A splitting axe, also known as a hatchet, can be useful for those who experience camping or hiking, because it can be used in various circumstances, for example, to clean up an area from dry shrubs or to obtain firewood. It is an indispensable tool for anyone that needs to split wood. I would like to highlight the best options you will find on the market, but you should also check our buyer’s guide for more information. So let’s dive in:
Our recommended splitting axes:
Last update on 2020-04-01 at 14:58 / Affiliate Links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
What to consider when buying a splitting axe?
A splitting axe is a cutting tool consisting of a handle on which a trapeze-shaped head is inserted, which ends with a blade. It is mainly used for splitting wood, but it can also be used to cut down small shrubs and branches of a plant.
The cutting portion of an axe composes the final part of the head and is certainly the first important element to evaluate when purchasing. Normally this is made of steel, but there are different types and qualities. The best brands offer very sharp axe heads that need little maintenance, while the cheaper models quickly lose the blade (or “the bit” as it is also called). Very cheap products may have not very sharp blades from the start.
I would like to bring your attention to the blade because this factor plays an important role in the type of cut and on the duration of the cutting edge. In fact, you can find axes with a sharp edge (where the tip of the blade forms a V) and others with a convex edge (where the tip of the blade forms a U). The two types cut the same way, but the sharp edge loses the blade much faster than the convex one and therefore requires more maintenance. As the convex one is very durable, that’s what I would suggest you find.
Let’s now talk about the other aspects of the head, on which the blade is attached. Try to observe it from above: you will find that the top of the heads of the axes are very different from each other and each shape is indicated for a specific use. The top part is called the eye. If you have to face heavy work such as chopping wood, we advise you to orient yourself on a wedge-shaped eye, while if you have to do lighter jobs like cutting branches, you can buy a model with a very thin eye. There is also a third eye shape, which is located halfway between the first two. This is called the universal eye and can be used both for heavy work such as cutting wood and for lighter ones.
The handle is another very important element in choosing a hatchet. It is often made with a traditional material such as wood, but lately, models with polypropylene and fiberglass handles have also spread. If the handle of the model you are interested in is made of wood, you can understand its quality by observing its grain: if they are very close and cut the handle longitudinally, you are in the presence of good quality material. In some models, the handle is lacquered. This may seem an aesthetic improvement, but in fact, you can’t evaluate the quality of the wood used.