A man cutting wood with an axe

A man cutting wood with an axe (Photo by Abby Savage on Unsplash)

Splitting wood for the coming winter isn’t just great exercise, it is great for reflection and even meditation. You don’t want a flimsy axe to cause frustration and interrupt your progress. Luckily, many on the market will give you the fulfillment you need. Check out the best axes for chopping wood in our list below.

The best axes for chopping wood are those designed with a perfect balance of form and function. These axes typically feature a well-forged head made from high-quality steel, providing excellent durability and edge retention. The blade should be properly sharpened and ground to a keen edge, ensuring efficient wood-cutting with minimal effort. A well-designed handle is equally important, as it should provide a comfortable grip, be ergonomically shaped to reduce hand fatigue, and made from robust materials like hickory or fiberglass for durability.

Weight distribution is crucial, with many of the best wood-chopping axes having a balanced weight ratio that allows for powerful swings while maintaining control. Additionally, a protective sheath or cover is often included for safe storage and transport. Ultimately, ideal models strike a harmonious balance between craftsmanship, functionality, and user comfort, making them indispensable tools for anyone tackling wood-cutting tasks, from firewood preparation to forestry work.

There is something deeply satisfying in seeing the pile of split wood grow larger as you work throughout the year. And you’re getting better prepared for the colder months ahead doing so. Below you will find the top five best axes for chopping wood. Do you own an axe that you’ve chopped with for years? Let us know in the comments below.

Brown handled axe on log (Photo by Jason Abdilla on Unsplash)

The List: Best Axes for Chopping Wood, According to Experts

 

1. Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe

This axe was by far the number one choice when searching for the best axes for chopping wood. It topped most expert lists. “The largest of Fiskars’ X series of axes, the X27 has an excellent power-to-weight ratio. It features a long, 36-inch handle and a large head made from forged steel and designed for maximum efficiency and power—ideal for splitting large pieces of wood. We also like the bevel convex blade, which makes it easy to pull the head out of the wood if it gets stuck midway through the log. One caveat: It might be too long for shorter lumberjacks,” says Mens Journal.

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe – Wood Splitter for Medium to Large Size Logs

The price is one of the main selling points for the Fiskars X27. It’s readily available at many home improvement stores and online. “The truth is, for the money you’re spending, it’s a great deal,” explains Timber Gadgets. “Another benefit Fiskars has is the option of different sizes.”

The Fiskars X27 is, with a total length of 91.5 cm, the longest splitting axe in this list. Its length makes it effectively split medium-sized and heavy tree trunks or firewood. “The Finnish Fiskars uses modern materials and production techniques. The X27 is a great example. It is an updated version of the traditional splitting axe with its wooden handle. The fiberglass-reinforced plastic FiberComp handle is stronger than a handle that is merely made from wood. This material can also handle external influences. Think of decay and mold caused by moisture,” states Knives and Tools.

2. Estwing Fireside Friend Splitting Tool

Estwing is best known for its tools for tradesmen, but the manufacturer applies the same high-quality, no-nonsense approach to its outdoor axes. “The Fireside Friend is like a miniature splitting axe, with a hand-sharpened solid steel edge backed by a maul head. Swing it with one hand to split small chunks of wood or make kindling, or set the sharp edge in a larger wood round and drive it with a sledgehammer, “ informs Men’s Journal.

ESTWING Fireside Friend Axe – 14″ Wood Splitting Maul with Forged Steel Construction & Shock Reduction Grip

The Estwing Fireside Friend Splitting Tool is very compact and packs a punch! Despite its size, it only weighs 2,000 grams. “While you usually use two hands to control a splitting axe, you can easily use one hand for this Estwing axe. It was specifically designed to split kindling for a campfire. Estwing axes have a unique position. These axes are known in the United States as the world’s first, best, and, in the eye of most, the only massive forged axes. This means that the axe head and handle are forged from one piece of steel. There is no wooden handle that can break or needs to be maintained,” says Knives and Tools.

The Estwing brand is known for producing quality hand tools. The Estwing Fireside Friend is no exception. “The Fireside Friend Axe is made from a solid piece of steel, resulting in incredible durability. It’s shaped sort of like a miniature splitting maul, and it will get the job done without taking up too much space. They also added a leather grip for comfort. In fact, this grip will absorb a significant amount of impact shock as you work, leaving you less tired after the job is done,” informs Field and Stream.

3. Fiskars X11 

Made in Finland, the X11’s construction is said to be very solid. The molded head is robust, and there aren’t any durability concerns for the axe itself. “A spinning lock on the plastic sheath seems like a possible weak point. Time will tell how long it lasts. At 17.5″ long and 2.4 pounds, the X11 is larger and heavier than many other options. That gives you more leverage and power, which works well for splitting firewood,” says Outdoor Gear Lab.

Fiskars 378561-1004 X11 Splitting Axe

This Fiskars X11 is a light-splitting axe making it easy to use for everyone. “The light weight of the Fiskars X11 means you can even use it with one hand! It is also nice and easy to carry around. Advantages are that it has a strong, glass fiber-reinforced plastic handle and a coated head, making it easier to remove from wood,” offers Knives and Tools.

At just a bit more than two pounds, the Fiskars X11 is easy to pack and carry, even on lengthy treks into the wilderness. “You don’t want to be weighed down by a ton of gear on a camping trip. And while you can probably make do when it comes to firewood for a day or two by scrounging sticks together, you’ll want a reliable firewood processing tool for longer stays. Sure, you could use your knife to baton firewood into size, but that’s not the best option. That’s where the Fiskars X11 comes into play,” states Field and Stream.

4. Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

The Gransfors Bruks Small Forest axe is hand-forged from recycled steel with a hickory handle. “The axe has a tanned vegan leather sheath that doubles as a belt loop. It looks beautiful and works beautifully. The curved handle balances the weight of the axe head nicely. It feels light in hand, gives you excellent leverage, and improves precision. This is one of our favorite options for accuracy tests like limbing a log and power tests like bucking it into rounds,” states Outdoor Gear Lab.

Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe
Gransfors Bruks Small Forest Axe

The Gränsfors Axe is a premium hand-forged tool that’s referred to as a “beast” at chopping firewood. “A highly skilled master axe smith crafts each one in the Swedish village of Gränsfors. The axe head has a sharp concave bit, but the wide cheeks do most of the work. They force wood apart with surprising efficiency,” says Axe Advisor.

When Bob Vila talks we listen, and he says that Gransfors Bruks has a well-deserved reputation as a premier maker of axes and hatchets. “Gransfors Bruks outdoor axe goes beyond expectations of what an axe or hatchet can be. The tight-grained hickory wood handle is lightweight but feels stable and fits well in hand. A lightweight one pound head may not sound like it would split well, but it’s deceptively sharp—so sharp, that if we rated it on a scale of 1 to 10 for sharpness, it would get an 11,” boasts Bob Vila.

5. Husqvarna 26” Multi-Purpose Axe

It’s difficult to beat the price of Husqvarna’s hand-forged axes. It is said that should you decide to get one, you won’t be disappointed. “Husqvarna sells a line of composite-handled axes. I’m sure they’re great tools, but this review only applies to the wooden splitting axe. Alternatively, Husqvarna has a 30″ splitting axe and 32″ splitting maul, which are more suitable for chopping firewood. Unfortunately, they’re difficult to find online due to the demand,” states Timber Gadgets.

Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe

Husqvarna makes its axes in partnership with Hultafors Group. They ensure the axe heads get made to exacting Swedish steel manufacturing standards. “The 26-inch Husqvarna Steel Splitting Axe has perfect weight distribution, allowing it to split all types of wood. With ease,” says Outdoor Happens.

Husqvarna might be best known for its chainsaws and lawnmowers, but the brand performs with this manual cutting tool, too. “When only the feel of a real wood handle will do, check out the Husqvarna 26-inch wooden multipurpose axe. This model features a 26-inch tight-grained hickory handle that’s smooth to the touch and feels solid and strong in the hand. The Husqvarna doesn’t have a maul head, but the back side can function as a hammer to drive a splitting wedge or tent stake if needed,” explains Bob Vila.

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Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. 

About Janelle Davis

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2 Comments

  1. Jeff says:

    Are you chopping wood or splitting wood? Sawing into rounds and then splitting is so much easier and more efficient. Bruks makes at least 3 axes that split better than their small forest ax and each is more like the estwing splitter.

  2. Ike says:

    Really, chopping firewood? Chopping firewood is inefficient. Better to saw it into rounds then use a splitting maul to split it.