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.
The Fiskars X27 is one of the best axes on the market for taller users who need to split medium and large-sized logs. They are designed to ensure more splits only take one strike and come with a non-slip grip to reduce strain in your hand and maintain optimum control.
One swing and you’ll notice how perfectly balanced and weighted this axe actually is – some even compare it to aluminum baseball bats.
Non-slip grip for hand protection
Perfect balance and power-to-weight ratio
36” in length
Advanced convex blade makes for additional power
Blade shape allows you to remove the axe from wood easily
The Lexicon V28 Chopping Axe is one of the most innovatively designed tools on the market today. Featuring an encased blade and fiberglass composite injected handle, this axe is both durable and efficient. The blade has been made with optimal cutting angles for efficient chopping. In fact, we recommend using this axe for chopping trees or large pieces of wood.
Also, Lexicon currently advertises this axe as being risk-free due to the reinforced shaft. It won’t bend or break like some of the cheaper axes you’ll find at your hardware store.
Non-slip TPR grip
Hi-tech fiberglass handle construction
Drop-forged Grade A High-Carbon steel blade
The balance point is close to the axe head, making for perfect weight distribution
Aggressive angles make for efficient chopping action
Lifetime guarantee that the shaft won’t bend
May not be necessary if you aren’t chopping trees or large timber
The WilFiks Chopping Axe should be one of the first axes you go to if you’re a camper, hiker, or outdoor enthusiast. This optimized hatchet is perfect for chopping firewood, kindling, and branches. The heat-treated steel is both durable and more than capable of quick splits and one-split strikes. It also stays sharper longer than most other axes, and comes with a rubber protective sheath so you can store it safely and easily.
Shock-absorbing, anti-slip grip
Fibreglass handle to reduce hand strain
Forged Carbon Steel blade
Rubber sheath for transportation and storage
Works well with small wood
Stays sharp for a long time
Can be resharpened with ease
Will not do much good when it comes to medium and large logs
If you’re the kind of person who regularly enjoys camping, you may want to invest in the Estwing Special edition Camper’s Axe. Built with strength and durability in mind, the makers advertise that axes like these are perfect for a life of hard work. The axe also comes with a protective heavy-duty sheath for added safety and a leather grip.
In short, if you need to chop logs or branches, you could do a lot worse than the Estwing.
Forged steel construction optimized for durability
The Best Choice Outdoor Camp Axe is a universal cutting tool that would do well in the hands of any camper, hunter, and hiker. Ideally used to chop small to medium-sized logs, this hatchet can also be used to clear thorns and brush. The steelhead has been treated with a rust-preventative to ensure it is both durable and long-lasting. With excellent cutting performance and an anti-shock fiberglass handle, this axe is as comfortable in the hand as it is efficient at chopping wood.
Anti-shock shaft with anti-slip rubber grip
Alloy steel head with a polished finish
Balanced power-to-weight ratio for swing speed and chopping power
The Brufer Hatchet Axes is one of the only axes in our buying guide which can be used for sport and axe throwing. As such, this is the lightest axe on our list, complete with a genuine hickory shaft and carbon steelhead. It can also be used for home use and gardening work, though we wouldn’t advise using it for anything more strenuous.
Lightweight carbon steelhead
Genuine hickory wood handle
Wooden and steel wedges fasten the head to the shaft
Good for home-use
Excellent for axe throwing
Not robust enough to cope with large pieces of wood
The CRKT Woods Forged Carbon Steel Wood Hickory Handle Axe is the go-to tool for people who admire functionality and multi-purpose in their axe. You can split wood and also hammer tent stakes into the ground with ease. The handle is made with substantial Tennessee hickory wood and is built to absorb a moderate amount of shock.
This may not be the flashiest of axes, but it will more than get the job done, no matter your requirements.
Carbon steel blade is excellent of durability
Blade sharpness is long-lasting
Tasteful hickory handle
Great for camping and moderate lumber work
Blade retains sharpness
Should last for a long time
Not great for felling trees
Q: What steel is best for axes?
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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