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7 of the Best Axe for Chopping or Splitting Wood that Makes it Easy to Do Fun Things Outdoors

In our beloved country today, the greatest controversy among outdoor enthusiasts is the right way to spell the name of this hand tool that I call an axe. My next door neighbor accused me of trying to change American English and he insisted the correct spelling is, AX.

So, in the spirit of openness, it makes no difference to me how it is spelled as long as you know how to select the best axe for chopping wood. Also, for clarity sake, in this review, the three letters would represent the true spelling for this outdoor hand tool.

What is a Wood Axe?

An axe is probably one of the oldest tools and its origin probably can be traced hundreds of years back. I hate to quote a beginning date for the creation of an axe because we know history is usually written by the conquering army, and our present world history is full of falsehoods.

With the right type of axe, you can split or cut wood. It is also one of the earliest iron tool used to cut down trees. Until the modern cooking stove came into existence, you needed firewood to be able to cook your food, and the woods needed to be cut up into smaller pieces.

The type of axe you purchase should be influenced by what you’ll be doing with it. Some of the best axes in the world are carved out of pure steel while most will come with a thick wooden handle.

Different Types of Axes

When we talk about the difference types of axes you should know that the differences can be subtle and related to the design style and setup. Even, most of the best wood axe brands will be setup to function the same way.

Do remember that all axes will look the same, but what each can be used for is where the differences can be found. The most common classification for axes for cutting wood are:

The Wood Cutting Axe

The thin profile of this axe hides the fact that it can be used to penetrate any type of wood with brute force. It is the most reliable type of axe to use when cutting log woods into smaller pieces for your fireplace since it can do so with very little hesitation or friction.

Best Wood Cutting Axes

1 – Helko Werk Traditional Rheinland Pack Axe Review

Helko Werk Traditional Rheinland Pack Axe Review

The Helko Werk axe is made by hand in Wuppertal, Germany using high-grade carbon steel with C45 classification. If you thought Switzerland is only good at managing money, you better think again, as the handle is made by the Swiss using grade A American Hickory wood. {1}

The total weight for this product is only two pounds and it comes with a well-made premium leather sheath to help protect the sharpness of the head. If you’re looking for an axe to cut different types of wood this is the brand to invest your funds in.

Some might call the pricing expensive but the handcrafting of the carbon steel by master smiths provides unparalleled quality. Another justification for the pricing is the way the handle is carefully crafted in Switzerland using only American hickory wood that was selected for their fine grain and density. {2}

This is truly one of the best axes in the world for splitting or chopping wood and you can have one delivered to your home in just a few days if your desire is to own a very high-quality product that can deliver flawless performance all the time.

2 – Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe Review

Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe Review

In this Fiskars axe review, it will soon become obvious why this brand is highly sought after by outdoor enthusiasts the world over. While costing just a fraction of the asking price for the axe from Helko Werk it has all the right features that allows you to cut and split different types of woods just the way you like it.

The design of this axe from Fiskars is set up so that every strike on the wood or tree will be maximized. The head comes with a sharpness that makes every swing chop or split more wood, which means you’ll be done in less time.

The ergonomic design of the handle means handling this axe requires little effort with less hand strain. The head blade is forged from hardened steel and coated with a special material to prevent it from getting stuck inside the wood.

This fine axe for cutting trees or splitting woods is designed in Billnas, Finland a country with an enviable collection of centuries of experience in creating durable and long lasting forged tools. The Fiskars X15 chopping axe weighs about 3.5 pounds. {3}

You also get a sturdy sheath that not only protects the user during transport but also creates a safer storage of the axe from Fiskars. The impressive and industry leading lifetime warranty might just be the feature that makes you decide to get one for yourself today.

3 – Estwing E24A Sportsman’s Axe with Leather Grip Review

Estwing E24A Sportsman's Axe with Leather Grip Review

The Estwing E24A is a true American made product that is forged from tough steel. There are advantages to owning a cutting axe that is made from a single steel for both the head and the handle. For one, you do not have to worry about the head coming loose from the handle as they’re joined from birth if I might be blunt.

It is available for purchase in two main sizes 12-inches and 14-inches. The steel handle is covered by a beautiful leather material, which ensures a firm grip during outdoor wood splitting or chopping. {4}

To help with safe storage and transportation you get a heavy duty nylon sheath for the cutting head. The Estwing E24A sportsman’s axe with leather grip weighs less than two pounds. This is one of the best wood axe brands with a lifetime warranty that covers any manufacturers defect.

The Wood Splitting Axe

Like I said in the beginning, the differences among axes can be subtle as to most people they all look the same anyway. An axe for splitting wood will come with a wider profile, which makes it ideal to splitting wood with just one strike.

Another common name for this type of axe is splitting maul and most will have longer handles and weigh far more than axes for cutting wood. Wood splitting axes are not so friendly to beginners, as there are learning curves to be mastered.

In my opinion, your main concern should be getting an axe that can allow you to cut your wood with as little effort as possible. The following wood axes would allow you to split wood easily and without much hand strain.

Best Wood Splitting Axes

4 – Husqvarna Large Wood Splitting

Husqvarna Large Wood Splitting

This company with a hard to pronounce name is actually one of the premier manufacturers of home tools and small appliances including a very durable large wood splitting axe. The Husqvarna splitting axe is designed to make it easier to split thicker woods with just one strike.

If you constantly deal with large woods and need an ax to split them into two, this tool will not disappoint. It has a long handle that makes it easier to hold, but your best strike will be delivered if you use both hands.

The length of this axe from Husqvarna is about 30-inches and it weighs less than five pounds. The head is made of hand-forged steel. This axe is not pretty, but it is capable of splitting large woods with very few strikes. {5}

5 – Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe Review

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe Review

One of the top rated splitting axes one can buy online at Amazon.com is made by Fiskars. It is available for purchase in four different sizes including 17-Inch, 23.5-Inch, 28-Inch, and 36-Inch.

While it is designed to help produce maximum efficiency, the larger sizes are more appropriate for taller individuals. The manufacturer claims the head of this axe was created using a grinding technique that is proprietary, which gives the ax a sharper edge.

Also, the head of the Fiskars X27 axe is made from hardened forged steel that is guaranteed not to break. With this axe wood splitting or chopping can be done in record time, and you do not have to worry about too much hand strain.

Best of all reasons to buy one today is the lifetime guarantee, which is a testament to the durability of the product.

6 – Helko Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter Review

Helko Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter Review

This is another fine axe that is also made in Germany by Helko. The head is forged from high-grade carbon steel C45. Like the first cutting axe reviewed above the handle for this one is also made in Switzerland using grade-A, American hickory wood.

It has a curved design that contributes to a perfect balance if you use a firm grip hold. This is as powerful an axe as you’re going to get, which means both hands are required for a good strike on that thick wood.

The Helko Vario 2000 is better suited for use on woods other axes would shy away from. It comes with a built in safety feature that ensures that any loose head will remain on the handle and not fly off when you swing the ax from Helko.

This axe is designed and put together in Germany, so expect to pay a premium price for this product. If you want your hand tools to last many decades, the heavy log splitter Helko Vario 2000 will serve you right.

To enhance safety while storing or transporting this axe there is a made in the USA leather sheath included with your purchase.

7 – Estwing E3-FF4 Wood Splitting Axe Review

Estwing E3-FF4 Wood Splitting Axe Review

Truth be told, I have only selected axes with high approval ratings from current users, which is why some top brands have two products listed in this best axes reviews. This wood splitting axe from Estwing has a handle with shock reduction grip materials.

The manufacturer claims it is made from the strongest steel one can find in the world. This best splitting maul from Estwing is created from just one piece of tough steel, which means the head and handle are joined at birth. This is one of the best-made axes in the United States of America.

The design and construction setup of this axe is unique since it is impossible for the head to ever come off the handle as they’re both intertwined. Since the handle itself is made from steel there is a nylon-vinyl material wrapped around it to reduce shock and allow for a firmer grip.

Difference between an Axe and a Hatchet

This is one of the best wood axe brands with a lifetime warranty that covers any manufacturers defect

I have to confess that the differences between an axe and a hatchet cannot be fully established. Both are made to be used for chopping and splitting wood. Both can come with steel heads with single or double blades.

A friend of mine that likes to spend days in the wilderness said, hatchets are usually smaller and ideal for breaking small woods into smaller pieces.

A good hatchet he further stated, will be easier to use if you’re trying to chop down small branches from trees since it requires less back swing for a good strike.

On the other hand, most of the modern wood cutting axes I have seen requires both hands to deliver a powerful and effective blow to split the thick wood.

Having said all that, both can be used to split or chop all types of woods. So, do not let the confusion about the subtle differences influence your buying decision.

You need to establish the type of woods you intend to cut or split and then proceed to choose an axe or a hatchet that will get the job done in record time and with less strain.

Tips for Using Your AX Safely

Contrary to what some might think, an axe can be just as deadly as a gun if not handled the right way. The following tips might help those of you just buying your first axe.

A – Before chopping or splitting any type of woods, you should use goggles to protect your eyes from smaller wood pieces that might fly towards you.

B – When splitting or chopping wood be sure anyone close by is also wearing goggles or kindly ask the person to move a few feet away from your activity. It is always better to err on the side of caution than to be sorry.

C – The head of the axe is the most dangerous part and needs to be covered during transport or storage that is why it is good to get one that comes with a cover for the head. Keep your best axe away from kids or adults that are not familiar with what to do with it.

D – The blade of your axe will dull over time, so it is up to you to occasionally sharpen the head with a good ax sharpener.