CAMPING & HIKING

Best Wood Splitting Maul: Cutting Through The Competition

Wood splitting mauls review
Daniel Carraway
Written by Daniel Carraway

If you’re having problems with finding the most suitable tool for chopping wood, then this article about finding the best wood splitting maul is gonna make your day. You will be introduced to one of the top axes on the market, and you will find the best splitting axe for yourself.

But why not just any axe, or simply, anything that can chop wood? Well, you’d be surprised at how difficult and annoying it can get when you’re trying to chop wood properly, but something just isn’t right. So what is missing? Never rush your decision in buying a wood splitting tool before you’ve considered some important features. Keep reading, and you will know everything that you need to know.

Which One Is The Right One?

First off, there are a lot of wood splitting axes, mauls and other tools that you can add to your tool shed. Everyone knows this; however, not every axe or maul can be used the same way as you would any other kind of cutting tool. It depends on a lot of things.

For example, you wouldn’t use the same axe for chopping thick and fresh wood as you would for chopping up kindling. So it depends on the kind of work you’re doing. There are other important factors too.

Height and Size

These two either go with each other, or they don’t. If they don’t, that means you just made it harder for yourself. There are a few unique axes that come in the perfect size and weight. An axe or maul shouldn’t be too heavy or too big.

Testing wood splitting mauls for different height and size

Its size should fit your height, meaning that, if you’re shorter than the average person, you probably won’t handle your common large axe efficiently enough. Also, if you lack the strength to wield an axe of common weight, you need to use a different one. These are just some of the few things you should keep in mind while choosing your wood chopping tool, because there is a match for everyone.

Material of the Blade

Another thing that also needs to be considered when choosing an axe is the material used in the construction of the axe or maul. Is it stainless steel? How strong is the handle? What type of wood is it made from? These are the questions you need to ask yourself while choosing. What type of metal the axe or maul made from is the first thing you should know.

Material of the Blade

Buying a wood splitting tool that is made from weak and non-stainless metal is an amateur mistake. If you’re asking why, then just keep in mind that you’ll probably use the tool properly on 2-3 occasions, but a couple of days of it in a dark and humid place, will make it unusable. The edge of the tool will become dull really quickly, but not as quick as it would take the rust to cover up you axe or maul.

Material of the Handle

When it comes to the handle, today most of them are made out of hard plastic. However, most people prefer the old school wood handles, because they consider them more durable than the plastic ones, which is true. You should also know what size the handle of your axe or maul  should be.

Well, there is only one certain way you can be sure the size is right, and that is if the length of the handle matches the length of your arm.

Wood splitting maul handle

If the handle is weak and it breaks easily, you can always replace it for a very cheap price, but if that does happen, that is a strong sign that your axe is not a quality one.

You also better watch out where you buy your tools, because it’s not a secret that at most hardware stores carry cheap tools made with from melted scrap, like from old cars. This is just begging for corrosion to take place over night. These are the kind of facts you need to be aware of when choosing what tool to take home with you.

Kind of Axe

Another thing is, people put themselves in a dilemma whether to buy a single, or double edged axe.

Wood splitting axe

Well, there is no need to buy a double-edged tool, because that can take the balance away from the chopping.

Balance

Another thing is checking the balance of the tool. Balance is very important because it greatly effects the quality of the chopping procedure. You check the balance of an axe by placing the head of the axe on your palm, so the lower end of the blade comes just above your index finger, and the pole just above your thumb.

Neither end should actually touch your fingers in any way to determine how the head of the axe or maul rests. If it doesn’t, that means the tool is of perfect balance. This method is mostly used when checking the balance of single-bit axes.

Thickness of the Blade

This isn’t a big issue usually, but the thinner the head, the better and quicker the job will be done. It’s actually pretty obvious, and this is the probably the first thing anyone checks when choosing an axe or maul.

Since mauls are a heavyweight version of any wood splitting tool, there is a different way to check which one is the right one for you. A maul is not as precise as an axe when it comes to chopping wood because mauls are heavier, and rely on sheer force when cutting.

Different Thickness of the Blade

You will never be able to do any job with a maul longer than you would with an axe, because it takes a lot of strength to swing it, and you get tired more quickly. Choose with caution, and remember that the main thing that influences the efficiency of the maul, is its balance. Neither the head, nor the handle should be taking up most of the weight.

Product Reviews

Now that you’re informed enough about some of the most important facts when it comes to choosing a maul or axe, it might be time to introduce you with the top six axes on the market, so you can find the best one for you.

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe
Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe

Weight: 5.85 pounds

Item Dimesions: 1.8 x 9.3 x 37.4 inches

Material: Steel

Best Use: Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe is of perfect weight and dimensions, which makes it almost suitable for anyone. However, it is recommended for taller people. Its razor sharp edge and low friction surface of the head makes it ideal for one-hit splits, and getting the job done really quick. It is designed mainly to cut large and medium pieces of wood.

Description: The axe has a specially improved grip at the end of the handle, that prevents the axe from slipping away from your hands. Also, there is a special chamber at the end of the handle, which absorbs the vibration, which spreads across the handle upon impact.

The head is inseparable from the handle, which is a huge plus when it comes to safety. The axe comes with a special sheath, which is also a carrying grip at the same time. You can lock the sheath, when you put it around the head of the axe, and unlock it at any time. The material is steel, which takes a long time to become dull.

Gransfors Bruks Small Splitting Axe
Gransfors Bruks Small Splitting Axe

Weight: 3.53 pounds

Item Dimensions: 0 x 0 x 23.62 inches

Material: Steel

Best Use: Gransfors Bruks Small Splitting Axe is almost two times smaller and lighter than the previous one we reviewed, which makes it really easy to use. It’s mostly used for cutting smaller pieces of wood, and chopping up kindling. You can bring it when going camping, hiking, or hunting.

Description: The axe is super sharp, and cuts as efficiently as possible. You will also have a good grip when using the axe, which really pays off when you’re cutting with just one hand. This small axe is perfectly balanced, which makes using it pure joy.

The material of the head is, of course, stainless steel. The Gransfors Bruks also comes with a sheath made out of leather, which is great for protecting the edge and maintaining maximum sharpness.

Husqvarna Multipurpose Axe

Husqvarna Multipurpose Axe

Weight: 2 pounds

Item Dimensions: 7.52 x 9.84 x 26.5 inches

Material: Steel

Best Use: Husqvarna Multipurpose Axe is lightweight axe can be used for several purposes, which is revealed in its name. Since it is small, it comes in handy when you’re limbing logs, trimming and clearing bushes or branches, chopping up kindling, and more. You can also use it normally when cutting wood.

However, the process would take too much of your time because of its size. You can carry the the axe anywhere with you, like if you’re going hiking or camping, or for similar occasions. It is always recommended using small axes, like this one, with one hand, because using it with two hands can add extra force to the impact, and that is how these small axes go dull.

Description: The head is strongly attached to the handle with, both a steel, and wooden wedge, which maxes out the safety of the axe. Its curved handle makes it more comfortable to use the tool. It also comes with a special leather sheath, so you can keep the edge from going dull, and to protect the head from any additional damage.

Estwing “Fireside Friend” Axe/Maul

Estwing Axe Maul

Weight: 4 pounds

Item Dimensions: 14.2 x 5.8 x 1.5 inches

Material: Steel

Best Use: You can bring Estwing “Fireside Friend” Axe/Maul with you when you’re going hiking, hunting, but it’s mainly used for camping, which is one of the main reasons it was made in the first place.

Designed both for cutting larger pieces of wood and chopping up timber, it is the best tool you can bring outdoors. It will also serve you well in your backyard, because cutting some bigger logs is no problem to this tool.

Description: This axe has also a nylon vinyl grip that reduces the vibration and shock, created upon impact. This unusual axe/maul is specially forged in one piece, and it is made out of the strongest construction steel out there, which makes it perfect for all kinds of purposes.

Tekton Fiberglaas Camp Axe

Tekton Fiberglaas Camp Axe

Weight: 2.1 pounds

Item Dimensions: 14 x 1.2 x 5.5 inches

Material: Fiberglass

Best Use: You probably won’t find a better axe to bring when you’re going camping, hiking, or even mountaineering. Tekton Fiberglaas Camp Axe is best used for chopping up kindling, clearing bushes and dense vegetation.

Description: It’s simply another multipurpose tool. Its 50% fiberglass handle, with a special poly jacket covering it, which protects the axe from damage if you miss a strike.

This makes it also good for your standard wood splitting jobs, since it is sharp and greatly protected. Since the material is super strong, you can always use it as an alternative hammer. You won’t damage the pole of the axe in any way when hammering nails for example.

Estwing Camper’s Axe

Estwing Camper's Axe

Weight: 3.8 pounds

Item Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 26 inches

Material: Metal

Best Use: The Estwing Camper’s Axe is another multipurpose axe, that is perfect for camping, hiking, splitting wood, trimming trees, and many other activities. It can also be used for clearing branches, vegetation, and even chopping up some fire wood and kindling.

Description: This axe is every camper’s favorite, which is how it got its name. It is forged in one piece out of stainless steel, with a special nylon vinyl vibration reduction grip, that reduces the shock by up to 70%.

It’s very light and easy to carry, but very strong and tough. It’s extremely durable, and weatherproof, with a very sharp edge and perfect balance.

Additional Advice and Tips

If you’ve found the right maul or axe that fits your needs and expectations, then there are some other things you might want to know. Every tool has its ups and downs, and there are facts that you should be aware of:

  • Using large mauls or axes to chop wood can usually send small pieces of wood and dust flying around due to the huge force of impact. Because of this, it is strongly recommended that you use special goggles to protect your eyes.
  • Most modern axes have special handles with nylon grips for comfort and shock reduction, but it is still recommended wearing gloves to prevent blisters. If you chop wood for more than an hour, there is a high chance of you getting blisters as well as splinters, which would make the rest of the wood splitting procedure very uncomfortable.
  • No matter what, always chop wood on top of another, larger piece of wood. This is to prevent your axe or maul from hitting the ground, which can seriously damage it, due to the rocks, dirt, and debris, laying around.
  • Never grip the handle at the bottom with one hand, and at the middle with the other, when splitting wood. This is a very unnatural position for your back and shoulder upon impact, and you can injure both if you continue to chop wood that way. When you’re holding the axe above your head, your weaker hand should be just a little below the head of the axe or maul. As you bring the axe down, to split the wood, your weaker hand should slide down to the base before impact. This applies for only larger axes and mauls, of course.
  • Always sheath your axe or maul, and keep them out of humid places to promote the life of the blade’s edge.

All of this is a part of that perfect wood splitting tool for you.

Sheath your axe or maul

The more you make it easier for yourself, knowing all the facts and tips, the more you will make wood splitting fun and enjoyable.

What You Learned

Buying a new axe or maul isn’t simple, especially even after you’ve read all the important facts and what you need to watch out for. If you’re ever confused when looking for a suitable axe or maul, ask about the tool you are buying from a helpful store assistant or send questions to the manufacturer if you’re purchasing online.

If you love camping, hiking, if you’re a lumberjack, or just someone who is looking for a proper wood splitting tool so you can add it to your shed, then you have a handy list of tools to choose from. You ‘ve also learned how to know which axe or maul is the right one for you, and how to choose the tool properly, depending on your requirements.

The rest is up to you. Watch out for your safety when splitting, use the tools responsibly, keep them sharp, keep them undamaged, and enjoy the activity of chopping wood.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Daniel Carraway
Daniel Carraway

Daniel Carraway joined our team last year. He is a gear freak when it comes to hiking, climbing and camping. He went to REI Outdoor School to meet new people and learn best practices. Don’t even try to argue with him about the latest backpack or ice axe, he tried most of them. Daniel’s dream is to climb Mount Everest.

  • Tyler Johnson

    I had to do a little modification to the Tekton Fiberglaas Camp Axe, where the fiberglass is molded together it leaves a crease that would maybe cause blisters if you used it a lot. But a little sandpaper took care of that. The weight and construction of the axe if very nice, it’s well balanced and fits comfortably in your hand. It could use a little sharpening perhaps. But I think for the price you couldn’t find a better one.

  • Walker John

    I’ve been taking the Estwing “Fireside Friend” Axe/Maul with me everytime I go outdoors. I have had this maul for at least five years. My version has the stacked leather washer handle. It has seen duty not only as a wood splitting tool, but also as a 4 pound hammer. I’ve used it with cold chisels, and concrete chisels as well as driving stakes. It’s balance is perfect both for hammering as well as splitting (which is no small feat in my humble opinion). This is truly a unique tool and highly recommended.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Make sure you’re wearing safety gloves whenever you use your tools. The Tekton Fiberglass is top of the line and quite durable. This tool can also double as a hammer when you need to pound on some nails. Overall, a smart buy.

  • Daniel Carraway

    This is really a fireside friend and made especially for camping. It is usually forged in one piece so you’ll be assured that no head will be flying when you’re using this. And don’t let the small design fool you, this is an excellent axe and no wonder it’s your favorite Walker!

  • hermio

    The Fiskars products do not have a stainless steel blade. I checked with them. I doubt that any of the others do either. Reason: stainless is hard to sharpen. As for me, I use the Fiskars X27 for light splitting, my original Monster Maul for heavy splitting (total weight with handle, 23 lb.), and my 20-ton electric splitter for volume work. I split usually about 5 cords per year.

  • Daniel Carraway

    Hi Hermio! It should actually be steel because in the website of Fiskars, they are using forged premium steel. Thanks for pointing this out.