Avid carpenters can't live without a hatchet. A fine axe can take on several applications from shaping, splitting, and cutting wood.
However, axes today come in several specialized forms for different uses. Using the wrong type of axe, you may come to no benefits but wasting money.
For chopping wood, not only you need a well forged but also specifically crafted axe for getting the job done in fewer strikes. There are also things to notice in the handle. Therefore, keep reading so that I can tell you what I know about the best axe for chopping wood, helping to choose the very right one for yourself.
Here are the best axes for chopping wood you can buy in 2020:
- Best Overall: Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
- Best For Thick Chunks: Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe
- Best For Limbing: Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
- Best Long-Handle Axe: Fiskars 36-inch Maul
- Best For Lighter Use: Estwing Fireside Friend 14-inch wood splitting Axe
- Most Durable: Gerber 17.5-Inch Freescape Hatchet
|Top 6 Best Axes For Chopping Wood|
|Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe||Read Our Review|
Best For Thick Chunks
|Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe||Read Our Review|
Best For Limbing
|Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe||Read Our Review|
Best Long-Handle Axe
|Fiskars 36-inch Maul||Read Our Review|
Best For Lighter Use
|Estwing Fireside Friend 14-inch wood splitting Axe||Read Our Review|
|Gerber 17.5-Inch Freescape Hatchet||Read Our Review|
Best Overall: Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
- Sharp for chopping
- Strong grip
- Great grain pattern
- Hard metal blade
- Well balanced
- Poorly designed blade cover
- Head may get loose
Husqvarna has always been the top brand of outdoor gear and garage tool I prior to choosing from. For axes, it's no exception.
This multi-purpose axe has been with me for a while, and I can't say more than it's very comparable to any high-standard axe out there.
Why? It's a single piece of the traditional axe, but the quality of Swedish steel is just outstanding. Hand-forging makes it stiff and powerful on every strike. The blade comes sharp without further sharpening, ideally fits chopping.
The handle is made of American Hickory, with the grain running all along from the back to the front. On this axe, the grain actually curves with the handle, making a really nice pattern. When I got this unit, I got it sanded off the sort of lacquer finish to add more grips. In hand, you can see the taper on the back of the handle for extra safety when you swing.
The sheath is what I wish Husqvarna would improve because it provides little security to the blade.
|Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Hand-forged Swedish steel for a super hard blade and durable American Hickory handle
This Husqvarna axe makes chopping chunks of wood and other applications easier than ever.
Best For Thick Chunks: Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe
- Nice length for splitting wood
- Great for breaking large pieces
- Pleasant weight
- Safe handle guard
- Blade chips
- Not quality sheath
This awesome splitting maul is a true done for thick chunks that I'm so proud to have in my collection.
If you know Gransfors Bruk, you're probably aware that all axes are made in Sweden. This axe features a hand-forged 5 ½-lb head with a pneumatic hammer owning a rustic look appeals to any carpentry worker. It has sort of a sledgehammer driving sledge on the back; so, you can use to drive a wedge.
The blade was a no complaint, but I actually put a new edge on it like most axe I bought. The reason for this unit to be ideal for chopping is the tapered grind. Under the head is a part of the sleeve used to protect the handle from breaking.
The handle has a super nice-looking grain orientation aligned with the cutting edge there. You can find a nice swell both directions. The unit comes with a vegetable-tanned leather sheath with tap closure.
|Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Designed with a thin blade that drives into wood unobtrusively and the broader section tears apart the wood
Do yourself a favor. Get chopping thick chunks more relaxing by assigning the job to this heavy-duty Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul.
Best For Limbing: Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe
- Fast-access sheath
- Thin edge
- Easy to carry
- Blade is not rust-resistant
This tiny axe is my favorite gear when it comes to limbing those obtrusive branches.
Again, Gransfors Bruk is a wonderful company, hence their axes. This one is like a smaller version of the 31-inch. It features a Hickory handle soaked in boiled linseed oil, leaving protection for the wood.
The grain on this unit is not the best orientation, but for this size of a hatchet, you don't really need exact nice vertical orientation. Now, the handle is kind of a straighter cut one with a straight back and curved right through the length then ends with a swell on both ways. There's also a lanyard hole for hanging.
Like its brother, the axe's got a stainless steel wrap on the handle to prevent the wood from fraying. The head is hand-forged, too. And it comes razor sharp. I did some chopping out of the box, and it was like shaving.
|Gransfors Bruks Outdoor Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Lightweight and handier for bush crafters and hikers
It's a nice little axe to be out there with you for limbing or small camping tasks.
Best Long-Handle Axe: Fiskars 36-inch Maul
- Less vibration in swinging
- Heavy-duty construction
- Slip-reducing flare
- Split log with less effort
- Lifetime warranty
- For splitting only
For those of you who have old-fashioned splitting maul, wood handle, small little ledge up top, this baby is a worthwhile upgrade. It's got a super heavy rigged on a patented handle that can reduce vibrations. I'm not going to lie. This thing can mow through rounds.
If you really don't want to swing the head, you can just let the weight of the actual maul do the work for you. It takes log splitting, driving wedges, and skates with minimal swings. The other I really liked is the hammer side to pound hard things.
The blade itself is a work of calculation. Its geometry offers better penetration through logs. Swinging this heavy bad boy consumes energy, but Fiskars has thought of that. The patented IsoCore Shock Control System absorbs shock and vibration while the handle flare at the bottom keeps the tool firmly in your hand.
|Fiskars 36-inch Maul Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Forged, heat-treated steel for extra durability and a sculpted profile for optimal splitting
If you're in the market for a splitting axe, this axe will be the most appropriate choice out there.
Best For Lighter Use: Estwing Fireside Friend 14-inch wood splitting Axe
- Grippy handle
- Durable construction
- Easy to use and maintain
- Include a heavy-duty sheath
- Too solid for backpacking
- Not well designed for balance
This splitting axe reminded me of an old-school sledgehammer my dad used to have. It features a blue UV coating on a single-piece steel design for the longest lasting. So, you don't have to worry about snapping. On the head, one side is a sharp axe; the other can use as a hammer. I believe the material is double tempered steel, which is incredibly durable.
In my opinion, it is ideal leverage and powerful for splitting wood. The axe is on the small size for lighter use.
The handle characterizes a shock reduction vinyl grip section. After a long while, I still see that part in its good condition. And it's quite grippy.
|Estwing Fireside Friend 14-inch wood splitting Axe Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
One-piece design is easy to use and solid
Using this axe for light jobs in the camp or around your house will surely make you happy.
Most Durable: Gerber 17.5-Inch Freescape Hatchet
- Built-to-last composite handle
- Head forged to cut sharply
- Easy to control
- Durable construction
- Plastic sheath is easy to break
- Some plastic mold parts
I like to talk about the handle first. It's green with a nice textured plastic wrap-up, almost like a rubber band. It gives a fair traction that is incomparable to TPE. However, I believe this handle is perennial thanks to the composite material.
But why I chose this one? There's a lot of things about this axe.
The head is forged steel that holds a fairly good edge that won't chip in quite a long while. Its wedge tape design is optimal for splitting wood and chopping with deeper control and efficiency.
What else? Scandinavian grind allows sharp and clean cut, and a hammerhead that is able to pound steaks.
The sheath is a joke, but I like the idea of it having a handle for easy carry. It also includes a belt loop so that you can wear it with you to the wood site.
|Gerber 17.5-Inch Freescape Hatchet Specifications|
Length (With Handle)
Super-durable composite handle and forged steel head promises a lifetime of use
If you need something that won't break during the work, you got it. This Gerber axe and its handle is on your side until you get tired of it.
How To Choose The Best Axes For Chopping Wood?
I've received lots of questions about what is the right axe for splitting logs as it seems to amateurs all axes do the same duty.
In fact, splitting axes are a particular type with typical geometry that won't get stuck in the wood when you hit it. However, there is more to know when it comes down to an axe for chopping wood. If you want to know, please keep reading.
- Wood chopping axes come in a range of sizes. Each of them serves your purpose and preference.
- Hatchets from 20 inches are ideal around the camp for chopping firewood often used by scouts. It's also an excellent size with which ideal for starters to begin. Because it's light in the hand so you won't get tired too quickly. Also, you can use it for carving.
- But for cutting a series of firewood, you need something bigger. The middle size of axe is both usable in one hand and long enough to handle mediocre work if you have to. If it comes to the backpack, a medium-large is carriable.
- A lot of experienced woodchoppers use longer axe with heavier heads to make their work easier and faster. It gives the longer reach to be able to cut bigger pieces of wood for a fire.
Head And Blade
- Sharpness is not the key in splitting, but it does provide good bites to the meat of log, causing a chink in the premise of splitting apart. But as I perceived from many of my friends in the north, they all refine the axe right out of the box.
- Head geometry also matters for chopping wood. Slim head designs tend to stick into the log on strike, and it will take you time to pull the axe out. Thicker heads will separate the piece of wood right on the first hit. However, wider heads are bulkier and usually come with a lengthier handle.
- Speaking of the handle, I've got many issues with poor quality ones. So, for me, hickory seems to be the best material for a handle. Oak and ash go after.
- Also, you should pay attention to the grain orientation. It should run parallel with the length of the handle, not perpendicular. If the orientation is off its road too far, it's likely that the handle is weak.
Which Brands Make The Best Axes For Chopping Wood?
- The Finnish company has a long history and well-rooted background in producing gear to serve life. They inherited the technique of crafting metal from iron to copper, manufacturing the stiffest and sharpest axes, not only for chopping, but also bushcrafting, and more.
- Everyone speaks about Gransfors-Bruks when they mean for axes. The proprietary hand-forged axes from the brand have the top-of-the-world quality to handle a range of applications. Gransfors-Bruks sees their perspective in environmental, functional and human responsibility thus compromise a focus on a sustainable development now and forever
Is a maul or AXE better for splitting wood?
I would say a maul is always a better choice for splitting wood. Its heaviness gives additional power to each swing. However, it is that heavier weight that makes a maul difficult to use. So, if you just deal with smaller logs or splitting wood at the edges, you can go for a splitting axe.
Chopping axes have slimmer and sharper blade than a splitting one to steer through wood fibers. Those axes are versatile in many ways, including limbing, carving, and cutting logs horizontally.
How do you chop wood with an AXE?
Chopping wood is not as easy as swinging the axe downward into the logs. You need proper technique, here is how:
- Pick a flat ground
- Position your log
- Look and find the grain of the wood, you don't want to hit to the center but into the edge because it's harder in the middle.
- Get yourself ready. If you're right-handed, the back of the axe is in your left hand. Stand flat and balance before taking a step forward, use your right hand to lift the top of the handle and swing the axe for a hard stroke downward right into the edge of the log.
- Your axe may get stuck to the wood. Pull it out and repeat the swinging part.
It takes a bit of time and mess until you get used to the task. But if you keep practice, it doesn't take longer than a day or two.
Is it better to split wood wet or dry?
Typically, people prefer split wood when they are wet. Fresh woods are tenderer. However, do when it's convenient for you. Many people deal with seasoned wood, and they are fine.
Should you split wood before seasoning?
Again! Splitting fresh wood is always easier. The seasoning process will take around six months. So, I suggest cutting and stacking before seasoning.
It's great to have the best axe for chopping wood to tackle wood stocking every winter. There will be many thanks to say. I hope my reviews have given you something useful. Just send me more questions if you need to clarify anything before buying.
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