Axes Guides

Best Axes for Splitting Wood-2020 Buyer’s Guide

lumberjack chopping wood

You can find axes in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, each designed to handle trimming branches, felling trees, and splitting wood. But the best axes for splitting wood have to be built tough and should feature the right weight and the perfect balance, in order to give the user more control over their swing. This buyer’s guide includes all the information you need to find the perfect axe to suit your chopping needs. I’ve also included four axes that every axe user will love, thanks to their durable, well-built design, head quality, and handle durability. Below, you’ll find a comparison chart that includes the four models that made it onto my list, their top features and their score.

Axes for Splitting Wood Comparison Chart

ProductWeightLengthWarrantyRating
Fiskars 378841-1002
Splitting Axe

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5.85 LBS36 InchesYes
Fiskars X25 Splitting Axe

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5.29 LBS28 InchesYes
Intertool Wood Splitting Axe

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6.59 LBS34.4 InchesNo
TABOR TOOLS
Splitting Axe

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8.95 LBS35 InchesNo

Fiskars 378841-1002 Splitting Axe


Our Rating: (5/5)

This latest splitting axe by Fiskars is a great choice for taller users, measuring in at thirty-six inches long. It can handle splitting medium-large sized logs and comes equipped with a textured non-slip grip that improves control and reduces hand strain and user fatigue. The perfect power to weight ratio and balance will increase swing speed in order to multiply power, just like with a standard baseball bat made out of aluminum. This model is specifically designed for one-strike splits. The handle features a grip that’s non-slip and textured. The convex blade design makes it easier to remove wood, adding power to every strike.

Pros

  • Designed for one-strike splits
  • Perfectly balanced
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Good choice for taller user

Cons

  • Shorter users may have trouble controlling a swing

Conclusion

This ultra-sharp axe chops deeper with each swing, which is what makes it a great choice for splitting firewood and felling trees. This model is easily able to handle larger logs; however, shorter users will find it difficult to control their swing, due to the longer length. Overall, this is a great axe to keep on hand whether you’re camping and gathering firewood or going through that large woodpile at home.

Fiskars X25 Splitting Axe


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This axe can handle medium-large sized logs and is designed for max efficiency per strike. The axe is covered by a lifetime warranty and comes equipped with the popular shock absorbing Fiber Comp handle. The axe itself is lightweight, however, it’s made out of stronger steel that’s designed to prevent overstrike damage. This model features excellent weight distribution, an ultra-sharp edge, advanced blade geometry, and perfect weight distribution. This design allows the blade to disperse wood efficiently and more effectively, with every strike.

Pros

  • Well-balanced
  • Fiber Comp handle
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Excellent weight distribution
  • Can handle medium-large sized logs

Cons

  • Difficult to control

Conclusion

This blade is made with a proprietary grinding technique that provides cleaner cuts and better contact. The forged hardened steel blade will also remain sharper longer, complete with a low-friction blade coating that will help users to power through tougher, thicker logs. This X series axe features the perfect advanced blade geometry and balanced design, complete with an ultra-sharp edge for improved cutting precision and faster results that are designed to maximize the user’s performance. This model earned top marks in a number of categories and will hold an edge longer, unlike most traditional axes that are easy to break and quick to dull.

Intertool Wood Splitting Axe


Our Rating: (4.5/5)

This axe features an axe head that’s made out of high-quality steel, allowing it to deliver impressive striking force against the thickest logs. The flat poll head design can also be used to drive wedges and much more since the maul can also work as a sledgehammer. The handle is made out of fiberglass and provides a non-slip, comfortable grip. The handle measures in at thirty-four inches, for maximum leverage and impressive striking power.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Non-slip grip
  • Silicone blade cover
  • Made out of high-quality steel

Cons

  • Does not include a warranty

Conclusion

This model is easy to control, making it a great choice for beginners. The durable design combined with the powerful axe head and maul make this a must-have tool for use around the yard or on camping and hunting trips. The lightweight design also makes the axe more beginner friendly and will give the user more control over every swing.

TABOR TOOLS Splitting Axe


Our Rating: (4/5)

This is an axe that was designed to split large logs. The blade design allows it to easily blast through even the thickest logs, while the balanced head, complete with wings, will provide a more effective, easier swing. The handle is made out of fiberglass and measures in at thirty-two inches, so you’ll have plenty of leverage. On the handle you’ll find a cushioned rubber grip that will improve user comfort while preventing the log from slipping out of your hands when they begin to sweat. The grip also absorbs shock, which will reduce hand strain. Overall, this model is a good choice for both around the yard use and felling small trees when you’re camping or hunting.

Pros

  • Easy to sharpen
  • Cushioned rubber grip
  • Long handle length provides plenty of leverage
  • Price

Cons

  • Arrives out of the box dull
  • Handle feels cheap
  • Very heavy

Conclusion

If you’re looking for an axe that can handle splitting larger, thicker logs, then this model is a great choice. It features a tough, comfortable grip that will allow you to easily split tough wood, while minimizing impact and reducing user fatigue and hand strain. The length of the handle may make it difficult for some people to swing with total control, however, most buyers look for an axe handle of this length since it allows them to use the leverage they need to cut through thicker wood. The axe itself is powerful, durable, and almost indestructible.

Axes for Splitting Wood Buyer’s Guide

Not all axes are suitable for splitting wood. Splitting wood involves striking the flat, sawed end of a log and separating the fibers of the wood, which will cause the log to split along the grain. When you split wood, you need a splitting axe. This type of axe comes equipped with a wedge-shaped blade and a heavy iron head.

The backside of this type of axe will usually feature a sledgehammer type head known as a maul. Usually, the blade side of the axe is more suitable for the job. However, for thicker logs that are more than a foot in diameter, you’ll be able to increase the splitting power by positioning a wedge into the log’s face, then using the maul end of the axe as a sledgehammer to strike it.

Handles

This type of axe handle will be forged out of a few different types of materials including:

  • Forged steel
  • Fiberglass composite
  • Hardwood

Hardwood is usually the most popular option because these handles are lighter, and they feel good in the hands. Wood can absorb some of the shock when you strike a log, however, they can also break and weaken over time, so they may need to be replaced at some point.

Handles that are made out of fiberglass composite can also absorb some of the shock that comes with impact and the material itself is smooth to the touch, however, fiberglass has a tendency to underperform when it comes to cold weather conditions.

Steel handles are usually forged in a single piece that is combined with the handle and the axe head. This type of handle is considered the most durable, however, they do a poor job of absorbing shock, which means the user will feel the reverb with every strike.

Length

When you’re shopping for a splitting axe, the handle length will be just as important as what the handle is made out of. A splitting axe can run from fourteen up to sixteen inches in length. The longer an axe, the more power and velocity the user will be able to generate. However, hitting a precise spot on a piece of wood can become progressively difficult when you’re using a longer handle. If you’re new to swinging an axe, then you may want to stick with a model that’s around thirty inches in length. At this length, the user can focus on perfecting their striking technique. A shorter handle is often a better choice for one hand use and is designed to split smaller shards of wood for limbing, felling, or for kindling use.

Weight

A heavier axe head can allow for more power generated when the user swings the axe in an arc, bringing it down on the wood. However, an axe head that’s too heavy can also be problematic because it can hinder the user’s ability to control the axe head with precision. People who are not familiar with swinging an axe should stick to a model that’s no heavier than six pounds. Ideally, an axe that’s around four pounds will be a better choice.

Choosing the perfect weight depends on the task you have in mind and the sharpness, size, and strength of the axe.

Head Thickness

The shape of the axe head can determine whether it’s suitable for carving, splitting, or felling. Wider axe heads will allow users to split or chop wood quickly. The sharper the head is, the better it is for slicing and cutting through wood.

Poll Shape

If you’re using an axe for hunting, camping, or backpacking purposes, then you’ll want a model that features a multi-shape poll. The spike and hammer are two of the most common types of polls. A flat poll allows users to use the tool as a hammer. This means, if you’re setting up a tent and you need to hammer the spikes in place, your axe can handle this job easily.

Handle Shape

The shape of the handle can also play an important role when you’re shopping for a new axe. When you’re using a single-sided blade, a curved handle will be a better choice since it will provide a more comfortable, natural grip. If the axe has a double-sided head, then you’ll need to go with a straight handle since this will allow for the user to swing the axe in both directions without having to change the orientation of the top.

Handle Cover

The handle cover will be made out of a material that’s non-slippery, such as plastic or rubber. The cover is designed to improve the user’s grip. This will prevent the axe from slipping out of your hands during use. If you’re using an axe with a wood handle, then make sure the surface is not slippery. Cheap quality axes can come with a type of wood varnish over the surface, which can be potentially dangerous, since this can cause the axe to slip out of the hands if the hands become sweaty during use.

Double- and Single-Bit Designs

Single bit axes will have a blade only on one side of the axe, while the double bit axe will have a blade on each side. The single bit model will provide more weight to the poll. This allows it to cut faster. A double bit axe offers more balance since each side has a blade of the same weight.

Safety Tips When Using an Axe

chopping wood at work

When handling an axe, safety is important. Improper axe use can result in a serious injury.

Below, you’ll find some important usage tips that are designed to keep you safe while also preventing damage to property:

  • Always inspect an axe before you take a swing with it. Make sure that the handle doesn’t feel loose and is not damaged in any way. A broken or loose handle can fall apart during use and can cause the head and handle to split.
  • When you’re chopping away, always use two hands to get the job done. This will allow you to better position yourself and use a good grip.
  • Take a look at the cutting area and ensure that there’s no obstructions. If you’re splitting wood for a fire, then make sure you split it in a large area, a spot that has enough room for you to swing the axe freely.
  • Always use the correct cutting angle. When you’re using an axe to limb a tree or split wood, begin by using an angled cut. This will help to set the direction the tree or branches will fall, so you can chop cleanly and quickly.
  • If you’re using an axe in colder weather, make sure you boost the temperature of the axe by heating it up slightly. Cold weather can make metal brittle and can increase the risk of the blade breaking and chipping.
  • Always hold the axe firmly, so you won’t lose your grip when you’re making a cut. Make sure you keep a hand positioned near the head of the axe, while the other hand is resting behind the first. The head of the axe should be kept at a forty-five-degree angle.
  • The head of the axe is very sharp and should always be kept covered when the axe is not being used. You can purchase a protective cover for the axe head if the axe your purchase doesn’t come with one. This will protect feet if you accidentally drop it and can prevent other types of injuries when the axe is being transported.
  • You may think wearing protective eyewear looks silly and may even be overkill when you’re splitting wood, that is, until you get a stray piece of wood that strikes you right in the eye. Always wear protective eyewear when you’re splitting wood, even if you’ve split wood for years. All it takes it one wrong swing and you can end up with a chunk of wood embedded in your eye. It’s also important to always wear steel toed boots, long pants and long sleeves.

 Splitting Wood with a Splitting Axe

  • To split wood with your new axe, you’ll begin by standing with your feet placed shoulder width apart. For improved balance when you swing, make sure you place one foot in front of the other. However, make sure you place one foot just slightly in front of the other. If the other foot is placed squarely in front then you will end up using your hips to power the swing instead of your shoulders, back, and arms.
  • Next, you’ll raise the axe above your head, letting it drop. As it drops, your dominant hand will slide down to meet the other hand at the base.
  • During this time, your hips should be pulled back, your knees should be bent, adding some kinetic energy to each swing. If you’re splitting large logs, shoot for a point that’s midway between the center and the edge of the round. If you try to split it directly in the center, you’ll find that it’s very difficult because of the way the fibers in the wood hold the log together. The edges are easier to split because they’re weaker. Once you have split the round once, it will be significantly easier to split more, into small pieces.
  • If you’re splitting a large log, you will use the same principles. Begin at the end of the log, close to where it’s already been cut. Trying to split it right down the center will just make more work for you and will use up all of your energy.
  • If you’re splitting a log, it’s also important that it is placed firmly upon the splitting surface. Otherwise, the wood will roll if you take a bad swing. It can also cause the axe to deflect off the wood’s surface. When it comes to rounds of wood, placing the wood inside an old tire is a great safety trick and one that will prevent the round from moving as you chop.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You use an Axe to Split Wood?

Mauls are heavier and they have a wider head than an axe, which can make it a better choice for splitting wood. When you’re dealing with smaller wood splitting jobs, and axe will work just fine. Keep in mind, the key isn’t sharpness, you’re not chopping wood or even cutting it, you’re splitting the wood.

What is the Difference Between a Splitting Axe and a Chopping Axe?

Chopping axes are different from splitting axes in a variety of ways. The chopping axe has a blade that’s much thinner than what you’ll find on a splitting axe. The blade is also much sharper because it’s designed to cut through wood cross-way. Using a chopping axe correctly will involve making cuts using downward strokes.

Should a Wood Splitting Maul be Sharp?

Many axe users suggest sharpening a splitting maul since it will be important in order to maintain its usability. However, you shouldn’t sharpen the splitting maul like you would a standard axe. Mauls aren’t really meant to be sharp since it’s used for splitting the wood apart, not chopping the wood.

Is it Better to Split Wood Wet or Dry?

You can split both dry and wet wood. Dry wood can be easier to split; however, some people prefer to split wet wood since it will help the wood to dry out faster.

What is the Easiest Wood to Split?

In terms of which type of wood is the easiest to split, many will agree on oak, hard maple, and ash. Try to avoid splitting logs that have interlocking grains. This can include wood such as sycamore, gum, and elm. These woods are difficult to split, even if you use a log splitter instead of an axe. Green wood can also be easier to split compared to dry wood.

Should you Split Wood Green or Seasoned?

If you’re splitting wood using an axe, then you’ll want to start off by splitting any green wood. Green wood is easier to split because it contains a lot of moisture, which makes the wood more yielding and softer. This is especially true when it comes to wood types such as maple and oak.

Final Thoughts

Learning how to split logs can be tricky and it will definitely take some practice to get your swing down. However, with the right axe, you’ll soon find your rhythm, as long as you practice the proper form and take careful swings. Using the right type of axe, one that’s high-quality will go a long way toward how quickly and efficiently you split wood. The best axes for splitting wood will be heavy enough to give the user the perfect level of control with every swing, will come with a durable handle that offers a solid, comfortable grip, and will feature a durable axe head design that won’t break, crack, or chip during use. The axes I’ve included in my top four list have got you covered and can be used strictly for chopping wood around the yard, or on your next camping or hunting adventure. This buyer’s guide is designed to help you find the right type of axe based on wood size, cutting needs, and your skill level, so you can be sure you end up with an axe you can easily handle and a model that can quickly and efficiently take on that wood pile in the yard or at the campsite.