What Is The Difference Between AXE and HATCHET?

Last Updated on May 30, 2022 by Kimberly Crawford

Although the terms axe and hatchet are frequently used interchangeably, they are not the same tools. They’re completely different tools, in fact, their applications are not alike.

However, determining the difference between hatchet and axe is not that easy because of their similar looks. In this article, we will show you how an axe is different from a hatchet. Be with us.

A Short Introduction to Axe and Hatchet

The axe is one of the most popular tools in the world. It comes with a long wooden shaft and a metal wedge at one end. In a hardware store, an axe is the heaviest and longest tool available. Axe is mostly used for splitting wood and cutting tree branches.

On the other hand, a hatchet is a one-handed striking tool with a sharp blade on one side and a hammerhead on the other, similar to a tiny axe. The blade of most hatchets has a V-shaped cut that makes it different from other axes. It’s used for much lighter woodwork like cutting, saplings, and chopping wood.

The Axe and Hatchet’s Purpose

An axe is a special woodman’s tool that is meant to be used with two hands to optimize striking strength, particularly for splitting wood and logs for firewood preparation around camp. Also, there are several purposes of an axe, such as-

The survival axe is excellent camping equipment that provides fuel, shelter, and safety. Battle axes are specialized axes with a single head that are built specifically for fighting. They may be used as single-handed or double-handed axes.

Again, hatchets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they’re used for a variety of tasks. For example, carpenters use a lighter variant of the hatchet called the shingling hatchet for shingling. Hatchets are great for cutting, splitting, pruning, nailing, and pulling off old wooden shingles with one hand.

Difference Between Axe and Hatchet

Every axe and hatchet share a few basic characteristics. So, let’s have a look at the fundamental differences between the two tools based on their shared characteristics.

The length of the shaft

A standard axe has a lengthy shaft ranging from 18 to 34 inches in length. Some smaller axes, on the other hand, have the same shaft length as a hatchet.

The hatchet is much shorter than other axes, having a total length of only 12 to 18 inches. The hatchet is commonly thought to be one-handed.

Hammer-head feature

An axe has no hammer-like features and a flat poll side that makes it unsuitable for pounding. On the other hand, most hatchets include a hammer-like head on the poll site that helps you drive a nail.

Head shape

Axe heads are typically bigger and taper just slightly from the bit to the opposite end of the head. Hatchets, on the other hand, have narrower heads, a smaller body, and a larger bit, resulting in a more pronounced taper.

The weight

An axe typically weighs at least 3 pounds. The axes’ higher weight helps you to swing with greater force. A hatchet, on the other hand, weighs between 1 and 3 pounds. As a result, it is more convenient to handle and transport on a trip.


The head of an axe is made of strong metal, while the wooden handle is made of wood. A hefty metal blade at one end of the head part is connected to the other end by a lengthy wooden handle.

A hatchet, on the other hand, is a single-handed instrument with a short straight shaft and no edge bevel. A hatchet’s handle might be made of wood, steel, or fiberglass, depending on the application. 


Axes have long handles and maybe swung like sledgehammers, and are best used with two hands. On the other hand, Hatchets are similar to axes but have a smaller handle and are designed to be used with just one hand.

So, there you have it: the differences between an axe and a hatchet.

Different Types of Axes and Hatchets

types of axes hatchets

For over 50 thousand years, the axe has been a part of human life. Axes have gone through a lot of evolution in the previous 50 thousand years. There are also specific types of axes for certain jobs nowadays. Some of them include:


An adze is commonly used to cut and smooth out the wood in woodworking. This antique tool has been around since the Stone Age. Although there are many distinct forms of adzes, they may be divided into two groups: hand adzes and foot adzes.


Battle axes are centuries-old weapons that have been used in battle settings all across the world. These axes feature huge, sweeping blades that aren’t helpful for anything more than close-quarters battle and range in length from 1 to 5 feet.


Because its primary use is hewing, broad axe is also known as hewing axe. This axe features a flat side and a large beveled-edged blade for cutting on the other side. However, it is not so useful in everyday life.


A carpenter’s axe, sometimes known as a carpenter’s hatchet, is a tiny axe that is slightly larger than a conventional hatchet. This excellent woodworking tool is not suitable for regular felling or chopping tasks.


The design of a crash axe is similar to that of a fireman’s axe. These axes have a small grip and a razor-sharp smooth or serrated blade. However, these axes can be found in airplane cabins in case of an emergency.


The double bit axe combines the functions of two axes into one. One of the blades is dull, while the other is razor-sharp. The sharp side would be used to chop wood or topple trees, while the blunt side would be used to divide the wood into little pieces for wood-firing.


The felling axe, which is particularly designed for felling trees and cutting logs of wood, is one of the most frequent axes. A falling axe’s blade has a flared form and a pointed, narrow tip. These are meant to cut against the grain of the wood, but their blades tend to become trapped in the wood, making them unsuitable for splitting.


Forest axes are tough axes that can handle a lot of work. The design of this axe is to hack down really massive trees and have extra-long handles. The blade of a forest axe must be sharp with a slightly curved tip. They’re just used to cutting down trees.


The fireman’s axe is essential survival gear. The axe head has a blade on one end and a pick on the other. It helps in the piercing and cutting through of bulkheads for the aim of escape.


‘Grub axe’- the name usually refers to the axe’s ability to grub in compacted soils and rugged terrain. In the garden, these gadgets are really handy. It’s also referred to as a ‘cutting mattock.’


Between a hatchet and a full-sized falling axe, the Hudson Bay Axe falls somewhere in the middle. It’s an all-purpose axe that may be used for a variety of activities. It’s suitable for modest chopping and splitting chores and may be used with one or both hands.


The dual function of a hunter’s axe is to cut wood and chop meat. A hunter’s axe features a rounded ‘flay poll,’ which makes it better for skinning animals. That is why it is a hunter’s most important tool. Unfortunately, this particular axe isn’t easily available.


The miner’s axe has a small grip and a long head, making it excellent for working in narrow spaces. This axe was first employed by miners in Europe during the Middle Ages while they were looking for copper and silver ore. Among miners, this axe is a status symbol.


A pickaxe is a handy garden and landscaping tool for breaking up hard soil, rocks, or concrete, whereas a chisel is frequently used to pry out spaces between rocks or earth splits.


A roofing axe, also known as a roofing hatchet, is a high-quality craftsman’s tool that has two heads on either side of the handle and is used in roofing. One of the heads has a sharp blade for cutting roof tiles.


A log splitting maul is a tool used to split logs. It is quite similar to a felling axe but much heavier than a falling axe which gives you more strength when splitting wood. The axe head has a sledgehammer-like shape on one end.


The tactical axe is more of a weapon than a tool, yet it may be used as a multi-tool. A tactical tomahawk is how most people refer to it. Law enforcement officers, troops, and security personnel, as well as military, private security, and survivalists, all employ it.


In the Middle Ages, the throwing axe was a popular battle weapon. This weapon is convenient to carry about because of its short handle and well-weighted head. However, the proportions of these weapons are crucial because they will influence how the hatchet glides through the air as it approaches your target.


Viking axes were used as war weapons during the Viking Age. However, these axes are no longer in use; they are examined to learn more about ancient civilizations.

Is There Any Difference Between a Hand Axe and a Hatchet?

A hand axe and a hatchet are two different tools. Unfortunately, many people mistakenly assume that hand axes and hatchets are the same instruments. In reality, they are two unique instruments that are employed for different types of tasks. 

The design and purpose of hand axes and hatchets are the key differences. Other differences are:

  • Hatchets are smaller and lighter than hand axes. 
  • A hatchet will comfortably fit in one hand. However, a hand axe will not due to its bigger size.
  • The shafts of hand axes aren’t usually angled. Hatchet shafts, on the other hand, tend to bend forward.
  • Finally, hand axe heads are often bigger and taper just slightly from the bit. On the other hand, Hatchets have narrower heads, a smaller body, and a larger bit.

So, it is clear that a hand axe is different from a hatchet.

Hatchets and Axes: How to Care for Them

caring for hatchet

A hatchet and an axe, aside from their differences, are two multipurpose tools that are incredibly helpful. Taking appropriate care of the tools guarantees that they are always functional, helpful, and dependable.

However, the head and handle are the two basic components of an axe or hatchet. Therefore, taking care of an axe or a hatchet entails looking after these two components. Here are some tips for keeping your axe and hatchet in good condition for a long time.

  1. To protect the metal part (head and handle in some hatchets) of your axe or hatchet from moisture, apply a coat of oil all over the head. Wipe away any excess with a towel before letting it dry.
  2. It’s also important to keep the axe sharp at all times. Depending on the situation, sharpen the blade with a suitable whetstone.
  3. To take care of the wooden handle, oil it properly. You can apply the boiled linseed oil for this purpose. It will make the handle water-resistant.


We’ve tried to clear some confusion regarding the difference between hatchet and axehere. Hope you will like it-

How can I differ a hatchet from an axe?

The main difference between an axe and a hatchet is that a hatchet has a much shorter shaft, a shorter cutting edge, a flat poll side, and a much lower weight. Just compare this to any axe, you will definitely differ a hatchet from an axe.

Is an axe or hatchet better?

Actually, it depends on the purpose of use. If you are going to work on a big tree or piece of wood, then an axe would be a better option. But if you are preparing firewood or something small task, then the hatchet is better.

Is a Hatchet a good tool for survival?

Yes, it is. A hatchet is a good tool for self-sufficient survival. One of the most important advantages of having a hatchet is that you can quickly chop down a small tree and start building a fire or shelter. Also, it is lightweight, so one can easily move with it.

Hatchet or axe for survival?

When it comes to survival, we recommend a hatchet. However, there are several advantages to using a hatchet rather than an axe. First, there’s the hatchet’s portability: it’s easy to carry, has a sharp blade, and a hammerhead that may be used for a variety of tasks. In comparison, an axe is larger, heavier, and requires more space to carry. As a result, a hatchet is preferable to an axe.


So, hopefully, you understand the difference between axe and hatchet from this article. Even then, if remembering everything sounds like too much work, here’s a quick rundown for you.

An axe is a tool with the lengthiest shaft and a simple blade. If you’re looking for a hatchet, choose a little axe with the shortest shaft and a hammer-like head. Remember these easy differences.