If you are an outdoorsman, lumberjack, or anybody who works with wood on a regular basis, you’ll understand the importance of a good axe to have at your disposal. These tools are great for chopping, splitting, and shaping wood, though you would be forgiven for thinking that any old axe would do the trick. Some are better for more meticulous work than others. Some are perfect for felling trees.
There is more to purchasing an axe than meets the eye. To help you figure out the sort of tool you need we have put together this list of the best axes in 2021. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to - which is why you can trust our buying guide to help you find the perfect axe to suit your needs.
When buying an axe it is important to have some basic knowledge. After all, you don’t want to walk away from the store with the wrong type of axe. Read on for some things you should consider before investing in the right tool for you. Our buying guide offers a great idea of what you should value in any potential axe, depending on your required job. If you want to do some more research yourself, we hope our buying guide offers more guidance on what you should be looking for.
Read on for all our nifty hints and tips.
Things to consider before buying an axe
Don’t get overwhelmed, but there are a huge number of axes to choose between at your local hardware store. Save yourself some time and learn what to look out for before you head out to purchase your axe.
Here’s a useful list of things you may wish to consider:
What will it be used for?
Axes differ in design based on what particular job they were created for. You may want an axe to chop wood. In that case, you would choose a splitting axe. To fell trees you would choose a felling axe. To chop meat your axe of choice would be a hunter’s axe. Bushcraft activities would require a camping hatchet. Mining would require a pickaxe. If you would like to get into axe throwing, Tomahawks are the axe of choice, although some people also use a hatchet. You get the picture.
Axes are also used as ceremonial symbols and ornaments. For these sort of axes (where durability isn’t as important) you might consider having a decorative axe custom-made. Many axes have multiple uses, which will be something to consider if you require an axe for numerous jobs.
Size and weight
Axes come in all sorts of different sizes and weights. You need to consider the amount of space you have available for the job at hand. Having a long-handled axe allows you to utilize the power of gravity in your swing. It will however add to the weight so if you do not have the space to swing it fully, you are simply adding to your energy output.
It is important to realize how much weight you can physically swing. Some axes can weigh as much as eight pounds. On average, people chopping wood find that the axes most suited their physical ability, and the task at hand weighs between 4 and 6 pounds.
Do your research. An axe that has little weight will relinquish the power of your swing.
For safety purposes, you will want to consider the reputation of the manufacturer. If someone has been making axes for years and boasts great customer reviews, it would be wise to spend a little more money on their axe, rather than a relatively unknown company. An axe can lose its head if it is designed poorly and people can become seriously injured. The quality of an axe may make all the difference when it comes to keeping all your toes!
A comfortable grip of the handle is a necessity. The vibrations of an axe hitting its target can cause substantial damage to the hands and wrist. Wooden handles are considered the best for absorbing shock. Ash and hickory are the favored types of woods used on shafts, feeling more comfortable in the hand than less commonly used woods. Fiberglass is a relatively new axe handle material that is popular due to its shock-absorbing abilities. However, these types of axes are substantially more expensive.
Axe price range
Axes can cost anything from $15 to $200, with the average price being about $40. The price depends on the axe type, not to mention its function and also the brand.
When considering your budget you will need to incorporate the price of sharpening your axe, either with your own tools or paying someone else to do it for you. Most axes are sold blunt due to the presumption that most axes are used for splitting. If you want to use your axe for anything other than this or decorative purposes, sharpening will be required. You can buy axe sharpening equipment for around $20.
How we choose the axes
To ensure our knowledge of axes is up to date, we regularly liaise with the world's biggest axe manufacturers and retailers. We ask the advice of experts in the field who have consistently used a variety of axes throughout their careers. The members of our team who enjoy DIY have sampled many products themselves, and only the best make it onto our product recommendations list.
We understand that not everyone is an expert axeman, so we also read plenty of reviews from the average consumer. The industry is always expanding and changing. As such, we keep our research up to date in order to provide you with the most informed and trustworthy advice.
A: Medium carbon steel is considered the best steel for axes because it is heat tempered to minimize the risk of splintering and breakage. Medium carbon steel is also considered the best for honed-edged weapons.
Q: When should I buy a double-bit axe?
A: Double-bit axes are basically like having one blunt axe for splitting and one sharp axe for cutting and chopping. It is a great piece of equipment which boasts multi-functionality and also saves space.
Q: What is the most popular axe used today?
A: The most popular axe used today is the felling axe. This axe is also known as the American axe and is used for felling trees.
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