Best Axe

An axe can be a lifetime investment if you choose the right one. We did the research to help you find the highest quality American made axes that money can buy. We’ve listed our top recommendations below, and further down, go into additional detail about each one and then finish up with what we considered in our research.

Our Findings

We broke down our findings into a few different categories based on the primary style of the axe: basic wood splitting, camping, double bit, shock reduction, and pick head axe. Council Tools, Estwing, and Leatherhead Tools were just a few of the standouts from all of the brands and products we researched. Council Tools should be your go-to for a traditional wood splitting axe with a hickory handle. For all-steel axes, Estwing was a standout. And for other styles like camping, double bit, and pick head, other American manufacturers stood out among the crowd. Read more below for additional details on our top recommendations.

Top Recommendations

Best AxeBest:
Council Hudson Bay AxeSplitting Wood
Garrett Wade Hand Forged Camp HatchetCamp Axe
Vaughan Double Bit Michigan Pattern AxeDouble Bit
Estwing 26-Inch Camper’s Axe-All SteelShock Reduction
Leatherhead Tools Pick Head AxePick Head

Recommendations: Going Deeper

Here are some additional details about each of our top picks. We go deeper on who these manufacturers are, product details, and what we liked and didn’t like about each one.

Best Axe for Wood Splitting

Council Hudson Bay Axe


Council Tools is a staple in American made tools, a family-run business making axes and hand tools in their Lake Waccamaw, NC factory since 1886. Council Tools has a great reputation among the forestry community. The Hudson Bay Axe is one of their most popular axes due to its sturdiness and reliability. From our research, this was the best axe we found for splitting wood for your fire at home. It has a 28″ curved hickory handle topped with a 4-1/8″ blade and 1.75 lb. head.

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Things we like:

  • Easily sharpened and keeps a good edge
  • Sturdiness between the axe handle and head
  • Strong wooden handle
  • Under $50

Things we don’t like:

  • Factory edge isn’t as sharp as we would have liked, but it is easily sharpened and the edge keeps well

Honorable mention: Council Tool Boy’s Axe with 28″ Curved Handle

 

Best Camp Axe

Garrett Wade Hand Forged Camp Hatchet


Founded in 1975, Garrett Wade is a tool manufacturer that spreads across the entire catalog of tools – everything from knives to axes and shovels. Their Hand Forged Camp Hatchet (made by Hoffman Blacksmithing in North Carolina) shined brightly in our camping axe research due to its easy handling and durability. It’s forged with 4142 chrome/moly steel and the ash handle is well oiled for long-term protection. This camp axe came out of the box ready to handle – whether you need it to cut kindling, dress game, clean up a campsite, or any other task. Dimensions: 12″ handle, head weighs 18 ounces.

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Things we like:

  • Great balance
  • Comes with a sharp factory edge and keeps it
  • Tough and durable
  • Comes with a cowhide sheath

Things we don’t like:

  • None

Honorable mention: Council Tool Hudson Bay Camp Axe

 

Best Double Bit Axe

Vaughan Double Bit Michigan Pattern Axe


Vaughan & Bushnell Manufacturing has been making quality striking tools right here in the US since they were founded in Peoria, IL in 1869. The Vaughan was the best double bit axe we found, primarily useful for felling trees and doing other large forestry work. The blade construction (hardened hollow ground blades) make the axe easier to release from the wood. It’s constructed with a white hickory handle and is about 36″ in total length.

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Things we like:

  • Hardened and tempered blades built to withstand extreme temperatures
  • Well balanced to reduce fatigue
  • Sturdy handle
  • Easy release

Things we don’t like:

  • Has some grind marks on the blade, but they didn’t hamper the effectiveness of it

 

Best Shock Reduction Axe

Estwing 26-Inch Camper’s Axe-All Steel with Shock Reduction Grip


Estwing is an American manufacturer that solely focuses on making high-quality striking tools (known for their shock reducing grips), and has been doing so since 1923. Estwing’s 26-inch Camper’s Axe was the most comfortable axe we found – a great product to reduce hand fatigue if you’re working long hours. The Estwing axe can be used for a variety of jobs, whether it’s felling trees, notching timbers, or simply splitting firewood. The all steel construction eliminates the worry of loose heads, which can be troublesome with cheaper axes with wood handles. This axe weighs in at 3.5 lbs – light to help reduce fatigue, but tough to get the job done.

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Things we like:

  • Shock reduction grip reduces shock by about 70%
  • All steel construction
  • Large 4″ cutting blade for deeper and faster cuts

Things we don’t like:

  • The nylon sheath that comes with it is not thick enough to provide significant protection

 

Best Pick Head Axe

Leatherhead Tools Pick Head Axe


Leatherhead Tools focuses solely on tools for firefighters and rescue personnel, which include tools like pick head axes. Leatherhead Tools was previously named Dasco Pro – they changed their brand name when they made the switch to focus on rescue personnel tools in 2007. Their pick head axe is a 36 inch monster with a 6 pound and 4-3/4 inch head that’s designed to knock down and cut through anything.

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Things we like:

  • Size and durability make it a good fit for nearly any job
  • No slip grip
  • Carbon steel head

Things we don’t like:

  • None

Recap: Best Axes Made in the USA for 2017


Factors We Considered

Durability

A good axe can be a lifetime purchase, so durability is extremely important when you’re looking for a new one. We looked for axes that are made with the highest quality forged steel and had minimal issues with loose heads or other longevity concerns.

Blade

The blade is the centerpiece and the most important part of your axe. We had several criteria for blade construction in our research, some of which were:

  • High quality steel
  • Sharp edge right out of the factory
  • Ability to keep a sharp edge
  • Ease of sharpening

Balance and Comfort

Especially for people who work with striking tools in their everyday job, balance and comfort are extremely important to make sure you’re not wasting energy when felling trees, splitting wood, or doing other work. We looked for axes that were well balanced between the handle and the head. Having good balance helps increase accuracy of your swings and also eliminates unnecessary fatigue. Comfort also goes a long way. Axes that we chose have comfortable handles, and some made with materials to reduce shock and hand fatigue.

Value

We always want to make sure that you’re getting the best product for your money. We eliminated axes from our consideration that we thought were too expensive for the product quality. Most of our top picks were under $50 – an affordable price tag for a tool that can last you a lifetime.

 

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