Split Decision: The 7 Best Axes

Cutting wood is rapidly becoming an archaic and unpopular practice, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still necessary from time to time. In the same way you never hope to need a smoke detector, you should also have an axe on hand just in case. You never know when you’ll need to break down a door, cut up wood for fuel during a blackout, or defend your stores from marauders. An axe is the perfect tool for each of these scenarios. Don’t wait until it is too late. Find the size and weight that suits you and get one.

Axes come in all shapes and sizes. They have many more purposes than simply chopping wood. You can find them in maul form, with a sledgehammer backing. You can get hand axes for camping or self defense. Choosing one is simple: Determine how it shall be used – whether felling trees or clearing away brush – and then find the style that feels best for you. As a starting point to your adventures, we’ve found the 7 best axes of every kind.

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe

Pro: Balanced to increase strike force
Con: Longer handle

Big Dog: With most products bigger means more costly, but Fiskars has managed to make an impression without breaking the bank. Created using a DuraFrame handle it’s mightier than steel yet won’t rattle your fillings out with a severe strike. The geometric design is made to multiply force with an ideal balance ratio so you get more power behind every swing. The axe depends heavily on the handle, which is longer for greater reach. Great for taller users, but can be moderately awkward for those of a more diminutive stature. These are hardy to nigh unbreakable with a special molding around the head that will prevent it from flying off. Wood dispersion on each strike is ideal for less flying debris. Helpful when almost every strike is a kill shot. [Purchase: $55]

SA Wetterlings 315 Medium Clearing Axe

S.A. Wetterlings 315 Medium Clearing Axe

Pro: Guard protects blade
Con: Cannot chop lumber

Garden Party: Like most axe makers on this list, you can buy Wetterlings of any make or model and be thrilled with the results. Rather than being made to chop down forests or split up logs for your cabin out on Walden Lake, the clearing axe is built for handling brush and undergrowth. Typically it is best for gardening, handling basic ditch clearing, or removing unwanted shrubs around a campsite. In a pinch it can also be used to clear paths in places where a machete is overkill. Unlike a regular axe head this has a steel safety guard that will take hits against stones or the ground that would otherwise dull and a damage your blade. True hand-tool connoisseurs will find this preferable for limbing and trimming when compared with noisy, gas-guzzling hedge trimmers. The head is hand forged but works more like it has been drop forged with a Rockwell hardness of 57-58 HRC. Lathed hickory is used for the handle. [Purchase: $88]

Wilton BASH Splitting Maul

Wilton BASH Splitting Maul

Pro: Anti-vibration grip and collar
Con: Difficult to replace handle

Monster Mash: Maul style axes usually are all alike. Manufacturers think sticking a heavy head on a hunk of wood is enough. It isn’t. That is why the BASH is king of the hill in this category. First off, the handle is made of steel rods wrapped in vulcanized rubber that are unbreakable (so long as you aren’t shoving it in a car compactor or otherwise trying to break it). Just below the drop forged steel head is a tapered rubber neck that absorbs and reduces vibrations so they don’t travel down the handle. At the top is a safety plate that will stop the head from coming loose even after thousands of swings, so feel comfortable using it very near to your kids (don’t, actually). You can get the handle in either 30 inch or 36 inch lengths with 6 or 8 lbs. heads depending on your preference. Truly as impressive a hammer as it is an axe. With care and proper feeding this could be the last maul you or your wood-cutting offspring will ever need. [Purchase: $111]

Gransfors Bruks Hunters Axe

Gransfors Bruks Hunters Axe

Pro: Flay poll build for skinning
Con: Technically a craft tool rather than wood axe

Animal Magnetism: This is a smaller hand axe that is meant to aid hunters when cutting and cleaning game, since the narrow head works better going through bone and sinew. It is equally good at handling smaller chopping jobs, limbing trees, or light woodwork. Tipping the scales at just a pound-and-a-half, this head is made for faster work rather than really heavy hacking. On the 19 inch hickory handle you’ll find circular grooves that improve the overall grip, even if you get your hands covered in sap or blood. The overall build is meant for both show and for actual use. With the flay poll build you’ll never have to worry about damaging the hide of any trophy during skinning. Though the head has a rough-hewn look it is easy to sharpen and holds an edge for ages. [Purchase: $200]

Sibert Comanche Tomahawk

Sibert Comanche Tomahawk

Pro: Can penetrate metal or punch through body armor
Con: Slender

Urban Warfare: This was narrowly hedged out when we were looking at the best tactical tomahawks since it is made more for combat than truly tactical endeavors, but we think that makes it ideal as a hand axe made for self defense. The head is N690Co steel complete with a rear spike for hacking, slashing, digging, and impaling from multiple angles. Comes in two sizes, with a true tactical 14 incher and a longer 18 inches for those who need more swing and heft. Good for taking down a door, making quick work of an adversary in close quarters, or just splintering up some kindling, you’ll find this is more than enough weapon to ease your woes. The handle is covered in G-10 scales for a tight grip that also reduces shock. Put it in your car, put it in your sock drawer, or put it in your desk for the next time they question your expense account. [Purchase: $275]

Best Made Co Challis

Best Made Co. Challis

Pro: Narrow head
Con: Long handle

Timber Time: A company cocky enough to go around calling themselves the Best Made had better live up to their name, and these do. Oddly, they are based out of Manhattan yet have some of the finest felling axes ever made that are beloved by old-school lumberjacks the world over. Whichever item you choose from their collection, you’ll be well-equipped, but we fell blade over handle for the Challis. The head is a 4 lbs. Dayton style that Lincoln himself would adore. Using a 5160 alloy steel that has been hardened to 54-56 HRC on the Rockwell scale this shrugs off nicks. BMC axe heads are very slender when compared with other felling axes which gives a deeper cut with each swing and tosses chips predictably. No more wondering if an errant piece is going to slip into your eye. A hickory, straight-grain handle from trees right in the heart of Appalachia completes the unit. Classy enough to be a showpiece, yet made for forest clearing, this is the axe where art and engineering intersect. [Purchase: $350]

Vipukirves Leveraxe 2

Vipukirves Leveraxe 2

Pro: Exceptional leverage
Con: Terrible for felling

On the Block: Hundreds of years passed with human beings using the same inefficient axe design for splitting up logs to go in their fire. Traditional axe heads do a fine job, but they also tend to wedge in logs, particularly green ones, and require practiced aim to hit an existing split. That is why Finnish inventor Heikki Kärnä invented the Leveraxe and now the Leveraxe 2. He wanted an axe that did more with less work. The strange curlicue design is specifically made for handling logs by letting the chopper dig in with increased leverage to pry a log apart. It can accomplish in just a hack and a wiggle splits that many axes can only perform after multiple strikes. The head is only 3.5 lbs. of stainless steel that doesn’t easily corrode and is dainty enough that even smaller, older, or less burly users can still get results. The grip is a full birch handle that is very hearty. Even if you own the original, you’ll find the Leveraxe 2 lighter, safer, and simpler. [Purchase: $355]

Get The Goods


Sign up for HiConsumption The Goods

© HiConsumption | DMCA

Back To Top