What is the best splitting axe?
And how do you pick the best tool for chopping firewood?
Some people prefer hatchets or mauls, but your best bet will be to pick up a splitting axe.
Splitting axes are perfect for splitting logs for your campfire or fireplace. The right axe for you will make the job shorter and more enjoyable than ever before.
Best Axe For Splitting Wood
Fiskars Splitting Axe
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Gransfors Bruk Splitting Axe
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Husqvarna Wood Splitting Axe
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LEXIVON V36s Splitting Axe
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Cold Steel All-Purpose Axe
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What is a wood splitting axe?
A splitting axe is a tool for splitting wood or logs.
The head is more rectangular-shaped than fan-shaped. The blade is a narrow wedge, perfect for driving between the grains of a log.
The wedge shape of the axe, when driven through a block of wood, will slide parallel to the grains and force two halves of a log apart with little effort.
Splitting axes are very similar to mauls, which perform the same task.
Axes that you would use to fell a tree have a slightly different design than splitting axes, as they perform a different function.
Felling axes will have a wider head with a curved, almost fan-shaped blade. This blade helps an axe to cut against the grain of wood instead of alongside it.
Unlike chopping or felling axes, a splitting axe is the best axe for splitting wood, and it probably goes without saying that they are quite different from throwing axes!
Below are seven top splitting axes with their various features and qualities.
1. Fiskars X25 Splitting Axe
Fiskars uses multiple features to give you the best wood splitting axe available in this X25 model.
With an encased head and FiberComp 28-inch handle, the X25 is practically unbreakable. Shock-absorbing technology keeps the axe resistant to impact failure for increased durability.
The power-to-weight ratio maximizes the efficiency of your swing, resulting in more one-strike splits than any other chopping axe. At 5.29 pounds, the X25 uses weight and blade sharpness to slice firewood effectively.
- Forged steel blade
- PermaHead design
- Lifetime warranty
- Heavy for smaller users
- Brittle in the cold
2. Fiskars Super Splitting Axe
If you’re on the taller side, Fiskars’ Super Splitting Axe is the best axe for chopping wood.
With a total length of 36 inches, the FiberComp handle gives you more leverage for splitting longer logs more efficiently.
The Forged Steel blade uses a proprietary sharpening method to maintain precise and sharp impacts. The blade is also coated with a low-friction concoction to reduce dulling and increase effortless use.
At 5.95 pounds, this splitting axe is on the heavier side, but the increased weight makes it easier to complete a high-impact swing for taller choppers.
- Shaft and head in perfect balance
- Virtually unbreakable
- Head geometry makes it easy to retrieve
- Not ideal for smaller axe-users
- No protective sheath
3. Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe
This Gransfors Bruk product relies on simplicity to make it the best log splitting axe with a collar.
With a 27-inch handle, proper leverage has never been easier to achieve. Circular grooves offer a better grip for increased velocity. The protective steel collar helps anchor the head to the handle, reducing the potential for breakage.
The Forged Steel blade has a concave shape to bite into the wood. At a weight of five pounds, this axe is perfect for endurance chopping with effective strokes and a good weight-to-balance ratio.
- Grip grooves
- Extra protection with collar
- Comes with a leather sheath
- Shorter handle than other axes
- Some quality control issues
4. Gransfors Bruk Small Splitting Axe
Similar to Gransfors Bruk’s Large Axe above, their Small Splitting Axe has a metal collar and circular grooves for added protection and grip.
The size and weight (3.5 pounds) make it ideal for chopping medium-sized logs. At only 23 inches long, the shorter handle makes it the best splitting axe for smaller users.
The Forged Steel head is concave to better enter into the wood. There is also a 20-year warranty on the axe head itself in case of failure.
You can find out more about the brand in our Gransfors Bruks axe review – they also have what is arguably the best hatchet for splitting wood.
- Ideal for small logs or users
- 20-year warranty
- Leather sheath
- Not ideal for larger users
- Must request English manual
5. Husqvarna Axe For Splitting Wood
Swedish-made Husqvarna axes are among the best firewood axe for campers and landowners alike.
With a hand-forged head made from Swedish steel, the rectangular blade easily splits logs and firewood every time.
The hickory handle is perfectly straight for the correct leverage, and durable enough to absorb countless impacts. When specifically looking for a chopping wood axe, the Husqvarna should be one of your top picks.
- Great for rounds or split pieces
- Lightweight for more endurance
- Comes with an edge cover
- Customer service is lacking
- Must repair through the manufacturer
6. Lexivon Wood Splitting Axe
Lexivon’s innovative wood splitting axe comes with an incredible number of features.
With optimized blade angles and an encased head, this axe can bite harder than any competitor and stay perfectly aligned after years of use.
The fiberglass handle boasts a reinforced spine for a reduced impact, allowing the Lexivon to rival even the most prestigious log splitting axe.
The blade is Forged Grade-A Carbon-Steel and heat-treated for maximum strength and durability. With countless features, the Lexivon is one of the best axes for splitting wood.
- Handle is shock-absorbing, anti-slip, weather-resistant
- Balance point for weight distribution
- Comes with a carrying sheath
- Can’t repair easily
- Balance point very far forward
7. Cold Steel Trail Boss Cheap Axe
Whether you need to fell a tree, clear a trail, or chop wood, the Trail Boss is the one for you.
This wood chopping axe features a four-inch blade with a four-and-a-half-inch cutting edge, perfect for slicing with or across the grain. Made from Drop Forged 1055 Carbon, it is durable, strong, and maintains a sharp edge for any task.
The hickory handle is straight for maximum leverage and strong enough to withstand continuous impacts for years to come.
- Blade retains sharpness easily
- 23-inch handle
- Lightweight for versatility
- The head could be more securely attached
- Too lightweight for tougher woods
Best Features Of A Splitting Axe
An axe for splitting wood might seem like a simple enough tool, but there are a few things you should look for before you buy.
These considerations include the ideal weight and height for you, as well as the best features you can get.
What is the best axe for splitting wood? Well, that often depends on which features you value most in your ideal axe.
For instance, if you have experienced a breaking shaft, you will value features that lend to strength and durability.
These features could include shock-absorbing materials and an encased head, both of which would make it more difficult for your axe to snap unexpectedly.
If you prefer an axe with more grip, you can select a tool with a particular-shaped shaft or one with ridges or indents.
You might also prefer a slightly curved handle over a straighter one. Though splitting axes usually have straighter handles, a slight curve can help give more power to a lighter axe.
An axe that comes with its own leather sheath will protect both you and the axe when it’s not in use. Not only does it keep you from accidentally cutting yourself, but there’s less risk of damage to the axe head, such as dulling or even chips.
The best axe for splitting firewood will be heavy enough to split the wood, yet light enough that you won’t tire quickly.
Usually, an axe for chopping wood will weigh about three to six pounds. This range ensures that even smaller axe users will be able to chop wood effectively for a long period.
However, the ideal weight for a splitting axe will be closer to six pounds, as this will make it easier for the blade to cut cleanly through a log or round without getting stuck.
The best axe to split wood for you will have a length you can easily use as leverage.
Most splitting axes will be anywhere from 14 to 36 inches long. Shorter axes are generally meant for one-handed use in chopping kindling.
For two-handed axes, you’ll find a longer shaft a better choice. Generally, two-handed axes are around 31 inches, and the length will give you more leverage and power than a short one-handed hatchet.
If you’re on the taller side, you’ll likely want a long shaft versus a shorter one.
Steel Vs Wooden Axe Handles
A good axe for splitting wood can have either steel or wooden handles.
Both steel and hickory or ash handles will give the axe strength and long-lasting properties.
However, wooden handles have a few major advantages over their steel counterparts:
- The weight difference
- Ability to absorb shocks
- Surviving cold temperatures
A steel handle will be much heavier than a wooden handle.
Part of this reason is why most axe handles you’ll find are made of wood or fiberglass, a lighter yet still durable option. With a wooden handle, you can chop for longer without getting tired.
Shock absorption is another big difference.
Though you might like the idea of a steel handle, every impact will send shock waves through your body, resulting in aches that can easily turn into chronic pain. Wood handles, on the other hand, will absorb the impact, keeping you from hurting yourself.
If you frequently chop wood in winter, you’ll probably prefer a wooden handle. Steel gets too cold to hold, even with mittens or anti-vibration gloves. Metal will also get more brittle, which can make it more fragile.
Splitting Axe Vs Splitting Maul
Though these two tools are similar, there are a few specific differences to help you tell them apart.
First, wood-splitting axes will always have a sharper edge than a maul.
Wood splitting mauls are usually hammered into a log and split wood through blunt force, whereas an axe will try to split the log in one go. One-strike splits are easier to maintain if the axe is sharp.
Second, a maul will resemble a sledgehammer more so than an axe.
This appearance is due to the bluntness of the head and the fact that there will be a flat spot where a hammer can help force the maul through the wood.
Third, a maul is heavier than a splitting axe, usually about two to five pounds heavier.
A maul’s greater weight makes it useful for splitting larger pieces of wood. An axe is better for smaller to medium-sized logs.
Splitting Axe FAQs
What is the difference between a splitting axe and a chopping axe?
A splitting axe splits wood along the grains of a log, whereas a chopping axe cuts against the grain.
Splitting axes have a narrow, almost rectangular head and straight shaft, perfect for splitting logs into smaller pieces. Chopping axes have an almost fanned head and curved shaft, intended for felling trees.
What is the difference between a splitting axe and a maul?
Splitting axes and mauls both split logs along the grain, but mauls have heavier heads.
Mauls are also more similar to sledgehammers, as their heads have a wedge on one side and a flat face on the other, rather like a hammer. Splitting axes are more obviously axe-shaped and usually two to five pounds lighter.
Is a maul or axe better for splitting wood?
Mauls are better for shorter periods and tougher woods, whereas an axe will be better for longer splitting periods and softer woods.
For example, if you’re planning on spending several hours splitting logs, using an axe will be easier on your body so you can keep up your stamina.
But, if you’re only splitting a single log with particularly resistant wood, a maul would be a better choice.
Should a splitting axe be sharp or dull?
A splitting axe should be sharp enough that it can properly bite into the wood.
Generally, a splitting axe relies more on the wedge shape of its head than its sharpness, as the wedge is what pries two halves of a log apart.
Some people believe that having too sharp an edge will result in your axe sticking too much into the round: this can make it harder to slice straight down. However, if you’re not strong enough to get a dull blade into the wood, you should sharpen your axe.
How heavy should an axe be to split wood?
A splitting axe is generally between three to six pounds.
The heavier the head, the more easily gravity will draw the axe through the wood to split it apart. However, having an axe head that weighs more than six pounds will make it harder to lift and swing over a long period.
Six pounds or less will help you keep your endurance.
Does dirt dull an axe?
If you repeatedly hit your blade on the ground, the dirt will dull the axe.
Similarly, if you put your axe away without cleaning it, the dirt could corrode the axe head and result in rust or other issues.
Best Wood Splitting Axe
Choosing a splitting axe that’s right for you depends on what kind of features you value and the extent of your splitting needs.
One of the Fiskars splitting axes (the right one will depend on your height) will give you durability, strength, and long-lasting sharpness. With its unbreakable frame and 20-year warranty, it offers the perfect tool for chopping firewood with ease.
And, if you have any tough pieces of wood to split, check out these great Tractor Supply log splitters – they have a number of good brands at different price points.