If you require regular fire wood, you need a trusty log splitting axe. Lighter than a maul and easier to control, it’s the perfect tool to keep your stock pile healthy. With materials such as fiberglass and an emphasis on ergonomics, there are some fantastic options on the market. I’ve researched and compared the top models; this is what I found…
What is the Best Log Splitting Axe For You?
- Best all-rounder: Lexivon V28s Log Splitting Axe
- Best lightweight option: Fiskars Log Splitting Axe
- Best for versatility: Gardena 2800 Log Splitting Axe
Comparing the Best Log Splitting Axes
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In-Depth Reviews of Our Recommended Splitting Axes
Fiskars Log Splitting Axe review
- 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.
- 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.
- If you are over 6' this axe may be too short for you.
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
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.
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.