Splitting, chopping, breaking your back to get the wood just the right size for your stove or fireplace can be a long and grueling job. What you want to make sure of though, is that it is no harder than it has to be. To do this, you need the best splitting axe for chopping wood available!
|S.A. Wetterling||30.5"||5 lbs||Forged Steel||Traditional||Hickory (Wood)|
|Fiscars X27||See All Options||5.8 lbs||High Density Steel||Sharply Beveled||Composite|
|Gerber||See All Options||2.7 lbs||High Carbon Steel||Sharply Beveled||Composite|
|Fiscars Super Axe||36"||6 lbs||High Density Steel||Sharply Beveled||Composite|
|Helko||36"||6.7 lbs||High Carbon Steel||Sharply Beveled||Hickory (Wood)|
|Estwing E45A||26"||3.5 lbs||High Carbon Steel||Narrow Blade/ Missing Bevel||Carbon Steel|
That’s why I wrote this guide, to help you find the best axe for splitting wood. There are small yet crucial differences between different types, and each is made for a particular job.
For instance, the best splitting axe is not designed to go against the grain like a felling axe, but instead, will split the wood along the grain. Even this small detail is crucial to saving you a lot of back breaking labor!
If you want to find the best axe for splitting wood, keep on reading!
Best Splitting Axe Buying Guide
Whenever you purchase any new piece of equipment, there are several key factors to consider. This is also true when you are looking for the best wood splitting axe.
You should always look for an axe that fits you personally. Not your personality, mind you, but your stature. Even the best splitting axe doesn’t care if you’re a good man or not. You don’t want an axe that is either too long or short for your arms. However, everyone can either go a little bit longer or a little bit shorter, and each length has its definite advantages and disadvantage. You will most likely want to find a happy medium to ensure that you are using the best axe for chopping wood that you can!
Pros – If you choose to go with a shorter handle, you are going to gain a lot more control over your swings. This is going to help you hit that sweet spot in the wood each time, which should cut down on the number of cuts.
Cons – The big disadvantage of a shorter handle is that you lose some power on your swings. This makes a short handled axe less ideal for larger pieces or harder species of wood.
Pros – For a longer handle one you will get a lot more leverage in your swings, which will give you more splitting power!
Cons – However, with great power, comes less control and accuracy. You may end up missing the mark if the axe’s length is too big for your reach.
Much like the length of the axe shaft, the weight of the head comes into play when you are looking for the best wood splitting axe since you’ll be using it for hours. Heads usually range from 3-6 pounds. Even though that doesn’t sound like a lot, always take an honest assessment of your physical ability before purchase. Even 3 lbs. will feel heavy after several hundred swings.
Pros – The lighter the head, the more control you will have over your swing and the longer you should be able to chop wood without needing a break.
Cons – If it’s on the lighter side may have a tough time breaking up bigger pieces of wood or woods that are more fibrous and dense.
Pros – One with a more substantial head will give your swings more force, and should help to break up those bigger logs.
Cons – The two most significant drawbacks for a massive head are that you will tire out quickly and you will lose some accuracy and control in your swings.
Let’s be honest here, there is only one choice for the blade material of the best wood splitting axe if you want it to have any chance of lasting through the abuse you are going put it through. I mean, its whole job is to be smacked into the wood with enough force to break (not cut) the wood apart over, and over, and over again. For that kind of job, only high-density carbon steel will work.
The best wood splitting axe won’t have (and doesn’t need) an extremely sharp edge like a felling axe would. Since its job is to break through and rip apart the wood fibers along the wood grain, it helps it to have a duller sort of edge. However, you will want to make sure that it isn’t completely dull either. You probably won’t have to sharpen your tool all that often, probably every 1,000 swings or so.
Axe Head Shape
Lots of the factors that go into making the best axe for splitting wood are personal preferences. The shape of the head, or whether it is single or double bladed is up to you. Each type of blade, as you might’ve guessed, has distinct advantages and disadvantages.
Pros – A single bladed axe is going to lighter. It also has less potential for injury since it doesn’t have an additional blade swinging around behind you!
Cons – A single bladed axe will require more sharpening than a double bladed axe. Also, if your blade breaks or chips, you are out of luck.
Pros – You get twice the axe for your money! If something happens to one of your blades, it gets chipped, or it breaks, you aren’t out of business. Just switch to the other blade and keep on choppin’. Since it’s a bit heavier, the chopping should go easier.
Cons – It takes more metal to make a double bladed axe, and the weight will increase accordingly. This might make your cuts less accurate and fatigue you quicker. Also, there is another blade to be aware of when you are cutting, which might lead to accidents for a careless chopper.
Your best axe for splitting wood will come with either wood or composite handle. Both offer their pros and cons.
Pros – Iconic in its imagery, a wood handled axe harkens back to the olden days. Wood is also relatively durable and cheap to replace.
Cons – While a wooden handle will last a long time, it will begin to crack and split after lots of use.
Pros – Composite shafts are extremely durable, and should last the lifetime of the axe. They are also lightweight, meaning you shouldn’t tire out as quickly while splitting.
Cons – Handles made from composites are more expensive than their wood counterparts to purchase, and if one were to break would be just as pricey to replace.
The best splitting axe will be made from either one or two pieces.
Pros – An axe made with a single piece is going to be stronger overall and more durable. It will also be lightweight.
Cons – If any one part of the it breaks, you are out of luck. You will not be able to purchase and replace just that part but instead will have to look for a whole new one.
Pros – If it’s made with two pieces will be a bit cheaper than the single piece option. This type of construction also allows you to replace parts that are showing wear and tear.
Cons – I don’t want to say that this type of axe is built to break down, but it is built with that eventuality in mind. Axes made in this manner will not last as long as those kind with a single piece.
Size of Wood To Be Split – Since you are not looking for an axe for felling, but rather the best axe for chopping wood, I am going to assume that you already have a system for getting wood to your preferred size. If you like your pieces bigger, you would want one with a heavier weight head, so you have a greater chance of splitting it with one chop. The smaller the pieces, the lighter the head you can use.
Type of Wood To Be Split – Much like the size of the wood dictates the weight of the head you need to use, the types of wood you intend to cut come into play when you are looking for the best splitting axe. If you are looking at splitting hardwoods, such as oak, you should go a bit heavier on the axe head, while softwoods, like pine, can be cut with a lighter weight one.
The Best Wood Splitting Axe
If you are someone who has ever had to split wood for an extended amount of time, you understand just how important it is to have the best log splitting axe around really is. Chopping wood is already a difficult job. However, if you have anything but the very best axe for splitting wood, your job will be that much more challenging.
To help you make the right purchase, we have put together this comprehensive list, to help guide you towards the best splitting axe for your particular chopping needs. Keep in mind this list as you read our reviews:
>> Blade Material
>> Head Shape
>> Handle Material
Our Wood Splitting Axe Reviews
However, just because it is traditional doesn’t mean that isn’t possibly the best axe for splitting wood on the market today. It achieves this in a variety of ways.
First of all, the axe is a very manageable size. It is 30.5 inches in length, which should fit most users comfortably, while still providing the necessary leverage to chop effectively. The head comes in at a relatively light 3 lbs. Including the handle, it weighs about 5 pounds. This weight makes it comparable to more modern styles overall, but this can be deceiving. While more modern styles have most of their weight in the head, providing lots of chopping power, this one has a light head and a heavy handle. While not the end of the world, you may get worn out more quickly with this axe than you would with a more modern alternative.
Secondly, the axe is made out of high-grade material. It is built in a two piece construction. The head is hand forged and shaped out of high-grade steel. It has a slight bevel to it to allow you to quickly chop through wood up to four or five inches in diameter and about fifteen inches in length. The hand is made out of hickory, which has been used with more traditional styles for a long time. It provides strength and flexibility. However, since it is a natural material, it may break down over time.
The materials used to make it are of high quality, though they may break down over time since they are natural materials. It was one of the more expensive options we tested, but it will provide years of quality use before you notice it breaking down.
Our Top Pick: Best Seller & Highest Rated
When you are thinking of the best wood splitting axe, the name Fiskars may sound out of place for you.
Don’t they make scissors?
They do, and they are renowned for how well they maintain an edge.
They have taken that same quality production and made some great axes. While these axes borrow some traditional ideas, they are also a more modern take with some new and innovative ideas.
The axe we tested was 36 inches in overall length. Even though it was one of the longest options we tried out, it was also extremely comfortable and lightweight, only weighing about six pounds. The reason that it can be so lightweight while having such a long reach is because of the materials it is made with. The handle is an advanced composite, which has a comfort grip. This allows you to have a firm, yet comfortable grip while splitting. There is also a hollow portion built into the handle to help absorb the shock of splitting harder woods.
As we have discussed before, the best log splitting axe is usually going to be top-heavy, and this one is no exception. Since the handle is so very light, almost all of the weight is in the head. This gives it great chopping power. The head is also sharply beveled, which helps it quickly and easily cut through even the toughest of woods.
You would think that an axe of this quality would come with an extremely high price, but that is not correct in this circumstance. Its sharply beveled heavy head, overall light weight, and innovative handle make it worth checking into.
We tested out the 36-inch version, and even though it might seem a bit long at first, it was easy to handle.
Much like the Fiskars X27, the Gerber is made with a composite handle, which has a comfort grip, and a hollow chamber at the bottom to better alleviate vibrations and impact shock. The axe is all in one piece, and the head is sharply beveled to help you break the wood apart quickly.
What stands out about this axe, however, is its weight. While most splitting axes have an axe head that can range in weight from three to six pounds, the entire Gerber axe weighs a mere 2.7 lbs. You would think that this extremely light weight would keep it from competing to be the best axe for chopping wood, but you would be wrong. It cut through small and medium size pieces with ease.
It is lightweight. This light weight would make it perfect for a backpacker or hiker since you would barely even notice that you have it with you.
It has the same sharply beveled axe head composite handle and is made as one whole piece.
The handle has a comfort grip to save you from hand fatigue and a hollow section in the shaft to help reduce impact shock and vibrations.
Something to take into consideration when comparing this model to the X27, however, is the lack of length options. This axe only comes with a length of 36 inches and a weight of six pounds. If you are of a shorter stature or you simply like shorter axes, this may not be the model for you.
While it has a lot of great qualities, like its lightweight and comfortable handle, to its hefty weight and length, it also has some drawbacks. For instance, it only comes in a 36-inch length, which might be a bit too long for some users.
While the traditional handle design works well, the axe head is what sets this axe apart as perhaps the best log splitting axe we have ever used. The head has a sharp bevel design, which is perfect for splitting wood efficiently. However, what is cool about this head is the fact that it can be taken apart. Of all the axes we looked at, this is the only one where you can quickly remove the head.
As part of the head assembly, there is also a strike plate on the back of the head. Since this axe weighs in at an impressive 8.5 lbs., you should not have any problem splitting some much bigger pieces. However, if it happens to get stuck, simply take a couple of whacks at the strike plate with a sledgehammer, and you’ll be through in no time!
The only problem with this exceptional axe is its price. Of all the options we looked into, this is by far the most expensive. However, the quality that it represents would be well worth it. Even if it breaks down after years of heavy use, the fact that you can easily disassemble it means that you could purchase replacement parts if necessary.
It can be used for splitting purpose, but it would not be considered the best axe for chopping wood.
Part of the reason for that is its lightweight and short stature. You will probably not be able to get enough force behind your swings to split larger pieces of wood.
Another problem with this axe for splitting purposes is its blade. While extremely sharp, it has almost no bevel to it. This makes it better for cutting wood then it does for splitting.
However, even though it might not be the best splitting axe on the market, it can still be serviceable. It is made out of one piece of solid steel, so it is durable. Since it can be used for lots of different activities without excelling in one particular area, this is a good axe to have in a pinch