A Quick Guide For Buying The Perfect Working Axe

Last Updated on June 19, 2023 by Kimberly Crawford

Axes are a universal tool for humans to shape materials, cut wood, symbols of culture, and weapons against conflict. With its simplistic design of a handle and efficient head, it has molded into different specializations, especially in the modern age.

Today, there are even more types of axes that provide efficiency in indoor and outdoor activities. This article is a simple buyer’s guide to picking your ideal project tools. Read more below to identify your preferences and pick a perfect model for your everyday life.

First, you should identify your general preference for these three metrics: weight, handle, and size.



The ideal size of your work axes varies on your purpose and handling preferences. Many axes offer varying sizes depending on how it is used. In general, shorter axes are made for precision cutting and easy hacking like camping, survival situations, and places where a bigger variant would be ineffective. In contrast, bigger models are suited for power swings for cutting through harsh material in open fields and large spaces.


One’s weight will affect your experience and efficiency on your project. If it’s too heavy, you will gain additional cutting force while sacrificing accuracy, especially if you’re not as experienced in cutting down material using these tools.

The weight should not exceed three pounds for your first purchase to get the feel and balance. As you gain better handling on your first axe, you should be able to handle heavier types accurately.

Handle Length

The best quality axes you should purchase are always made with wood. Wood handles are far more ergonomic and last longer than cheap rubber handles in most retail stores. You can find the best quality axes in a dedicated shop or stores selling ashwood or hickory handles.

For experienced users, you can buy a handle separately and choose your preferred head, given that its size is compatible with the handle’s shoulder and do a simple assembly at home.

Now that you have a preference guide for buying your first axe, here are different types of axes to choose from, whether your project involves wood cutting, gardening, or basic outdoor survival activities.

Felling Axe

A standard axe portrayed in most media outlets, a felling axe is made to cut down thick branches and trees effectively; its long handle gives you leverage to generate a strong cutting power to make thick, long cuts.

Its thin but durable blade helps you cut across wood grain smoothly. So if your project involves cutting against trees, keep this type of axe in mind and always remember the proper body position and technique to swing the axe horizontally.

Tactical Axe

Small, lightweight, tactical axes are seen as a defense weapon rather than a survival tool. Often seen in survivalists’ gear and private security, tactical axes are built for quick and precise cuts and are a general tool for campsite activities.

Nowadays, manufacturers are keen on implementing multiple functions so that most tactical axes would look like a multi-tool than a traditional blade. Find a good one that you can use to cut, dig holes, open cans, and other features for outdoor activities.


Also known as a gardener’s best friend, pickaxes are designed to penetrate through the soil and create large holes by precise and strong downswing action.

Its axe head features valuable parts; on one side is a curved pick to get the first penetration down quickly, and on the other is a chisel or spade-like head for digging after the pick has loosened the soil.

Paired with other garden tools, the pickaxe makes gardening easier and puts a powerful penetrating force with minimal effort. Ensure you have a strong back; you’ll need it to handle this tool.

Double-Bit Axe

These axes are used for specialized wood-cutting work and may not be as available as other models in retail stores. However, its features benefit more significant projects you may have.

A typical double-bit axe is technically two axes into one. One side of the head is thin and sharp for placing deep cuts into trees, while the thicker and heavier side of the axe is made for splitting thick wood.

Due to their generally heavy head and specialized blades, they work best for loggers and more muscular bodies to handle the weight and its vast downswing.

Grub Axe

They are commonly known as cutter mattocks. Grub axes are unique because they feature two kinds of blades; One side is a thin axe blade, while its topmost portion is a curved blade called an adze.

Most grub axes are compact and lightweight, allowing you to easily cut down thick roots and compact soil and rough earth for new seeds to grow. If you’re looking for a garden tool to accurately remove thick bushes, dig holes and mix up tough soil, purchasing a grub axe is worthwhile.


Axes have evolved in a way that is used for more than just cutting. With modern technology and building principles, axes are made to specialize in different cutting activities and be more efficient. And when paired with a perfect axe type, your projects will be more straightforward, and you can finish faster.

The tips above can help you identify your preference and choose the perfect axe for your project and physical build. If you work with an excellent dealer to guide you physically and do ample research, finding an ideal tool for you will be more straightforward and cost-effective.

Frequently Asked Questions

What types of axes are available for different tasks?

There are several types of axes, each designed for a specific purpose. Some common types include felling axes, splitting axes, hatchets, and carpenter’s axes.

How do I choose the right axe size and weight?

The right axe size and weight depend on your personal strength, the type of wood you’ll be working with, and the task at hand. Generally, a heavier axe is suitable for larger tasks, while a lighter one is better for smaller tasks and more precise work.

What factors should I consider when selecting an axe handle material?

Common handle materials include wood, fiberglass, and composite materials. Wooden handles provide a traditional feel and good shock absorption, while fiberglass and composite handles offer increased durability and reduced maintenance.

How do I determine the appropriate axe head shape for my needs?

The shape of the axe head depends on its intended use. A felling axe typically has a thinner, sharper blade for cutting across wood grain, while a splitting axe has a thicker, wedge-shaped blade for splitting wood along the grain.

What are some key features to look for in a high-quality axe?

Key features to look for in a high-quality axe include a well-balanced design, a sharp and durable blade, a comfortable handle, and solid construction.

How do I properly maintain and care for my working axe?

To maintain your working axe, regularly clean the blade, sharpen it as needed, and apply a protective coating such as oil or wax to prevent rust. Additionally, inspect the handle for damage and replace it if necessary.

What safety precautions should I take when using an axe?

When using an axe, always wear appropriate protective gear, such as gloves, safety glasses, and sturdy footwear. Maintain a secure grip on the handle, and ensure you have a clear, stable area in which to work.

Where can I purchase a high-quality working axe?

High-quality working axes can be found at specialized outdoor retailers, hardware stores, and online marketplaces. It’s essential to research and compare different brands and models before making a purchase.

How much should I expect to spend on a good working axe?

The price of a working axe can vary greatly depending on factors such as brand, materials, and craftsmanship. Generally, you can expect to spend anywhere from $40 to $200 for a high-quality axe.

Can I use a single axe for multiple tasks, or do I need different axes for different jobs?

While some axes are designed for multi-purpose use, it’s generally best to use a specific axe type for its intended task to ensure efficiency and prevent damage to the tool or the wood you’re working with.