The Fiskars X7 Hatchet has been around for several years now. Its popularity is growing and as such, I felt it appropriate to do a review. Is it worth $25 or not? I’ll do my best to answer that question for you but to sum things up quickly, it all depends on how you’re going to use it. Before I start talking about the hatchet, let’s take a quick look at the Fiskars company.
Fiskars was established in 1649 in Finland. The name of the town? You guessed it; Fiskars! Since their beginnings, they’ve been responsible for the creation of a whole throng of tools. You may know Fiskars for their orange scissors, which the company claims to have sold more than 1 billion of them. Fiskars recent estimate says 63% of all US citizens own at least one product made from them. The company still manufactures scissors and other tools today. As for their axes and mauls? Well, let’s talk about that…
A quick visit to Fiskars US-based website reveals 18 different tools in the axe and maul category alone. They offer hookaroons, log hooks, log tongs, splitting mauls, brush axes, hatchets, splitting axes and more. All of which are reasonably priced, at least considered to other brands. Their X7 hatchet, for example, usually runs between $25 – $35 bucks. Compare that price of a hand-forged axe from another company and you’re easily looking at a $70 difference (usually more). Based on the price alone, it’s easy to see why so many people are interested in it. But is it actually worth $25? Or should you double or triple your hatchet budget and get something a little nicer? I’ll answer that and more in the sections below.
The Cutting Edge
The most important part, of course, is the cutting edge. After all, the main reason you get an axe is for chopping wood. Whether you’re splitting kindling, felling a tree, or splitting firewood, you need a decent bit. So how well does the Fiskars X7 hatchet do all these things and how well does its bit hold an edge? To answer that question we need to look at the head and see what we’re working with.
As you can see by the picture above, this hatch not without blemish. For $25 though, you can’t expect something flawless. I took this picture before sharpening with a file. To be completely honest, I didn’t spend a whole lot of time sharpening either.
You can find countless posts online about this particular hatchet. Many of which have something to do with the steel Fiskars uses and what the edge retention is like. People have claimed to spend well over 30 minutes working the edge only to get it “reasonably sharp”. Others claim spending even more time will get you the desired results.
As for me? Well, I didn’t worry about it too much. I spent 10 – 15 minutes working on the edge with a file. I suppose if you’re that worried about it, you can use a Lansky Puck once you’ve finished the bulk of the work with a nice bastard file.
I’m not using this hatchet every day nor do I plan to in the future. I might use it on the occasional camping trip and perhaps it will find a spot among my hunting supplies. In short, I don’t need this to perform like a $150 hatchet. My guess is, you’re in a similar situation. In which case, the Fiskars X7 works exceedingly well for the price. Sure, you might spend more time getting it razor sharp but all around, it’s not a bad little hatchet.
The durability is definitely one of the main talking points for this review. While the steel Fiskars uses isn’t top-notch, the handle is incredibly strong. Personally, I tend to shy away from composite handled axes because you can’t replace the handle when it breaks. Not only that, I just like the feel of a wooden handle. After using this hatchet, however, I’m beginning to change my mind.
The first notable feature is just how lightweight the handle is. Fiskars is able to accomplish something which is not easy to do; it places the majority of the weight in the head. This helps create better force while swinging. That’s all good and well but the weight pales in comparison to how strong the composite material is.
I decided to do a test for the sake of this review. The test was to run the axe over and see if I could break the handle. Accidentally running over your hatchet isn’t too far-fetched. It’s bound to happen to someone. In most cases, however, it will probably be laying flat on the ground when you run it over. Well, in my test, I slanted the hatchet up against an old piece of cement. Next? Yep, I parked my vehicle on it.
As you can see in the picture above, I’ve parked the vehicle on the hatchet’s handle. I need not say the handle is bent, that much is obvious. I hope this sheds some light on the overall strength of the composite material. Sure, you can probably break the handle if you really want to. The point is this; you’re probably not going to break the handle unless you’re trying to. Even then, it won’t be an easy task.
After finishing the test, I backed the vehicle off the hatchet only to realize it mostly returned to its original shape. There is a slight bend in the handle now but it’s only noticeable upon close inspection. Also, the bend is not so severe that it will have a negative impact on its performance. What did this test reveal? It’s simple really. With normal usage and some common sense, you probably won’t break the handle of the Fiskars X7. That’s definitely a selling point.
The test above proves the composite handle can withstand the partial weight of a vehicle, which is great. Unfortunately, if you were to place X7 too close to a campfire, I’m sure the results won’t be as favorable. Melting the handle is a possibility. Then again, a wooden handle won’t withstand a fire either. Anyway, if you’re interested in seeing how well the handle holds up to a campfire, let me know in the comment section below.
Not everyone plans to use this hatchet in the same way. While you might be looking for a cheap camping hatchet, someone else could be looking for a survival hatchet. What you need the Fiskars X7 for is entirely your business but I’m here to help you see the qualities in this tool so you can judge whether or not its a good choice for you and your needs. Here are some key points I’ll cover in this section:
- It’s very light – great for transport
- Has built-in storage – in the handle
The first thing I want to address is the weight of the X7. Those of you looking for a light-weight hatchet for camping or hiking, look no further. The overall weight is 1.38 lbs. It will fit nicely in most backpacks and you’ll barely notice the extra weight. Due to limited space, a hiker or survivalist will usually opt for something with a shorter handle but at 14 inches, it’s not a bad option.
As for why the X7 is so light-weight, most of that comes down to the materials in the handle. As mentioned above, Fiskars takes advantage of a super strong, light-weight composite material which allows for slight stretching and bending. It also has a hollow handle. I suspect the main reason why the handle is hollow is to reduce the overall weight. Whether intentional or not, it works quite well as storage.
The hollow handle makes for a decent storage space for small items. It’s not a game changer, mind you, but with a little ingenuity you can craft a loop through the holes to keep whatever you place in the handle from falling out.
Also, by creating a loop on the handle you’re effectively giving yourself a great means of hanging the hatchet where you want it. It’s always good to know exactly where your tool is when you’re not using it.
Is it Worth the Money?
Finally, the answer to the question you’ve been waiting for. It’s hard to answer that question without first knowing what you’re using the Fiskars X7 for. So, here goes. I’ll do my best. This hatchet packs quality into a small, light-weight, affordable package. The price is the main selling point and the price is what my answer hinges on.
For survivalists, I don’t recommend the Fiskars X7. I know I’ll catch a lot of flak for this but don’t waste your money. In a survival scenario, you want a hatchet you can fix if it breaks. Remember, that composite handle can’t be replaced like a wooden handle. Also, I don’t recommend this for a homestead or a farm where a hatchet is used a lot. My problem isn’t with the durability, it’s with the quality. If you’re looking for a cheap camping hatchet, it’s definitely worth the money. It’s a great tool to pack along for the occasional camping trip or even on a hike.