Best Wood-Splitting Axes: Top Chops For Your Firewood

Ed Wike
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While urbanites might use city-supplied electric or gas-powered heating, those who aren’t metered will depend on their own wood-gathering to last the cold season long. And, many will use an axe to do so. Thus, a good axe is a must.

Axes used for splitting aren’t designed in the same way as axes used for chopping. The axe head must be heavy to split wood. Lightweight axes can be used for splitting, but they require more leverage to do the job.

So, if you’re planning to split wood by hand, don’t get a light axe just for the sake of comfort. Get a heavier one. Your arms will thank you for it!

Also, you might want to opt for a splitting maul instead of a traditional axe. If you do, check out our guide on the best splitting mauls.

NameCategoryProduct
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 SuperBest OverallFiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super
Estwing Fireside Friend AxeBudget PickEstwing Fireside Friend Axe
Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting AxeUpgrade PickHusqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe

1. Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super

Our rating: 9 / 10

Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super

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Pros:

  • Extremely durable due to triple-layer coating
  • Advanced PowerBoost gives it maximum splitting force with each strike.
  • The angled design makes it great for all types of log splitting
  • The heavy head reduces stick-snagging
  • A great option for people who suffer from repetitive stress injuries
  • Has a 100% lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Heavier than most other models
  • Not well-balanced

This is the best wood-splitting axe for hardwood like Oaks and Hickory. It's a great option for anyone who gets bad injuries when dealing with wood, or anyone who tends to work for extended periods of time in their sheds or garages.

It features an all-weather handle assembled over a shock-absorbing steel and fiberglass alloy core. Its head construction utilizes an advanced triple-layer coating to give you maximum durability. The blades are crafted from the highest grade steel to give you maximum sharpness and longevity.

Bottom line: If splitting and chopping wood is one of your favorite hobbies then go for this best wood splitting axe on our list of top 5 wood-splitting axes.

2. Estwing Fireside Friend Axe

Our rating: 9 / 10

Estwing Fireside Friend Axe

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Pros:

  • Protect your hands with the shock reduction grip
  • An excellent grip
  • Quite affordable
  • Pretty lightweight at just over 2 pounds
  • A full lifetime warranty

Cons:

  • Many users have complained about the handle bending or breaking, which is why it fails to hold its edge
  • The blade is too short to split larger logs

The Estwing Fireside Friend 12-Inch Hatchet is a 14-inch long maul with a forged steel construction and shock reduction grip. The handle is as comfortable as an axe and allows for a firm grip.

It comes at a reasonable price, and is quite compact and lightweight at just over 2 pounds. This makes it easy to carry it around while camping, hunting, or just gathering firewood. Our team was impressed with its ability to hold an edge and most users seem to agree.

This is arguably the best wood-splitting axe out there as its lightweight construction with shock reduction grip assures low recoil and the patented blade curvature delivers a cleaner and quicker cut. Its full lifetime warranty only adds to its value.

3. 1844 Helko Werk Germany Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter

Our rating: 8 / 10

1844 Helko Werk Germany Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter

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Pros:

  • Free 200 year warranty from the manufacturer
  • Made in Germany
  • Wooden handle
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Extremely high quality

A 20 year warranty should give you peace of mind that this splitter is built to last. The steel blade is built into the handle, ensuring it’s sturdy when you need it and lightweight when you don’t. The full shaft length is 53.8 inches, so it’s a great tool for taking on sizable pieces of wood.

The Helko Werk Germany Vario 2000 is an 18 lb log splitter that pretty much can do anything you need it to. It’s both a splitting axe and splitting maul, so those who prefer logs to kindling can use it to slice up pieces of wood instead.

It comes with a blade made of tempered high carbon steel. The blade is coated in a layer of rust protection, so it won’t be damaged when you put it away. The handle is also made of wood, which makes is a classic addition to you toolshed.

4. Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe

Our rating: 8 / 10

Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe

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Pros:

  • Made in Sweden
  • Perfect size for most splitting tasks
  • Crafted with precision and care
  • Great for cutting up firewood
  • Outstanding ergonomics for added comfort
  • Cuts through wood like butter

Cons:

  • The handle is on the short side
  • Some users feel that the head detaches too easily

Husqvarna has been making top notch axes for over 175 years. It is also a division of a larger company called Electrolux. This robustly built axe has a hardwood handle that gives it good balance as well as a good grip. The smooth weight distribution allows it to be swung a lot easier.

The blade is made of stainless steel. This helps to keep the rust and corrosion at bay. It also helps to keep the blade sharp for a longer period of time. The blade is sharpened on two sides so it can be used with either side facing up. It has a fine cutting edge with a 45-degree bevel. This allows it to hold more wood fibers during each swing.

The handle is easy to remove for those who want to utilize the blade on its own. They can add a shorter handle to make it easier to handle and less difficult to cut through.

5. Fiskars IsoCore Maul

Our rating: 7 / 10

Fiskars IsoCore Maul

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Pros:

  • Available in different sizes and weights
  • The handle is designed ergonomically for an improved grip
  • The handle is made from a hand-polished steel to stand out from other axes
  • Powerful and durable blade
  • The handle is extremely comfortable to grip, and easy to control
  • The blade has two black protective coatings for better durability and wear
  • It’s moderately priced

The Fiskars IsoCore Maul offers a unique design with a glossy hand-polished handle made from steel, which is designed to stand out from other axes.

The blade is made from a high quality forged steel. It’s coated with a protective black coating for better durability and easier maintenance. It also provides a powerful force thanks to the weight in the head of the axe.

The grip of the handle is ergonomically designed to fit the natural curve of the hand, and is easy to control for a smooth swing.

6. True Temper Sledge Eye Wood Super Splitter-Maul

Our rating: 7 / 10

True Temper Sledge Eye Wood Super Splitter-Maul

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Pros:

  • Available as an axe or maul
  • Good sharp axe head
  • Makes short work of tough chopping tasks
  • Relatively lightweight compared to other models
  • Price is great for what you get

Cons:

  • Not especially well-balanced
  • Handle is quite short
  • Head may begin to rust after a while

If you're looking for a sledge maul that will help you cut through firewood like butter, it's hard to top the True Temper Sledge Eye Super Splitter-Maul. It has a broad strike face with a three-sided design that allows you to create a wedge with your axe for much easier chopping. In addition, the True Temper Sledge Eye Wood Splitter Maul is a decent value for what you're getting.

The maul comes with a 25-inch tempered steel blade for fast and efficient chopping. If you need an axe that doubles as a maul to cut through much larger pieces of wood, you can't really go wrong with the True Temper Sledge Eye Super Splitter-Maul. This axe and maul combo is not super lightweight as the name suggests, but it's still a quality product that will last you for several years.

7. Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe

Our rating: 6 / 10

Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe

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Pros:

  • Durable construction
  • Well-balanced
  • Useful hook-end

The Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting feature an ergonomic handle and replaceable head. Gerber offers a lifetime warranty on their axes, so you can rest assured that you’re receiving quality craftsmanship.

What we really like about the Gerber is the well-balanced, no-slip grip on the handle. It features a shock-absorbing system that cushions the blow. You can use the handle to pull the axe out of the wood if it gets stuck.

The head is made of hardened alloy steel and has a flat back to help with splitting. It also features a hook-end on the back for pulling wedges apart.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is the best AXE for splitting firewood?

When you are looking to get the most out of your firewood, you need the best ax for splitting. You are going to want a strong ax that is durable and won’t break on you when you are hitting the hardest chunks of wood.

The best ax for splitting firewood is a splitting maul; mauls are simply longer axes with a heavy head and a small grip above the head. They are designed to split firewood in two vertically, whereas wood-splitting axes cut it horizontally. Both have their uses.

The best splitting axes have a solid fiberglass or steel handle, with a long shaft to counteract the weight of the head. Never look for an ax with a wood or fiberglass handle. These handles splinter and break, plus fiberglass handles are too light and not rigid enough for splitting wood.

Is an AXE or maul better for splitting wood?

The biggest difference between an axe and a maul is the type of blade each uses. As you can see on the next page, an ax has a blade for a cutting edge that’s quite sharp. This blade can stay sharp for a long time as long as you take good care of it. A maul, on the other hand, has a flat head and a sharp blade on the sides of the head. The advantage of a maul is that you can use it to both split and cut logs, which you can’t do with an ax.

Of the two, I would recommend an axe. While both do the job just fine, I just like the feel of an ax and the added safety of a sharp blade on the head.

What is the best maul for splitting wood?

Mauls are used for splitting wood and the most common type is the small sledgehammer. If you plan on taking up wood splitting as a regular hobby, then the best maul will be a durable one made of steel. That way, it won’t break from the impact of strikes and won’t lose its swing accuracy.

If you prefer using a bigger sledgehammer for splitting wood, keep in mind that it’s harder to control. The bigger the sledgehammer, the less accurate and less powerful your strikes will be. Because of these limitations, these are generally not the best option.

Should a wood splitting AXE be sharp?

According to studies, the sharpest axe head is 15% faster in breaking down a log than the blunt one. But, the same study showed that if the wood being cut is wet, it’s better to go with a blunt tool. Why? Because a sharp axe can get stuck in the wood then it tends to put extra force on the handle, which can cause it to break. Keeping a dull axe sharp can be a challenge. If you don’t sharpen it after every swing, it will become dull pretty soon.

If you spend a lot of time using the axe, consider buying no-rust heads as these will last longer, regardless of the material they are made of. You can also buy a sharpening stone for your axe, but this will require some DIY effort on your part.

Conclusion

Want to know the factors that affect the splitting power of an axe? This article will give even novice axe shoppers the info they need to narrow down the choices to the best wood-splitting axe that will cut through even the toughest cedar logs with ease.

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 SuperBest OverallFiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super
Estwing Fireside Friend AxeBudget PickEstwing Fireside Friend Axe
Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting AxeUpgrade PickHusqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe