Axes are a must-have for just about any home. Maybe you have some small trees you need to take down on your property, or maybe you have a hungry wood stove you need to feed all winter. Or maybe you just like sitting around a campfire and making kindling. There’s wood to be chopped, and you need the right tool for the job—something sharp and weighty that feels good in your hands when you swing it.
Types of Axes
The first thing you have to do when choosing between axes is to figure out what you want to accomplish with an axe. Are you chopping down trees? Then you’ll want a felling axe, which is designed to be swung horizontally and cut across the wood’s grain. If you’re splitting large rounds of wood, then you need a splitting axe, which has a long handle and a heavy head, which helps it create additional force with each strike. You could also opt for a splitting maul. It’s twice as heavy as an axe and features a wedge on one side of the head and a blunt sledgehammer on the other side. It’s used for splitting especially large rounds of wood.
Smaller hatchets are one-handed tools for bushcraft or camping activities. Somewhere between a hatchet and a splitting axe is a forester axe, which is like a multitool: It’s built to be swung with either two hands or one hand, and it can handle a variety of tasks, from carving kindling to chopping small logs and taking down small trees. Finally, there are tomahawks, which are made for throwing, and double-bit axes, which have two edges, one for felling trees and one for chopping wood.
Materials Used in Axes
After you’ve narrowed down the style of axe you’re looking for, consider the materials used to make the axe. Most axes and hatchets have wooden handles, which do a good job of absorbing the shock of a blow, but they can break if you have a series of errant strikes. The best wooden handles are made from ash or hickory, which are strong woods that can stand up to errant strikes.
Splitting axe handles can also be made with a forged steel core surrounded by rubber to maximize durability. Some felling axes incorporate fiberglass into the handle to minimize weight.
Length and Weight of Axes
The length of the axe handle and the weight of the axe head are also important considerations. Hatchets can have handles as short as 14 inches, while splitting axes will be as long as 36 inches. The longer the handle, the more force you can put into the strike, but there’s a drawback: Longer handles also make it more difficult to be accurate with that strike.
As for the head, the weight will vary depending on the type of axe. Splitting axe heads will range between three and six pounds. Splitting mauls are even heavier. Hatchet heads can be as light as 1.5 pounds. Most axe heads will be made from carbon steel, which is easy to sharpen at home.
It’s a lot to consider, but whether you need to fell trees or shave kindling for a backyard fire, the axes below will have you covered. These are the best axes you can buy right now.
The Best Axes of 2022
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