I think you’ll agree with me when I say:
Felling a tree is hard work.
I can help you make it a whole lot easier.
Choosing a great felling axe will save you time and effort that is wasted when using a cheap, inferior axe. Not to mention the strain on your body.
By choosing the best felling axe for your situation, you’ll be chopping trees like a hot knife through butter.
Most of these axes are specifically designed for felling. If you are looking for a more versatile axe, I would recommend reading about the best bushcraft axes, which are also great for hiking and backpacking.
If you want to figure out which axe might be best for your situation, click here. It will shoot you down to our felling axe buyers guide.
If not, lets roll right into the action…
- 1 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition
- 2 Gränsfors Bruks American Felling Axe
- 3 Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
- 4 Fiskars 375581-1001 Chopping Axe
- 5 Estwing Camper’s Axe
- 6 Hults Bruk Torneo Compact Felling Axe
- 7 Best Felling Axes: A Buyers Guide
- 8 Safety Tips for Your Protection
- 9 Conclusion
1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition
The first thing that’s notable with this felling axe is its manufacturer which is Helko Werk. This is a company that’s based on Germany, and it’s known for crafting various types of axes since 1844. That should give you a boost of confidence as these guys wouldn’t last this long if they didn’t know what they were doing.
The axe weighs around 4.5 pounds and has a handle length of around 31 inches. The length is roughly the same with other felling axes from other companies.
Perhaps the most essential part of an axe is the head. Thus, you should know more about the head of the 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition axe.
The primary alloy used is the C50 carbon steel. When comparing to other types of steel, the C50 comes with a medium tensile strength. It’s not the hardest steel, but that’s a good thing. If the steel is too hard, then it generally becomes relatively brittle. Thus, the C50 offers the right balance between hardiness and malleability.
As mentioned above, this axe is manufactured by Helko Werk, which is known for producing items that are products of master artisans. In this case, the head is heated and then folded to make it stronger. Then, it’s flattened to get the necessary axe head shape.
The head is heat treated and oil hardened. Since the oil doesn’t induce a “shock” cooling process, it allows the heat to dissipate more slowly. As a result, it minimizes cracking and undesirable structural formations within the steel. In other words, the head of this axe is designed to take a lot of punishment.
Another thing that’s definitely worth mentioning is the head which is polished with a reflective finish. Compared to other axe heads, this one is a bit shinier.
The handle is another thing you need to consider when purchasing a felling axe. The handle of the 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition is crafted with American Hickory. The wood comes with a grade A rating. Hence, it’s a top-of-the-line handle. Also, the hickory wood is from a sustainable source, which is something that may be very appealing to eco-friendly users.
The beauty of the axes that are crafted by master artisans is that you’ll have better quality on the handle. This is because wood comes with varying strength, grain, and density. This is true even if the wood comes from a single source. You’ll need the masterful eye of a skilled artisan to select the ones that are good enough to be used as an axe handle. Thankfully, the 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition doesn’t fall short on such criteria.
Since no felling axe is perfect for everyone, there are a few downsides with 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition. One possible issue is the weight. In some cases, the 4.5 lb weight might be too light for some users. Lumberjacks usually gear towards heavier axes as they allow for more power with each swing.
Another possible issue is the shape of the handle. For some, the handle shape is perfect while for others it will feel awkward. Generally, this is merely a “preference” thing.
- Has a nice and shiny polished finish
- The axe head is designed to sustain a beating
- The handle is made of hardwood that’s sustainably sourced
- Might be too light
- The shape may not be suitable for you
Gränsfors Bruks American Felling Axe
The Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe is an excellent felling tool. Since it’s from Gransfors Bruks you can expect quality from the axe’s head and handle to the protective blade jacket. It’s rare to find defects with their product line, and you can use this one right off the box. For this axe, the company uses the Rockaway head pattern which many experienced users prefer.
The Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe is a full-sized felling axe. Hence, it’s designed for felling trees, and it will be cumbersome if you want to roam around cutting branches and twigs with it.
When it comes to the axe’s head, Gransfors Bruks American typically uses the same design with its entire product line. Generally, the company designs the axe to have a very “flattish” profile. This allows you to cut deeper into the wood with each swing. The design has its flaws, especially with the smaller axe head as there will be an abrupt transition when around the area of the axe eye. Thankfully, this characteristic is unnoticeable with this specific axe as the axe is bigger, which allows for a smoother transition.
Another thing that’s noticeable with the Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe is the thin convex. Again, this is to enhance the chopping ability of the axe. The handle and head are attached with a metal pin and wooden wedge. It’s a design that’s very common with Gransfors Bruks axes.
When it comes to the balance, the Gränsfors Bruks American Felling Axe is reasonably good. However, it’s not the best among the felling axes. There are users that would like to have more weight on the poll. Nevertheless, it’s a full-sized axe, but it’s still able to pull out a good balance.
As always, you can expect the handle to be of very high quality. The curved feature of this specific model makes it easier to cut through fresh resinous wood like pine or spruce.
There are a couple of possible downsides with the Gransfors Bruks American Felling Axe. Perhaps the most annoying disadvantage of the axe comes from its strength. Specifically, the convex shape of the head. As mentioned before, it’s slightly on the flattish and thin side. While this allows you to cut deeper, it’s also prone to getting stuck.
Another thing that’s worth mentioning is that the axe head is built to be harder and stiffer. Combine the fact that the shape is a bit thinner; you need to protect the axe head or be careful with what you hit with it. Otherwise, you could damage the edges. However, if you’re experienced in using an axe, this shouldn’t be a big problem. The price is also a bit steep for an axe. Keep in mind that you’re still getting your money’s worth because it doesn’t look or perform like a cheap axe. Also, it’s crafted to last for an entire lifetime.
- Product of a superb brand
- Superior quality
- The head’s shape allows you to cut deeper
- Can easily get stuck
- A bit on the expensive side
Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
Next up is a Husqvarna product with a 26-inch curved handle. As its name suggests, it’s meant to be used as a multipurpose axe. Its handle’s length is just about the same length as the average person’s arm, making it a handy axe for cutting, shaping, and splitting wood.
We found the axe to be light enough to carry around all day as its head weighs less than 2 lbs. The axe head can be honed to be sharp as a razor, but it won’t come with the ideal sharpness right off the bat. Still, what’s amazing about the Husqvarna’s head is that it can hold its sharpness and edge for quite a long time after it has been sharpened. We’ve put in around 20 minutes to sharpen the head and, of course, did some testing. After 20 cuts in a dead oak, it was still sharp, which is one of the reasons why we’re recommending the product.
As for its blade mask, the Husqvarna 26-incher has one that’s made of soft, premium quality leather. It’s a bit on the bigger side, but it does its job well. From the package, all the axe needs is a couple of drops of boiled linseed oil for the handle. If you want a sharper axe, you can also sharpen the head using a Lansky puck.
Be careful when handling the blade as it gets sharp easily. As mentioned earlier, remember that the steel has great edge retention, so you won’t have to keep on reworking on the edge. For its price, it’s just like any axe you can get at your local hardware store. However, if you put an incredible edge on it, you will quickly see how magnificent of a beast it is.
Its quality, considering the price, is outstanding. If properly taken care of, it can easily be the axe that you can pass down to your grand kid’s.
Being one of the best felling axes around, you can use it to fell small trees, limb fallen trees, and split wood around your campsite. It definitely offers an attractive deal that can’t be beaten by any axe – well, almost, as we’re looking for the same qualities in an axe but with a smaller handle!
- Comes with a long handle to maximize power and speed
- Has a soft leather edge cover
- Versatile with its many uses
- Great value
- Some people find the wooden handle a bit traditional.
Fiskars 375581-1001 Chopping Axe
The fourth felling axe we can proudly recommend to anyone is just like Husqvarna’s 26-incher, the Fiskars 28-inch Chopping Axe. Although it’s bigger, both have great craftsmanship and they’re both reasonably priced.
What we love about the Fiskars Chopping Axe is its unique handle which is made of fiberglass. Yes, that’s right. There’s no wood that can split or metal that can rust with this product. It’s a lot stronger than steel as well. It has been given a head that’s made of Swedish axe steel with a lifetime warranty that will guarantee you a companion for life.
Of course, we didn’t forget to field test this 28-inch chopping axe! As the handle is quite unique, we wanted to focus on its performance. Considering it has a longer handle, you can expect it to be a wood destroyer. When it hit the wood, it didn’t come as a surprise that it made a very loud thud when the blade made impact. Yes, it sent large chips flying around the v-notch!
As if that wasn’t enough, Fiskars gave us a sleek all-black beast of an axe with this product. Its aesthetic will remind you of something that you can see used as a weapon in Star Wars.
Similar to how the axe performed during the chopping test, it was also a ferocious splitter! We grabbed a log and it split it in the first try. We most definitely dig this axe. The lack of the common rubber handle allows the user to have a smoother transition when swinging the axe. Also, the grooves that are carved onto the handle are already deep enough for us to have a good grip to it. It’s also shallow enough that your hand can still feel comfortable holding it.
If you compare the Fiskars Chopping Axe to Husqvarna’s Multipurpose Axe, Fiskars’ product wins even when both are absolute powerhouses that have to be experienced in order to be appreciated. The reason why we think the chopping axe offers better value is because it’s cheaper by a few dollars! Still, you can’t go wrong with any of these amazing felling axes. After all, they’re both on our list of the best felling axes!
- The Swedish steel blade maintains its sharpness, so it doesn’t need frequent reworking
- It’s suitable for felling trees and other large axe applications
- Boasts of a durable construction
- Offers great value for your money
- It’s less portable compared to axes with a smaller handle
Estwing Camper’s Axe
The Estwing Camper’s Axe is a budget-friendly tool that’s easy to fall in love with. This is because it’s lightweight enough to be portable. It’s an excellent tool if you want to roam around and clear your property from vines, bushes and vegetation limbs. It’s also heavy enough that you can finish small felling jobs with ease. In fact, you’ll find this tool very helpful during storm cleanups.
The head and the handle of this felling axe are forged from a single piece of steel. This is a significant advantage as there are no weak points between the handle and the head. You can ask any axe user and you will be told that the thing that will render an axe next to useless is when the link between the head and the axe head breaks. Thankfully, you don’t have to worry about this kind of problem with the Estwing Camper’s Axe.
The axe’s head features a very functional design. The shape of the blade and the cheeks are on the narrower side. This means that you can penetrate deeper into the wood. The opposite side of the blade is shaped like a hammer. It’s good for pounding down nails and tent pegs.
The handle of the Estwing Camper’s Axe is crafted with special shock-absorbing nylon. Shock is a serious thing to consider when purchasing an axe. When you pound an axe, some of the energy will be transferred to your hands and arm. Without a shock-absorbing mechanism, you will get fatigued much faster. Thankfully, with the shock-absorbing grip, this will be minimized. Also, the length of the handle is long enough that you can do a two-handed grip just in case you need more power to get the job done.
Another big plus with the axe is that it’s very budget friendly. In fact, when you compare it to other axes, you can say that it’s on the low end. However, don’t let the price point fool you. Even though it’s a mass manufactured product, the design allows it to be very durable. It will most likely last for more than a lifetime if cared properly.
Now there’re a few things that you need to know about the Estwing Camper’s Axe, but mainly its narrow concave design. As mentioned before, it makes it easier for you to go deeper. However, that also means that it’s prone to getting stuck, which can be annoying at times.
Another minor issue is the steel quality. The manufacturer doesn’t list the specific type of metal it uses. Keep in mind that not all kinds of stainless steel are created equal. There’s a possibility that the type of stainless steel used may be more susceptible to rust when compared to other varieties. Nevertheless, it’s still stainless steel, and that means you can easily prevent rusting by applying WD40 regularly.
- Heavy enough for small jobs
- Has a shock-absorbing grip
- Prone to getting stuck
- Steel-related issues
Hults Bruk Torneo Compact Felling Axe
The Torneo felling axe is a product of the Hults Bruk, a company that has a long and rich history. One thing that’s rather peculiar about this axe is the total length. The entire axe is 26 inches long like the Husqvarna 26″ Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe. When compared to most felling axes, it’s short; however, it’s not really a big deal as it’s a felling axe that’s designed to cut down small to medium trees.
The total weight is only 2.5 pounds. Again, this is rather a tricky trait. Most professional lumberjacks go for axes that are a lot heavier. This allows for more power behind each swing. On the downside, the heavier weight may also mean that heavy axes will get you fatigued quicker. This is not a big issue as it all boils down to preference. If you’re not an experienced lumberjack, then the lighter weight of the Hults Bruk Torneo may be favorable for you.
The blade of the Hults Bruk Torneo is crafted from Sweden. It’s hand forged in a foundry that has been producing axe heads since 1697. In other words, this felling axe has a high-quality blade, crafted by master artisans. The head is struck a multitude of times as well. This compresses the steel, which then increases its density. As a result, the blade is very durable.
There’s a lot of art and science that goes into the crafting of the blade of the Hults Bruk Torneo. It’s not just about melting and hammering steel like there’s no tomorrow. In fact, the axe’s head is carefully crafted to have “zones.” The edge will have a different “hardiness” compared to other parts. The goal is to make the edge harder so it will be able to hold the sharpness for a very long time. The other parts of the blade are relatively softer to absorb shocks and prevent it from becoming brittle.
The handle of the Hults Bruk Torneo is crafted from American hickory. Hence, you can expect it to last for a very long time, especially when it’s treated with linseed oil.
The Hults Bruk Torneo comes with a protective sheath made from leather. The sheath is also decorated with a few elements that are uniquely Swedish.
The thing that really makes this axe stand out is the value for the money. When looking at the cost, it’s in the middle range. However, the build quality is rather on the high-end side. Also, the company behind it has a long history, so you can expect this axe to last more than a lifetime with proper care. What we’re trying to say is that the Hults Bruk Torneo is good enough to be an heirloom axe, but it doesn’t come with an expensive price tag.
One of the few possible downsides with this axe is its peculiar size. It’s not large enough to cut large trees, but it’s also not portable enough that you can roam around with it. Still, it’s a good tool to use if the job at hand only consists of small and medium trees.
- Heirloom quality but affordable
- Has a finely crafted head
- Excellent for beginners as it’s light
- Not efficient when cutting down large trees
- Experienced users may find the axe too light
Best Felling Axes: A Buyers Guide
Felling axes, including the ones that we featured above, are specifically made for cutting down trees. They are massive, so they’re not very portable or travel-friendly camp tools. Although they can be great for splitting firewood, you’ll find them likely to get stuck compared to other tools like mauls.
Pro tip: Read our guide on the best firewoods out there!
Felling axes are often 32 to 36 inches long, but they are too big for most people, which is why the market is now riddled with shorter, more mobile and lightweight felling axes. They are the ones that we added to our list of the best felling axes, as they are great for the average user but they still carry lots of kinetic energy per swing.
When choosing the right felling axe for you, an important aspect you need to consider is the axe’s handle material. Most of the experts in the industry prefer a wooden handle’s feel above all else. According to them, there’s just something that wooden handles exude, which can satisfy both the eye and the hand.
As you already know, not all felling axes have wooden handles. Metal and reinforced plastic are some of your common options. Reinforced plastic is a lot sturdier compared to wood and it’s often lighter; however, there are still disadvantages to it. One, it doesn’t wear down naturally which means the handle will be uncomfortable to hold when it gets damaged or nicked.
Plastic is also difficult to replace. As for metal handles, they’re sturdy as well, but they can be very heavy. They’re hard to replace, too.
If you choose a wooden handle for your new felling axe, make sure that you only get any of the products listed above as they don’t have varnished handles. Varnish in an axe’s handle is not good at all. It makes the axe slippery when it’s wet from your hand’s sweat. For obvious reasons, it definitely would be a nightmare. Your axe will go flying in the air if it’s wet. If you insist on getting one with varnish, you will still be able to make use of it. Just make sure your remove the varnish using fine sandpaper.
Remember that friction is great for axe control. There’s no need for you to sand the handle too much. Just treat the handle with oil afterward so it still gets the protection it needs from moisture.
Handle’s Length and Head’s Weight
Lots of guys are eager to get the heaviest axes they can find. Yes, the additional weight for an axe’s head will provide a lot more force in every swing. That’s why heavier axe heads, those that are 6 to 7 lbs, are used in tree felling and wood splitting competitions. The problem with heavier axes is they’re often not suitable for most people’s needs.
As a matter of fact, it’s a good idea to start with a 2-lb “boy’s axe.” You can go much higher if you will be splitting a ton of wood. The main thing you need to prioritize is your comfort when using this potentially dangerous tool. It’s also easier if you learn the right swinging techniques using a lighter axe.
A 28-inch boy’s axe and a 31-inch axe are great all-rounders. They can handle most tasks not just around your property but on campsites as well. They’re suitable for taking care of fine tasks like preparing to kindle, as well as felling small trees, and splitting firewood.
A sheath, may it be made of leather or plastic, is important and shouldn’t be discarded as it will keep an axe protected and sharp. A leather sheath is more common as it doesn’t tear while being fitted on an axe. In turn, the axe won’t cut you even when you let it dangle on your belt.
Safety Tips for Your Protection
Whenever you feel that your arms are getting weak, it’s crucial that you take a short break; otherwise, you’re risking your safety as it will be likely for the axe to slip from your grasp. In addition, always use the sheath that comes with your axe whenever you’re done using the tool. It’s also best if you don’t use an axe with a handle that still has varnish on it.
If other people are around, remember that “Timber!” is NOT a silly word that a lumberjack would use. Shouting it is a warning that a tree is going to fall. Also, NEVER turn your back to a tree that’s falling until it has actually fallen to the ground.
As you’ve reached this part of the article, it means you’re now well-equipped with all the essential info about the best felling axes as well as how to choose one! If you still find it hard to decide, choosing any of the six mentioned above won’t be a bad idea; however, if you want our thoughts on the best one, we would say it’s the 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition as it’s a powerful axe and is made of high-grade C50 carbon steel. If you need to fell oaks, hickory, maples, beech, birch, and cherry trees, then this is the felling axe that’s right for you!
Once you’ve felled your tree, don’t forget about the tree stump!