Wood splitting axes are lightweight tools designed to cut wood cleanly and precisely. These kinds of axes prepare wood for kindling or woodworking. Wood splitting axes weigh less than splitting mauls making them easy to take along for camping or hunting trips. They split wood in ways that preserve the strength of wood historically needed to build ships, houses, or skis. The best wood splitting axes split wood rounds in one stroke. Most of these axes weigh fewer than five pounds and require less strength than splitting mauls to operate. Below are the best wood splitting axes ranked by price.
The Best Wood Splitting Axes to Consider
1. Estwing E3 FF4 4 Pound “Fireside Friend” Wood Splitting Axe/Maul with Shock Reduction Grip
Estwing designed this wood splitting axe to completely live up to its name. The wedge-like shape of this axe’s head provides plenty of power for easy wood splitting while its short and light design requires minimal strength for wonderful results. Forged into a one-piece, steel splitting axe, most woods split under one or two strikes. The nylon vinyl shock reduction grip provides insulation against strong vibrations and prevents slips from the hands in the event of an overstrike. The Estwing E3 produces piles of kindling and earns its name as the Fireside Friend. [$37, Amazon]
2. Estwing 26 Inch Camper’s Nylon Vinyl Grip Handle Axe
The hammer on this wood splitting axe will never come off, (a claim no company other than Estwing can make). This well balanced, medium sized axe works incredibly well with small and medium sized rounds as well as small branches. The nylon vinyl grip reduces up to 70% of shock. Paired with the one piece, steel design, this USA made axe will last years. The light weight of the Camper’s Nylon Vinyl Grip Handle Axe makes it the perfect addition to camping and hunting trips. [$40, Home Depot]
3. Fiskar X27 36 Inch Super Splitting Axe
Despite being well known for their office supplies, Fiskars also offers top quality axes. The Finnish company makes no exception with their X27 36″ Super Splitting Axe. Ideal for taller users, this lightweight wood splitting axe boasts the splitting power of a maul without requiring the strength for one. The X27 can split 18’’-20” logs in one easy stroke and comes with a blade sharp enough to use out of the box. The stronger-than-steel Duraframe handle absorbs shock and, combined with the insert-molded head, makes this axe virtually unbreakable. The X27 also comes with a lifetime warranty. [$58, Home Depot]
4. Hultafors Classic Hunting Axe 850G
Hultafors smiths work alongside craftsmen to develop the best functioning tools for the job. The thick, heavy, wedge-shaped head on this wood splitting axe works well for splitting medium-sized rounds as well as for rudimentary carving. Out of the box, this Swedish steel edge cuts woods like butter. The length of the handle allows one or two handed use. Hultafors smiths use a hardening method that allows users to sharpen their axes without reducing the strength of their edges. [$99, Amazon]
5. Gränsfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe
Gränsfors Bruk takes the traditional approach to axe production. The smiths of this Swedish company hand produce each axe to function in the best possible way for their area of use, last for a guaranteed twenty years, and leave as little environmental impact as possible. The Large Splitting Axe is designed to split large rounds of just about any type of wood. This wood splitting axe comes with a steel collar guard to protect against overstrike and circular grooves near the base of the handle for an easy grip. Every Gränsfors Bruk axe comes with the initials of the smith (which you can look up here). Because Gränsfors Bruk refuses to sacrifice quality for quantity, this wood splitting axe frequently goes out of stock. [$181, Forestry Suppliers]
Choosing the Right Wood Splitting Axe for You
There are a few different reasons why people use wood splitting axes, and nearly every one of these is to make kindling. The different models and brands mainly define where you use this type of axe. The Estwing Fireside Friend hovers around the home because its specific design gives it only one purpose: splitting wood. The small size of this axe only allows for small round splitting. Larger wood splitting axes, like the Fiskars X27 and Gränsfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe, make way for a further journey into the woods where large, fallen trees wait for splitting. The lightweight but long axes work well for campers because they travel easily and serve multiple purposes. The Estwing Camper’s Axe splits wood as well as cutting branches from small trees. Hultafors axes blend well into workshops because they split as well as carve.
Each brand caters to a certain axe style. Estwing and Fiskars forgo traditional wood and steel makeup for modern designs and materials. Estwing focuses on the common problem of separating axe heads and eliminates it with their all steel, head and body models. Fiskars removes wood from the axe equation and replaces it with something even tougher than steel, making this brand the most popular on the USA market. There will always be a following of retro style products, and Hultafors and Gränsfors Bruk justify this. Both brands strongly advocate for the perfection that lies in tradition. They build off thousands of years of axe design to create the best possible axes for the task.
Each axe presented offers a different perspective of the wood splitting task. They come with different builds, styles, and secondary purposes, offering you a variety wood splitting axes to choose from. Which axe or brand do you find best suits you and your needs? Please share your experiences with any of the axes mentioned above.