If you live in an area where the winters can get cold, having a steady supply of firewood is a real benefit. Whether you want to try to cut down your heating bill with a traditional wood stove, you want to avoid electric heaters all together in a summer cabin, or you just want a cozy fire for the holidays, you’re going to be glad that you’ve got a split pile of wood all ready to go.
Of course, splitting firewood down into manageable, burnable pieces of fuel can be a deceptively difficult chore if you’re unsure about how. You could always purchase pre-cut firewood, but this can be both expensive and impractical; between the cost of the wood and transporting it, it quickly gets expensive to keep even a small fire going for any time.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got wood splitting machines, which can be impractical for the opposite reasons; at a price of upwards of eight hundred dollars, this machine would split much more wood than you would ever need, unless you lived in a permanently freezing climate.
The perfect middle ground for most people is to split wood themselves, and the best splitting axe for wood is, not surprisingly, a high-quality splitting axe. Affordable on any budget, a solidly built axe can be easy to use and strong enough to last for years to come.
Top Rated Axes for Splitting Wood – Best 5
We’ve compiled a short list featuring the best splitting axe we could find and test, or axes that will serve you well no matter the chore. Review these 5 top rated axes for splitting wood to help with your decision.
Fiskars X27 36“ Super Splitting Axe
To get the most power out of your splitting axe doesn’t mean you have to swing harder; in fact, with the right tool, swinging smarter is actually a better bet. This is where the Fiskars X27 36“ Super Splitting Axe really comes into its own; with a longer shaft than other splitting axes, people with longer arms can get the most possible mechanical advantage with each stroke.
Of course, just having a longer shaft isn’t all the X27 gives you. You’re also getting a one piece composite Duraframe body, designed to take abuse much better than traditional wood shafts, so even if you accidentally overswing, you don’t have to worry about a broken axe. The real star of this splitting axe, however, is the axe head; built right into the Duraframe body, this light axe head is designed to split wood more easily, thanks to its design and Fiskars’ superior convex bevel grind, which gives it an incredibly sharp edge.
Whether you’re a novice or a pro, you’ll find that, even though you know Fiskars better as the company that makes your office supplies, they also make one of the best splitting axes you’ll ever use. Read more about the Fiskars X27 here and why this is one of the best log splitting axe available to buy.
Estwing E3-FF4 14“ Splitting Axe
Designed with the backpacker in mind, this short splitting maul (dubbed the Fireside Friend) is a great tool for any outdoorsman to keep on their pack. An all-metal one piece construction with a nylon grip means that you’re getting a lot of power without a lot of vibration after each swing, while the full size cutting edge means you’re still packing the most possible punch out of your four pound head.
In addition to the cutting edge, you’ve also got a maul on the reverse side, so you can hammer in wedges on tougher logs and stumps, as well as a host of other jobs around the campsite. Proudly made in the USA, like all of Estwing’s products, this splitting axe is the perfect choice for anybody out on the trail who wants all the power of a full-size splitting axe without all the extra weight and bulk in their backpacks.
It’s compact, it does its job, and whether you’re a first-time backpacker or a hardcore primative camper, having the FF4 in your bag can, with the right know-how, make the great outdoors so much more comfortable. It’s an Estwing model we highly recommend.
Leveraxe 36“ Splitting Axe
“Unconventional” is probably the best way to describe this splitting axe from brand new company Vipukirves; however, just because it doesn’t look like your traditional axe doesn’t mean it isn’t an incredibly robust splitter on its own. This one’s gonna require that you change up your technique; rather than trying to split huge trunks right down the middle with heavy mauls or wedges, you aim this distinctive splitting axe at a slight angle.
When it hits, the axe head slides to one side, while the specially designed back end catches on the center of your log, giving you a lever action. Because of this, you can split corners off of large trunks with much less effort, so splitting off pieces of even the thickest trunks is just a one-step process. While it may take a little getting used to (and a few weird looks in public), this is an incredibly innovative tool that’s far more than just a novelty.
If you like taking big trees from your own property and quickly turning them into firewood, the Leveraxe from Vipukirves can quickly become your best friend.
True Temper Sledge Eye Super Splitter
Even with your first swing of the Sledge Eye Super Splitter from True Temper, you’ll find out that it’s head and shoulders over your traditional model axes. While it may look similar to older models, the real devil on this model is the details, namely the shaft and the axe itself. Starting off, you’ve got a full composite Fiberpro stock that gives you great protection against overstriking, with a fiberglass core and a polypropylene shell for added durability with much less added weight than traditional wood.
As for the axe itself, this model works smarter rather than harder; rather than a five or six pound head, this splitting axe does all the same work in a four pound package, relying instead on its tested head design. Rather than just a straight blade, the axe head on this Sledge Eye Super Splitter flares out near the top, making a wedge as you cut down into your wood, pushing the pieces farther apart with each stroke.
If you like the feel of traditional splitters but want to bring them into the twenty-first century, the Sledge Eye Super Splitter from True Temper is the perfect combination of smarter design and simple mechanics. Check out what we have to say in our full review.
Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe
For chopping axes, the rule of the day is simple; light sharp axes making nice deep cuts. Fortunately, the X15 from Fiskars has both of those in spades. From the all Fibercomp composite body with a Permahead insert to the lightweight ultra-sharp proprietary grind axe head, everything on this model is designed to cut down weight without compromising effectiveness. Of course, just because this is a light model doesn’t mean its a lightweight on the job, far from it.
The super durable body doesn’t break with over-swings, the axe head has a low friction coating to prevent getting stuck, and the whole thing is designed to maximize all your mechanical advantages. Much like the X27, the splitting cousin of the X15 works just as well in anyone’s hands; if you’re a novice, it won’t break if you make a mistake, and if you’re a pro, it’ll make you every strike as powerful as it can possibly be. Not the best log splitting axe out there, but it will get the job done.
What Is A Splitting Axe?
If you don’t spend a lot of time around outdoor hand tools, you’d probably think that an axe is an axe; sure, they come in different shapes and sizes, but they all ultimately do the same thing. Technically, you’d be right. Whatever their differences may be, a wood cutting axe uses the same kind of motion to chop wood down into logs and kindling; the shape of your axe head, however, can really make a difference for different jobs.
While there are a wide variety of axe heads for craftsmen and other carpenters, if you’re just going to make firewood, there are really only three types of axes you need to be concerned with, chopping axes, splitting axes, and mauls.
- Your wood chopping axes, or felling axes, are going to have a lighter axe head with a finer edge, designed to slice the wood fibers horizontally, or against the grain.
- Meanwhile, a log splitting axe and a splitting maul are going to be the exact opposite in every way; they’ve got a heavy head, a duller blade, and are designed to split wood with the grain, or vertically.
Using the wrong axe for certain jobs won’t necessarily break your tools, but it will make splitting and chopping much more difficult. With its fine blade and lack of weight, you’re going to have to put a lot more force behind each swing of a chopping axe to split a log, and even then, your blade is going to dull very quickly.
Meanwhile, the duller blade and heavier weight of a splitting axe or wood maul will mean a lot more work for you; instead of the deep, fine cuts from a chopping axe, you’re putting in much more energy to make shallower, wide cuts with even the best wood splitting axe. Just like in any other job, the right tools can make splitting wood much less exhausting.
What Should You Look For in the Best Splitting Axe for Wood?
Like every hand tool, the ideal splitting axe has a lot to do with your personal preference; however, there are a few details you need to look at to find your best fit.
- First off, you need to consider exactly the kind of jobs you’re going to be doing with your splitting axe. If you find that you’re going to be chopping very small pieces of wood or very large pieces, you might want to consider a hatchet or a splitting maul, respectively. While an axe will cover the vast majority of your wood splitting tasks, it’s important for you to get a tool that fits your needs.
- Once you decide on an axe, the weight of your axe head becomes your next big concern; after all, the best splitting axe in the world can’t help if you can’t lift the head and aim your swing.
- In the same vein, you want to take a look at the length of your axe’s shaft. While a longer shaft will give you a better mechanical advantage and thus, more power, a shorter shaft is going to be easier for you to control. If you’re unsure on what’s best for you, practice your swing in a wide open space on a similarly weighted axe head; if you’re struggling to keep it on target, or you get tired too easily, than you may want to choose a lighter, shorter axe to use.
- Other than the feel of the tool in your hands, you’re going to want to consider the craftsmanship on your axe as well. Ideally, your axe head should be one solid piece of metal with no visible joints to compromise its strength. Your axe head should also not shake or wobble on the shaft, but remain secure; whether you’re using an all synthetic shaft with a molded axe head or a more traditional wood shaft with an axe head slid on, a shaking axe head is more prone to breaking.
Just by taking a few minutes to look over all the pieces and make sure your axe is the perfect splitting axe for your needs, you can ensure that you’re getting a tool that works just as hard as you do.
Who Are the Major Wood Axe Brands?
If you really want to be sure that you’re getting a tough splitting axe, it’s a good idea to look at the major brands. Not surprisingly, Husqvarna, has a solid set of axes designed with the same kind of robust power that you’d expect from one of the major players in outdoor equipment.
What may surprise you, however, is Fiskars; while they may be the company behind your scissors and other office supplies, the Fiskars splitting axe is a tough, affordable tool that you can trust with even the toughest jobs.
Other notable wood axe brands that bring a reliable product at an affordable price are the American company Estwing, the dedicated axe forge of Swedish company Wetterling, and the dedicated craftsmen of Gränsfors Bruk, all of whom are dedicated to helping you find the highest quality splitting axe to fill your needs.
Here at our site, we’ve collected a variety of these axes in different shapes and sizes, all made to these company’s high standards and all priced for the consumer. Please take a look at our reviews and let us help you find a tool that makes splitting wood and enjoying a warm fire the easiest that it can possibly be.