What are the best felling axes for cutting down trees?
There are a lot of options, and they range wildly in price and construction materials. Should you spend $30 or $300? Should you get a felling ax with a hickory, steel, or fiberglass handle? How long should the handle be, and how much should it weigh?
We’ve got the answers to all those questions and many more, along with a round-up of what we believe are the best felling axes.
What Is A Felling Axe?
Helko Werk Germany Felling Axe
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Fiskars Chopping Axe
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Hults Bruk Pro Felling Axes
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ECHO Axe For Tree Felling
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Intertool Felling Axe
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*If you’re looking for a double-bit felling axe (two-sided), check out the Michigan double bit felling axes on Home Depot here.
The search for the best felling axe must begin with understanding what a felling axe is.
Fortunately, the answer is quite simple: a felling axe is the best axe for chopping trees.
It typically has:
- A long, thin, narrow, rigid blade
- A wooden (or steel) handle
- A flared head
- A sharp edge opposite a flat surface
Ultimately, it’s a bit different from the likes of a firewood splitting axe.
Finding the right axe for cutting trees is one of those existential experiences that makes you feel strong. With the right felling axe, you’re capable of bringing incredible feats of strength to bear as trees topple around you.
You want the best axe for chopping trees, as well you should. Venturing out into the woods to bring down the oaks and the pines, you want to make sure you have the right tools at your disposal.
To help you make an informed decision and find the best tree-felling axe for sale, we’ve compiled a list of the seven best options out there.
(Not everyone is comfortable using a chainsaw instead of an axe, though a good homeowner chainsaw would be the quickest way to get a tree down.)
1. Helko Werk Germany Classic Forester
- Made in Germany
- 31″ hickory handle
- Total weight 5.5 lbs
This authentic felling ax is handmade, full size, and comes with a grade-A American hickory handle finished with linseed oil that prevents blistering.
This tree-cutting axe can be used to bring down some of the big trees you have on your property or might come across out there in the woods.
The Helko Werk Classic has a three-and-a-half-pound hand-forged axe head. Each head is individually shaped to create the perfect tree chopping instrument. This beautiful piece of work fits easily in your hands and feels good on the downswing.
A true work of art, this historic axe is capable, manageable, and highly durable.
This Helko Werk axe set is also worth checking out.
- High quality product
- Looks amazing
- Performs well
- One of the more expensive options
- Sometimes out of stock
2. Fiskars Tree Chopping Axe
- Made in Finland
- 28″ steel handle
- Total weight 3.8 lbs
This small, sleek piece of beauty is ideal for bringing down the forest. It works with a low-friction blade coating that soars through the wood and prevents the irritating problem of getting stuck with each swing.
The Fiskars Chopping Axe is a perfectly balanced tool with a power-to-weight ratio that allows maximum effect with every swing. A hardened steel blade ensures sharpness lasts and produces results.
Originating in Finland, this is undoubtedly one of the best axes for felling trees that you can find.
- Very cheap
- Sharp blade
- Low vibration
- Doesn’t look the best
- Some quality issues
3. Hults Bruk Professional Felling Axe
- Made in Sweden
- 26″ hickory handle
- Total weight 2.86 lbs
With a name like Hults Bruk, you know that this medium-sized felling axe is going to get the job done.
Originating in the beautiful country of Sweden, the felling axe head comes from solid Swedish steel, and the handle is solid American hickory.
If you’re looking for a good axe that’s not too big but still comes with power and durability, look no further. Its size makes it multipurpose, and its quality steel head makes it a threat to any tree that stands in its way.
The proper balance of weight and size makes this the premium model of medium-sized felling axes.
- High-quality axe
- Solid Swedish steelhead
- Respected brand
4. ECHO American Felling Axes
- Made in America
- 36″ handle
- Total weight 4.85 lbs
When you’re picking out a solid tree cutting axe, you want to find one with an edge that is hardened and tempered for extreme strength.
A head like this gives you an automatic advantage over any coniferous or deciduous foes. Not even roots can stand up against this powerful tool.
With a low-moisture hickory handle that’s ergonomically comfortable, this piece of craftsmanship is all about meeting and exceeding expectations.
Nearly five pounds and made in the USA (though ECHO chainsaws are made in Japan), the Hickory Handle Felling Axe is one of the best if you’re looking for an American tree felling axe.
- American felling axe
- Long handle
- Great design
- May not perform as well as the Swedish or German made axes
5. Intertool Axe For Felling Trees
- Made in China
- 35″ fiberglass handle
- Total weight 4.8 lbs
When you find the perfect steel chopping axe with a shock-absorbing fiberglass handle that happens to look as cool as it sounds, you know you hit the jackpot.
Form and function join to create this reinforced chopping and felling axe. Lightweight and durable, the Intertool is the perfect combination of heavy-duty and versatile.
The handle dons a non-slip grip texture designed for maximum absorption. Perfect balance on this axe creates the optimal tree chopping experience. You can’t go wrong when you go with the Intertool as a lower-priced axe.
- Easy-grip handle
- Blade may not stay as sharp as pricier options
6. Husqvarna Axe For Chopping Trees
- Made in Sweden
- 26″ hickory handle
- 2.1 lb total weight
Speaking of multipurpose: the Husqvarna axe is the versatile tree axe that takes bringing the timber down to a whole new level.
A hand-forged Swedish steel blade is attached to a beautiful hickory handle with a wooden and a steel wedge. This secure fastening ensures that heads won’t go flying off when you get to swinging.
The company is best known for Husqvarna chainsaws that are made in Germany and around the world, but they also make axes and a range of other tree-worker-related tools.
The 26-inch multipurpose axe provides you the versatility and durability you need to bring down trees to your heart’s content. With a sharp head and a sturdy hickory handle, the Husqvarna will prove to be one of the best felling axes you can find.
- Great brand
- Very light
- small felling axe
- Only for felling small trees
7. Cold Steel Fallers Axe
- Made in China
- 23″ handle
- .5 lbs total weight
The closest thing you can find to a professional felling axe is this premier tool known as the Hudson Bay Camp Axe.
Modeled from historical examples dated back over 100 years, this piece of equipment is designed for lightweight control and ease of use. With a clamp-like lock for durability, you’ve ensured satisfaction with every swing.
Whether you find yourself working in the woods behind the house or roughing it in the wilderness with nothing but a knapsack, charcoal cooker, and instant coffee, this axe is the reliable companion you want by your side.
Convenient and essential for any adventure, this is the axe for the rugged outdoorsman.
- Good for small trees/clearing tracks
- Not for large trees
- Not great quality
What To Look For In A Felling Axe
Finding that quality felling axe takes you on a unique adventure. Few experiences can compare to that of finding the perfect felling axe.
Something is empowering about gripping the smooth wood handle, admiring the polished steel blade, and grunting loudly as you bring it down into a tree trunk to add imaginary force to your swing.
Single Bit Versus Double Bit Felling Axe
When looking for the best chopping axe, make sure you evaluate a few features before making your final purchase.
The blade is one of those critical features. Because you are chopping across the grain instead of with the grain, you want the proper kind of blade to sink into the wood.
With a single-bit axe, you have only one cutting edge on the blade that sits opposite a flat surface. A double bit felling axe possesses two opposed cutting edges – usually symmetrical, but sometimes asymmetrical.
It is, essentially, an axe with two edges.
While a single-bit felling axe will do the trick, a double-bit felling axe gives you the versatility that only two sharp edges can provide.
Felling Axe Weight And Length
A true, full-size felling axe should be 36 inches.
This length allows for the best balance-to-power ratio, maximizing the axe function. However, 36 inches can be a lot for most people to handle.
Other acceptable and common lengths include:
- 31 inches
- 30 inches
- 28 inches
- 26 inches
The length of the axe is ultimately going to depend on the weight of the axe head. Generally, a specific ratio ensures the tool meets its full potential. For many, this means taking the weight of the axe head and multiplying by 10.
The ratio doesn’t always hold up, however.
A good felling axe typically has a head that weighs at least three pounds. It might sit on a 30-inch handle, but if someone prefers a four-pound head, that 40-inch handle will start to feel a little cumbersome.
While this ratio can provide guidelines for making a standard felling axe, it isn’t a fixed rule. It works much better when dealing with smaller axes, but it’s hard to stay consistent with that ratio if you start looking at more full-sized equipment.
Felling Axe Handles
Felling axes will generally have one of three handle types: wood, steel, or fiberglass. While fiberglass is incredibly efficient and shock-absorbing, it is difficult to replace. For our purposes, we’re going to focus on the great debate of wood handles versus steel handles.
The wood handle is the classic look for the felling axe. It is slick an understated, yet there’s a level of sophistication that comes as a surprise.
- Shock absorption
- Economic leverage
It doesn’t cost much to get one of quality and they can usually fit specific customer needs.
Steel handles are not as common as other handles, though they are incredibly durable. They are not nearly as shock-absorbent as wood or fiberglass handles, though many come with grips that help reduce the shock.
The main problem a steel handle presents is the weight – they are much heavier than both wood and fiberglass handles.
The type of handle you want on your axe comes down to your personal preference. Steel handles can be weighty, but they’re incredibly durable. While wood handles are more prone to need replacing, they’re versatile and shock-absorbent, and replacing them won’t cost you an arm and a leg.
Who Makes the Best Axe
When it comes to the country of origin, it takes a little maneuvering to decide who is creating the best axes out there.
Many countries are incredibly talented in their axe-making abilities, especially in Scandinavia and Northern Europe.
Sweden and Germany are two countries that consistently make high-quality felling axes. They are experts in finely polished tree-felling tools, crafting beautiful, handmade pieces of equipment.
Top felling axe brands include:
- Helko Werk Germany
- Hults Bruk
- Gransfors Bruks
While it’s hard to pick just one country to be the axe master – especially with brands like Estwing in the United States and Fiskars in Finland – finding a felling axe from Sweden or Germany guarantees satisfaction.
Frequently Asked Questions
Picking the right felling axe is understandably time-consuming. Let’s take a minute to answer a few common questions on the issue.
Is a Felling Axe Good for Splitting?
Generally, no, a felling axe is not great for splitting wood.
It can get stuck in the log and become a hassle if you’re trying to get work done. Felling axes are designed a certain way, and they work best when used for that purpose.
What Does a Felling Axe Look Like?
A felling axe typically has a wooden handle and a flared blade that is narrow, thin, and sharp. We know that the handle can also be made of steel or fiberglass, but wood is the classic look.
What Kind of Axe Is Used to Chop Down Trees?
A felling axe is used to chop down trees. It’s not designed to split logs or peel bark but to slice through the tree fibers against the grain of the wood and bring the tree down.
What Is a Felling Axe Used for?
The long narrow blade of the felling axe is used for cutting down trees, usually of medium size.
How Long Should a Felling Axe be?
The standard length is about three feet, although a felling axe can be useful even if it’s only 28 inches long.
What Is the Best Weight for a Felling Axe?
This depends greatly on preference and need. A five-pound felling axe is not uncommon and is typically the usual weight for a felling axe.
How Do I Choose a Felling Axe?
The best way to choose a felling axe is to take the information you’ve learned here, test the length and weight that works best for you, and start felling trees.
Avoid using a throwing axe for chopping down a tree!
The Final Blow
Choosing the best felling axe comes down to understanding what makes a felling axe worth using.
Considering the information we’ve just digested, it seems clear that the best felling axe on the market right now is the Helko Werk Germany Classic Forester. It’s the right weight and length, has that smooth hickory handle, and is specially treated for durability.
A close second would have to be the Fiskars Chopping Axe. This product comes from a renowned company that is known for producing quality materials. It sticks closely to the best practices that a felling axe should follow.
With the right information and a little bit of digging, it won’t be long before you’ve found the right felling axe for you and can begin living that lumberjack dream – that’s if you don’t think one of these professional chainsaws isn’t the better way to drop trees!