Last Updated on July 5, 2021
Picking out a good axe is a big responsibility. Axes have a multitude of functions, ranging from construction, to camping, to survival. However, the classic axe is most commonly used by those with access to wood, whereby they can chop away in the fall and prepare to keep their homes warm for the winter.
Axes can come in all shapes and sizes and have evolved greatly from the basic wooden axes of old. Newer blades, blade designs and handles have all grown to make the modern-day axe more functional and more attractive than it once was. This article looks to provide you with 10 of the best axes on the market right now for chopping wood, based on a variety of important factors.
It is most important that the axes have a good blade shape and a good power-to-control ratio, allowing for maximum output and efficiency. Having an axe that works best for you is so important because not having the correct tools for the job, only serves to make that job more difficult.
Important Factors When Buying an Axe
Is the material which the axe is made from suitable for you? Many people prefer the classic wooden look with the sharp and modern blade. However, many also like the modern looking designs and will choose accordingly. Ultimately, it is down to personal preference, a term you will hear a lot of in this article. One tip is to be careful with heavily varnished axes because they have a greater chance of being slippery when held. Sanding the varnish a little can give the user some extra grip.
One-Piece vs Two-Piece
This is an important point to address. I would always suggest a one piece over a two-piece axe for the very fact that it is less likely to break off or fly off when being used. Although you may be capable of attaching it properly and have experience, you can never guarantee that accidents will not happen. Having an axe that is all connected from the start greatly reduces the risk of accidents occurring.
Again, this one comes down to personal preference. Mainly because both a longer and shorter axe handle can have separate benefits, it just depends on how tall and broad you are or how comfortable you are with a certain axe. An axe with a smaller handle will allow you more control over where the head hits, but an axe with a larger handle will allow for greater force.
Not everybody is a burly lumberjack, so we need to be mindful when looking to buy an axe, that they may weigh quite a lot. If they are heavier, they are likely to be more powerful which is great, but what good is power if you can not handle it?
1. Fiskars X7
In terms of an axe that ticks all of the important factors outlined above, the Fiskars X7 hits a home run on every account. Designed from what is known as the ‘grinding technique’ the X7 was made for optimizing results when cutting by having sharp edges around the head of the axe as well as on the axe itself, helping to create a more efficient cut.
The axe itself is only 14-inches, so is compact as well as powerful and sharp, the weight distribution is also ideal for delivering a balanced cut, with the manufacturer ensuring that both the handle and the head have been created at the optimum weight at 1.37 pounds, to make cutting easier. The most attractive feature about the X7 in my view, is the fact that is both unbreakable and inseparable.
Crafted with FiberComp material and fused to the axe head, the handle is not only lightweight and comfortable, but you can rest assured that regardless of how much wood you chop, you won’t need another axe for a long time. It is extremely popular and is regularly sold out on amazon, however, when you look at the over 6,500 4- and 5-star reviews, it is easy to understand why.
2. Husqvarna 26” Woodcutter’s Axe
If you are looking for something a little more classic or traditional, then this is the best on the market in my view. Nearly twice the length of the X7, the Husqvarna is made of solid wood and its head is tightly fastened with a hickory Swedish steel wedge. It is a little heavier than the X7 at 2.1 pounds, but being nearly twice the size, it has a good power to weight ratio.
There is something about holding a large wooden axe, it is as if it is in our primal instincts. I would go as far as to say you feel more powerful yourself when holding an axe like this. You may not be a big, bad lumberjack, but holding a quality axe like this will sure make you feel like one. If you don’t like the larger size, you can always buy a smaller axe with the same or different materials, but the 26” wooden axe makes the list, just for its sheer beauty.
3. CRKT Woods Nobo Tomahawk Axe
Maybe you want to multitask, maybe you want to chop wood AND look like a Viking at the same time. Well, if by chance you do, boy have I got the axe you need! The CRKT may be primitive in its look but it is sure not primitive in its design. Forged with a carbon steel blade and mounted securely on a Tennessee hickory wooden handle, it provides the highest of quality with the greatest ease of use.
Weighing in at a measly 10oz and designed with a precise blade curve, you can take large chunks out of trees or any wood with ease. The manufacturer offers a lifetime guarantee and the stylish leather sheath that accompanies it, not only adds to the primitive aesthetic, but keeps the blade safe for future use. Expect to pay about $70, but for the quality you are getting, that is a steal.
4. Fiskars x27 36” Super Splitting Axe
Think of this as the X7s terrifying older brother. Not only is it a mammoth 36 inches long and weighs nearly 4 pounds, but it has some of the best features out of any of the axes on the list. Firstly, as I am sure you can tell, it is designed for tackling medium to larger projects.
As well as having the FiberComp material that the X7 has in its handle, it has a non-slip gripping and also contains shock absorbers, which help prevent from overstrike damage, should you go a little too hard. It is built to maximize wright distribution and its head is of forged razor-sharp steel which is coated to reduce both friction and sticking. Considering both its size and its quality, the $100 you pay for it is amazing value.
5. SOG Specialty Tactical Tomahawk Axe
Based off of the design of the classic Vietnam Tomahawk, the SOG specialty tomahawk is both light and powerful, a dangerous combination. It is one of the smallest axes on the list, making it highly portable, and is durable also, with its 420 stainless steel head and glass-enforced nylon handle.
The head itself has a unique look and is nearly 3 inches long and like all of the SOG branded equipment, is well made and durable. It comes with a useful sheath and belt clip, so you can take it around with you. It won’t cut down a tree in one swift blow, but for everyday use, wood cutting, camping or basic survival, at $55, it really is the ultimate tool for the modern man.
6. Estwing Fireside Friend Axe
Optimized for camping, but also excellent for wood cutting because of its excellent shock absorption capabilities, the Estwing Fireside Friend is a welcome addition to the top 10 list. Not only is it made of industrial grade steel, but its handle reduces shock by over 70%, making it perfect for heavy wood chopping sessions and reducing the risk of damage. It has a convenient splitting maul on the back of the head also, making it multifunctional. It is 14 inches in length, similar to the X7 above, and weighs just 7oz. It is built for speed, ease of use and power, and is well priced at $35-$45.
7. Gerber 23.5” Axe
This Finnish made axe combines both a sleek and sophisticated look, with classic functionality and performance. The composite handle is shock absorbent, and the weight distribution between the handle and the blade is near perfect, with its geometrically designed angles and its ideal 23.5-inch size, it gives the near perfect balance between power and performance.
The PTFE coated blade allows for a cleaner cut and Gerber offers a lifetime warranty. The sheath that is included allows for safe and secure transport, all the while, weighing only 200 grams. The near perfect axe for chopping wood.
8. Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
From Finland to Sweden, here I bring you the Gransfors Bruks outdoor axe. Designed for smaller trees and branches, the axe is constructed with a pound of steel, forged to perfection to give you a razor-sharp edge, and a 15-inch hickory wood handle. The sheath comes with steel studs surrounding it to prevent the blade from cutting through the sheath itself.
Gransfors pride themselves on their quality weight distribution, looking to make the cutting process as easy as possible for the user and combined with its classic design, it is a brilliant choice for any wood chopping enthusiast. The axe itself comes with a 20-year guarantee, and like with all Gransfors axes, it comes with an ‘axe book’ telling you how to best use and care for your axe.
9. Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe with Hickory Handle
Maybe you don’t want to spend a lot of money on an axe, or maybe you don’t want a geometrically designed axe with all of the best features. Perhaps you just want a simple and effective wood cutter. Then this is the axe for you. At just $35, you get 8oz of American hickory wood, topped with a drop-forged carbon steel blade. At 27-inches, it is one of the larger blades on the list, but at just 1.34 kilos in weight, it is both large and easily maneuverable.
With a host of excellent reviews online, it is a perfect axe for those who like the large and rugged look, and with its classic European-style axe head, you will look good as well as feel good whilst using it.
10. Tabor Tools J55A Splitting Axe
Last but not least, I give you another behemoth of an axe. Coming in at 35 inches long and constructed with Fibreglass and Metal, the J55A will make light work of larger pieces of wood. The attention to detail with its construction is what makes the J55A so good. The head itself has two wings that prevent it from getting caught in wood whilst chopping and is protected by anti-rust material.
The blade is easy to re-sharpen, but it is not the best quality of blades compared to others on the list. The durable fibreglass handle is not only lightweight, but is well gripped and can absorb shock, giving extra control to the user. The axe itself is of the highest quality, but the head could be a little bigger and of better quality, although it is easy to sharpen, you may find that you are sharpening it too much.