- Types of axes
- Best Axe for Felling Trees – 6 Rugged Options
- OUR #1 CHOICE
- Council Tool Velvicut 32-inch Felling Axe
- Husqvarna 26-inch Multi-Purpose Axe
- Hults Bruk Torneo 26-inch Felling Axe
- 1844 Helko Werk Journeyman Felling Hatchet
- Truper Single Bit 33-inch Axe
- How to choose an axe for felling trees
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Final words
Cutting down a tree is a serious job. It takes strength and effort to cut through a thick trunk. But most of all, you need the best axe for felling trees to make the task faster and easier. Unlike other axes, felling axes are made to cut against the wood grain. It has a long but thinner blade designed for chopping through the tree on every swing.
For this post, I scouted 30+ felling axes, and these six picks stand out from the rest:
Types of axes
Axes come in different types. Each one serves a specific purpose and makes the task at hand easier to perform. However, it’s easy to confuse one with the other. To ensure that you have the right tool for felling a tree, you should know these types of axes and their functions:
You need a felling axe in your toolkit if you’re cutting a tree. This axe is designed with a long yet thin blade that will cut against the wood grain. It also comes with a long handle for powerful swings and more force down a large tree.
The blade of a felling axe is thin and sharp. It also has a flared shape to fall trees and branches effortlessly. Also, felling axes are intended to be swung sideways.
A splitting axe is often interchanged with a felling axe. The fact is that this type cuts through the grain, which is the total opposite of how a felling axe works.
With this, a splitting axe will not get stuck on wood. It will cut through and split the piece of wood it’s used upon, thus its name.
Aside from that, the head of a splitting axe is much heavier than a felling axe for better splitting abilities.
A double-bit axe has a blade on each side of its head. Usually, one of the blades is sharper than the other. The sharp edge is used in splitting large logs, while the blunt one is for splitting smaller firewood.
However, double-bit axes are heavy and not suitable for felling trees. But if you’re looking for two axes in one, a double-bit type will not disappoint.
🪓Hudson Bay axe
The Hudson Bay axe is a utility axe used to chop firewood and even fall small trees. It has a size between a felling axe and a hatchet. This is the reason why it serves as a broad axe for your cutting and chopping needs.
Although it can’t be put up with large trees, Hudson Bay axes are great tools for camping and other outdoor adventures.
A tomahawk axe was first used by Native Americans and resembled an oversized hatchet appearance. It has a straight handle and a long blade that tapers dramatically. It’s surprisingly lightweight since it used to be thrown in combat. Tomahawk axes are stylish tools for camping and outdoor adventures in modern times.
Lastly, there are tactical axes. These are designed as a multi-tool, which can be used as a cutting axe, close-range weapon, shovel, hammer, pry bar, and more. However, it’s not the best pick if you’re felling a tree. It’s best reserved for survivalists who need a tool for less demanding outdoor tasks.
There are many other types of axes, aside from what I listed here. Still, if you’re felling a tree, you’ll never go wrong with a felling axe. The following are six of my best picks.
Best Axe for Felling Trees – 6 Rugged Options
OUR #1 CHOICE
OUR TOP PICK: Gränfors Bruks 31” Felling Axe
Product Name: Gränfors Bruks 31” Felling Axe
Product Description: If you're looking for the best axe for felling trees, you'll never go wrong with the Gränfors Bruks. This is a 31" felling axe with a curved handle. It's trusted by professionals who are felling trees in the forest and looking for a traditional tool. This 31" axe has a curved handle and a forged head that can cut through resinous wood. Its blade is also made heavy for considerable power, paired with an equally weighted handle. To give you an idea of how heavy this is, the Gränfors Bruks is twice as cumbersome as the Scandinavian Forest Axe from the same brand. Moreover, this has a 4.5" cutting edge and head weight of 3.3 lbs. Meanwhile, the handle is 5.3 lbs. with a 31" length.
Offer price: $$$
Value for Money
Aside from the axe, you will also get a full-grain sheath made of vegetable-tanned leather. Overall, this axe is backed by a 20-year warranty, which is well worth the price.
Although it comes at a high price, the Gränfors Bruks is a great investment. It’s the best tool for the outdoorsman who needs to fell large and hardwood trees. It can be put up in felling maple, oak, and ash trees without showing premature signs of wear and tear.
Each swing of this axe gives a solid strike and a satisfying noise on the wood. Its blade is almost perfect straight from the package, which is a big plus for me.
Curved handle for a more solid strike
Lavishly weighted and perfectly balanced
So far, so good!
Council Tool Velvicut 32-inch Felling Axe
Another felling axe I swear by is the Council Tool Velvicut. This is a 32″ tool that weighs 5.60 lbs. for solid swings to fall a tree fast. It has a 4-lb. head weight, which you can leverage for a more powerful chop on hardwood and resinous trees.
Moreover, this has 5160 American steel, a high-carbon and chromium spring type of steel. It’s lauded for its superior toughness and ductility. What I also like about this steel is its top-notch fatigue resistance. Even if you’re dealing with large and hard trees, it will not chip easily.
Aside from that, this Council Tool axe has a highly durable hickory handle. It can withstand almost anything and is about 40% harder than Red Oak.
This axe is ready for felling straight from the package. It has a rough ground head that’s been hand-sharpened by experienced craftsmen. It underwent leather stropping to fine-tune the cutting edge as a finishing touch.
I also like that the head is oil-coated to prevent rusting. It also adds an aesthetic look to the axe, which will be the pride of every outdoors person.
Aside from that, you will receive a leather sheath with a buckle so you can fasten it on your tool belt. I can say that this is well worth the splurge for its quality.
Husqvarna 26-inch Multi-Purpose Axe
If you’re looking for a shorter axe, you’ll never go wrong with this 26″ workhorse from Husqvarna. It’s a multi-purpose tool with a single-bit head.
This has Swedish axe steel that’s forged on the namesake country. It’s attached to a hickory handle using steel and wooden wedges to ensure a secure fit.
Moreover, this has a high-carbon and hand-forged head that guarantees years of use. Its head is 1.8 lbs. heavy, perfect for felling small to medium-sized trees. The edge is rough at the heel and toe, but it can be fixed by leather stropping or stone sharpening.
Aside from that, I like the alignment of the head and the handle, which is a significant factor when felling trees. The handle is also thick and very comfortable to grip, even if I’m not wearing my protective gloves.
Based on my experience, this axe is heavier than most options Gransfor offers within the same size. It gives a solid swing and impact, which matters greatly when felling trees. The edge also bites deep and smoothly.
You will also receive a leather sheath, which perfectly fits the axe head. You can also get this multi-purpose axe in a composite handle if you wish.
Hults Bruk Torneo 26-inch Felling Axe
The Hults Bruk Torneo is a 26″ felling axe compact for smaller users. It weighs 2.86 lbs. with an excellent balance for solid swings and strength.
This axe’s head is made of high-carbon Swedish steel attached to a carved American hickory handle. Its head has undergone blasting and clear-lacquered ironwork to guarantee its performance while felling trees.
Moreover, its shaft is curved for an excellent grip, and it’s also treated with linseed oil to prevent splintering. Just note that the butt of the handle isn’t hardened, so it shouldn’t be used to drive metal pegs. Nevertheless, you can use the button plastic wedges without any problems.
If you don’t have a large budget but looking for a premium axe, this one from Hults Bruk is already a steal. This is very sharp and will cut through the grain with ease. You can use this axe straight from the package since it’s already pre-sharpened.
Overall, this axe can outlast you on a whole day of felling trees. It’s a workhorse, which is surprising for its price range and smaller build.
Lastly, this axe comes with a leather sheath and is boxed neatly. You can even send it as a gift to a loved one who needs a new axe on their toolkit!
1844 Helko Werk Journeyman Felling Hatchet
The 1844 Helko Werk Journeyman Felling Hatchet is an all-around axe with top-notch craftsmanship. This hybrid tool can be used for felling trees, a camping tool, and a casual woodsman axe.
This axe has a C50 high-carbon steelhead that boasts a hardness of 53 to 56 HRC. It’s made with an open face and a hand-forged blade to withstand the most demanding felling needs.
This entire axe is handmade to guarantee its quality. Its head is also well-polished to prevent rusting and give it a shiny look.
Moreover, the head of this 1844 Helko Werk axe weighs 1.5 lbs., which is a tad lighter than the other axes I’ve reviewed here. Overall, this weighs 2 lbs. and has a midget length of just 19 inches.
As for the handle, this sports Grade A American hickory wood that’s heavily treated with linseed oil. It’s also grit-sanded for a smooth and non-splintering finish. Despite that, this axe remains grippy and very comfortable to use when felling hard and large trees.
Aside from the axe, you will also get a full-grain leather sheath as well as a 1 oz—a bottle of protective oil.
If you’re looking for an axe worth your money, you won’t go wrong with the 1844 Helko Werk Journeyman.
Truper Single Bit 33-inch Axe
My last recommendation for this roundup is the Truper Single-Bit Axe. This is a 33″ tool with a fiberglass handle instead of the classic hickory wood. This makes it cheaper and easier to maintain since you no longer have to oil the material.
Its blade is heat-treated to guarantee excellent fatigue resistance. It’s connected to the fiberglass handle through a steel and wood wedge for a perfect fit. You can use this to fell small trees as well as an all-around hatchet for your home, garden, or farm.
This axe is 3.5 lbs. heavy, which gives it a nice feel and swing momentum. It also comes out of the package pre-sharpened, so there’s very little work needed.
I only wish the fiberglass handle has a better varnish, but it’s not a big deal. It’s more of an aesthetic issue than something that affects its performance.
For this price range, I don’t have major complaints. It’s much better than I expected, and it seems to hold up pretty well on most applications. For the casual woodsman, this axe is more than enough.
How to choose an axe for felling trees
There are only a few considerations to consider when it comes to the best axe for felling trees. I’ll make it simple to find the right felling axe for the job easily. With that, you should check for the following points:
✔️Length and weight
The first thing you should think of is the length of the felling axe you’re going to get. Nowadays, you can find felling axes that measure 19 to 33 inches long.
The longer the handle, the more power you can generate on every swing. If you need to fall large and hardwood trees, I suggest getting an axe with a long handle.
Still, it also depends on your felling method and comfort level. Sometimes, short woodchoppers prefer equally short axe handles to control it easily.
As for the weight, you have to check two parts: the head and the handle. A heavy axe head offers more swing power and bite on the wood. If you’re joining a felling competition, you might as well look for an axe with the heaviest head.
However, I recommend starting with a 2 to 3-lb. head for beginners. You can even use a 1.5-lb. head if you want to take it easy.
Despite that, the handle of the axe should also be nicely weighted. This will balance out the head weight for an excellent grip and swing.
The most important part of a felling axe is its blade or head. It’s the part that gets the job done. With that, you should look for a tough blade that can put up with the type of wood on the tree you’re working on.
Most felling axes nowadays are made of high-carbon steel. These are hand-forged and heated to increase ductility and fatigue resistance. For the most part, a hardness of 53 to 56 HRC (Rockwell hardness) is enough for most felling tasks. But if you’re dealing with large trees, you may need a tougher blade.
Next, you must check the material of the handle. The most popular and traditional option is hickory due to its unbeatable toughness. Hickory can withstand everything, and it also gives the felling axe an aesthetic touch.
However, you must ensure that the wood grain runs vertically along the handle. Why do you ask? When the wood grain runs horizontally, the handle would be prone to breakage.
Also, look for growth rings at the butt of the handle. It must be narrowly spaced to ensure durability and take the beating of felling trees.
However, if you’re on a budget, you can opt for a fiberglass handle. It’s tough, too, but with some limitations. It has excellent shock-absorbing properties and will not experience wood rot. However, fiberglass can get slippery during a rainy day if it’s not textured.
✔️Curved vs. straight handle
Lastly, consider whether you need a curved or straight handle. Take note that this design isn’t for aesthetic purposes only. It serves a specific purpose and will affect the performance of your felling axe.
For the most part, I recommend a curved handle because it gives a more ‘natural’ feel on every swing. The curve also reduces slippage, making the axe much easier to grip. Anyway, almost all single-bit axes have a curved handle. Only double-bit axes use straight handles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What axe length should I get?
A: The standard length for a felling axe is 36 inches, but it can be shorter than that. Some men find it too long, so they opt for something between 26 to 31 inches. Overall, it depends on your felling technique and the configuration you’ll find comfortable to use.
Q: Should an axe be razor-sharp?
A: Yes, your axe should be razor-sharp, especially if you’re felling a tree. The sharper the blade is, the deeper it could cut. This means faster felling and less strain on your arms. Please note that most new axes will require hand sharpening before being used on the field. You can purchase a sharpening kit for this or take it to your local blacksmith.
Q: At what angle should an axe be sharpened?
A: Most axes must be sharpened at an angle of 30 to 40 degrees right at the end of the bit. Meanwhile, it should be 15 to 20 degrees half an inch away from the cutting edge. Never use a bench grinder to sharpen your axe because it will ruin the blade and damage its temper.
Q: What oil can I use for my axe head?
A: Proper upkeep of the axe’s blade or head is necessary to increase its good years. The best choice is linseed oil. If you don’t have linseed oil, look for any non-petroleum oil. Some of the excellent alternatives are safflower, olive, and canola.
Q: Can you split wood with a felling axe?
A: To be fair, you can split wood with just about an axe. However, using a felling axe to split wood is a guaranteed way to damage its cutting edge. Your felling axe will get stuck on the wood, and it will be a pain to remove. Please note that felling axes are designed to cut through the wood’s fiber and not split it.
If you’re looking for the best axe for felling trees, my top 6 picks here won’t disappoint. Each one is carefully crafted to ensure the best performance and felling abilities. It’s guaranteed to make your job easier, thanks to its sharp cutting edge, ergonomic handles, and design that’s made to last.
What do you think of these felling axes? Let us know below!