Top 6 Best Splitting Axes for the Money

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Best Axes for Splitting Wood

Here’s the deal:

Splitting wood is a tough job, so why make it harder on yourself by using an inferior tool?

If you’re familiar with the tiredness and back pain that is usually associated with splitting wood, then you might need a better tool for the job.

Make the tool do the hard work instead of your back, arms and legs.

While you could go to any hardware store to try and find a splitting axe, they usually fall in with the other average tools that will leave you tired and exhausted after using them.

To find the best splitting axes for splitting wood, you’ll have to go looking for the best of the best.

Lucky for you, I’ve done all the hard work for you and picked what I believe are the six best axes for splitting wood.

After careful consideration of the splitting ability of each of these axes, I’ve chosen those which offer the best balance between price and performance. Below you’ll find the pros and cons of each axe, as well as a short description telling all about the axe so you can determine which tool is best for you.

If you’re short on time, I’ve also prepared a table of the best axes for splitting wood that you can quickly reference and find the best axe for your needs.

Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe, Large
Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter (Splitting Axe)
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe (36"), Inch, Black
Husqvarna S2800 27" Composite Splitting Axe
Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe [31-003636]
Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe Collar Guard Model 442 - 5 pounds
Product
Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe, Large
Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter (Splitting Axe)
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe (36"), Inch, Black
Husqvarna S2800 27" Composite Splitting Axe
Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe [31-003636]
Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe Collar Guard Model 442 - 5 pounds
Handle Material
Grade A American Hickory
Grade A American Hickory
Multi-Layer Composite
Multi-Layer Composite
Multi-Layer Composite
Grade A American Hickory
Handle Length
30-inches
36-inches
36-inches
27-inches
36-inches
36-inches
Steel Type
Hand Forged Swedish Axe Steel
German C50 high grade carbon steel, 53-56 HRC
High Carbon Steel
High Carbon Steel
High Carbon Steel
Hand Forged Swedish Axe Steel
Weight
6lbs
8.5lbs
5.85lbs
5lbs
5.4lbs
5.3lbs
Rating
Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe, Large
Product
Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe, Large
Handle Material
Grade A American Hickory
Handle Length
30-inches
Steel Type
Hand Forged Swedish Axe Steel
Weight
6lbs
Rating
Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter (Splitting Axe)
Product
Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter (Splitting Axe)
Handle Material
Grade A American Hickory
Handle Length
36-inches
Steel Type
German C50 high grade carbon steel, 53-56 HRC
Weight
8.5lbs
Rating
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe (36"), Inch, Black
Product
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe (36"), Inch, Black
Handle Material
Multi-Layer Composite
Handle Length
36-inches
Steel Type
High Carbon Steel
Weight
5.85lbs
Rating
Husqvarna S2800 27" Composite Splitting Axe
Product
Husqvarna S2800 27" Composite Splitting Axe
Handle Material
Multi-Layer Composite
Handle Length
27-inches
Steel Type
High Carbon Steel
Weight
5lbs
Rating
Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe [31-003636]
Product
Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe [31-003636]
Handle Material
Multi-Layer Composite
Handle Length
36-inches
Steel Type
High Carbon Steel
Weight
5.4lbs
Rating
Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe Collar Guard Model 442 - 5 pounds
Product
Gransfors Bruk Large Splitting Axe Collar Guard Model 442 - 5 pounds
Handle Material
Grade A American Hickory
Handle Length
36-inches
Steel Type
Hand Forged Swedish Axe Steel
Weight
5.3lbs
Rating

Husqvarna 30” Wood Splitting Axe

Husqvarna 30" Wooden Splitting Axe, Large

Check Price & Rating on Amazon

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Hand forged in Sweden
  • Forged with high carbon Swedish axe steel
  • Grade-A American hickory handle
  • Great for splitting large logs
  • Includes a leather mask

Cons

  • Will need occasional sharpening
  • Husqvarna had previous quality control issues with their axes (now fixed)
  • Wood handle is more vulnerable to being damaged by overstrikes
  • Only covered by 30-day manufacturer warranty

My First Concerns About This Axe

Every outdoorsman is likely familiar with the Husqvarna brand.

Being a huge brand, I was concerned about the quality of this axe at first glance. After all, what separates it from those mass-produced axes at the hardware store?

Quality Over Quantity

What I found was that Husqvarna took the quality over quantity approach with this splitting axe, leaving little to be desired for woodsmen everywhere.

Looking at this axe, the first indication of quality to me was with the hand-forged Swedish steel axe head. If you’re familiar with high-quality axes, most of the brands associated with premium quality axes such as Helko Werk and Gransfors Bruks are hand forged in Sweden.

This splitting axe also being hand forged in Sweden is no accident on Husqvarna’s part. Helko Werk forges the axe heads for Husqvarna in their Swedish forges.

My guess is that Husqvarna knew that the best of the best was hand forged in Sweden, and they took it upon themselves to deliver to their customers.

Premium Quality Delivered at a Lower Price Point

Some of the commonalities you’ll see this splitting axe shares with premium brands are the hand-forged Swedish steel axe head, Grade-A American hickory handle and quality leather mask.

While it doesn’t have the complete level of attention to detail as other premium axes from brands such as Gransfors Bruks, it does have ninety-five percent of the quality for about half the cost. Not bad at all in my book!

Great Splitting Power

Starting with the blade, Husqvarna did a great job at shipping these axes with a sharp blade. These axes should bite into the wood with ease, meaning this axe will go into the wood much easier.

To help you finish out the split and really pop the wood apart, Husqvarna designed these axes with a two-inch wide wedge-shaped head.

Looking at the wedge shape, it has a wide mid-section with tapered edges on each side. This is a great design choice, as the middle ridge splits the wood while the rest of the wedge tapers off to reduce friction and reduce the chances of your axe getting stuck in the wood.

Sturdy Grade-A American Hickory Handle

If you’re familiar with axe handles, you’ll know that Grade-A American hickory is about as good as they come. The only material that can compete with Grade-A American hickory is composite handles.

One downside of this handle is the vulnerability to overstrikes. If you aim too far ahead of the log when swinging this axe, there’s a chance the impact of the wood against your chopping block could cause damage to the handle.

Some wooden splitting axes have metal collars beneath the neck to protect the wood from overstrikes, but unfortunately, that’s not the case with this splitting axe.

One way you can preserve the wood of this axe is to wipe down the handle with boiled linseed oil at least once every season. This will keep the wood from drying out and getting brittle, making it a critical maintenance procedure to preventing the wood from breaking during overstrikes.

Includes a Leather Mask

I recommend you use the leather mask whenever you’re not actively using your axe, as it’s critical to preserving the edge and steel of the axe.

Using the leather mask protects the edge and steel from dirt, corrosion and damage. Even if you don’t anticipate the axe head getting dirty or damaged, accidents happen. Even dirt buildup from walking through dirty areas can cause some minor surface damage to steel if left for long periods of time.

Taking advantage of the included leather mask is a great method of preventative maintenance you can use to reduce the amount time spend polishing steel and sharpening the axe blade in the future.

Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter

Helko Werk Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter (Splitting Axe)

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Hand forged in Wuppertal, Germany
  • Curved splitting handle allows for more powerful swings
  • Grade-A American hickory handle
  • Includes leather sheath
  • Unique head shape protects against minor overstrikes
  • Bolted head instead of traditional wedge-hung head
  • Covered by 20-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Handle will break before the head comes off

Unique Curved Handle

People seem to love the curved handle and say that it makes splitting wood significantly faster and much easier.

Helko Werk says that their curved handle design gives it better balance than a straight handle. While it may seem insignificant, after several cords of wood the improved balance really shines.

With the improved balance, you can swing the splitting axe faster and easier than with a straight handle.

Another factor that makes this handle stand out is the lacquered finish. Most splitting axes typically have a thin lacquer layer or none, meaning the wood grain is exposed.

While this does look beautiful, it means the wood will dry out over time and be more prone to showing signs of wear.

The lacquer on this axe handle does a great job of sealing and protecting the wood. In addition to the lacquer, the end of the handle is also dipped in black lacquer for an additional layer of protection.

Typically, the end of the axe handle sees the most abuse out of any part of the axe handle. By dipping the end of the handle in an extra coat of black lacquer, it introduces an extra layer of protection that will preserve the handle’s wood and keep it from wearing out over time.

Super Powerful Wedge-Shaped Head

To split wood effectively, you’ll need more than just a fancy handle.

Splitting wood effectively relies largely on the head of the axe generating enough force to drive a split clean down the grain of the log.

Helko Werk has their splitting wedges down to a science, which is why they put a large splitting head on this axe.

Wedge at Work

The wide head generates a large splitting force when driven down into the log, forcing it into two.

If you’ve ever been left wanting more power out of your splitting axe, then this is the tool for you. The sharp edge and wide-wedge head generate an enormous amount of force when driven into a log.

Unique Bolt-on Head Design

Another unique feature about this axe is the bolt-on head.

Instead of being wedge onto the axe handle like a traditional axe, Helko Werk designed this axe head to be bolted onto the handle using Allen bolts.

This means that there’s little chance of the head flying off the axe when swinging unless you forget to tighten the bolts beforehand.

This is both a good and bad thing.

On the good side, the axe head won’t fly off the axe and potentially hurt somebody. It’s also easy to remove and attach the axe head in case for when you want to sharpen it.

On the downside, this could in rare cases cause damage to the handle. Instead of having some leeway like a traditional axe head, this axe head is bolted in place. Having no travel room means all the force is going straight to the axe head.

In the event of a very extreme strike, this could break the axe handle.

Includes a Great Leather Sheath

Like other splitting axes, Helko Werk includes a great leather sheath with this axe.

Leather Cover

The sheath for this axe is made from vegetable tanned leather and is handcrafted by Helko Werk’s craftsmen.

This means you get a great fitting sheath that protects the blade from dirt, damage and corrosion.

Fiskars x27 Super Splitting Axe

iskars x27 Super Splitting Axe 36 Inch

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Extremely durable composite design
  • Sharp high carbon steel blade
  • Non-stick coating help pop apart logs with one strike
  • Convex wedge design blasts apart logs with ease
  • Covered by limited lifetime manufacturer warranty
  • Doesn’t require as much maintenance as wooden handled axes

Cons

  • Lacks the power and weight for splitting the largest of logs

All About the Fiskars x27 Splitting Axe

If you’re wanting a splitting axe that can chew through all but the largest logs all day long, then the Fiskars x27 splitting axe is a great choice. While it can’t handle the largest of logs, any small to large size logs it handles like a breeze.

IsoCore Technology Makes This Splitting Axe a Great Choice

The reason this axe is so easy to use rests in the composite handle technology. Fiskars calls this their IsoCore handle design. It works using several layers of composite materials to absorb shock from splitting wood, meaning less wear and tear on your hands and wrists.

Regardless, this technology is simply amazing. I would recommend so much as to purchase one of these splitting axes for the smaller rounds of wood and get another splitting axe or splitting maul for the heavy-duty largest rounds.

Convex Wedge Head Design

Helping boost the splitting power of this axe is the convex head shape. The sharp blade first bites into the wood and is followed up by the wide convex head. This drives the split straight down through the bottom of the log.

To help make sure the axe head doesn’t get stuck, Fiskars coated the head with a non-stick coating. This reduces friction when splitting logs, meaning the head travels faster and further, increasing the number of one-strike splits.

Virtually Indestructible Design

Another benefit of the composite design is that Fiskars designed these axes to be virtually indestructible.

I’m not exaggerating either, Fiskars themselves claims that these axes are virtually indestructible. They’re so confident in their IsoCore tools that each one comes with a lifetime warranty.

You can overstrike as much as you like with these axes, they’re not going to break. If they do, Fiskars will replace them. If you’re new to splitting wood and wanting to learn with a great tool that won’t break, give this axe a shot. If you aren’t trying to split the largest of the large, it’s a great choice that will last a lifetime.

Husqvarna S2800 27-inch Composite Splitting Axe

Husqvarna S2800 27" Composite Splitting Axe

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Extremely durable composite fiberglass handle
  • Well-balanced for extra striking power
  • Sharp edge with a wide head wedge for extra splitting power
  • Reverse-side works as a hammer for dual use
  • Durable drop-forged steel
  • Low-maintenance design

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a sheath
  • Only covered by 30-day manufacturer warranty

All About the Husqvarna S2800 27-inch Composite Splitting Axe

Like the Fiskars splitting axe, the Husqvarna composite splitting has a composite handle design that makes it super durable and great for splitting average sized logs.

While it can’t handle the largest logs around, it’s a great choice for chewing through a pile of wood laying around in the yard without much effort.

Composite Design Saves You Pain and Hassle

The biggest benefit of this splitting axe, in my opinion, is the composite design. It’s what sets this axe apart from other axes on the market.

Compared to a traditional wooden handled axe, this axe transfers much less shock and vibrations when splitting wood. After splitting a cord or two of wood, this makes a world of difference.

If you’ve ever experienced the stinging hand and wrist pain that comes after splitting a cord or two of wood, then give this axe a shot.

Overstrikes Are No Worry Whatsoever

One problem I commonly see with beginner wood splitters is their tendency to overstrike.

Everyone takes a little time to get their aim right and build their confidence.

But even the best wood splitters will overstrike from time to time. All it takes is one hard overstrike, and your wooden handled axe could break in two.

Not the case with this axe. Like the Fiskars axe, this one is practically indestructible.

Not only does it have a tough composite handle that won’t shatter during an overstrike, it also has a metal protector plate beneath the axe head to handle overstrikes with ease.

If you’re worried about overstriking and breaking your tools, then I recommend you give this axe a shot.

Low Maintenance Design

Another drawback of traditional wooden handled axes is the maintenance required to keep the handle in top shape. If you fail to preserve the wood or let the regular maintenance slip your mind, you’ll likely be out a handle the next time you overstrike.

Husqvarna’s composite splitting axe requires next to no maintenance to keep it in top working shape. There’s no wood to oil or refinish, and no exposed steel to polish.

Instead, you have a sturdy composite handle that will last until the end of time. Plus, the axe head is covered in a non-stick coating that protects the steel from dirt and corrosion.

All things considered, this means you’ll spend less time on maintenance, and more time relaxing after a hard day’s work.

Gerber 36-inch Power Splitting Axe

Gerber 36-Inch Power Splitting Axe

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Shock absorbent handle
  • Sharp blade with protective non-stick coating
  • Forged steel head
  • Similar design to Fiskars axe (made by the same manufacturer)
  • Covered by limited lifetime manufacturer warranty
  • Longer handle than Fiskars x27 splitting axe gives it more power

Cons

  • Doesn’t include a sheath

More Power Than the Fiskars x27

If you like the Fiskars x27 splitting axe, you’ll love Gerber’s larger 36-inch splitting axe.

One of my critiques of the Fiskars x27 was the lack of power needed for splitting larger rounds of wood.

Gerber’s 36-inch handle solves this problem by giving the axe enough heft and power to make quick work of those larger logs.

To help you blast apart larger logs, this axe also has a longer blade edge which comes razor sharp from the factory.

Coating the blade is a PFTE non-stick coating. This non-stick coating reduces the friction the blade experiences while splitting logs, meaning the blade travels faster through the log without slowing down. You’ll find this gives the axe extremely clean chops that prevent the axe head from getting stuck.

The sharp edge helps sink the axe down into the log while the wedge finishes the split and forces it down through the entire log. The result is a blast-like splitting power that can tackle almost any size log.

Shock Absorbing Technology

Gerber makes these axes with shock absorbing technology like the Fiskars axes.

You might be surprised to know that this is no coincidence. The reason they’re so similar is that they’re made by the same factory using the same processes, just under different brands.

What does that mean for you?

Gerber delivers the same “IsoCore” shock and vibration absorbing technology in their splitting axe as Fiskars does. That means you won’t be left with sore hands and wrists from chopping away at the wood pile.

Super Durable Composite Design

Another benefit of the composite design that this axe shares with the IsoCore is the durability.

You’ll be hard pressed to find another axe that comes anywhere close to the durability of this splitting axe.

If you’ve ever broken a handle by overstriking, you’ll know it sucks fitting a new one.

Instead of worrying about hanging a new handle, you can get a composite handled axe like the Gerber that is practically indestructible.

Covered by a Limited Lifetime Warranty

If you ever do happen to break this axe, Gerber has got you covered.

For anyone residing in North America, Gerber warrants this splitting axe with a limited lifetime warranty. Given this axe is nearly indestructible already, you should be set for life with this tool.

For those residing outside of North America, you’re not left out either. While it’s not a lifetime warranty, Gerber offers a 25-year warranty on this tool.

A warranty lasting a generation isn’t too shabby either, especially when compared to some of Husqvarna’s wooden splitting axes that only have a 30-day warranty on them.

Gransfors Bruks Large Splitting Axe

Gransfors Bruks Large Splitting Axe

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Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Swedish steel forged axe head
  • Durable Grade-A American hickory handle
  • Handmade leather grain mask
  • Ribbed handle end for better grip
  • Explosive splitting power great for chewing through any size round
  • Metal collar protects wood handle from overstrikes
  • Covered by 20-year manufacturer warranty

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Reverse face can’t be used for hammering

Best Handmade Quality Splitting Axe

Gransfors Bruks is a brand name known for their handmade quality and attention to detail. Each of their axes is a premium handcrafted tool that performs nothing short of excellent.

You’ll find the handmade quality extends to every piece of this axe.

From the hand-forged Swedish steelhead to the hand hung Grade-A American hickory handle and even the hand-crafted leather grain sheath. Nothing on this axe is neglected due to Gransfors Bruks’ dedication to handmade quality tools.

The result is a premium splitting axe with explosive power that chews through wood piles for breakfast.

Explosive Splitting Power

If you’re needing a tool that can deliver the most one-swing splits out of any wood splitting axe, then this tool is your best bet.

Gransfors Bruks did a great job making a wood splitting axe with explosive power that can pop apart nearly any size log with ease.

This great power comes from the concave head shape aided by the razor-sharp edge of the axe. When the sharp edge bites down into the wood, the wide head shape creates large splits that force the log in two nearly every time without fail.

While other splitting axes lack the power for taking on the largest rounds, I would say that this is the tool for splitting the largest logs you’ve got in your woodpile.

Hand Crafted American Hickory Handle

Gransfors Bruks does a great job and ensuring each of their axes is handmade into an excellent wood processing tool.

A large part of this quality comes from their hand-crafted handle designs.

For this splitting axe, the handle is made from Grade-A American hickory and features a section of ribs along the bottom of the handle to help you get a better grip on the tool.

For maximum durability, Gransfors Bruks’ craftsmen align the wood grain to near perfection. This gives the handle incredible strength, as any strikes with the axe will channel the energy along the strongest path of the wooden handle, making it unlikely to break.

Metal Collar Overstrike Protector

On top of this axe’s durability and power, the icing on the cake is the metal overstrike protector.

Overstrike Protector

The typical downside of wooden handles is the fact that they are vulnerable to being damaged from overstrikes. With this metal collar on the neck of the handle below the axe head, you’ve got extra protection from overstrikes.

This is a huge benefit in my opinion, as an axe that is built to last for 30 years is bound to see plenty of overstrikes. Any advantage you can gain in protecting your handle from overstrikes is a huge bonus in my book.

In the case of this axe, I love the overstrike collar. If you’re looking for an axe that has been built from the ground up to have explosive power and last a lifetime, I recommend you check this one out.

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