Splitting Axes & Mauls

9 Best Wood Splitting Axes & Mauls Reviewed [2023]

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.

Traditional splitting wood axes:

  • Require no fuel
  • Are far less dangerous than chainsaws
  • Make much less noise

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.

Helko Werk Vario 2000

This incredible option can handle any job you throw at it. Handmade in Germany,this model exhibits exquisite craftsmanship and quality. Extraordinarily versatile androbust, this heavy-duty axe with keep performing at a high level for years to come.

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Find What You're Looking For?

  • Which is Best For You?
  • What are the Benefits of Splitting Wood Manually?
  • Summary

Splitting Axe Reviews & Ratings Chart

Image Model Weight (lbs) Length (in) A&A Rating Shop Now
Helko Werk Vario 2000
Helko Werk Vario 2000 6.7 36
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Fiskars X27 Splitting Axes
Fiskars X27 5.85 37.4
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Estwing Fireside Friend Axe
Estwing Fireside Friend Axe 4 14
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1844 Helko Werk
1844 Helko Werk 3.5 24
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Fiskars X7 Splitting Axe
Fiskars X7 1.38 14
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Fiskars Iso Core 10 36
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Estwing Camper’s Axe
Estwing Camper’s Axe 3 16
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Gerber Splitting Axe
Gerber Splitting Axe 3.38 23.5
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Estwing Sportsman’s Axe
Estwing Sportsman’s Axe 1.86 14
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#1 Helko Werk Vario 2000

This incredible option can handle any job you throw at it. Handmade in Germany, this model exhibits exquisite craftsmanship and quality. Extraordinarily versatile and robust, this heavy-duty axe with keep performing at a high level for years to come.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 6.7 pounds
  • Handle Length: 36 inches
  • Head material: German C50 High Carbon Steel
  • Handle material: Grade A American Hickory
  • Head weight: 5 pounds

This is the most expensive on the list, but as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Even though the Helko Werk Vario 2000 comes at a high price, you are receiving unmatched quality and value in return. In the long-run, it will be more valuable to you to purchase one expensive axe that lasts a lifetime as opposed to a few cheap axes that lose their edge quickly.

Even though the Helko Werk Vario 2000 isn’t notably budget-friendly, its superior quality still makes it the best log splitting axe you can find.


  • Leather sheath and protective oil included
  • Light lacquer finish
  • Environmentally responsible
  • Curved design provides an excellent balance


  • Expensive

#2 Fiskars X27

This axe provides users with exceptional utility without breaking the bank. It is designed so that you will be able to accomplish more one-strike splits than ever before

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 5.85 pounds
  • Handle Length: 36 inches
  • Head material: Forged steel
  • Handle material: FiberComp
  • Head weight: 4 pounds

Fewer swings mean you will chop your wood quicker and get back to spending time with your family and friends.Something to keep in mind is that the company specially designed this axe for taller people. If you fit this description, then this model provides you with a superb option at an even better price.

If you are of above-average height and are looking for a log splitting axe that will get the job done without putting you into debt, then the Fiskars X27 is the tool for you.


  • Inexpensive
  • Designed for maximum efficiency
  • Textured non-slip grip reduces hand strain while increasing control
  • Coated blade to prevent getting stuck in the wood
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Some reports of damage after a few uses

#3 Estwing Fireside Friend Axe

Proudly made in the United States, this axe packs quite the punch without depleting your finances.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 4 pounds
  • Handle Length: 14 inches
  • Head material: Solid American Steel
  • Handle material: Solid American Steel with Genuine Leather Grip
  • Head weight: 3 pounds

This high-quality axe is currently rated as Amazon's Choice for "splitting hatchet." Providing unsurpassed balance and temper at a price that most cannot beat, you need to add this powerful tool to your collection. You can even sport a bit of style with this option because it comes in both blue and special edition black varieties.

High-quality log splitting axes can quickly become expensive, but if you don’t have extra money to shell out, then you can still find a fantastic option in the Estwing Fireside Friend.


  • Inexpensive
  • Forged in one piece preventing head detachment and making it durable and long-lasting
  • Hand-sharpened edge
  • Shock Reduction grip
  • Weighted wedge explicitly designed for splitting wood


  • Not easy to travel with without purchasing a separate sheath

#4 1844 Helko Werk

From the company that brought you our number one pick for the best overall splitting axe, comes this model that will also highly recommend.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 3.5 pounds
  • Handle Length: 24 inches
  • Head material: C50 High Carbon Steel
  • Handle material: Grade A American Hickory
  • Head weight: 2 and one-quarter pound

The 1844 Helko Werk is very similar to the Helko Werk Vario 2000, except that the 1844 is twelve inches shorter, and it is lighter, meaning that it might not be able to handle bigger jobs. However, this handcrafted, high-quality model will still last you many years. It also comes with protective oil and a sheath so that you can adequately care for it.

1844 Helko Werk Germany produces exceptionally high-quality log splitting axes, and this model is no exception. If you are looking for a solid axe that is a little on the smaller side that will last you a long time, then you must consider this model. If you want something that will last you a long time, then don’t let the price scare you off because sometimes to get unprecedented quality, you need to pay a little extra.


  • Leather sheath and protective oil included
  • Environmentally responsible
  • Linseed oil finish


  • Expensive

#5 Fiskars X7

Fiskars produced our best value splitting axe in addition to this model. As one of Finland's oldest companies, they have centuries of experience creating high-quality products.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 1.38 pounds
  • Handle Length: 14 inches
  • Head material: Hardened forged steel
  • Handle material: FiberComp
  • Head weight: .75 pounds

This model is similar to our earlier pick except for its smaller size. As Amazon's Choice for users who search for "axe," this model is highly sought after.

If you need a small wood splitting axe for an affordable price to help you with small tasks, then this model will fit all these criteria. The fact that this product helps you to chop deeper with each swing means that you will be able to finish the job in no time.


  • Inexpensive
  • Low-friction blade
  • Virtually indestructible
  • Textured non-slip grip
  • Lifetime warranty


  • Lightweight and not great for heavy-duty jobs
  • Only suitable for small to medium-sized logs

#6 Fiskars Iso Core

Yet another Fiskars axe has made our list because of this company's dedication to high-quality products at reasonable prices.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 10.4 pounds
  • Handle Length: 36 inches
  • Head material: Forged premium steel
  • Handle material: Iso Core Shock Control System
  • Head weight: 8 pounds

This model features patented IsoCorre Shock Control technology that makes chopping wood easier on your body by mitigation the shock and vibration you experience. It is currently listed as Amazon's Choice for "wood splitter."

If you’re looking for a heavy-duty axe, that will get the job done efficiently; then you need this model. The Fiskars IsoCore will allow you to split tons of wood without putting excessive strain on yourself. This feature is especially important if you suffer from any medical conditions such as arthritis.


  • Half as much shock and vibration as axes with wooden handles
  • Optimized blade geometry
  • Rust-resistant coating
  • Also suitable for driving wedges and stakes with its driving face
  • Handle features sculpted profile to fit natural hand shape


  • Heavier than many other models
  • Does not come with a sheath

#7 Estwing Camper’s Axe

We gave Estwing our stamp of approval for the Best Budget Axe for their Fireside Friend, and now we are also endorsing their Camper's Axe. This option is a tad longer than the Fireside Friend but is constructed similarly.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 3 pounds
  • Handle Length: 16 inches
  • Head material: Forged Steel
  • Handle material: Forged steel with shock reduction grip
  • Head weight: 1.5 pounds

Forged all in one piece with steel makes this an exceptionally durable and sturdy option. A significant safety concern with axes is that the head will become detached from the handle. However, this concern is alleviated with this model because it is only comprised of a single piece of metal.

The Estwing Camper’s Axe is a heavy-duty wood splitting axe that will take care of any outdoor tasks you need to get done.


  • Forged in one piece
  • Includes ballistic nylon sheath
  • Genuine leather grip
  • Hand-polished head and neck
  • Handle features sculpted profile to fit natural hand shape


  • Some reports of being delivered in poor shape

#8 Gerber Splitting Axe

This long-handled wood splitting axe provides superior power to break through even the most robust logs.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 3.38 pounds
  • Handle Length: 23.5 inches
  • Head material: Forged steel
  • Handle material: Nylon & Steel
  • Head weight: 2.3 pounds

At a reasonable price, this model will allow you to chop deeper with control and efficiency.

If you want a medium-handled axe that can handle tough jobs, then the Gerber Splitting Axe is the tool for you. Whether you need to split wood or chop up roots, with this trusty axe by your side, you will get the work done in no time.


  • PTFE coated blade allows users to chop clean by reducing friction
  • Composite handle reduces shock and mitigates hand strain
  • Well-engineered head splits wood cleanly


  • Some reports of missing sheaths
  • Complaints of not standing up to typical wear and tear

#9 Estwing Sportsman’s Axe

Now we have come to the portion of our best splitting axe reviews where we must tell you which model is not the best and that you should stay away from.

Major Features :

  • Total Weight: 1.86 pounds
  • Handle Length: 14 inches
  • Head material: Hand Polished Steel
  • Handle material: Hand Polished Steel with a Genuine Leather Grip
  • Head weight: 1 pound

While Estwing creates decent products, on the whole, this one is not well-suited for heavy-duty log splitting. With its lackluster shock absorbance and small size, we have to advise against this option.

While Estwing is not a poor company, they missed the mark with this product. You will be much better off purchasing one of the other options on our list instead.


  • Forged in one piece
  • Includes ballistic nylon sheath


  • Too light for large jobs
  • Reports of blade dulling quickly
  • Complaints of poor quality control with blemishes and scratches
  • Subpar shock absorbency

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:

  • The handle length. The longer the handle length, the more leverage you will have to create a powerful strike, but also, the more unwieldy the tool becomes.
  • Weight. More massive axes allow you to split tougher logs, but the more weight an axe possesses, the more difficult it will be to swing time and time again.
  • Shock absorbance. Striking wood with an axe can place a lot of strain on your body. If this is a particular area of concern for you, then you must consider an axe with shock-resistant features.
  • Sheaths. Whether an axe comes with a sheath makes a massive difference in the safety of the item's transportation.

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:

  • They require fuel
  • They have chains that love to break when you need them the most

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.

Soft Woods
  • Balsa
  • Cedar
  • Fir
  • Pine
  • Spruce
  • Cypress
  • Hemlock
  • European Yew
Hard Woods
  • Ash
  • Elm
  • Cherry
  • Alder
  • Hickory
  • Dogwood
  • Poplar
  • Walnut

What is a Splitting Axe?

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.

Popular Splitting Axe and Maul Brands

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):

Check out each brand to read our splitting maul and splitting axe reviews. Additionally, to take a quick look at some of the best splitting axes on the market, check out the table at the top of the page. I’ll do my best to keep it up-to-date.

In Summary

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.

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