Different Types of Axes and their Uses – All Types of Axes Explained

Are you finding it difficult selecting the perfect axe for yourself? Are you confused because there is no such thing as just an ordinary ‘axe’? There are so many different type of axes that you are just confused. It’s not surprising as an axe is a tool that serves many purposes. There are axes meant for chopping firewood, for making kindling, for fighting and to help you clear a path.

This is why you need first to decide why you want an axe before you go looking for one. In other words, the purpose of the axe is essential. Once you know why you want an axe, you may consider that the hunt for the right type of axe for yourself is half over. Here all types of axes explained.

Different Type Of Axes

different types of axes and their uses

Regarding ideas for buying axes, the list is as long as there are so many reasons to buy and own a particular kind of wood axe. Like if you are an outdoor enthusiast, you need a lightweight and portable axe that will prove useful for chopping firewood and clearing paths. You may even need one to help you pare critters for food!

If you plan to go on a long outdoor trip where you will be cutting down logs or trees to pack a reserve of firewood, then a falling axe and splitting maul are what you need. You may also need a limbing axe to cut branches while cutting wood.

A limbing axe is also useful if you need to fell small trees and even as a self-defense weapon against surprise animal attacks. Or you can carry along a forest axe for all your chores in the forest like felling large trees to limbing them.

If you need an axe to help you with your woodworking prowess, then a carpenter axe is a better option for it. It is smaller in size but gives you more control over the blade while using it

The tactical axe is a different axe modeled based on the tomahawks ancient North Americans used for defense and survival. So if you are looking for an axe to use for not only clearing bushes and camping but also for hunting, climbing mountains and for self-defense, then a tactical axe is what you need.

Different axe types

Different axes have different working functionality. You have to consider why you use an axe? What types fo axe you need. Here we described most suitable 7 type of axes.

Felling Axe

If you are looking for the perfect axe to cut down large trees, ​then it’s a best felling axe that you need. This is a medium to large sized axe that can span anywhere from thirty to thirty-six inches long. It is moderately heavy, weighing between 3-5 pounds or even more.

This axe is also called a cutting or chopping axe and is ideal for lumberjacks and woodsman as its thin axe blade is sharp and imparts excellent force with each swing. So this is why it makes an intense cut across the wood grain with every stroke made to a tree

Not only can you use this axe for chopping wood, but it’s also useful for cutting down stumps and the toughest barks, cutting through logs for a fire or for building log cabins, and for limbing trees.

The chopping axe comes with a tapered head and thin bit and is flexible in usage. It is also perfectly designed to swing smoothly to give your strokes the best force while felling trees. There are also some models that have a double bladed head which only adds to its versatility.

It’s essential that you choose the right axe you are comfortable using. It should not be too light or too heavy. If it’s too light, you will not get enough power in your stroke while you will get quickly tired swinging a massive felling axe.

Splitting Axe

You will know a splitting axe when you see it as it has a broader profile when compared to other axes. While its broad pattern makes it difficult to cut wood, it gives you more force to cut deeply into logs of wood.

Besides, its blade is ideal for splitting wood as instead of cutting across the wood grain as most axes do, it breaks wood by dividing its fibers. While it’s possible, it’s tiring and a waste of time trying to use a splitting axe to cut wood. Its large profile leads to pretty shallow cuts that don’t make a substantial impact on the wood.

Talking about the profile, the splitting axe’s head is shaped like a wedge, and is on the heavier side, weighing about seven pounds. It does have a straight handle and a large butt, and because of its unique disposition, it’s a bit difficult to handle and is thus better avoided by beginners.

So even ​though the wood splitting axe is not helpful for cutting wood, it is indeed beneficial for giving a vertical split on logs along its fibers. And as it is heavy and has a broad axe head, it does provide a stronger strike.

Another benefit of this new type of axe for splitting wood is that most have a coating that prevents it from getting stuck in the wood with each strike. Once it creates a niche in the wood, it reaches deeper into the wood with each blow to thoroughly split the wood into halves or quarters. And last but not least, the large butt of a splitting axe can also be used as a hammer to hit wedges or to remove stuck mauls.

Splitting Maul

A splitting maul comes with a long handle and sharp axe head that weighs about 6-8 pounds. Its long handle and dull blade edge together help split wood with each strike. The weight thus proves to be both an advantage and disadvantage.

While it adds power to your strikes and can split any large size wood or logs efficiently, swinging a best wood splitting maul can get tiring. This reduces your workload and the amount of wood that you can cut.

If you wonder what the best type of axe for splitting wood is, the answer lies in the kind of logs you will be processing, and how much wood you intend to break. A splitting maul is a better choice if you have lots of large blocks of timber to process as the weight and width of its wedge and the large handle is better than a sharp blade.

It’s better using a splitting axe if you have to process small to medium-sized blocks of wood. Though splitting mauls and axes are designed and shaped similar, it’s the splitting maul that can cut large logs along the grain, in a much shorter time than a splitting axe.

You have to be careful using the splitting maul as its weight, and improper usage can lead to injuries. Besides, the wide butt or non-contact side of its head can also be used with wedges and wood grenades for quicker and more efficient splitting of wood.

Tactical Axe

The tactical or tactical tomahawk axe is a new type of axe shaped like the Native American’s old tomahawks. It ‘s a versatile tool that soldiers use for branching, and is also used by hobbyists for limbing trees, cutting wood, excavation, other utility applications and even throwing. It also makes a great survival tool, which isn’t surprising as it was a weapon of choice in the 18th Century American Revolution before the introduction of firearms.

However, it’s today a versatile tool used mainly for hunting purposes, to clear bushes, climb mountains and also while camping. It is also useful as a tool of self-defense, to break down security doors and even as a helpful camping tool.

It’s useful keeping a tactical axe at home to scare off vandals as it can easily be used to cut bones if need be. And of course, if there’s no other reason, it’s also a collector’s piece which any blade collector will enjoy adding to their collection.

Carpenter axe

A carpenter’s axe is obviously a tool preferred by woodworkers and carpenters. It’s a small axe that’s comparable to a hatchet and designed keeping a carpenter’s control over the device in mind. It’s a small axe that is lighter than a carving axe and can be easily controlled and used using only one hand.

These axes usually come with a handle measuring a foot in length, with a few inches variance based on the manufacturer’s design. A unique trait of this axe is that it has a long beard. It is thus designed so that the higher a user chokes up on the handle, the more control they have over the blade. This is indeed a beneficial feature in an axe for a woodworker. Besides, the carpenter axe has a slightly sharp edge which is needed to give precise short, chopping strokes for skilled carpentry.

Forest Axe

Looking at the name you surely acknowledge that a forest axe is an axe you should carry with you to the wilderness. It’s useful for most of the things you plan to do while trekking and camping like felling large trees and limbing small logs. What distinguishes forest axes from other axes is that it has an edge that’s round and long while its axe head is flat and slightly extended.

The axe is forged in such a way to have a curved bit so that you have no problem cutting into any form of fresh, resinous wood like pine or spruce. The axe is also designed so that it quickly cuts across the wood fibers while you fell and limb trees, and not to split along the grain of wood fibers like splitting axes.

The forest axe has a comparatively long handle measuring about 25 to 30 inches and is usually made using sturdy wood like hickory. The length and the material of the handle ensure you have more power in your cuts and swings.

Not only is the edge round, but it’s also convex in design, making the side slightly sharp. It’s in fact sharp enough to shave wood. In other words, the axe not only fells wood while in the forest but is also used for limbing and processing firewood.

Camping Axe

Camping axes are axes that are ideal to carry on a camping trip. They are comparatively smaller than felling axes and are easily packed into your backpack. They are suitable for small woodwork projects while camping like cutting branches, limbing, carving and splitting kindling. It can also be used for cutting stakes for a blind and even while hunting.

They can conveniently be carried on your belt while camping and usually have a non-slip secure grip that ensures a safe grip without a risk of it ‘flying away’ while swinging it. The blades are made of drop-forged high carbon steel to ensure it doesn’t split when in use.

You will have to check the weight and length while buying a camping axe to ensure you are comfortable using it. Also, check the quality of the head and handle as it should be able to withstand weather conditions and even perform all your camping trip tasks.

Which axe is fit for you?

If you are perplexed after learning all about these different type of axes, you needn’t be. It’s not difficult choosing the right axe for you, as long as you know what your primary use for it is, and what style is appropriate for your usage. Once you have this figured out, you can decide on your budget.

It’s worth spending some time checking a few reviews to find out what others have to say about the axes. Look for any mention of the quality of the head and handle as while it’s possible to replace the handle, broken or weak heads are a no-no.

Also pay attention to the axe’s level of sharpness, axe head types and quality of grind. You will otherwise end up spending lots of time sharpening than cutting the axe if it’s made of inferior or too soft steel.

Besides, dull axes are also dangerous as its difficult predicting the head’s trajectory when it glances off the object you plan to cut with it. Even loosely fitted handles are dangerous as there’s the risk of it ‘flying off’ while swinging.

These tips should help you find the right axe for yourself. And most of the time, it’s better spending a little more for a better axe than a poor quality axe that needs constant sharpening or repairs.


Now you are well versed with the different types of wood chopping tools available in the market; it’s left to you to decide what kind of axe you need. The basic rule is to determine why you need an axe and to choose a good quality axe you are comfortable carrying and using.

Limbing, cutting and felling trees all need lots of effort, and is not accomplished with a single cut or swing of the axe. It is only if you are comfortable carrying the axe, and don’t get tired swinging it continuously is it the right type of axe for you

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