9 Different Types of Axes – Which One Is Right For You?

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Most tools come in different variations. It is up to you to pick the right one depending on the project you are working on. We will take a look at some of the nine most popular types of axes and their applications. 

What is an Axe? 

The axe is the oldest tool ever used by man. They used the early manufactured crude hand axes from stones and rawhide lashings to dig up roots, cut wood, and even hunt. Later, axes were explicitly made for battle. At the moment, axes have different applications, and they are mainly used for cutting through or chopping surfaces. 

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Types of Axes

There are more than ten types of axes. Here are some of the most common axes:


All, if not most, households have hatchets. This is a small axe that is usually used for different purposes. It is a standard tool for campers, who use it to chop wood or cut through clearings. It can cut through anything reasonable with its razor-sharp blade. The size makes this axe easier to carry and wield as opposed to the traditional axe.

You can use the hatchet to chop down small trees, but not for felling. The hatchet is essentially a smaller felling axe that is designed to be used in one hand, and this makes it more appealing to many people who struggle to lift and swing a heavier axe.

Splitting Axe

This is one of the most typical types of axes. Just like the name suggests, it is used to split wood into firewood and kindling. It is usually referred to as a splitting maul by several individuals. It helps you obtain precise cuts on woods and save time.

The head of this axe is usually unique and made so that it cuts right through the wood when you strike right. It is bigger than the hatchet and can cut even large logs because the blade is usually very sharp and strong.

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With this axe, you strike the wood with the grain, and the design of the head forces the wood apart until it splits. However, before you get one, keep in mind that this ax is usually really heavy.

Fireman’s Axe

This is a professional axe used by firefighters, with it primarily seen in rescue operations and is, therefore, strong enough to cut down doors and even walls. You will spot one of these at the back of a fire truck. They also go by the name Pulaski axe.

The fireman’s axe is amazingly durable. It also weighs a ton, but it needs to withstand its intended usage. Despite its weight, it is straightforward to use. There are different sizes. Whereas most firefighters use the giant versions, you can also settle on the smaller ones depending on your need.

Felling Axe

This is the commonest axe all over the world. It is used for cutting down trees, just like the name suggests. It is powerful enough and needs a level of skill to wield. With the right axe, you can cut down a super big tree. The head weight and handle length will determine the power, but of course, the enormous felling axes are difficult to carry and swing.

The felling axe comes in several variations. Therefore, when buying one, make sure that you settle on the right-sized one. Small to medium-sized trees can be felled with a 30” handle length so, if you want to get rid of some trees, this should be your go-to axe. 


Broad Axe

This type of axe is mainly used for woodworking projects, and it comes in handy when building something out of wood. Therefore, if you plan to DIY a log cabin, you should go for this powerful model.

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The broad axe carves flat surfaces from rounded logs. It is different from the regular axe right from the shape of the head. The blade is flat on one side, and so each axe is either right or left-handed. Keep in mind that you cannot use it for any other purpose other than the intended one.

Survival Axe

This is a small tool that you can easily carry around unnoticed. It is smaller than the hatchet and is mainly used by hikers and campers. Most people refer to it as the survival hatchet. It is a simple creation that you can use to clear your way when out hiking.

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The survival axe comes in handy for cutting logs, cut through bushes, and even building a shelter. They are pretty convenient and can be tucked in pretty well. Apart from camping, you can also use it in an emergency. The simple fact that you can easily sheath one on your belt loop makes it a must-have tool for those adventure seekers.

Double Bit Axe

The double-bit axe has two heads. It can be pretty challenging to use due to its characteristic build, but you will get the hang of it in no time. Keep in mind that the two heads serve different functions, setting them apart from the normal axes.

The edges differ in sharpness. The sharper side is meant for chopping wood or trees, while the other is used for splitting. Therefore, if you are a woodcutter who would like to save some time, getting this axe is a smart move.

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However, keep in mind that you will not automatically like this axe because wielding it can be pretty tiresome, and it also needs a little bit of getting used to. If you are a professional forestry worker, that won’t be a problem. For everyone else, we’d suggest buying a different felling and splitting axe.

Hudson Bay Axe

The Hudson Bay axe closely resembles the felling axe. However, they are mostly smaller in size, which makes them easy to wield. If you are a camper or an outdoor person, this is the right choice for you.

It is pretty light and, therefore, easy to carry around. You can also use it to fell down small trees and cut through branches. Unfortunately, the blade usually is thin, and thus you cannot use the axe for more enormous trees. They are an in-between size of the hatchet and felling ax, but they can be used one-handed.

Carpenter’s Axe

The carpenter’s axe usually is smaller than the standard axes. As the name suggests, it is used for carpentry projects and kind of resembles a hatchet. It is easy to use and can be wielded with only one hand.

When working on high-precision projects, you need a level of skill when using this axe. The blade is made so that it hangs down below its handle, and it comes in handy for precision strikes, making it a pretty valuable tool. The cutting edge is usually long and straight for more accuracy, and the user can position their hand closer to the head.

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These are but a few types of axes in the market, albeit the most useful and popular. We would highly advise you to carry out proper research before buying one. Also, take note of your intended purpose before purchasing some of the axes that are versatile, and, therefore, you can save money by only buying one axe.

If you are carrying out fine and precision work, look for an axe with a narrow, flat blade as you can scrape one-handed along with the wood rather than a full swing using two hands. The general rule of thumb is the more complete the head, the more influential the axe, and the result. These axes are perfect for splitting logs into firewood, where you are not concerned about the look of the cut. Also, bear in mind you lose accuracy the more influential the axe.

Here are some other articles you may like:

Gerber vs Fiskars Axe – 2 Models Compared: Who Wins?

Best Felling Axe – Top 6 Reviews & Buyers Guide

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Walter Snyder

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