These 7 Splitting Mauls are Worth Every Penny
Splitting firewood is a chore in itself. Whether its a chore you enjoy or something you dread, it’s a task made easier with a splitting maul. A splitting maul is a large, bulky tool used to split the most stubborn rounds of wood; it’s a device reserved for finishing the job your axe can’t handle. There is a difference between a splitting axe and splitting maul, and it’s important to know the difference. I’ll go into greater detail towards the bottom of this page but for now, let’s look a the most obvious differences.
A splitting axe weighs between 3 – 6 lbs and has a sharp cutting edge. Because of its weight, it’s easier to use for long periods of time; it’s the tool most people use for splitting firewood. On the other hand, a splitting maul is reserved for splitting knotted, dense, stubborn rounds of wood. It’s a heavy tool, weighing 8 lbs or more and it takes more effort to swing. The main difference between the two is the shape of the head and the overall weight.
Again, your splitting maul is used to split the firewood your axe can’t handle; the knotted, gnarled hardwood. An average person, man or woman, should use an axe for chopping firewood but having a splitting maul for backup is essential. That’s where I come in. I’ve assembled a list of the best tools for the job. This page includes the best all-around splitting mauls, the best for the money, and two high-quality budget options. All of which are listed directly below this paragraph.
|32″||7 lbs||Gransfors Bruk|
|36″||8.5 lbs||Helko Werk Traditional|
|36″||9 lbs||Helko Werk Vario 2000|
|36″||9 lbs||Fiskars Iso Core|
|36″||8 lbs||Council Tool|
- 1 My #1 Pick & Best Value for the Money
- 2 How to Choose a Splitting Maul
- 3 Best 7 Splitting Mauls Reviewed
- 4 The Difference Between a Splitting Maul & Splitting Axe
- 5 Conclusion
My #1 Pick & Best Value for the Money
My all-time favorite splitting maul comes from Husqvarna. It’s my favorite because it offers such a great value for the price. It’s more expensive than the budget options but also costs almost half the price of the top-tier brands. What’s even better is the fact that the Husqvarna splitting maul is one of the best made, too. In fact, the head of the axe is hand-forged by one of the world’s best axe makers and rebranded by Husqvarna. Its hung with a lower quality handle to cut costs. The lower price is passed on to you, the consumer.
Husqvarna’s 32″ wooden splitting maul features a drop-forged head made from Swedish steel with a handle made from American hickory. Its price is nearly half the cost of the other hand-forged splitting mauls available.
How to Choose a Splitting Maul
When selecting a Splitting Maul, there are a few factors to consider before making your decision. It all boils down to the materials, your preference, and the amount of money you’re willing to spend. Since we all come from different walks of life, I’ve taken the liberty of listing 7 great splitting mauls for every budget. From the cheapest to the most expensive, I have you covered. Before we get into those, however, I want to give you a few pointers in choosing the best one for you.
The weight of the head is the first thing I will point out. If you’re not familiar with the parts of an axe, the head is the business end. It’s usually made from metal and it’s the part with the cutting edge. The weight of the head matters because the heavier it is, the more force it will carry. Having more force striking the wood means it will split easier. With that being said, the weight affects how well you can control and swing the tool, too. It’s more difficult to swing a 9 lb splitting maul than a 5 lb axe, for example.
Just light the weight of the head, the length of the handle or “haft” determines how much force you’re able to generate with each swing. The longer the handle, the more force you generate. This depends on the person wielding the splitting maul, of course. A long handle might prove to be cumbersome for a shorter person while a tall person will benefit from it.
Materials play a role in the cost of tools and how well they function. Whether it’s made from the best, high-quality materials or cheap materials, you can usually tell. For the splitting mauls on this page, the main difference really comes in the type of handle. All but one of them have wooden handles; most of which are made from American hickory. Hickory makes some of the nicest handles available. The one splitting maul with a different handle material is Fiskars, which is made from a strong composite material. As for the kinds of metal used in the forging of the head, most use some mixture of high-carbon steel.
Where you find the biggest jump in price comes from the manufacturing process. Is it handmade, drop-forged or is it machine made? Only two splitting mauls on this list are machine made; you’re more likely to find imperfections in machine-made tools but they generally cost less. The drop-forged splitting mauls are near perfect from the head to the handle.
How much it costs is the final factor in deciding which is right for you. A splitting maul is an incredibly useful tool but they’re also expensive. Especially the nice, hand-forged ones. Not everyone can afford the best-of-the-best which is why I’ve made sure to add two budget options.
Best 7 Splitting Mauls Reviewed
Alright, now that I’ve given you some pointers on how to choose the best splitting maul, it’s time to look closer at the ones I’ve chosen. In each review, I will give some history about the company behind the product and, of course, information regarding the splitting axe.
Husqvarna 32″ Wooden Splitting Maul
This is my #1 recommended splitting maul. The reason I recommend this particular tool over the others is that it offers the best value for the money. It’s not the cheapest, nor is it the most expensive. Husqvarna’s 32″ wooden splitting maul is the 3rd cheapest on the list but it sports an American hickory handle and a hand-forged head, all for around $105. It has positive reviews across the board and for good reason; it’s such a great buy.
To better understand the tool you need to know a little about Husqvarna and how they operate. You’ve probably seen their large selection of products at your local home improvement store; lawn mowers, chainsaws, trimmers, etc. What you may not know is that Husqvarna has a great ability to outsource quality products, bring them together into one package and sell them at an unbeatable price. In the tool world, it’s not uncommon for a company to outsource products, rebrand them, and sell them as their own; that’s nothing new. Husqvarna just so happens to be very good at this.
Husqvarna was founded in Sweden in 1689. In the beginning, they were a weapons foundry but nowadays they craft some of the world’s greatest products. For the products they choose not to make themselves, they outsource. I know this isn’t much information about Husqvarna as a company but I want to focus more on their splitting maul because it’s rank #1. Listed below are some the specs.
- Head weight is 5.5 lbs
- Overall weight is 6.8 lbs
- 32 inch, Hickory handle
Like I’ve said several times already, Husqvarna’s 32″ splitting maul offers incredible value for the money. Hand-forged and hung with a nice Hickory handle; it doesn’t get much better. This is my #1 choice for the best splitting maul. You can buy them at Husqvarna dealers and online for around $105.
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul
This splitting maul is easily one of the best on the list. It’s certainly the most expensive but for good reason. Gransfors Bruk has a long history of making the world’s most premium axes. They’re a Swedish company and they pay very close attention to the detail of their work. Having one of their prized tools is something you can be proud of; something to pass on to your children.
As I mentioned, Gransfors Bruk is located in the Swedish village of Gransfors, which is in northern Halsingland. This brand is hard at work, hand-crafting and drop forging five days a week. You can watch the entire process, in fact, weekdays from 9 am to 3 pm. They open their doors to the public to see their handiwork. With over 100 years of history and decades of perfecting their craft, Gransfors Bruks is a leader in the industry.
Now that you know a little about the company, let’s talk about their splitting maul. One thing that sets their splitting maul apart from the rest is the steel collar, which wraps around the handle just below the head. It’s there to protect the wooden handle from missed blows. Missing your target is nothing to be ashamed of. Even the most experienced splitters miss from time to time. The steel collar protects the handle and saves you from replacing it sooner than you need to.
The head of their splitting maul is similar in shape to their splitting axe; it’s just larger and heavier. The bit is concave and sharp for a splitting maul. Also, the poll of the head is designed for striking. This comes in handy should you need to use a wedge to finish splitting a knotted chuck of wood. Finally, the handle is about 32″ in length and it is made from American hickory. Here are some more spec about the Gransfors Bruk splitting maul.
- Head weight is 5.5 lbs
- Overall weight is 7 lbs
- 32 inch, Hickory handle
- Has a steel collar
- Comes with a leather sheath
For those of you looking for the best splitting maul; look no further. It costs the most, too, but it’s well worth the money, in my opinion. This tool will last you a lifetime when cared for properly and its something nice to pass on to your family. You can find them at select dealers or online for between $190 – $250.
Helko Werk Traditional Splitting Maul
Helko Werk is another brand with fine craftsmanship. They’re known worldwide in the forestry industry for their quality tree cutting devices. One of the most exciting aspects of this company is that they’re still innovating; coming up with new ideas and new products. While others have grown stale, Helko Werk has not. You’ll learn more about this in the upcoming section where I’ve chosen another one of their splitting mauls for this page.
Nearly every single top list page I make has at least one Helko Werk product. They’re so well crafted and decently priced that I would question a list without one. In the following paragraphs, I’ll give you some history and information about the Helko Werk company as well as go into detail about their axe series the, of course, talk about their traditional splitting maul.
They were founded by the Helsper family in 1844 and were originally called the Helsper Tool Factory. During the early 30’s is where the name changed. This happened as a new partner joined the ranks and the name changed to Helko Werk. As the year passed, they continued to innovate and improve their trade. Nowadays, this company produces premium tools which are sold all around the world.
One thing I love about Helko Werk is their product series. They have a classic line, traditional line, and Vario 2000 line of products. Each series has a unique appearance from their hatchets to their axes and splitting mauls. The classic series sports wood handle axes with polished heads. The traditional series all sport a traditional look and design. The splitting maul from their traditional series is the one we’re talking about now.
Helko Werk’s traditional splitting maul is one of the best on the list. It’s hand-forged with C50 high carbon steel. It sports a nice, blunt bit and wide head which is great for splitting and forcing wood apart. This one has a nice steel collar, too. The specs are listed below.
- Head weight is 6.6 lbs
- Overall weight is 8.5 lbs
- 36 inch, Hickory handle
- Has a steel collar
- Comes with a leather sheath
This is another product for those of you looking for the best. Helko Werk is reasonable with their pricing, too. Coming with a hand-forged head, American hickory handle, steel collar, and leather sheath, the Helko Werk traditional splitting maul costs around $165 online.
Ochsenkopf Wood Splitting Hammer
Ochsenkopf is a German brand. They handcraft several forestry tools like sappies, log tongs, cant hooks, and, of course, axes. Their version of a splitting maul is called a splitting hammer and it’s a beast of a tool. The handle is made from nice, strong hickory and it’s fitted with a steel collar under the head. The head of the splitting maul has a slight beard on the cutting edge, giving you more surface area for striking. It’s a handsome, well-designed tool for splitting the most knotted woods.
As for the company Ochsenkopf, sometimes called “Ox head”, they were established in Remscheid, Germany in 1781. According to their website, Ochsenkopf is Germany’s oldest axe forge. Most of their tools are made with hickory handles and C60 high carbon steel. The colors are another factor they’re known for. As you can see from the picture above, their tools are usually coated with a nice yellow and red color. The bit of the blade, however, is polished and ready for business.
As for their wood splitting hammer, it’s as good as it gets. This tool comparable to Helko Werk and Gransfors Bruk’s splitting maul. The poll of the head is a large hammer, meant for driving wedges and other related tasks. Some of the specs are listed below.
- Forged Hammer Head
- Head weight is 6.6 lbs
- Overall weight is 9.2 lbs
- 36 inch, Hickory handle
- Has a steel collar
The Ochsenkopf wood splitting hammer comes in two different versions. The one you see above is the “OX 638 H” which is fitted with “Rotband-plus”, the steel collar. Their other version doesn’t have the protective steel collar. You can find the Ox Head 638 online for around $170.
Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter
For those of you paying attention, this is Helko Werk’s second splitter on the list. On their first product I briefly mentioned how this brand is still innovating and, well, this is what I was talking about. The Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter is a new kind of splitting maul with a clever design.
At first glance, the design looks neat, slightly different than the average axe. Upon closer inspection, however, you’ll begin to realize this is no normal axe. The blade is interchangeable; it is mounted at the end of the handle using a screw system. You see, the Vario 2000 series was created with the intention of changing the blades to suit your need. Whether you need a hatchet, felling axe, splitting axe, or splitting maul, this series has one for each.
The length of the handle determines the use of the tool as well. Namely the hatchet. A hatchet is essentially a small, hand axe. For that, you’ll need their 16-inch handle. Helko Werk offers three handle sizes: 16, 30, and 36-inch. So, if you purchase the 30-inch handle and all five blades, you’ll have yourself a range of useful axes. All of which are meant for specific tasks like felling trees and splitting firewood.
Should you just want their heavy log splitter, that’s cool, too. It’s crafted in Wuppertal, Germany using C50 high carbon steel, American hickory, comes with a leather sheath, and a 1 oz bottle of axe guard protective oil. Listed below are some of the specs.
- Head weight is 6.7 lbs
- Overall weight is 9 lbs
- 36 inch, American hickory
- Comes with a leather sheath
- Comes with 1oz. bottle of Axe-Guard protective oil
The Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter is easily the most innovative tool on this list. Whether you’re looking for something innovative or more traditional, Helko Werk provides solid options for both. You can find these online for around $175.
Fiskars Iso Core Splitting Maul
One of the most well-known brands on this page is Fiskars. They’re mostly known for their orange scissors but they produce a large variety of other devices; forestry tools, cutting mats for arts and crafts, machetes, billhooks, and more.
Since their founding in 1649, Fiskars continues to lead the way in innovation. An estimated 63% of all US citizens own at least one of their products. Based on that percentage alone, it’s safe to say Fiskars is doing something right. As for their woodsmen tools, well, I’ll explain more about them in the following paragraphs.
All of Fiskar’s axes, hatchets, and splitting mauls share a similar design and utilize the same materials; composite handles with a decent metal head. They’re machine-made using cheaper materials than the more expensive brands on this page but their tools cost less, too. I feel its safe to say that Fiskars likes to make quality tools, cut costs, and pass the savings on to their consumers. I don’t want to give you guys the wrong impression of their products. They’re great tools for the money.
Their Iso Core Splitting Maul has a composite handle which is good and bad. It’s good because composite handles are generally more durable than wooden handles but it’s bad because you can’t replace them as easily. Chances are, you won’t break the handle unless you’re trying to. I reviewed their X7 hatchet a few weeks ago where I run over the handle with my vehicle. It bent the handle a little but it didn’t break. Needless to say, their composite handles are very strong.
- Overall weight is 8 lbs
- 36 inch, composite handle
- IsoCore system absorbs shock & vibration
Fiskars 8 lb Splitting Maul is equipped with their patented Iso Core technology, which is said to reduce shock and vibrations. It’s not as fancy as the expensive splitting mauls on this page but it costs half the price or less, coming in around $65. You can find them online or in various home improvement stores.
Council Tool Splitting Mauls
Council Tool is an American company established in 1886. They produce a variety of tools such as pry bars, sledgehammers, pick mattocks, and more. Many of their tools are used by firefighters. A quick visit to their website reveals a handful of forcible entry tools as well as a traditional fireman axe. The quality of their tools has always been high. Nowadays, they’re not all hand-forged but this is simply to reduce the price of their tools; they’re still well-built and worth the money.
I spent some extra time on their website this morning only to realize they do offer a handful of those premium, drop-forged items. Council Tool carries a “wood-craft” and “Velvicut” line of axes which are similar in comparison to top brands. Unfortunately, neither one of those series has a splitting maul.
Council Tool’s splitting maul is a classic. It has a wooden handle and a heavy head meant more splitting wood. There is nothing fancy about it. It’s just a dependable ol’ splitting maul. Some of the specs are listed below.
- Overall weight is 6 lbs or 8 lbs (both options available)
- 36 inch, hickory handle
This splitting maul may not be fancy but it does what its meant to do; split wood. You can find Council Tool products, including this one, at select hardware stores and online. You can buy them for $40 – $55.
The Difference Between a Splitting Maul & Splitting Axe
Now that you’ve learned a bit about my favorite brands and their splitting mauls, it’s time to look at the differences between splitting mauls and axes. Like I mentioned earlier, the main difference is the overall weight but the shape of the head is different, too.
Okay, both tools are made to split wood. They’re just made to do it in different ways. I made the following illustrations for a page on the different types of axes, but they will work perfectly here.
As the caption explains and you can clearly see, the head of a splitting axe isn’t very bulky. Sure, there is some extra weight on them but nothing like a splitting maul. The blade is thin and razor sharp.
Having the extra weight helps for obvious reason but the shape of a splitting maul’s head is designed to push the wood apart. It’s a very forceful tool, reserved for thick, knotted hardwoods. Use this tool when your splitting axe can’t complete the job.
In closing, I want to spend a little more time emphasizing the need for a splitting maul. By now you should be well aware that a splitting maul is a tool you bring out when your splitting axe can’t handle a tough round of wood. Their weight makes them a force to be reckoned with. I mean that for both you and the firewood you’re splitting. A splitting maul makes short work of the most stubborn pieces of wood but usually, they’re not required to split all your firewood. For that task, I recommend a splitting axe which is lighter and easier to wield.
As for which of the splitting mauls you choose, it’s entirely your choice. Personally, I recommend you try the Husqvarna 32″ splitting maul because you get so much value for the money. You can go with a cheaper option but it’s hard to beat the value offered by Husqvarna.
Rest assured, if you pick any of the tools listed on this page you’ll get your money’s worth. Take good care of your splitting maul and it will last for years to come. Should you decide to get one with a wooden handle, I recommend rubbing the handle with some boiled linseed oil once a year to keep it in good shape. I truly hope this page helped you in one way or another. If you have any questions or concerns, please use the comment section below.