We included both splitting axes and splitting mauls because, as you've seen, there are benefits to each one. We even give a few hatchet options for those who prefer hatchets.
Top 8 Best Axes for Splitting Wood Choices
Here is our list of the eight choices for the best axe for splitting wood, in no particular order.
Gerber Power Splitting Axe
Many people consider this Gerber axe the best axe for splitting wood.
It's the largest axe from Gerber and is meant for maximum power when you are splitting logs and chopping roots. It has a weighted stainless-steel head and black PTFE-coated blade. These can easily split more massive logs in one try without sticking.
This axe has a sturdy handle that's easy to grip. It's made out of glass-filled nylon. In total, the axe is 36 inches long. It weighs approximately 5.4 pounds. This Gerber axe is lightweight. And it has a reasonably-sized cutting head that allows you to chop deeper. Plus, it comes with a sheath so that you can safely transport it.
It has 4.4 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Estwing Camper's Axe
This Estwing Camper's Axe may be considered the best axe for splitting wood. It has a 26-inch handle and is perfect for hunting, camping, and farm use.
This axe has a forged steel head, and the handle utilizes Estwing's patented Shock Reduction Grip. It has a four-inch cutting edge that makes deeper, faster cuts and makes for easier chopping.
Each Camper's Axe comes with a heavy-duty nylon sheath. The axe is made from solid American steel and is made in the U.S.A.
Many consider this axe to be ideal for smaller jobs.The Estwing axe is 26 inches long and weighs 3.44 pounds. It has 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Fiskars Super Splitting Axe
Another choice for the best axe for splitting wood is from the Fiskars brand.
There are a few axes from Fiskars on this list. This one is the best option for taller individuals and people who prefer a longer axe. It's best used for splitting medium to large-sized logs.
This Fiskars axe combines advanced blade geometry, excellent weight distribution, and an ultra-sharp edge. This combination allows the blade to disperse wood more effectively and you can have more one-strike splits.
It's Fiskars' most extended handle option, so if you're taller, you can maximize your power and speed. It requires less effort, time, and hand strain. With a 36-inch handle, this axe weighs 5.95 pounds. It has 4.7 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe
Another option for the best axe for splitting wood is another one by Fiskars. That is the 17-inch X11.
It's an excellent option to use as a secondary axe. It can be used for one-handed, quick jobs, such as splitting small logs.
Like other Fiskars axes, it combines advanced blade geometry, excellent weight distribution, and an ultra-sharp edge. That allows you to have more one-strike splits with less effort and hand strain. This axe also has a textured non-slip grip that will improve your control.
The Fiskars axe has a 17-inch handle and weighs 2.18 pounds. It has 4.8 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Fiskars IsoCore Wood Splitting Maul
Although this is technically a maul, another Fiskars axe may be the best axe for splitting wood on the market today.
It's an excellent maul for hardcore wood splitting. The maul features Fiskars' IsoCore Shock Control System, which reduces shock and vibration by two times.
The maul has a premium steel head that has a splitting face to force wood apart. It also has a driving face to drive wedges or strike with another tool during splitting to help force the wedge.
This maul can help reduce muscle fatigue and joint pain. It also has handle texturing that can help improve your grip and reduce blisters.
This Fiskars maul has a 36-inch handle and weighs 8 pounds. It has 4.8 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Husqvarna Traditional (Multi-purpose) Axe
Husqvarna may offer the best axe for splitting wood. This 26-inch multi-purpose axe is perfect for log limbing, branch trimming, tree felling, and clearing bushes.
The long handle on this axe helps give power while cutting. This axe is made of hickory and hand-forged Swedish steel. It also comes with an edge cover made of leather.
This axe has a 26-inch handle and weighs 2.1 pounds. It has 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe
Another option for the best axe for splitting wood is the Trail Boss Axe from Cold Steel. This axe features a European-style head with a 4-inch blade and a 4.5-inch cutting edge.
This axe from Cold Steel has a sturdy, durable straight-grained Hickory handle. It's made to chop kindling, build blinds, clear roads and trails, and chop down fair-sized trees.
This axe is a bargain and is an excellent value. It has a 26-inch handle and weighs just 0.5 pounds. The Cold Steel axe has 4.3 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Helko-Werk Saxon Splitter
This Saxon Splitter from Helko-Werk may be the best axe for splitting wood. It's a heavy-duty axe that's best for splitting large rounds and challenging logs. The head of this axe will give you powerful strikes without getting stuck or pinched up in the wood. It will remind you of a maul in terms of power but gives you the feel, balance, and control of an axe.
There's a small turnaround hook on the heel that can be used for log moving. It also features a steel overstrike protector to give you protection from missed swings. That reduces the possibility of shaft wear and breakage.
This axe has a 31-inch handle length and weighs 8.5 pounds. It has 5.0 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Honorable Mentions: 3 Best Hatchets for Splitting Wood
Many people prefer a hatchet to split wood, rather than an axe or maul. Because of this, we wanted to include a few of them on our list.
Hatchets are meant to cut wood or fell trees. However, they are best used for splitting off small pieces of wood to use them for kindling. Here are our top three options of the best hatchets for splitting wood, in no particular order.
Estwing Camper’s Axe
This Estwing Camper's Axe might be considered the best axe for splitting wood, but is a hatchet.
Estwing says this axe is the "outdoorsman's must-have tool." It has a patented Shock Reduction grip with a tent stake puller. It will last you for years and years. It's the perfect axe for chopping firewood for your campsite or backyard fire pit. It's also the ideal size and weight for this. The hatchet is 15 inches long and weighs 2.23 pounds.
This axe has 4.4 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Hi-Spec 2lb Sharp-Edged Steel Axe
The Hi-Spec steel axe is a hatchet that could be considered the best axe for splitting wood. This axe is ideal for gardening or landscaping. It can also be used for DIY projects and camping.
The Hi-Spec axe is strong enough to withstand harsh working conditions, including severe weather. It's well-balanced to give you maximum control and reduce strain. The axe has a sharp edge to reduce cutting time in logs and timber.
It's also a versatile axe, as it can prune, chop, cut, split, hack, and more. Hi-Spec's sharp-edged steel axe is 16.3 inches long and weighs 5.05 pounds. It has 4.0 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Estwing Black Eagle Double Bit Axe
This Estwing Double Bit Axe is the best axe for wood splitting according to many people. It's American-made with steel and has a hand-sharpened edge.
This axe, or hatchet, is designed for sportsmen and military professionals. It's built for comfort and durability and was made to last.
This axe has a lightweight design, so it's easy to carry. It features Estwing's Shock Reduction Grip, giving you additional comfort and durability. The Estwing double bit axe has two chopping edges and includes a blue nylon sheath. The handle is 17 inches long, and the axe weighs 2 pounds. It has 4.5 out of 5.0 stars on Amazon.
Safety Precautions to Using an Axe
You have to be extremely careful when using an axe. Even if you consider yourself an axe expert, it's crucial to take proper safety precautions every single time.
There are a lot of different debates when it comes to the proper way of swinging an axe. The most essential factor to appropriate form when swinging an axe is that you're comfortable, with both the axe you're using and your swing style.
Everyone is trying to achieve the same result: splitting wood with no injuries. Many experts suggest the same method of swinging an axe. That's a traditional one-hand stationary position at the base of the handle. Your other hand should start the swing near the head of the axe.
When you raise the axe over your shoulder in one motion, you build momentum up then down, and your top hand will slide down to meet your bottom hand. This method generates power and speed from your wrists. If you have ever used a sledgehammer, you most likely follow this same position
As for your stance, you should have your legs spread slightly wider than your shoulders. They should be square to the wood you're cutting. Many experts recommend against sticking a leg forward because if you miss, the axe will go right for your leg.
When you are handing off an axe to someone, you should ideally place the axe down, and they can pick it up from there. If you decide to hand it off, make sure the other person has a firm grip on it before you let go. The best way to determine this is to ask them.
Most importantly, keep the blade away from anyone, including yourself. When you're walking, keep the sheath cover on it.
You can avoid axe injuries if you're smart and careful. However, an accident could still happen. If that's the case, determine whether or not you need to go to the hospital, and figure out the best way to get there.
Using Your Wood-Splitting Axe
Most importantly, you'll want to determine if you want an axe, maul, or hatchet. You may even decide that you want all three so that you can use each one for different needs. Remember, always practice the proper safety methods when using your axe, and keep your blade sharpened.
Do you have the best axe for splitting wood that we didn't mention in this list? Let us know in a comment!