In this guide we’ll take a look at the best log splitting axes for the UK market.
I’ve compared swing speed, balance, shaft strength and cost
to give you my top recommendations.
What is the Best Log Splitting Axe?
In a rush? Here’s my top choice…
Incredibly strong axe with a lightweight, anti-fatigue FiberComp™ shaft
This Fiskars Log Splitting Axe has everything: a strong forged-steel blade that retains its sharpness longer than traditional axes, a well-balanced design, lightweight construction, an extremely strong FiberComp™ shaft and anti-vibration grip. It has a 35° cutting bevel angle. Best for 20 – 30+ cm in diameter logs.
Things to Know Before Buying a Log Splitting Axe
Whether you have a log burner or an open fire, you’re going to need a fully-stocked wood basket to keep you cosy in the winter months. Chopping and splitting wood for your fire is very rewarding, but the right tool for the job is essential.
A log splitting axe does exactly what it says on the tin, helping you chop wood which can be used as fuel in your fireplace, wood-burning stove, or outdoor firepit.
Of course, designs can vary quite dramatically, so it can be hard to work out which would be the best log splitting axe for your needs. For this reason, I’ve put together the following advice to help you make an informed purchase:
A log splitting axe is a great tool for preparing firewood, designed to split wood along the grain.
These axes have tapered heads – the force of the axe’s head coming down into the wood causes it to split, and then tapered blade is sharp enough to slice further into the log. The thicker part of the blade follows, and succeeds in splitting the log apart.
A splitting axe generally weighs between 2 – 3 kg, so they are a lot lighter and easier to use than splitting mauls. As a result, you’ll find they make it easier and safer to chop your own wood.
Another benefit to owning a log splitting axe is that it will save you money – instead of having to buy logs from a company (who are charging you for the privilege of them splitting the logs for you!), you can skip the middle man and make it more economical!
What’s more, log-splitting is an extremely good workout, so you’ll even be getting fitter as you slice up wood for the fire: it’s an activity than can burn between 400 and 500 calories in an hour and can activate the same muscles as doing an abdominal crunch!
The length of the handle can vary between axes. Your choice will depend significantly on your height, as well as how much swing you need.
A longer handle will provide you with more swing. This means more momentum, which increases the force that the axe can deliver. On paper, this results in it being easier to split larger logs. However, of course, other factors do come into play.
The downside of an axe with a longer handle – especially one that is too big of heavy for you – is that it may be harder to control. If you can’t use your axe safely and efficiently, it of course won’t be easier to split larger logs after all and could be very dangerous.
A short handle has its advantages, being easier to manage and likely lighter than a longer axe. But a smaller swing arc can also prove dangerous – if the swing is too short, the axe will not be stopped by the ground in front out you. As a result, it could come into contact with your legs which is incredibly dangerous.
Which leads us on to…
How to Make Sure the Axe Handle is the Right Length
There is a good ‘general’ guideline to follow, to make sure that your axe handle is neither too short or too long depending on your height.
Your inseam measurement generally equates to the length of axe handle you should get. You can measure your inseam using a tape measure, measuring your inside leg from the crotch to the ankle bone. Alternatively, you can measure a pair of your trousers, from the crotch to the hem of the trousers, to get this measurement.
The axe handle can be a few centimetres longer than this measurement, but in general try to get it as close as possible.
The ‘bit’ is the sharp part of the axe that cuts through the wood.
Splitting axes usually have either a single or a double bit. An axe with a ‘double bit’ will have two ‘blades’, one on either side of the axe head.
Single bit axes tend to be more popular and, due to the heavier one-sided head, they lend themselves to having more power.
Double bit axes however are better balanced, offering you more control while you chop. Of course, whilst it’s always important to be extremely careful when using an axe, double-bit axes need to be used with a lot of caution due to their two blades.
Traditionally, splitting axes have a wooden handle and this still remains a popular choice.
Wood has great shock absorption so it’s more comfortable to use for a longer time period.
The downside to wooden handles is that they are often varnished for durability, which can make them harder to grip. Those that are unvarnished can swell and shrink depending on the humidity and temperature.
Fiberglass handles are lighter, easier to use and more durable than wood. While metal handles can rust, fibreglass handles aren’t nearly so sensitive to the environment.
However, they are hard to replace, meaning you may have to purchase a brand new axe if your fibreglass handle breaks.
Steel handles are the most durable of the 3 handle types, but they tend to be the hardest to find.
The downside to steel handles is they don’t offer much shock absorption. The more expensive models may have shock-reduction grips to make the axe more comfortable to use.
Everything I Recommend
More Detailed Log Splitting Axe Reviews
Fiskars Log Splitting Axe Review
This Fiskars Log Splitting Axe is well balanced and easy to use – it’s got all the features that really help make a different when splitting logs: a solid blade that won’t go blunt quickly, a lightweight construction, extremely strong shaft and anti-shock technology.
The forged steel blade is heavy enough to efficiently do the job and will stay sharp much longer that traditional axes.
The FiberComp™ shaft has been exquisitely designed to be lightweight yet stronger than steel – it minimises fatigue and makes the axe virtually unbreakable.
The anti-shock handle reduces vibration, so you are not left with numb or trembling hands after a morning of chopping wood. The handle also has a textured surface which helps you grip it without slipping giving you confidence
Using an appropriate sharpening tool, the blade can be easily sharpened when necessary. It comes with a bright orange blade cover that makes it safe to carry and hard to lose.
All Fiskars Splitting Axes have a 35° cutting bevel angle for splitting. The blade’s convex shape strengthens the edge to make it less sensitive to fracture and the insert moulded head will not loosen.
For me, this is the best log splitting axe. Of course, people of different weights, build and strengths will find different axes more suitable. However, this does seem to hit the sweet spot for being effective and manageable for people of most builds. If you are not sure what size would be best for you, the Fiskars website has a great guide for helping you find the right tool for a variety of jobs.
Using this axe has made a huge difference to my productivity. I can get through wood much faster than with the tools I was using prior to purchasing this one.
It can cope with larger logs than many splitting axes of a similar weight, so I rarely have to use additional tools such as mauls, wedges and sledgehammers.
It is the best log splitting axe for logs of between 20 – 30+ cm in diameter. I have used this axe for a while now and there is no sign of damage or wear and tear to the head or shaft.
This is a well-made axe which is easy to use and effective. It offers excellent affordability and it’s the best log splitting axe for the money.
Draper Expert Log Splitting Axe with Fibreglass Shaft Review
This Draper Expert Log Splitting Axe has a hardened steel head and a fibreglass shaft. It also has a rubber grip that is comfortable to use, prevents slippage and reduces shock.
I found this log splitting axe to be well balanced and easy to use. It is light enough to swing easily, but still heavy enough to split fairly substantial logs. It has stood up to quite a lot of chopping with no damage to the head or shaft.
I would say it is best suited to light to medium use and you’ll have plenty of logs in no time to dry out for fuel.
This wood splitting axe offers excellent value for money and is the best log splitting axe on a budget. And its good price doesn’t mean that it compromises on quality; it is well designed and comfortable to use.
Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Log Splitting Axe Review
This Spear & Jackson Razorsharp Log Splitting Axe has a drop-forged carbon-steel head and a wooden hickory shaft. It is slightly heavier to use then the previous products, but the traditional handle feels extremely comfortable and the whole axe is well balanced.
It weighs about 3.8 kg so is suitable for cutting through even quite large, thick logs. However, you’ll need to bear in mind your own physical capabilities: it might be a bit too heavy for those of a smaller build to manage.
Sometimes it’s better to get a lighter axe if it means you’ll be able to use it for longer!
When I turned this axe to tackling my pile of logs, it helped me break them down very effectively, getting through even larger ones with ease.
If you’re after a more traditional wooden design, this is going to be the best log splitting axe for you. It’s good value and you get a lot for what you pay considering how well it can tackle larger logs as well.
Bahco Log Splitting Axe Review
This Bahco Log Splitting Axe is comfortable to use, with an ergonomic handle. It’s well balanced and therefore doesn’t feel unwieldly or difficult to manage.
The axe head is made of carbon steel and is well made – you may need to sharpen it when it arrives so this is something to bear in mind.
The curved ash wood shaft is 80 cm long, and it’s extremely lightweight: just 1.13 kg. It does a good job of cutting small to fairly large logs and is easy for someone of a medium build to manage without problems.
Log Splitting Axe FAQs
This tool is too large to use for making kindling. You need a smaller tool that you can use with one hand, such as a hand axe, kindling axe or hatchet.
A splitting axe is not a good tool for cutting down entire trees. It is designed to split along the grain of the wood rather than across the grain. To cut down trees you will need a felling axe.
Chopping axes and splitting axes are used for different tasks.
The blade of a chopping axe is slimmer and sharper than that of a splitting axe – it’s designed to cut through wood fibres to chop logs in half.
Splitting axes are used to split logs vertically in one downward stroke. They cut along the grain of the wood.