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3 Best Log Splitting Axes to Make Firewood (2021 Review)

The best log splitting axes tend to be made with a steel blade and a fibreglass handle. This ensures the axe is strong and durable, yet lightweight enough to swing in a controlled way. I also recommend looking out for a handle with a comfortable grip, yet enough friction to ensure you keep hold of it safely. The length should be approximately 70cm for cutting small to medium logs no wider than 40cm in diameter. To help you find the best log splitting axe for your needs, I’ve researched and compared the top models; this is what I found…

What is the Best Log Splitting Axe For You?

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Comparing the Best Log Splitting Axes

Use the dropdown to sort the table by the feature that's most important to you.

  • Best For
  • Length
  • Weight
  • Material
  • Cost
  • Our score
  •  

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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Splitting Axes

Lexivon V28s Log Splitting AxeLexivon V28s Log Splitting Axe

Best all-rounder

Design
Durability
Comfort
Value for Money
Overall
4.7
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Lexivon V28s Log Splitting Axe review

Specifications

  • Length: 71cm
  • Weight: 2.86kg
  • Material: Steel & Fiberglass

For a well-balanced log splitter that will help you convert any large logs into ideally-sized fuel for the fire, the LEXIVON V28s Splitting Axe is a great option to consider.

The balance point is close to the axe head which, combined with its 2.6 kg weight, makes it easy to swing without causing fatigue. As a result, it’s much more easy-going than a traditional axe, and the difference is noticeable in terms of the speed at which you can get through the log pile.

Weight is kept down thanks to the fibreglass shaft, much lighter than its wooden equivalent would be, and at 70 cm long it’s a suitable length for users of almost any height and build. The only thing to bear in mind here is that a solid wooden shaft would likely be able to cope with tougher work, but this LEXIVON axe is certainly still up to the task of log splitting.

With a head made from drop-forged carbon steel, it’s an undeniably strong tool. It comes well sharpened, meaning you can get to work straight away, and the hardened cutting edge assists the blade’s movement through wood. As is common with log-cutting axes, the V28s Splitting Axe is wedge shaped, encouraging the wood to split apart much quicker than a flat blade would.

Ideal for the majority of basic log-splitting tasks, and a great way to prepare firewood to burn over winter, you might find this axe struggles slightly if you need to cut a lot of harder wood like oak. However, seeing as the majority of us aren’t hacking down oak trees for our wood burners, this will likely be more than up to the tasks you need it for.

Pros

  • Splits through smaller logs (under 40 cm diameter) without issue.
  • The weight of the shaft and the head create a well-balanced swing.
  • The handle is lightweight which means it does not result in fatigue as quickly as heavier axes.
  • Arrives well-sharpened and ready to use.
  • The splitting-maul shaped head encourages the wood to split more than a standard axe.

Cons

  • Heavier woods like oak may require a more powerful tool.
  • The blade cover could be of better quality.
  • The handle is not solid all the way through, it has a core made of a different material.

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Fiskars Log Splitting AxeFiskars Log Splitting Axe

Best lightweight option

Design
Durability
Comfort
Value for Money
Overall
4.625
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Fiskars Log Splitting Axe review

Specifications

  • Length: 71cm
  • Weight: 1.75kg
  • Material: Steel & Fiberglass

Who isn’t after a sleek-looking log splitter which is extremely reliable and consistently delivers on performance?

The Fiskars Log Splitting Axe ticks all the above criteria; it’s well balanced and easy to use, with features that really help make a difference when splitting logs: a solid blade that won’t go blunt quickly, a lightweight construction, extremely strong shaft and anti-shock technology.

It makes light work of medium-size logs, with a forged-steel blade that is well suited to cutting through wood with a 20 – 30 cm diameter. With this axe, Fiskars have created a powerful tool that isn’t fussy about wood type either: pine, birch and even oak will all meet their match.

The FiberComp™ shaft has been expertly designed to be lightweight, yet stronger than steel – it minimises fatigue and makes the axe virtually unbreakable. Plus, there are further reasons why this log splitter is so comfortable to use: the anti-shock handle reduces vibration, so you are not left with numb or trembling hands after a morning of chopping wood, and the handle has a textured surface helping you grip without slipping.

All Fiskars Splitting Axes have a 35° cutting bevel angle for splitting. The blade’s shape makes it less sensitive to fracture, and the insert-moulded head is firmly attached.

Compared to many splitting axes of a similar weight, this Fiskars axe can generally take on larger challenges. As a result, there’s less need to use additional tools like mauls or wedges.

It also seems to hit the sweet spot, being the best log splitting axe for people of most builds; however, if you are over 6′ it might be a little on the short side.

Fortunately, if you are not sure what size would be best, the Fiskars website has a great guide for helping you find the right tool for a variety of jobs.

Pros

  • Good size for medium size logs - can cut slightly bigger logs too with a few extra swings.
  • Fiskars have created a quality instructional video to help use their axe effectively.
  • Good balance of durability, weight and value.
  • The blade stays sharp even after prolonged use.
  • The grip is both comfortable and sufficiently non-slip.

Cons

  • If you are over 6' this axe may be too short for you.

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Gardena 2800 Log Splitting AxeGardena 2800 Log Splitting Axe

Best for versatility

Design
Durability
Comfort
Value for Money
Overall
4.325
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Gardena 2800 Log Splitting Axe review

Specifications

  • Length: 70cm
  • Weight: 2.96kg
  • Material: Steel & Plastic

At 2.96 kg, the GARDENA Axe 2800 S Axe is the heaviest log splitting axe featured here. That might not sound ideal, but the majority of the weight is positioned in the axe’s hardened-steel head, which a lot of people prefer for log splitting. When the axe is brought down, there is more weight to split the log.

With a wedge-shaped head, and a 70 cm shaft, this GARDENA axe has been designed to be comfortable and efficient; the head splits the wood easily, whilst the length allows for a decent swing. This weighted head also allows for larger logs to be split, and the coating results in a blade that is easier to pull out of wood if it gets stuck.

In contrast to the head, the shaft is made from lightweight fibreglass-reinforced plastic, creating a much lighter axe than would be the case with a wooden shaft. The handle and head have been secured in an innovative fashion, creating a stronger join than is sometimes found in axes with fibreglass shafts.

If necessary, the side opposite the axe head can also be used as a hammer to drive wedges into tough wood. In most cases when chopping firewood this won’t be required, but it’s a notable feature which could occasionally be useful.

If you’re used to a heavier axe, just be aware as you start to use this one – the lightweight shaft can feel a bit odd and precarious to start with, but you’ll soon get used to it.

Pros

  • Protective case for blade allows axe to be carried safely.
  • Coating on the axe head makes it easier to remove from wood and it doesn't get stuck as easily.
  • Protective metal plate on the shaft, near the head, protects it from accidental overstriking.
  • Weighted towards the head which gives a lot more power when chopping.
  • The wedge-shaped axe head works well to split the wood.

Cons

  • Arrives blunt - some people prefer this for safety, but others would rather buy a sharpened blade.
  • The shaft is not solid fibreglass; it's fibreglass with a plastic stem.
  • Not as effective at splitting harder wood like oak.

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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:

The Benefits of a Log Splitting Axe

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!

Why Handle Length is Important

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.

Single Vs. Double Bit

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.

Selecting Your Handle Material

Wooden Handles

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.

Fibreglass Handles

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

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.

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Log Splitting Axe FAQs

Can I use a log splitting axe to make kindling?

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.

Can I use a log splitting axe to cut down trees?

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.

What’s the difference between a chopping axe and splitting 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.

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Sources

  1. Brett and Kate McKay. “How to Split Firewood Correctly”. The Art of Manliness.

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