Splitting firewood is a task dreaded by most but having the right tool for the job will make this “chore” more of a delightful experience. Some people love it, others hate it. It can take the better part of an afternoon or, depend on the amount of wood you need, it can take several days or even weeks. This is why having a high-quality splitting axe is so important. And I’ve compiled a list of 5 great axes, perfect for the task of chopping firewood.
Whether you’re chopping wood year-round or only during the fall season, one thing is for sure; it’s a lot of work. So I’m sharing my picks for the best splitting axes for the money. Have the best of the best is all fine and well, but this list is geared more towards people who want the most bang for your buck.
I’ll cover my favorites which include the all-around highest quality, a budget option, two in the middle, and the one I consider the best splitting axe for the money. For those interested, I’ve taken the liberty of listing my favorites just below this paragraph.
|30″||3.5 lbs||Husqvarna Large Wooden Splitting Axe|
|30″||4.6 lbs||Hults Bruk Bjork Splitting Axe|
|31.5″||5.5 lbs||Helko Werk Classic Scandinavian Splitting Axe|
|27.5″||5.2 lbs||Gränsfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe|
|36″||5.9 lbs||Fiskars x27 Super Splitting Axe|
- 1 Splitting Maul or Splitting Maul?
- 2 What to Look for When Choosing a Splitting Axe
- 3 Top 5 Best Splitting Axes & The Reviews
- 4 Conclusion
Splitting Maul or Splitting Maul?
Now that you’ve seen my top picks, I’ll explain why they’re here and highlight some of the main reasons I selected them. You can find the reviews of each splitting axe below. But, before you skip to the sections, I’d like to explain the difference between a splitting axe and splitting maul. So there is no confusion, this page only lists axes, no mauls. If you need a maul, that’s fine! But I’ll be covering that information on a separate page. For now, let’s look at the differences between the two.
You may be wondering if there is any real difference between a splitting maul and axe. Yes, yes there is. To sum things up quickly, the difference is roughly 2 – 4 lbs. You see, a splitting maul is like a really heavy axe, but with a different shape. And it has a purpose.
The head is the part of the axe which cuts the wood, the business end. On a maul, it’s bulky and very blunt. It’s meant to divide the wood by pushing it apart with sheer weight and size. A splitting maul is used in splitting the heaviest types of wood. It’s meant for “rounds” with knots. The extra weight helps punch through. In some cases, you may need a wedge and hammer but that’s a topic for another page. Suffice to say, a splitting maul is a heavy tool. It’s something you break out when you run into a knotted elm or stubborn round. Most people don’t enjoy swinging one over and over again, due to their weight.
What to Look for When Choosing a Splitting Axe
When choosing a splitting axe, there are a number of factors which go into your decision. The first and foremost reason you’re here is that you’re looking for the best one for the money. I intend to go over those choices below but first, let’s take a look at the other factors in selecting a great splitting axe.
1. The Head Weight
The heavier the head, the more force you can generate. That being said, you don’t need a 9 lb splitting maul to split most firewood. I promise the fastest way to take the joy out of splitting wood is to spend a few hours swinging something uncomfortably heavy. An axe designed for splitting wood has a weight between 3 – 6 lbs, but most weigh around 5 lbs. For a lot of people, this is a great weight. It packs enough punch to get the job done while being easy to swing.
2. Length of the Haft (handle)
The haft is the handle, and this affects your swing as well. Some people do prefer a larger handle as it generates a bit more force. However, the length doesn’t make a huge difference so long as its between 26 – 36 inches. The most important aspect is your safety, and wielding something too large is frowned upon if you’re not the size to match. A 30″ axe is a great all-around length for splitting wood.
3. The Materials
The last factor I’ll go over is the material in which the handle is made from. Most of the brands listed here have wooden handles. There are plenty of options available for composite handles, which are light-weight and durable. They’re more difficult to break than a wooden handle but, in most cases, they cannot be replaced. Also, most axes with composite handles are mass produces, machine-made tools with a lesser quality. You will get more value for your dollar out of an axe with a wooden handle.
Top 5 Best Splitting Axes & The Reviews
You’re looking for a splitting axe which delivers the most value for your money. Well, I have them listed below. The brands listed here have earned their spot here by offering incredible value with quality materials. So, without further delay, let’s get into the reviews.
1. Husqvarna Large Wooden Splitting Axe
Model: Large Splitting Axe
Husqvarna takes the cake for delivering the most bang for your buck. They combined the quality of a hand-forged head with the durable wooden handle. What they’ve accomplished is very difficult to do for under $100 but they’ve managed to do it.
Now, the company doesn’t hand-forge its own axe heads. They’re purchased from another company. I cannot find a definitive answer on which company makes them. Judging by the shape of the head, it might be the brand listed below, who knows? Suffice to say, they’re hand forged and high quality.
The handle is made from hickory and while it might not be as fancy as the other handles, it helps Husqvarna to shave some cost off the axe and pass those savings on to you. To complete this already unbeatable deal, it comes with a leather sheath to keep your cutting edge nice and sharp.
As for the Husqvarna company? Well, they’ve been making things for more than 325 years. Husqvarna started as a weapons foundry but over the years they’ve produced a number of devices like sewing machines, bicycles, meat grinders, and more. Nowadays they make some of the world’s best chainsaws, lawn mowers, trimmers, and of course, axes. Simply put, they’re masters at bringing together the best products at the most reasonable prices.
I’ve been bragging on this splitting axe for long enough. Now let’s take a look at the dimensions and I’ll show you where you can get one for yourself.
- Hand-forged head
- Overall weight is 3.5 lbs
- Hickory wooden handle
- Comes with a protective leather sheath
- Best value for the money (my opinion)
It’s incredibly difficult to beat the price of Husqvarna’s hand-forged axes. Should you decide to get one, you won’t be disappointed. You can find these at a certified dealer or online for $90 – $95. Oh, by the way, Husqvarna sells a line of composite handled axes. I’m sure they’re great tools, but this review only applies for the large wooden splitting axe.
2. Hults Bruk Bjork Splitting Axe
Brand: Hults Bruk
Model: Bjork Splitting Axe
The Hults Bruk company has been around since 1697. They began creating items like nails and iron bars but eventually graduated into making quality tools like spades and eventually, axes. Nearly two hundred years in operation and the ownership passed from the hands of one family to another. Eventually, however, in the late 1800s, it passed to the Ekelund family who began developing axes for the American market.
With the efforts of the Ekelund family and modern advancements in the 1930’s, the tools created by the Hults Bruk company are now deemed among the best available. The company employs 20 people to this day and produces more than 100,000 hand forged axe heads each year.
As for this model, in particular, it’s one of the best splitting axes in the world. Not only that, it’s very reasonably priced compared to most hand-forged axes. It has an overall weight of around 4.6 lbs, a head weight of 3.5 lbs, and a handle length of 30 inches. I can’t say enough about this tool. It’s a real gem, especially for the price. Here are some specs and what I like about it:
- Has an overall weight of 4.6 lbs
- Head weight of 3.5 lbs
- Handle length of 30 inches
- Comes with a leather protective sheath
- The handle is US sourced hickory
I really tried to think of something I don’t like about this tool. I can’t. Sure, I would love to pick one of these up for half the price but that’s not a fair and reasonable expectation. It’s well worth the money. You can usually find them between $105 – $120.
Brand: Helko Werk
Model: Scandinavian Splitting Axe
The Helko Werk company is another one with a long history of making high-quality woodworking tools. Originally known as the Helsper Tool Factory, this brand was forged in 1844 by the Helsper family. In the early 1900’s, the company was already known for producing the best-of-the-best, exporting axes in America, Asia, and Africa.
As for how they became “Helko” was with the addition of a new partner in the early 30s, a partner named Kotthaus. Combine the first few letters from each name (Helsper & Kotthaus) and you get “Helko”. All of their axes are hand-made from the head to the haft in Wuppertal, Germany. Helko Werk has a North America branch which sells the entire line of tools to the US, Mexico, and Canada.
As for the Classic Scandinavian Splitting Axe, well, it’s exactly what you would expect from one of the top axe manufacturers in the world. It’s top-notch. Every step is taken to ensure your axe is in perfect working condition. From the reflective finish to the linseed oil soaked handle, you can’t go wrong in getting anything from Helko Werk. Here are a few things I like about this tool.
- It has an overall weight of 7.5 lbs
- Has a head weight of 5.5 lbs
- The length of the handle is 31 inches
- Uses Grade-A, American Hickory
- Comes with a Leather Sheath
- Uses high-grade C50 Carbon Steel
Again, the axe is fantastic. Perhaps it offers a few more bells-and-whistles compared to the Hults Bruk and Husqvarna splitting axes, but it also costs more. You can buy these on Amazon for around $165.
4. Gränsfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe
Brand: Gränsfors Bruk
Model: Large Splitting Axe
This is one of the most well-known brands. They’re known for their superior designs and top-notch quality. Gransfors Bruk axes are premium tools, the best money can buy. As you can expect, however, you’re going to pay more for them. While I think they’re worth the money, I haven’t placed this one at the top of the list because I don’t consider it the best for the money. Remember, we’re looking for exceptional quality and a low price. This one, while it’s likely the best overall, also costs twice as much.
Gransfors Bruk is yet another company with a lot of history. Their first axe was created many years ago in what was originally a scythe forge. Johan Pettersson and his brother Anders Pettersson moved from Alvdalen, Sweden to Gransfors to set up a scythe forge. The brothers acquired another scythe forge which eventually became their axe facility. As the demand for forest tools exploded in the latter part of the 19th century, this company made its mark on the industry by producing exceptional tools for every aspect in felling, splitting, and shaping lumber.
As for this particular splitting axe, it has a 27.5-inch handle, it’s made with high-quality steel, and comes with everything you’d expect. The specs are listed below.
- Overall weight is 5 lbs
- Weight of the head is 3.5 lbs
- Handle length is 27.5 inches
- Comes with a leather sheath
- Handle is made from hickory
- Has a protective steel collar
The part I like the most about this large Gransfors Bruks splitting axe is the protective steel collar. You don’t see that on many wood splitters nowadays but it’s a great addition. Especially if you’re not very accurate at chopping wood. Repeated blows to the wooden handle will quickly wear it out but with the steel collar, you don’t have to worry as much. What I don’t like about this tool is the price. It’s the most expensive one on this list, coming in around $200. It’s well worth the money and probably the highest-quality axe on this page, but I don’t consider it the best for the money.
5. Fiskars x27 Super Splitting Axe
Model: x27 Super Splitting Axe
The final one on our list is Fiskar’s X27 Super Splitting Axe. It’s a bargain in itself. At the beginning of this page, I briefly wrote about axes with composite handles. As you can see from the picture above, it has a composite handle. That doesn’t mean it’s a bad axe and if I gave that impression, I do apologize. The truth is, for the money you’re spending, it’s a great deal. I’ll be honest about the product, list some qualities, and I’ll tell you why you may or may not want this one.
The price is one of the main selling points for this brand. They’re readily available at many home improvement stores and online for $70 or less. At the time of writing this, it’s 32% off on Amazon. Not only that, you get free 2-day shipping if you’re a Prime member. To see this product on Amazon, click the link below. Otherwise, check your local hardware or home improvement store.
Another benefit Fiskars has is the option of different sizes. While this X27 has a 36-inch handle, you can get a 28-inch version for a bit cheaper. What I don’t like about it is this; If you happen to break it, you’ll be hard-pressed to replace the handle. You may as well throw it in the trash and buy a new one. Here are the things I like about it.
- The overall weight is 5.9 lbs
- Strong composite handle
- Cheapest option on this list
Who is the X27 for? Well, it’s for someone who only splits firewood on occasion and doesn’t want to spend a whole lot. You can often catch this on sale for less than $50 which is nearly half the price of the Hults Bruk.
All the axes on this page are great buys for the money. Whether you can’t or simply don’t want to spend much, Fiskar’s is a great option. Though, if you can’t find it on sale for less than $50, I strongly urge you to pull together an extra $20 to get the Husqvarna splitting axe. Even if you do find it on sale but you can afford it, get the Husqvarna or Hults Bruk – you won’t be disappointed. The Husqvarna, Hults Bruk, Helko Werk, and Gransfors Bruk axes will last forever, so long as you treat them right. Not only that, they’re great to pass down to future generations.
The bottom line is this; It’s hard to beat Husqvarna’s large splitting axe (link goes to Amazon) in terms of the quality you get for the money you spend. The handle might be of a lesser quality than that of the Hults Bruk, but it also costs less. They’re both handsome axes, to be honest. When determining the best option for the money, it doesn’t mean the cheapest option is the winner. The winner offers the highest quality for the lowest price. In my opinion, Husqvarna and Hults Bruk are the winners.