Best Axes in 11 Categories: A Comprehensive Guide to Types + Uses

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An axe is being used

Axes are not only one of the oldest types of hand tools, but they are also one of the most diverse ones. Axes are used in many different jobs and for many different purposes. Felling trees, chopping down branches, and splitting firewood are some of the most popular uses of axes.

However, axes are versatile tools and are also used in many other settings such as woodworking, camping, mountain-climbing, survival, the military, firefighting, and emergency services. In this article, first, we will talk about different types of these tools and then introduce you to the best axe in every category.

An axe stuck in a piece of tree stump

Types of Axes

There’s almost no way of telling people about the differences between all the different types of axes without sounding too pedantic and nerdy! At the end of the day, they look the same with a head and a handle.

An axe inside a tree stump plus text about different types of axes

The difference between different types of axes is exactly in the size, shape, weight, and material of the heads and handles of different axes. We mentioned different applications that axes are used for such as logging, woodworking, camping, survival, firefighting, and emergency services. Some of the axe varieties are the following:

  • Felling axes, as their name suggests, are used for cutting down trees. These tools have a sharp and narrow blade and they feature a long handle which makes them a precise and efficient option.
  • Splitting axes are specifically designed for splitting logs or chopping wood along the grain. Many people in rural areas use these tools to make firewood.
  • A Hatchet is a smaller tool that can be used with only one hand. They are used for chopping small branches and making kindling. Hatchets are popular among campers, mountain climbers, and bushcraft enthusiasts.
  • Carpenter’s axes are axes that are generally slightly larger than hatchets. These axes are used by woodworkers for carving and shaping wood.
  • Other commonly used types aredouble-bitted, broad, tactical, throwing, and fire-fighting axes. An adze is a very similar tool to an axe but it is not one. It’s worth mentioning that there is also a lot of variation between each category of these tools.
An axe is being used on a tree

Best Axes for Felling Trees

Felling trees is one of the most iconic uses for axes. Whenever these tools are mentioned, many people will think of the relation axes have to trees and the type used for cutting trees. Felling axes usually have relatively heavier heads, longer handles, and sharper blades.

These tools have a weight distribution that allows for easy operation with two hands in a way that the force is easily transferred to the head and consequently the blade. Here are some of the factors that you should consider when looking for the best axe in this category:

An axe is being used on a tree
  • Blade: These tools should have a sharp and narrow blade that provides power and precision. The best axes in this category, have a blade with high-quality steel such as carbon steel or forged steel. With the proper blade, an axe is capable of penetrating the wood easily and creating clean cuts.
  • Weight and Balance:The right tool for cutting trees down has enough weight to create enough power during the swing, and is simultaneously balanced enough for optimal control and accuracy.
  • Handle: A long handle is an essential feature for a felling axe. The handle should be made from sturdy and durable materials, such as hardwood or fiberglass, to withstand the sheer amount of force that axes go through. The proper axe for you is also one that has the appropriate height for you.
  • Ergonomics: Ergonomics is a significant factor to consider for felling axes. The best axe in this category should have a comfortable handle that provides a comfortable grip. It’s a good idea to grab the tool to make sure it’s comfortable in your hands. Don’t forget safety features‌ like a blade cover.

Recommendations

These brands make the best axes in the world in this category: Gransfors Bruk, Hultafors, Fiskars, Council Tool, and Wetterlings. If you are looking for affordable options, you can take a look at Ronix’s catalog of axes.

Best Axes for Splitting Wood

When you think of what people do in a rural area out in the countryside, splitting firewood is one of the first things that comes to mind. There are special types of axes for splitting firewood. These axes have a heavy wedge-shaped head with a blade edge that is beveled and sharpened on both sides. The handle of splitting axes is long and is usually made of wood such as hickory or ash which have the best shock absorption properties. Other materials such as fiberglass are also popular for making handles.

An axe stuck inside a tree stump

When looking for splitting axes, pay attention to the following factors:

  • Head Shape: The best axe for splitting usually has a wedge-shaped head. To get the right accuracy and strength for splitting wood the way you desire, you should think about the right head shape for you. Axes with shallower heads can give you more accuracy but usually, not enough power to easily do your wood splitting.
  • Weight: Always consider the weight of the axe head. Heavier heads provide more power and force during swings which makes wood-splitting wood much easier.
  • Handle Length: The length of the handle is extremely important. Longer handles provide more leverage and control, providing more power. However, you should always make sure the handle length is suitable for your height and comfort.
  • Handle Material: The handle material should always be durable and have good shock absorption qualities. If you are looking for wood handles, hickory or ash are the way to go. An alternative to wood is fiberglass.
  • Balance: The best axes for splitting wood should be well-balanced for the most comfortable and accurate swings. You can choose the right axe if you take it in your hand.
  • Blade Edge: ‌ A double-beveled and double-sharpened edge prevents axes from getting stuck in wood during splitting.
  • When buying axes, always make sure to pay attention to ergonomics as well as safety features like blade covers.
An axe and woodfire plus text about features of the best axes for splitting wood

Recommendations

These are some of the best and most established brands in this category: Gransfors Bruk, Helko Werk, Fiskars, Council Tool, and Wetterlings. There are affordable options like Ronix in the market that give you the best bang for your buck.

Best Hatchet Axe

A hatchet is one of the most essential items for any camper or survivalist because of how versatile these tools are. Hatchets are smaller versions of axes that can be operated by employing only one hand. There are varieties of hatchets like tomahawks which are used as weapons. Thus, the expression “burying the hatchet” means making peace!

  • The best axes in this category have high-quality blades made from durable steel that is resistant to chipping.
  • The best hatchets usually have broad blades for the most efficient cutting and chopping for their size and they have handles made of sturdy material like hardwood or fiberglass.
  • Hatchets should be portable and have a multifunctional design. Don’t forget ergonomics and safety features like a blade cover.

Recommendations

Estwing, Gransfors Bruk, Fiskars, Husqvarna, Hultafors, and Helko Werk are some of the manufacturers of the best axes in the world in this category.

Best Carving Axe

Carving wood with axes is an old and intricate art. If you want to start your journey in this craft, you will need a carving axe (carpenter’s axe). If you are looking to buy one of these tools for carving, consider these features to make the most out of your purchase:

A carving axe used for carving a log of wood
  • The blade design is crucial when looking for the best carving axes. Narrow and curved blades are ideal as they provide the best control and precision.
  • The quality and the material of the blade are extremely important when it comes to carving axes. A high-quality blade will remain sharp and intact for a long time and they will not rust as quickly.
  • Don’t forget about the importance of a comfortable grip when looking for the best axes in this category!

Recommendations

These manufacturers make the best tools in this category: Hans Karlsson, Gransfors Bruk, Stubai, Pfeil, Helko Werk, and Hultafors. There are growing brands out there like Ronix that make high-quality tools at an affordable price in this category.

Best Double-Bitted Axes

Double-bitted If you’re a fan of symmetry or medieval fantasy video games, then double-bitted axes are probably your thing! These axes surely are the most unique ones. These axes have also been present in mythology! The labyrinth was a place where a “labrys” was kept which was a type of double-bitted axe.

A double-bitted axe is being used

Double-bitted axes are mostly used for felling trees. But they are also popular tools for other tasks like chopping and felling as well as splitting wood. When looking for the best axe in this category, you should pay attention to the following factors:

  • The first thing that you need to do is to think about your primary purpose for buying a double-bitted axe. Understanding your intended use will help you select the proper axe.
  • The material and the design of the head are extremely important factors when considering the top axes in this category. Make sure that the head is durable and can withstand heavy use.
  • Handles are extremely important when it comes to double-bitted axes. Make sure the handle is made of sturdy material like composite, fiberglass, or hardwood. The length of the handle should be comfortable for your height.
  • Weight and Balance are crucial when it comes to choosing top axes. You need to make sure that when you’re handling these tools properly they are well-balanced and the weight is distributed evenly.
  • Always consider the sharpness of the blade and its edge-retention!
A double-bitted axe is used to split a tree stump

Recommendations

These tool manufacturers make some of the best axes in the world in this category: Council Tool, Gransfors Bruk, Wetterlings, Helko Werk, and Husqvarna. If you are looking for a high-quality brand that makes affordable tools that can compete with the biggest brands out there, take a look at Ronix’s catalog.

Best Survival Axes

This section is for all the people who have learned well from their scout leaders and know that having an axe is essential for survival! Survival axes are usually compact in size and multi-functional so that you can use them in as many situations as possible.

A survival axe is stuck inside a tree

I think this section is also a good guide for people who are looking for “bushcraft” axes. When looking for the top axes in this category consider the following features:

  • Durability and high quality of both the blade and the handle are the most important things when it comes to survival axes. You don’t want your axe to get chipped and leave you in the wild with no way to survive!
  • The best axes in this category are ones that are compact and portable. Excess size and weight inhibit your free movement in the wild. So, make sure your axe has a suitable size and weight for easy carriage in your backpack.
  • Survival axes should be versatile and multi-functional. The more functions, the better. Some types of these tools feature hammerheads and pry bars!

Recommendations

The top recommended brands in this category are Gerber, SOG, Fiskars, Estwing, Hultafors, and Gransfors Bruk.

Best Small Axes

Never judge an axe by its size! A small axe could be the best option for you depending on your purpose! Therefore, you need to think about your purpose for these tools. There are small options for almost any application that axes are used for.

A Ronix axe with hand of the user for scale

These are key features to consider to find top axes in this category. You should pay attention to compactness and portability, and the high quality of the steel. Always make sure that the handle is made of sturdy material and that it provides a comfortable grip. The weight and balance of the axe is a significant factor to consider when looking for small ones.

Recommendations

Gransfors Bruk, Hultafors, Estwing, Helko Werk, Fiskars, and Husqvarna are well-known in the industry! There are also brands like Ronix that make affordable tools that compete with the best brands in the market.

Best Throwing Axes

We have to add a disclaimer here. We don’t endorse using throwing axes other than using them in axe-throwing competitions. Yes! It’s actually a sport!

 Throwing axes stuck inside the target

The most important factor when it comes to these tools is the design and balance. The top axes in this category are the most accurate ones that facilitate consistent throws. This depends on the balanced weight distribution between the head and handle.

Other important factors are as follows:

  • Head material and design
  • Handle material and length
  • Weight
  • Blade sharpness and edge retention

Recommendations

Cold Steel, SOG, Perfect Point, United Cutlery, Gil Hibben, and Smith & Wesson are some of the top brands in this category.

Best Battle Axes

For some reason, we have found out that some people are searching for the best battle axes! Are we back in the 14th century?

A battleaxe stuck inside a tree stump

If you are looking for this stuff, are you serious or you just forgot to add your favorite video game at the end of your search term? Anyways if you are looking for combat and tactical axes, take a look at the” best axes for survival” section!

Otherwise, I guess you are looking for actual battle axes and not in a videogame in which case, I can only tell you to make sure that they are historically accurate!

Recommendations

Some of the top brands in the historical battle axe game are as follows: Windlass Steelcrafts, Hanwei/Paul Chen, Valiant Armoury, Cold Steel, Deepeeka, and Darksword Armory.

Best Axes for Camping

Here are the steps for a successful camping session:

  • Firstcut some branches and split some wood.
  • Gathering the branches and the firewood is the next step.
  • Then make a fire.
  • Finally, cook marshmallows on the fire.
A small camping axe is used to split wood

And to do all of this, the first and the most important thing you’ll need is an axe!

Here are the features you need to consider when looking for the best axes for camping. Most of these features are the same as survival axes so you can check that section as well to get more information:

  • Size and weight
  • Head material and design
  • Handle material and grip
  • Versatility
  • Safety features
  • Portability and storage
An axe is placed next to a campfire

Recommendations

These are the best axe brands for camping: Fiskars, Gerber, Estwing, Hultafors, Gransfors Bruk, and Husqvarna.

Best Brush Axe

If you ever go on a journey in the Amazon rainforest or any other sub-saharan jungle, you may find these tools useful!

A brush axe

Brush axes are specialized tools designed for clearing dense vegetation and undergrowth. The blade of these tools could be straight or curved with a sharpened edge and they usually have long handles. To find the top axe in this category pay attention to the following features:

  • Blade design and material
  • Handle material and length
  • Weight and balance
  • Ergonomics and a comfortable grip
  • Safety features

Recommendations

Council Tool, Truper, Husqvarna, Marbles, Corona, and Ames True Temper are some of the best brands in this category.

An axe is being sharpened

FAQ

What companies make the best axes?

Axes are versatile tools and these tools have a ton of varieties. Each company that is famous for making axes is good at making a certain type of axe.

How can I sharpen my axe?

Using sharpening stones or files are common methods to do this task. One other method for sharpening axes is using benchtop grindstones.

5/5 - (1 vote)

Ronix

17 January 2024

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