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The Best Axes for Cutting Trees or Chopping Wood
Though chainsaws and wood chippers can be efficient and powerful tools to cut down trees, nothing beats the primal satisfaction and sense of power you feel when swinging an axe. Ancient in origin, axes are among the few tools that have survived centuries and are still used by workmen and artisans today. It consists of a sharp bevel, broad poll, and serpentine handle – you certainly don’t have to be a lumberjack to appreciate the old-school beauty of an axe. This highly versatile and multipurpose tool can aid in performing a variety of tasks. Whether you are going out on a camping trip with your pals or in need of some wood for your craftwork, it is probably the first thing you need to chop down brawny wood logs. That said, finding the right axes can be overwhelming, which is why we’ve compiled a list of the top axes of 2023 available on the market today. Let’s take a look!Show contents
Buyer's Guide: Axes
Axes have been one of the most prevalent tools for survival since the Stone Age, but there are many variants available today. And with so many amazing brands and distinct types, it’s easy to get lost in the sea of choices when starting your search for an axe. That’s why we’ve created this guide with all the nitty-gritty details that are sure to help you buy an axe with ease!
Types of Axes
There are several types of axes, all of which have different functions and purposes. Some of the most popular types include:
As the name implies, a double-bitted axe features two blades: one relatively sharper than the other. This type of axe is often used for chopping firewood, splitting logs, and lumber cutting. It is relatively heavier than the traditional axe and is usually preferred by lumberjacks.
The most common type of axe is the felling axe, which is used for all sorts of small and heavy-duty tasks such as cutting small tree branches, splitting wood, and clearing bushes. It has an almost 2′ long handle with a super sharp blade to penetrate through the wood without exerting much force.
Splitting axes are also known as splitting mauls and typically have 24-36″ long handles either made of hickory or ash wood. They also have a heavy metal head with either a straight or curved bit. The wedge on the backside of the blade delivers a powerful strike to split a piece of wood along the grain with minimal chipping or cracking. Splitting axes are ideal for both splitting and felling trees.
The carpentry axe is one of the most important tools in a carpenter’s bag of tricks. A carpenter’s axe resembles a hatchet but has a sharp blade and a longer handle to provide more control over the blade. Some carpenter’s axes consist of additional grooves to remove the nails while working. This axe is often used to cut and trim dry wood into desired shapes. A good carpentry axe can do everything an average woodcutter saw can do but more expediently and with better results.
The hatchet is probably the most popular axe style available today. It is a one-handed, single-bladed sharp axe with a bushcraft handle. It usually ranges in length from 6 to 14 inches and weighs around two pounds. This type of axe is used for light chopping tasks around the yard or clearing the trail in the wilderness.
How To Find the Right Axe
The first and foremost thing to keep in mind while buying an axe is the material it is made from. An axe made from high-quality material provides maximum durability and resists chips and nicks. Always opt for an axe with a drop-forged heat-treated carbon steel blade as it offers unmatched durability and optimal strength to take down large trees without exerting much force.
Just like the blade of an axe, the handle plays a vital role in its performance. Traditional axes were made of wood, but nowadays, they are available in a range of materials, including fiberglass, steel, hickory, and ash. All these materials have their own pros and cons, so you have to pay close attention while buying the axe.
For instance, wood is usually favored by most people for its strength, affordability, and impact resistance, but it can easily wear down with constant use. Steel handles, on the other hand, surpass wood in strength and durability, but it is usually heavy, which restricts the user’s ability to work. Fiberglass is the best bet as it is lightweight and offers better swing power and wear resistance. Also, before settling down on a particular model, make sure it comes with shock resistant rubber grip for added comfort.
The weight of the axe is the major deciding factor when buying an axe. It’s totally natural for a person to assume that the heavier the axe, the more efficiently you will be able to complete the work. But that’s not always the case. Although heavier axes are endowed with powerful striking ability, they also require much more energy to swing.
Some axes weigh only 3 to 4 pounds and provide more accuracy to complete smaller tasks like chopping wood or clearing the bushes, while others weigh as much as 8 pounds and are better suited for hardcore tasks. The optimal solution is to pick a model according to your physical ability and the task at hand, so you can get the job done without getting fatigued.
The Cost of an Axe
Axes are available in a variety of materials, and prices vary based on the size, intricacy of their head, and the brand you purchase it from. Some axes cost as little as $15, but others can cost up to $200. On average, a good quality axe made from top-notch carbon steel material will cost anywhere between $50 – $150.
The cheapest axes are made of plastic, wood, or aluminum. If you need an axe for a one-time job or a weekend project, you can get by with something inexpensive. But if you need an axe for long-term, heavy-duty use, consider spending extra to buy a quality product that will last longer and doesn’t need to be sharpened very often!
While buying the axe, you also have to incorporate the price of sharpening equipment, i.e., whetstone or grindstone, which usually costs around $20.
Maintaining and Storing Your Axe
Whether you’re hacking through a thick bush or gathering wood for the bonfire, an axe is one of the most important tools in your kit. However, like any tool, an axe requires proper storage and maintenance for peak performance. Here are a few important tips that will help you maintain your axe.
- Sharpen the blade with a file or stone before storing it. If you don’t sharpen your blade, the metal dulls over time and might break when you’re using it.
- Clean off any rust, sawdust, or dirt that has accumulated on the blade or handle after every use and lubricate it with oil to prevent corrosion.
- Make sure the head of your axe isn’t loose from the handle, which can lead to poor performance and even injury while chopping wood.
- Inspect the handle for cracks and splinters, which can further loosen the head of your axe or cause other problems when you’re swinging it.
- Keep it in a protective leather sheath for maximum safety.
- Store your axe in a dry place, away from intense heat and freezing temperatures when not in use.
Comparing the Finest Axes of 20231– Best Overall27% Off
Fiskars has been a well-known brand dealing with garden, outdoor, and home accessories for years and has recently launched new X-series axes to accomplish different cutting and splitting jobs safely and efficiently. Their X7 hatchet axe comes with a precise power-to-weight ratio to maximize the swing power for chopping small logs or kindling. It features an insert molded PermaHead that increases durability and prevents it from overstrike breakage.
Unlike traditional axes, this axe boasts forged sheet blades with a proprietary grinding technique that eliminates the need for constant sharpening. The blade’s low-friction coating allows it to cut through wood like butter, allowing you to finish more quickly so you can spend more time relaxing by your campfire. On top of that, each axe comes with a lifetime warranty, so you can make your purchase with confidence. This hatchet axe makes a great gift for hunters, campers, and anyone else who loves the outdoors. This amazing axe is our top pick due to its impact power and durability.2– Most Comfortable38% Off
Next up is another exceptional and highly versatile product from Fiskars. Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe is designed for maximum efficiency to give you more one-strike splits. The lightweight, ergonomic handle combined with a nonslip rubber grip provides added comfort while reducing the chances of hand strains during extensive cutting sessions.
With a forged steel blade and optimally balanced power-to-weight ratio, this axe penetrates effortlessly into the wood to deliver more effective results with every swing. What’s more, the axe is powder-coated for extra safety and rust resistance. Thanks to a widened poll that distributes more force throughout the axe, this splitting axe’s blade is ideal for taller users who split medium- to large-sized logs with ease.3– Most Affordable32% Off
This chopping axe by WilFiks is perfect for kindling, splitting, and cutting wood efficiently. It delivers superior performance with its all-inclusive design. Its shock-resistant, ergonomically designed handle absorbs vibrations caused by every striking impact and provides you greater control over your axe. The forged carbon steel blade is heat-treated for optimal strength and produces smooth, quick, and sharper cuts, which means less effort on your part.
The weighted wedge delivers a better balance between the head and shaft, hence increasing chopping efficiency, especially when it comes to firewood. Additionally, the fully polished edge is easy to sharpen and will not easily damage the axe parts. This axe comes with a protective leather sheath for safe and convenient storage. Clocking in at less than $25, this axe is a superb companion for chopping and splitting wood in the wilderness.4– Most Compact49% Off
With the splitting power of a tomahawk and the compact size of a hatchet, the Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe can get the job done quickly, efficiently, and easily. Featuring a European-style head with a 4″ blade and 4 ½” cutting edge, this simplistic and functional axe is perfect for both light trimming and serious heavy-duty chopping.
It features a sturdy and durable straight-grained American hickory handle that gives extra strength and balance for easy control and extra-powerful swings. A great tool for camping, backpacking, or backwoods adventure, this brilliantly built axe will be welcomed as part of your outdoor gear arsenal when you want to make short work of any cutting tasks that come your way.5– Best Design
Estwing, a leading brand in America, has a penchant for crafting unbreakable, striking outdoor tools for user convenience. Their Special Edition Camper’s Axe is not ordinary in any sense of the word. It features a drop-forged and tempered steel blade that speaks to its quality and durability and is sure to last through generations of use. The patented shock reduction leather grip handle absorbs the impact vibration to over 70% and provides a secure grip when striking on the hefty wooden log.
The most prominent feature is arguably the premium finishes that make it stand out among the rest of the products on our list. You can select between a medieval steel finish and a special edition black finish to add style to your wood-chopping endeavors. This super-sharp full-size axe is built for chopping firewood for your campsite but also doubles as a useful tool for any labor-intensive job. And that’s on top of looking amazing!
Axes FAQQ: How can I sharpen my axe?
A: To sharpen an axe, first, remove the blade from the handle. Then place the blade flat on a piece of grinding stone and apply pressure to push it forward in a slow and even circular motion. Keep on repeating this step until you have sharpened the blade sufficiently to remove any nicks or burrs. Run your fingers across the sides of the blade to check if it is perfectly straight and smooth. For best results, sharpen your axe with a whetstone after using the grinding stone.Q: What is the main difference between a hatchet and an axe?
A: A hatchet and an axe are both used for chopping wood, but they have a number of differences. Generally speaking, a hatchet is a single-bladed cutting tool that is approximately 14" long, usually weighs less than two pounds, and has a small handle similar to a hammer. It is often used for light chopping tasks around the garden. Axe, on the other hand, consists of a sharp metal blade with an elongated handle and can be used for splitting wood into smaller sections or for removing tree bark.Q: Can I sharpen my axe with a knife sharpener?
A: You can sharpen an axe with a knife sharpener, but it's not recommended. Not only will it ruin the sharpener, but you'll end up with an incredibly dull axe that's impossible to use effectively.Related Reviews