Axes are some of the oldest and most versatile tools known to humanity. They gave early humans the ability to easily dig roots, cut wood, hunt and fight. They played a prominent role not just in history but in folklore as well with Paul Bunyan hacking his way through the Pacific Northwest and the Midwest. His lazy axe-dragging is even said to have created the Grand Canyon.
You might not need to cut and split your way through half a continent like Paul Bunyan, but today’s axes are just as useful now as they were in those long-ago days.
Shopping for Your New Axe: Things to Consider
A sturdy axe can split a cord of wood in no time and simplify almost any cutting job. Key features to consider when looking for the best axe for splitting wood include:
- The Axe Head: The bit should have a sharp cutting edge to split or cut properly, but it also needs to be thick so that it does not become chipped or broken.
- The Weight of the Axe: Heavier axes produce more force, but they also tend to reduce accuracy. The best axe heads, especially for beginners, are those weighing between 3 and 5 pounds. You can switch to a heavier axe once you get the swing of it.
- The Axe Handle: Longer handles can give you more force, but they can also be harder to control particularly if you are average height or less. Longer handles are best for taller and more experienced users. The standard length is 36-inches, but you can find handles ranging from 28-inches and up. A good starter length is about 31-inches. Handles are made from a variety of materials, including plastic, fiberglass and wood. Wood tends to be the most reliable handle material. Look for a grain running parallel to the bit for the greatest strength.
Reviews of Axes for Splitting Wood: Top 5 Axes in 2017
1. Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe
The Fiskars Super Splitting axe is made for splitting medium- to large-sized logs. With flawless balance and a precise power-to-weight ratio, this axe allows you to get the most power out of each swing. It also comes with a special ultra-sharp bevel convex blade, which is easier to remove from the wood, and a virtually unbreakable design.
This is an excellent axe for taller users and comes in four sizes, including 17-, 23.5-, 28-, and 36-inches. It comes with a lifetime warranty.
- Lifetime warranty included
- Several sizes available for user comfort and safety
- Soft steel needs regular sharpening
- Handle tends to vibrate
2. Estwing E45A Camper’s Axe All Steel with Shock Reduction Grip
The Estwing camper’s axe is made especially for camping and hunting use and can also be used around the farm. The special grip handle is made to reduce shock up to 70 percent and comes in orange, blue and black. The Estwing features a forged steel head with a 4-inch cutting edge to make your cutting and chopping jobs faster and more efficient.
Weighing in at just 3.5 pounds, this axe is lightweight but sturdy. It comes with a heavy-duty nylon sheath to protect it when not in use.
- Good size and heft
- Holds its edge
- Designed for cutting rather than splitting
- Can be heavy for some users
3. New Husqvarna 576926201 Curved Wooden Handle Logger Forest Axe
The Husqvarna multi-purpose logger forest axe can be used for trimming branches, limbing logs, felling trees and clearing brush. It is 26-inches long with a curved hickory handle with a tight grain. The head is hand forged and attached with both a wooden and a steel wedge.
Designed for efficiency, this axe offers a powerful cut with each swing. The Husqvarna comes with a leather sheath to protect it during storage.
- Holds an edge well
- Good for limbing and felling small trees
- Excellent quality for the price
- Not appropriate for splitting logs
- Handle may need additional sanding and polishing
4. Leveraxe Splitting Axe Vipukirves
The Leveraxe splitting axe is made for splitting firewood. It has an innovative design that allows you to get more force out of every swing thanks to the levering action. It also has a special brake feature that prevents the axe from moving all the way through the wood and hitting the ground or the user.
The handle is birch and the head is steel, and it comes with a top grain leather sheath. The Leveraxe can handle virtually any type and diameter of wood.
- Easy to use
- Minimal effort required
- Heavy duty and solid construction
- Vibrates excessively
5. True Temper Sledge Eye 1190400 Super Splitter Maul
This axe was made just for splitting and cutting wood. A necessity for campers, hunters, homeowners and others, the True Temper Sledge Eye wood splitter maul is lightweight with a 4-pound head that makes it easy to cut more with less effort. It has a special handle guard that can remain strong and firmly attached in every situation.
The True Temper Sledge Eye axe has a guard to prevent overstrikes and a special polypropylene cover to protect it.
- Solid weight for reliable cutting strength
- Easy to wield
- Works on hard and soft woods
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Blade needs frequent sharpening
- Fiberglass handle
What is the Best Axe for Splitting Wood?
A splitting axe is not made to cut but rather to split the wood fibers apart. Axes designed to split wood are usually lighter and easier to use than mauls, which typically weigh between 8 and 12 pounds. This means that you can use an axe for longer periods of time without suffering undue fatigue.
A maul is heavier with a blunter edge than an axe. Mauls also have wider V-shaped heads to better split the wood.
Both mauls and splitting axes can be good choices for splitting firewood and are far better for the job than an axe made for limbing, felling or cutting.
How to Take Care of Your Axe?
Axes require little maintenance, but you will need to periodically sharpen the blade. A sharper blade is a safer blade: It is more efficient, more predictable and easier to use. Proper sharpening can save you significant time and effort.
Start by establishing the proper angle by taking slow, careful strokes with a good file. This should also remove any nicks. After your edge has been created, use your stone to take long, smooth strokes in a single direction. Your axe edge should have a long, smooth face when you are done.
Finish with a coating of lubricant. This can be linseed oil, coconut oil or petroleum jelly, and you can add some beeswax to your oil as well. Lubricating the axe head helps protect it against moisture damage; you can also add some oil to wooden axe handles to polish them.
Conclusions: Your Best Axe
The best axe for splitting wood is one that is made with high-quality materials, fits your body comfortably and is easy to wield. If you want an axe for both cutting and splitting, consider investing in a double bitted axe designed for both purposes. With good care, your new axe can last a lifetime and even be passed on to new generations and will be a proud possession to your garden.