Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to our big axe test 2022. Here we present all the axes we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information and added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best axe for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should pay attention to if you want to buy an axe.




The most important facts in a nutshell

  • An axe is a striking tool that is used for working wood. In general, axes can either be used to split wood or to fell trees.
  • An axe consists of two parts: An axe head with a cutting edge and a handle, which must fit well in the hand.
  • The different types of axes are optimised for different applications and are also available in different sizes and weight classes.

The Best Axe: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an axe

What is an axe?

An axe is a striking tool for working wood. Axes, or hatchets, come in different shapes and sizes. There are many types of axes, which have been optimised for the respective area of application.

Axt

You can easily work on different types of wood with an axe. (Image source: pixabay.com / Free-Photos)

Who is an axe suitable for?

An axe is a practical all-purpose tool and is suitable for anyone who can handle it safely. An axe can cause serious injuries if handled incorrectly and should therefore be kept out of the hands of children.

Axes are not only good companions for foresters, but for all nature lovers such as wild campers. An axe offers you a multitude of practical application possibilities

  • Making a campfire
  • Felling trees (not allowed in the rules)
  • Building a shelter
  • Carving
  • As a hammer for e.g. pegs
  • Can be used to get through undergrowth
  • As a knife substitute
  • As a weapon for self-defence
  • As a beer opener
  • As an emergency can opener
  • As a butter knife

What materials does an axe consist of?

An axe consists of two parts: a wedge-shaped iron head and an ergonomic handle that fits comfortably in the hand.

The head, or cutting edge, is forged from iron. Forging makes the iron very hard and resistant, but it still remains tough and robust.

The materials used in the manufacture are ultimately decisive for how reliably an axe can fulfil its task as a tool.

Another component of an axe is the handle. Axe handles are made of different materials and are available in different sizes.

  • Wooden handle: A wooden handle is produced according to a DIN standard and therefore fits any axe head. If your axe is damaged, you can easily replace the handle. High-quality wooden handles are of course well dried and treated with varnish so that the texture of the wood cannot change. If you take good care of your axe and don't leave it lying around, a wooden handle will also last reliably.
  • Plastic handle: Plastic handles cannot usually be replaced, so minor damage to the axe can be a major expense. To prevent this, most plastic handles are equipped with an ergonomic grip, which provides optimal hold. Another distinguishing feature is the weight. Plastic handles are light, which is appreciated for some types of axe, such as the splitting axe, but for other types of axe a balanced weight ratio between axe head and handle is a quality feature.
  • All-steel axe: In all-steel axes, the head and the handle are made of one forged piece of iron. All-steel axes are only available as small axes. The extra weight makes them particularly suitable for splitting wood, as the extra mass adds a lot of energy.

What is the difference between an axe and a hatchet?

The difference between an axe and a hatchet is actually quite simple.

Hatchet

  • Often large and heavy
  • Also called a large axe
  • Is wielded with both hands

Axe

  • Often small and handy
  • Also called a small axe
  • Can be used one-handed

How much does an axe cost?

You can get a simple small axe for as little as 20 euros. However, the price range can climb up to 1000 euros.

It all depends on the materials used and the type of workmanship. A hand-forged axe with a softer, elastic head and an extra-hardened cutting edge clearly belongs to the high-price segment.

An industrially produced standard axe is by no means inferior or does not serve the purpose well enough. But when it comes to durability and reliability, more expensive models are ahead.

What are the alternatives ?

An alternative to the axe is a chainsaw. Saws are especially suitable if you want to work a little more accurately and quickly. Of course, any other tool made for working with wood is an alternative.

It is probably easier to plane wood with a plane than to use a well-sharpened axe as a plane.

Did you know that the axe is one of the oldest tools of mankind?

Axe-like tools have been found that are 2.5 million years old and date back to the Stone Age.

Decision: What types of axes are there and which is the right one for you?

Basically, we distinguish between these types of axes:

  • Splitting axe
  • Forestry axe
  • Camping axe
  • Tomahawk

In the following, we explain the different types and their respective advantages and disadvantages. In this way, we want to help you find the most suitable axe for you.

What distinguishes a splitting axe and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A splitting axe is optimised for splitting tree trunks, e.g. to obtain firewood. The head of the axe is heavy and solid, you drop it on the log to be split and work mainly with the mass of the axe head and gravity.

Advantages
  • Suitable for splitting wood
  • Produced in various sizes and different weight classes
  • generation of great energy by dropping the axe head
Disadvantages
  • High weight of the axe head
  • mobile use more difficult
  • Often too clunky and unsuitable for other woodwork

The cutting edge of a splitting axe is wedge-shaped and forged thicker than that of other types of axe, so the wood is driven apart with a well-aimed blow.

Frau schneidet Holz mit Axt

Which axe is right for you depends entirely on what you want to work with it. (Bildquelle: 123rf.com/94647925)

What are the characteristics of a forestry axe and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

A forestry axe has a narrow, well-sharpened cutting edge and is well suited for effectively felling trees or working on trees that are already dead. You can have a forestry axe in different sizes and in different weight classes.

Advantages
  • Optimal for felling trees or cutting off branches
  • Are made in different sizes and in different weight classes
  • Cuts off even thicker branches with relatively little force
Disadvantages
  • You can cut yourself more easily
  • Can get stuck in the wood more easily

What are the characteristics of a camping axe and what are its advantages and disadvantages?

You can also call a camping axe a universal axe. A camping axe is small and handy, it is ideal for collecting firewood and can be used to set up camp.

Advantages
  • Ideal for cutting and processing branches
  • Can also be used for splitting smaller wood
  • Offers many practical applications in camping
Disadvantages
  • Can split large logs poorly
  • Can get stuck in wood more easily

Universal axes often have a relatively narrow cutting edge and are less suitable for splitting large logs.

Such a universal axe should definitely not be missing on larger camping trips and offers great added value due to its many possible applications.

A camping axe is a good companion for anyone who wants to spend longer periods in nature.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a tomahawk?

A tomahawk is a kind of axe with additional functions. A tomahawk usually has several blades. A small axe blade that is suitable for woodwork and a kind of knife blade that is inseparable from the axe blade.

Advantages
  • Combination of knife and axe
  • Many applications
  • Can be used very well for self-defence
Disadvantages
  • Less suitable for woodworking
  • Depending on the type, a tomahawk is seen as a weapon

A tomahawk is often used on camping trips, generally in the wilderness, but also for military purposes.

By combining a knife and an axe, you have a lot of useful applications packed into one tool. A tomahawk can also be used as a weapon for self-defence and some models are even suitable as throwing weapons.

Did you know that the axe is also used in the kitchen?

In the kitchen, cleavers are often used to cut through larger bones. However, there are also kitchen axes that are equipped with a meat hammer and an additional axe edge.

Buying criteria: Use these factors to compare and evaluate axes

In the following, we will show you which criteria you can use to compare and evaluate axes. This will make it easier for you to get an overview and decide on a suitable and effective model.

In summary, these are the following criteria:

  • Type
  • Physical requirements
  • Axe weight
  • Type of handle
  • Planned budget

In the following, you can read about the respective criteria and find out why it makes sense for you to purchase a model based on the criteria or not.

Construction

Axes differ from each other mainly in the type of cutting edge. Depending on the angle and width of the blade, the axe is more suitable for felling trees or splitting logs.

For the homeowner, there are also great universal axes that are suitable for both applications.

Physical requirements

Your future axe should be adapted to your physical requirements. The handle should be about as long as your arm and you should be able to hold the weight of the axe for a few seconds with your arms outstretched.

Axe weight

Axes that work with force, such as the splitting axe and large drop axes, are often significantly heavier than camping axes or universal axes.

You should find the right weight for you by trying to lift the axe with one hand and a stretched arm. With a suitable axe you will make the best progress and the risk of injury is reduced.

Type of handle

The type of handle of your future axe should not be neglected. Above all, the length of the handle should suit you. A rule of thumb says that the handle should be as long as your arm.

Furthermore, handles are made of different materials, each of which has its advantages and disadvantages.

  • Wooden handle
  • Fibreglass-plastic handle
  • All-steel axe

You can find more detailed information on the individual materials in the guide section.

Planned budget

This criterion depends on the value you place on a high-quality axe. Depending on how often you need a reliable axe, you can easily estimate which price range would suit you.

Axes are produced in all possible price ranges. You can get a high-quality axe from about 50 euros, depending on its size and weight. Unique pieces forged by hand can be worth several hundred euros.

Facts worth knowing about axes

How do I sharpen an axe?

There are several possible tools you can use to sharpen an axe.

  • File
  • Angle grinder
  • Grinding stones
  • Belt grinders

For smaller sharpening jobs, there are special sharpening stones that make it possible to sharpen your axe on the move. Depending on the offer, such sharpening stones are already included in the scope of delivery or can be obtained at a relatively low price.

One way of carrying out coarser grinding work is with an angle grinder and a flap disc.

The video below gives a good description of this method.

Who invented the axe?

The axe is as old as mankind itself, the oldest axe-like tools were used over 2 million years ago. The axe continued to evolve with mankind into the tool we know today.

What accessories are available?

To be better equipped, splitting wedges offer you the possibility to split even the largest tree stumps. Additional wooden handles so that you can quickly start again in the event of damage to the axe should not be missing for longer work.

What is the right work clothing?

For working in the forest, there are generally cut-protection trousers that prevent above all more serious injuries from chainsaws.

Working with an axe is otherwise relatively safe. You should still make sure to wear good shoes and gloves. Protect your eyes with safety goggles to avoid splinters.

Am I allowed to cut down trees?

Trees are generally not allowed to be cut down, the laws differ between the individual federal states. In general, felling is prohibited between 1 March and 30 September, during which time the Federal Nature Conservation Act protects birds nesting in the trees.

Trees are protected from a certain age and may only be felled by professionals in exceptional cases. These guidelines differ greatly depending on the federal state. You are also not allowed to simply cut down your own trees in the garden.

Image source: pixabay.com / markusspiske

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