Even though we see new tech gadgets on store shelves every year, some items cannot be replaced by their electronic counterparts. One of these essentials is the splitting wood axe. While chainsaws are efficient and powerful, they are also noisy, fuel-guzzling, and dangerous. These attributes encourage many people to continue using more primitive axes for their wood-splitting needs.
Anyone looking to go camping and use wood for their next project would be far better off
with a splitting axe rather than a chainsaw. An axe is a simple tool that can be carried
safely with merely a suitable sheath. If you need to pack light, but still need a powerful
tool, then an axe is the way to go.
The ability to split wood efficiently without the need for electricity or fuel could mean the difference between life or death in certain situations. If you ever find yourself in such a case, you will want to make sure that you equip yourself with the best wood splitting axe possible. Even if you don’t think you’ll be entering life or death situations anytime soon, even avid campers and outdoorsy people need a splitting axe that they can count on. We have worked hard to compile our best recommendations; however, that does not mean these wood splitting axes are one-size-fits-all. After considering our suggestions, you must find which axe will work best for you.
Essential things to keep in mind include:
However, the biggest thing to keep in mind when choosing a log splitting axe is that you must determine your priorities and your budget before making a decision. The best axe for you neighbor will not necessarily be the best axe for you.
It’s all too tempting to skip this entire site and jump into a chainsaw instead, and in some circumstances that’s perfectly reasonable. But, there’s some very legitimate reasons for taking a more manual approach as well.
Firstly, chainsaws have two major problems:
If you plan on working or living in a remote area, the severity of both of those problems increases dramatically.
Not only is the potential of running out a fuel a big problem, if there’s no fuel access nearby, you need to bring it with you. That adds a lot of volume and weight to your initial move from civilization into nature.
The potential for a chain break or other mechanical problem is always something hanging over your head as well.
Second, splitting wood manually is great exercise. If you don’t believe me, give it a try. You’ll definitely feel it the next day.
Third, have you even seen a chainsaw accident? Sure, you can over swing with an axe, which can lead to a pretty unpleasant injury, but if you’re careful that kind of accident is not very common. But did you know that over 36,000 people suffer chainsaw injuries each and every year? These are not little nicks either. The same source claims that chainsaw injuries require on average 110 stitches to sew up.
Ouch! No thank you.
Last but not least, like hunting is to shopping in a supermarket, using an axe for splitting wood puts you way more in touch with nature than using a noisy chaotic chainsaw. If you’re camping or living in the woods to get away from cities and nonstop technology, do yourself a favor an go manual. Once you do, you’ll never go back.
Now, enough with the why and onto the what.
A wood maul is the big daddy of manual wood and log splitting tools. If a hatchet is the handgun of the axe world, a maul is the shotgun. It’s big, bad, and makes a serious impact when used properly.
Wood splitting mauls typically have axe or maul heads that are on the heavier side. This is both due to the wider-than-usual head and the desire for having more weight to drive down into logs.
These heads normally weigh around 8 pounds, give or take. When looked at from above they resemble a very healthy slice of pie.
Another common trait is that they all have long handles, as these are two-handed tools. The longer handle also helps with leveraging your swing for maximum impact.
Lastly, on many of these splitting mauls, the wide wedge ends in a flat butt. This butt offers up a lot of surface area for a sledge hammer to assist with driving the maul down and through even the hardest of woods.
Opt for a full-fledged maul instead of an axe if possible if you plan to work specifically with hardwoods, as the extra weight will make a considerable difference.
A log splitting axe is basically a less extreme version of a maul. It has the same function: break down already felled and pieced trees into firewood or chips efficiently.
Splitting axes also use a wedge-shaped head, but the size of the wedge may appear to look more like a door wedge than a slice of cake or pie. It should be noticeably wider head than that of a felling axe though.
Like mauls, you can have a long handle that assists in getting a serious downward swing going. But, unlike their heavier cousin, there are some smaller one-handed splitting axes.
The smaller versions are excellent for turning smaller logs into kindling. They’ll make quick work of smaller pieces of wood, but don’t try taking on monster jobs, as you lack the benefits of a wider, heavier head and longer shaft.
It just wouldn't be right to break down the differences between the two without discussing popular options for you if you're looking to get a new one. Here at AxeAndAnswered.com we plan to look into quite a few brands and see which are worth their weight in hand-forged steel. And don't worry, we also weigh in on which with think are the best splitting axes and which are more bang-for-your-buck budget option.
Some of the more well-known brands are (click on an image to see in-depth splitting axe reviews for each or brand):
We highly recommend the Helko Werk Vario 2000; however, we also completely understand that such an expensive product might not be in everyone’s budget. Therefore, we took the time to nominate axes in a variety of price categories to serve all our readers. We hope this will help you to find an axe that meets all your needs while also fitting in with your finances.
If nothing here ends up suiting your fancy, then you may want to look at other options from the companies we recommended: 1844 Helko Werk Germany, Fiskars, Gerber, and Estwing. While we worked hard to compile all the best log splitting axe reviews, it is possible that we missed a suitable option.
Once you know what qualities you need, it will be much easier to find an axe that meets those needs. Hopefully, this list of the best axe for chopping wood reviews will guide you in your search for the perfect axe.