A survival knife, no matter how good it is, will hardly help you in those big tasks like fell a tree or chopping thick woods. That’s why taking out the best bushcraft axes with you is highly recommended. Don’t worry, the following list will help you.
Here are the best bushcraft axes (May 2021 Update):
- Best Overall: Estwing Sportsman's Axe E24A
- Best For Beginners: Cold Steel Axe Gang Hatchet
- Best For Tree Felling: Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
- Best For Self-Defence: Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch
- Best For Detail Work: Gerber 0539-1108 Pack Hatchet Camping Axe
- Best For Camping: Schrade SCAXE2L
|Top 6 Best Bushcraft Axes|
|Estwing Sportsman's Axe E24A||Read Our Review|
Best For Beginners
|Cold Steel Axe Gang Hatchet||Read Our Review|
Best For Tree Felling
|Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe||Read Our Review|
Best For Self-Defence
|Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch||Read Our Review|
Best For Detail Work
|Gerber 0539-1108 Pack Hatchet Camping Axe||Read Our Review|
Best For Camping
|Schrade SCAXE2L||Read Our Review|
Best Overall: Estwing Sportsman's Axe E24A
- The head and the handle is made as a single unit of 100% metal for superior durability
- The added leather covering provides more grips and comfort when you hold it
- Struggling in carving
Estwing’s axes aren’t cheap but they provide far more than what you can bargain for in terms of mid-tier price range.
What we satisfied the most is its handle.
Seems like the brand has done lots of research in making this component.
It delivers superior shock absorption without compromising the force transmission to your hand, not saying that the additional leather covering provides more grips than the wood ones.
The head of this axe is another interesting thing to talk about. It’s super-unique with a thick cutting edge, no eye, and very thin cheeks. So we would say it is a great choice for splitting small woods.
|Estwing Sportsman's Axe E24A Specifications|
Perfect for chopping logs
Small trees & branches or splitting firewood & kindling
Built with a unique head and handle, we highly recommend the Estwing Sportsman E24A for those bushcraft work that would be very destructive to an axe.
Best For Beginners: Cold Steel Axe Gang Hatchet
- The price and quality is excellent
- Deliver a hard edge and a soft body with unsurpassed shock absorbing abilities -> handle heavy chopping tasks like a breeze
- Longer handle with good grips -> well-balanced, safer and easier to use
- Wish it had a sheath & no paint coating
You might find this axe familiar.
It is modeled after the devastating Chinese-styled hatches which you’ve probably seen in numerous kung fu movies. However, this isn’t a wall hanger, it’s a formidable weapon.
Making it outstanding is the drop-forged head of 1055 Carbon steel and the differential heat-treated cutting edge. It creates a hard edge and a soft body with unsurpassed shock absorbing abilities.
So during heavy chopping, like piercing thick pieces of wood, this can handle better and more easily than the Estwing above, which is more friendly for beginners.
|Cold Steel Axe Gang Hatchet Specifications|
Steel: Dropped Forged 1055 Carbon
Drop Forged 1055 Carbon
Primary Edge: 4"
Hawk Length: 5"
It’s always best to start your handyman life with a user-friendly and affordable axe. For you, this Cold Steel Axe is a good choice.
Best For Tree Felling: Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
- Feature a thin edge to handle heavy chopping tasks perfectly, like tree-falling
- Feature a well-defined palm swell for unparalleled performance
- The sheath is prone to fall off quickly
- Struggling in splitting tasks
For serious chopping projects, it’s perfect to go for a 26” bushcraft axe and out of a bunch, we picked this.
Compared to the Hults Bruk Kisa (which features a similar length and weight), although it is inferior in terms of sheath quality, we do appreciate its unbeatable performance in chopping tasks.
A big thank you to its thinner – that is nearly ½ the thickness of Kisa, for significantly smoother transition so this beast can bite aggressively. It’s even powerful enough for tree falling.
This Husqvarna 26” Axe is also the clear winner about palm swell, according to its well-defined shape with much of material to hold onto. In a nutshell, it is no inferior to those higher-end axes, like the Hults Bruk Kisa, especially in terms of serious chopping projects.
|Husqvarna 26-inch Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe Specifications|
Steel & wood
26" Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
Versatile axe used for tree felling
Wood chopping and other jobs
If your pursuit is for tree-falling, the Husqvarna 26” axe is the best selection, particularly for the price.
Best For Self-Defence: Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch
- Include a quality sheath and the axe is backed by a very good warranty
- Compact, lightweight, and versatile -> can handle multiple light camping chores, survival tasks or self-defense
- Feature a lanyard hole for portability
The edge wasn't 'shaving' sharp on receipt, you still need to re-sharpen it
The handle is a little bit too long for single-hand use
Unlike other counterparts in this list, the Gransfors Bruks is a pretty small, lightweight axe that can be easily carried and it comes with a nice leather sheath which is a big plus.
It’s got a 3” face and 14” long Hickory handle which are backed by a 20-year warranty. No cosmetic finishes from the factory. And the best part is a lanyard hole in the handle.
In general, this is a versatile, functional hatchet that we found would be an optimal workhorse to perform numerous light camping chores. It did well in cutting branches, chopping and splitting sticks for a campfire, making tent stakes or even using it as a survival knife during our tests.
Some pro survivors also suggest it as a great company in self-defense.
|Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet 13.50 Inch Specifications|
vegetable-tanned leather sheath, wood handle, and steel blade
Sheath in vegetable-tanned leather
Traditional scouting and camping axe
Made in Sweden.
In a nutshell, if you are looking for a great little axe for survival, wildlife or self-defense, look no further.
Best For Detail Work: Gerber 0539-1108 Pack Hatchet Camping Axe
- The steel material is slightly upgraded for better durability, resistance, and functionality
- Deliver superior security levels to avoid the hatchet from flying out of your hand
- The full-tang design with ergonomic shape makes it more precise for detail work
- A bit painful during first uses so it would take time for you to get used to
We know what you’re thinking – this looks much similar to the Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet so what’s the difference?
Well, the answer is the Bear Grylls is made of 7CR 17 MOV steel, this is – on the other hand - from 9CR 19 MOV, meaning that it’s slightly upgraded. Another noteworthy feature is the bottom lip at the end of its handle for extra security so it doesn’t fly out of your hand.
What’s also nice about it is the full tang design which has the ability to choke up close to the head, therefore, it gives you more precise cutting or slicing like a knife.
|Gerber 0539-1108 Pack Hatchet Camping Axe Specifications|
Nylon sheath, full-tang 9 CR 19 MOV steel blade & handle with rubber covering
Retain optimal sharpness
The handle wrapped in a rubber over-mold for added grip and comfort
All-in-all, we would say this Gerber 0539-1108 is ideal for people who need an ultra-precise hatchet for detail work. This can work excellently as an axe and also a knife, as wanted.
Best For Camping: Schrade SCAXE2L
- The ultra-long handle for better grips and control for extra safety and precision
- Work excellently in cutting down smaller limbs, trees or splitting kindling
- Affordable and also include components camping knives as well as accessories -> bang for bucks
- The sheath isn’t functional and doesn’t throw sparks quite well
- Wish the metal was tougher
The Schrade SCAXE2L is definitely an unbeatable axe for camping, particularly in cutting down smaller limbs, trees or splitting kindling.
We like the extra handle length for more power when chopping. You can choke up on this handle for added balance and control to do small tasks more easily.
As coming with components camping knives and accessories, you’ll have a lightweight efficient combination of tools for collecting woods as well as wood carving. So we consider this as the best option for camping!
|Schrade SCAXE2L Specifications|
Stainless Steel Blade and Glass Fiber PA and TPR Rubber Handle
1 pound 15 ounces
15.7in Large Survival Axe with 4.2in Stainless Steel Blade and Glass Fiber PA and TPR Rubber Handle
Our team testers particularly love this compact axe for not only its portability but also functionality in small camping chores. Considering the price, quality, and performance, this is the best choice for your next camping trips.
How To Choose The Best Bushcraft Axes?
- We consider this component is the first and foremost important feature to keep in mind when choosing a bushcraft axe.
- The heavier the axe head, the easier the limbing, felling, and slitting will be.
- That said, the extra heft will make your hand fatigue if working with it all day long.
- For a general use, we highly recommend choosing an axe head within 2 1/4 to 3 ½ pounds of weight. But for specific and serious chores, you should go for a hand-forged head.
- As the functionality of an axe will change with its dimensions, size does matter.
- There are three options:
- Small axes: Anything shorter than 11” is classified here. They’re a good choice for small wood tasks, like splitting small kindling, placing tent pegs, detailed carving, and meal prep. Compared to the bigger models, these are more precise, in turn, they can’t handle thick skulls or big chores.
- Medium axes: This range is for axes within 11” to 20” and they are considered the most versatile. It can cut down big trees (although you will break a sweat during the process) as well as handle detailed work. If you need a general-use axe, go for within this range.
- Large axes: It includes anything bigger than 25”. We highly recommend these axes for falling down large trees or splitting firewood.
- To speed up such heavy tasks, the longer the handle, the better. The only serious drawbacks of this type is its heft, which might cause your arms painful after a day chopping things with it.
- From the review list above, you might know about two common materials of bushcraft axes – wood and steel. So, what material to choose?
- Our experts advise going for Swedish-made axes because they’re commonly extremely good in both quality and performance. In this industry, Swedish steel is always best, especially for chopping softwoods.
- In terms of the handle, Hickory is the most preferable material because it’s flexible yet strong, not to say that it is very comfortable to hold.
Which Brands Make The Best Bushcraft Axes?
- Speaking of the world’s most attractive, comfortable, and durable bushcraft axes, Estwing is a shining example. This 1923-founded company has known for its leading innovation, which is committed to the US-made tools for today and tomorrow.
- With similarly long-standing history, Cold Steel is another noteworthy brand to consider. What we feel satisfied the most about this company is not only its innovative products but also the reliable warranty and privacy.
- No matter how specific of your needs of an axe, there will be (at least) one well suitable option for you, here, at Husqvarna. Their commercial-grade products are well-known for variety, importantly, each of them is assured of quality.
What is the best wood for an AXE handle?
As stated above, Hickory is the best type of domestic wood in America, known for superior durability and shock absorption ability. But if you can’t afford for this material, here are some other alternatives:
- Yellow Birch Wood
- Sugar Maple Wood
- Ash wood
- Oak Wood
What is the best steel for an AXE?
Plain carbon steel.
It’s because it stands up to corrosion pretty well and is hard than other steel grades. It’s also easy to sharpen.
What angle should you sharpen an AXE?
It’s 15 – 20 degrees of angle from the cutting edge and 30 – 40 degrees of angle at the end of the bit.
Should an AXE be razor-sharp?
Yes, it should be.
Most new axes need at least 1 hour to a half of a day of hand sharpening to put them into the right shape. Why do you need to do this? It’s because a dull axe will be inefficient and more exhausting to woodwork.
There are tons of shapes coming in a wide range of sizes when speaking of bushcraft axes and each of them is made for specific needs. Without knowing what you want, it’s hard to find out the best bushcraft axe for your woodworking projects.
So we hope before dropping your money on anything, let find out your needs first. This is all for the article, thanks for reading!