Ax Vs Hatchet Vs Tomahawk: What Is The Difference?

One of the most versatile tools ever invented by humans is the ax. However, did you know people tend to mistake it for other craftsman’s tools used for cutting and chopping? In fact, that has been the case for many years until new modifications on the gadget became clear-cut and distinct.

Now, think about a situation where you have to buy an ax, a tomahawk or a hatchet. What would you go for and why? Usually, using the wrong tool for the right job is a practice that comes with either immediate or unforeseen consequences. For example, using a tactical tomahawk to cut through wood grain could put you in harm’s way or the tool may break.

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In this review, Morninghomestead aims to achieve the following:

  • Walks you through the differences between a tomahawk, a hatchet, and an ax
  • Helps you choose the best tool by presenting a list of the best, backed by a comprehensive, well-researched and dependable review
  • Compares Gransfors bruks wildlife hatchet and small forest ax
  • Helps you understand how throwing an ax differs from throwing a knife
  • Provides trusted answers to frequent questions buyers  ask about these tools
AxHatchetTomahawk
Big and wide bladeNarrow bladeSmall and more cramped edge
Big and longer handleSmall handleSmaller grip
For cutting big branches and chopping logsFor clearing twigs, cutting small branches, and breaching tasksCutting branches twigs, and combat
Popular household toolPopular in throwing gamesPopular among hunters and military

What is the Use of Ax?

Are you an ax-man looking for recommendations regarding the best pickax on the market? Well, there are hundreds of tool manufactures trying to break even in selling what they believe is that best ax for the handyman or an ax thrower. Moreover, in so doing, they employ every possible marketing strategy to woo buyers to their side.

However, before you can spend a penny on say, Fiskars ax X-series such as X11 for splitting, X15 for Chopping or on any of the Estwing’s collections, it is imperative to do some homework about every tool, including a befitting definition. An ax is technically a gadget meant for chopping, splitting or cutting. A quick online search will pull up some exciting features, but you have got to dig deeper.

By design, it features a relatively long handle and a head, sometimes referred to as bit/wedge/cutting edge/blade. The head is fitted perpendicularly to the handle just like hammers. However, there are exceptions to design with a case in point being a single-piece forged steel artwork. [1]

Conventional handles have always featured carbon fiber, steel or wood. If modern manufacturers do not replicate everything that the traditional artisan had in mind, there is no doubt that they borrow a lot from the early man’s creativity and vision in making axes. Presumably, it is one of those homesteading tools you will find in almost every home in the world today, contrary to popular belief that it only exists in the stores of professional loggers.

What is the Best Ax? How to Choose?

You have got to plow through tons of information before settling on the best. It is because while you may have a specific brand in mind, different manufacturers present many options for the consumer. This post will shortly review the best ax for the money, but first, take a look at the following tips on how to choose the best:

Blade and Handle Material

No one is going to buy a product that will lose its value in a matter of weeks through wear and tear. So you need to ask some critical questions such as, is a handle featuring hickory better? What about ash?

While other options like carbon fiber and steel are among the typical handle materials, those who buy wooden need to look at the arrangement of growth rings. Loggers with experience advice purchase of a product where growth rings run perpendicularly to the ax head because it is sturdy and withstands pressure during heavy-duty tasks.

The Orientation of the Handle

Do you prefer ax handles that bend at some angle to straight ones or vice versa? Well, two factors play a part here.  The angular orientation of handles should help determine whether you need a single-bit or a double bit ax-head.

Here, experience with the variants shows that straight stems befit the double-bitted while curved ones work well with single-bitted blades.

Artisanal or Non-Vanished Handles

Feel of ax handles contribute to safety measures that professional loggers need to take. Smooth finishing is a big NO most of the times because, after a few minutes into cutting or splitting, the effect of sweaty hands on the handle could spell doom because the tool may slip off the hold and cause an accident.

So, the question is, what should you do with artisanal (smooth-finish) handles? Well, sandpaper will help roughen wooden handles for perfect and robust grip and efficiency.

Length of the Handle

Fiskars X-series feature different handle lengths, something which gives buyers a range of options from which to choose a befitting axing tool. However, while most people prefer longer ones to shorter variants, it is imperative to note that it sometimes depends on the task. For example, Fiskars X25 (28-inches) long is ideal for splitting wood.

X15 is suitable for chopping wood pieces and branches. Falling axes, splitting maul and Broad-blade options, therefore, vary depending on the handle length. However, experience once again carries the day here.

More extended handles tend to be more effective than shorter ones because of power-to-weight ratio.

The Weight of the Blade

Another factor which buyers must consider when shopping for an ax is the weight.  Manual chainsaws are for lightweight tasks such as cutting timber. However, there comes a time when you have got to use a Seymour AX-PS because it is more suited to heavy cutting, thanks to its blade driving more energy into the wood at every strike.

Below are some of the best axes on the market:

Picture Product Name Features
Fiskars X27 Fiskars X27 Long handle for perfect balance and power-weight output ratio
The blade features a convex bevel geometry to boost splitting power, and easy to remove from wood
Weighs 5.85
Estwing Fireside Friend Axe Estwing Fireside Friend Axe Features a one-piece forged steel body for durability
Has a massive blade for easy chopping and splitting of firewood
Comes with a nylon sheath to protect the edge from rust
Sandpapered handle for secure and comfortable grip
Husqvarna 30-Inch Splitting Ax Husqvarna 30-Inch Splitting Ax Comfortable hickory wooden handle
Wedge designed for easy splitting with little effort
Long handle for power transmission to the blade and smooth utility

Please pay attention to the product details before choosing one that suits your needs.

Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Ax, 36-Inch

Fiskars is one of the best tool brands out there and with its X27 cutting tool, you get more in a single item.  Well, this product is worth some bucks because of the following reasons:

  • Split medium and large logs with ease
  • Long handle, making it suitable for tall people
  • Perfect balance and power-weight output ratio for maximum swing speed
  • The blade features a convex bevel geometry to boost splitting power and removal from wood
  • X27 weighs 5.85 pounds and comes with a lifetime product warranty.
Fiskars X27

   Buy On Amazon

Estwing Fireside Friend A, 14-Inch Wood Splitting Maul with Forged Steel Construction and Shock Reduction Grip, E3-FF4

Estwing gives you everything you need in a tool, and with its Fireside Friend splitting Maul, there is more for your money. Below are its features:

  • Features a one-piece forged steel body for durability
  • Has a massive blade for easy chopping and splitting of firewood
  • Comes with a nylon sheath to protect the edge from rust
  • Sandpapered handle for secure and comfortable grip
  • A Rockford, IL tool featuring American steel finishing
Estwing Fireside Friend

   Buy On Amazon

Husqvarna 32-Inch Splitting Ax, Large

Husqvarna tools make it to the top brands on the market today, and this splitting blade is all you need for some reasons such as the following:

  • Different size variants from which you can choose the best
  • Comfortable hickory wooden handle
  • Ideal for thick wood splitting tasks
  • Wedge designed for easy splitting with little effort
  • Long handle for power transmission to the blade and smooth utility
  • Comes with a leather sheath for the knife
Husqvarna 30-Inch Splitting Ax

   Buy On Amazon

What is the Use of Hatchet?

Hatchet resembles an ax in many ways such as design and appearance. However, it is lighter and presents a compact feel. A notable feature of this tool is that the poll (butt or endpoint) looks more like a hammer and in which case, sometimes used for driving nails into surfaces.

Moreover, hatchets are popular among roofers, campers, and carpenters. You can also use this tool to perform lightweight outdoor tasks. You should be able to spot its narrow head and lean body. [2]

What is the Best Hatchet? How to Choose?

Now, when it comes to shopping for the best product, making a perfect selection is something you should premise the following:

Specialist Hatchets

Depending on the purpose for which you need one, specialty plays a crucial role in choosing an ideal item for the money. A camping hatchet should cut through limbs, dead branches and twigs with great ease. A double-bitted option is a better option in that regard.

Moreover, if you are a sportsman looking for a suitable thrower’s hatchet, a lightweight tool with an adequately aligned blade is the best fit.

Material

The feel of the handle and head equally matters a lot when shopping for the best hatchet. Just like Ludeu Hickory Wood handle fits into the hands of a logger for perfect grip during splitting, you may want to get hold of one with a wooden handle. However, other material options such as plastic, aluminum and steel present freedom of choice to buyers.

Quality

Things that collectively contribute to the quality of a hatchet are; brand name (manufacturer) and material durability. Therefore, when you go shopping, it is imperative to weigh options based on such features.

Take a look below at Top picks:

Picture Product Name Features
Gerber 14-Inch Hatchet Gerber 14-Inch Hatchet The blade has PTFE coating to minimize friction during chopping
Steelhead for durability
Less strain during handling, thanks to the composite shock absorbent
Prandi German Style Hatchet PRA03006TH Prandi German Style Hatchet PRA03006TH Comes with a sheath
Head made in Italy, while the handle features U.S.A hickory with perfect grain orientation for durability
Excellent finishing for smooth and precise handling
Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet Fill Tang Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet Fill Tang Blade measures 3-1 inches and the handle measures 6.4 inches
Total length is 12.8 inches (32.5 cm)
It weighs 1.56 pounds.
The head features carbon steel coating for durability, and the handle, nylon fiber for comfort.

Gerber 14-Inch Hatchet

Hatchets are great utility tools, and top of the list is this 14-inch product from Gerber. You will fall in love with this tool because of the following reasons:

  • The blade has PTFE coating to minimize friction during chopping
  • The head features steel for durability
  • Less strain during handling, thanks to the composite shock absorbent
  • Efficient and deep chopping
  • Comes with a sheath for securing the wedge
  • Lightweight for easy handling
  • This product traces its roots to Finland
Gerber 14 Inch Hatchet

   Buy On Amazon

Prandi German Style Hatchet PRA03006TH

German styled Prandi makes it to top hatchet selections in this review, and it is because of the following reasons:

  • Comes with a sheath
  • Head made in Italy, while the handle features U.S.A hickory with perfect grain orientation for durability
  • Ideal for crafting
  • Excellent finishing for smooth and flawless handling
  • Prandi hatchet is a well-balanced tool.
Prandi German Style Hatchet PRA03006TH

   Buy On Amazon

Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet Fill Tang

If the above options do not fit within your budget or perhaps fail to meet your expectations, then Schrade Tactical tool definitely will. It is because of the following reasons:

  • Perfect size for backpacking, with the blade measuring 3-1 inches and handle at 6.4 inches
  • Total length is 12.8 inches (32.5 cm)
  • It weighs 1.56 pounds.
  • The head features carbon steel coating for durability, and the handle, nylon fiber for comfort
  • Ideal for throwing games and other professional applications
Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet Fill Tang

   Buy On Amazon

What is the Use of Tomahawk?

A tomahawk is said to be the best alternative to not only hatchets but also axes. However, before looking at its uses here is a brief history of a tool that has a profound bearing on the Military, and is still as domineering in the battlefield as it was many years ago.

Well, of all the three tools in this review, tomahawks have a long history dating back to as early as 18th Century when Revolutionary War ravaged vast swathes of Europe. In particular, the tool lends credence to its inventors, the Algonquian Indians who were living in Native America at the time. In retrospect, the gadget borrows a lot from its indigenous name ‘tamahak or tamahaka.’

Initially, it featured a stone tied to a rod using rawhides or skin. Moreover, apart from its application during the Revolutionary War witnessed the heavy use of tomahawk, albeit, it was slowly being rendered obsolete by advancement in human creativity that saw manufacturing of modern and sophisticated weapons such as guns.

Today, the tool has undergone modifications, and it now features metallic blades. However, it remains a tactical tool among America’s Military personnel and other places in the world. It is also a favorite tool in throwing games. Examples include; spike tomahawks, pipe tomahawks SOG tactical tomahawk, Voodoo hawks and fast hawk. [3]

Uses of a Tomahawk include the Following:

A backpack tool for hunting, padding, and hiking

  • Chopping
  • Defense/tactical or combats use
  • Bush-craft tasks such as cutting branches and twigs
  • Hitting targets, i.e., tomahawk throwing, reminiscent of archery games and throwing knives
  • Hooking

What is the Best Tomahawk? How to Choose?

So, how do you go about choosing the best tomahawk for the money when shopping online?

Brand Name

Since its invention, significant modifications on tomahawk have taken new twists and turns roping in competing interests of different manufacturers. Take a look at SOG Tools for more information on this. For the Amazon shopper, brand names make an impact on buyers who have aligned themselves with specific products.

Size and Weight

By design, a tomahawk is a small and lightweight tool. However, that varies depending on manufacturer specifications and purpose. Take, for example, throwing games that require a more substantial device for perfect release and rotation angle.

Durability

Here, you need to ask the question; is steel better than a wooden? Usually, the head of a tomahawk is steel. However, handles may feature wood or plastic, except for single-piece forged steel tools.

Thus far, this review samples the best tomahawks from all around to present the following top picks for the money:

Picture Product Name Features
SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP Features glass and nylon reinforcement on the handle (polymer) and a stainless steel wedge
An improved version of Vietnam Tomahawk
Measures 15.75 inches in length and weighs 24-ounces
Gerber Downrange Tomahawk Gerber Downrange Tomahawk A 3-in-1 tool featuring a Pry Bar, ax, and a hammer
Sturdy 420HC steel construction
The handle features GT-10 Desert Tan composite scales for firm grip
SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP F01P-N Tactical Tomahawk Polished finishing of the blade that measures 2-inches
Polymer handle featuring glass and nylon reinforcement for comfortable handling and durability
Comes with a safety nylon sheath

SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP-Hardcased Black Axe Head GRN Handle, Nylon Sheath, 2.75 –Inches Blade

If you have never tried any of the SOG’s tools, then Tomahawk F01TN should present you with a perfect chance of doing so. It offers the following reasons:

  • Ideal for excavation, breaching, removal of obstacles, extraction, and other utilities
  • Features glass and nylon reinforcement on the handle (polymer) and a stainless steel wedge
  • An improved version of Vietnam Tomahawk
  • Measures 15.75 inches in length and weighs 24-ounces
  • Comes with a lifetime warranty
SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP

   Buy On Amazon

Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

Gerber specializes in making different types of cutting, combat, and chopping tools. Cheers to Downrange tomahawk that gives you more in a single instrument. Buyers go for this item because of reasons such as the following:

  • A 3-in-1 tool featuring a Pry Bar, ax, and a hammer
  • Sturdy 420HC steel construction
  • The handle features GT-10 Desert Tan composite scales for firm grip
  • Comes with a MOLLE sheath
  • S-made
Gerber Downrange Tomahawk

   Buy On Amazon

SOG Tactical Tomahawk Tomahawk with Nylon Sheath, Polished Finish

If you have been looking for a tactical tomahawk to no avail, then you search ends here. Well, F01P-N from SOG is a specialty tool like no other, and it is because of the following reasons:

  • Comes with a nylon sheath for safety
  • Ideal for breaching operations, removing obstacles and other utilities such as extraction and excavation
  • Polished finishing of the blade that measures 2-inches
  • Polymer handle featuring glass and nylon reinforcement for comfortable handling and durability
  • Enjoy a limited lifetime warranty when you buy F01P-N Tactical Tomahawk
SOG Tactical Tomahawk F01TN-CP

   Buy On Amazon

Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet vs. Small Forest ax

Gransfors bruks wildlife hatchetSmall forest ax
Features a large headA narrow head
Has a longer handleSmaller handle
For choppingFor cutting limbs and felling small trees

How Is Throwing an Axe Different from Throwing Knives?

There are many variations between how to throw an ax and a throwing knife, apart from shape and design of the two tools. Both are favorite tools in throwing games, whereby a player aims at hitting a target, something similar to archery. You should also note that techniques involved in each case vary in some way.

From handling or holding a play ax and throwing knives, assuming the perfect stance to achieving ideal tool rotation, players need to undergo some training on how to hit targets. A double-bitted is the best choice because of the following reasons:

  • Perfect balance of accuracy, thanks to the double blades which are of equal length and weight
  • Ideal for ideal rotation angle (A maximum of 3 rotations before hitting the target)
  • No wobble means excellent balance in the tool and for the player
  • On the other hand, examples of knife examples include:
  • Lightning Bolt Throwing Knife
  • M48 Airborne Throwing Knife
  • Second Amendment Throwing Knife
  • Bull’s Eye Dragon Throwing Knife

FAQs about Axe vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk

Q: What are some of the safety measures in using these tools?

A: While a lot depends on common sense, it is essential to make sure the head is firmly fastened to minimum wobbling when in use. Also, never hit the poll with a hammer as that may loosen the head.

Sharpen the blade only when you want to use any of the tools. Moreover, when the handle becomes slippery due to sweaty hands, wrap it using electrical tape or use sandpaper to roughen it.

Q: How Do I take care of My Tool?

A: There is no rocket science in caring for your ax, hatchet or tomahawk. You should secure the blade using a leather sheath while also making sure it is free from rust. Keep away from the reach of children.

Q: Is product warranty important after all?

A: Buyers should get value for their money and because sometimes a product comes with manufacturers fault, a warranty cushions you from repair, maintenance and replacement costs.

Q: Does the size of the Log matter during Splitting

A:  Well, the longer the handle, the better for any log size. For example, Fiskars X25 which measures 28-inches presents a higher weight-to-power ratio hence more swing power and speed during splitting.

Q: How much will I spend on a standard size Tomahawk?

A: Price ranges and most of the times, it depends on the manufacturer. The products in this review cost differently on Amazon, so it is up to you to choose something that won’t leave a dent in the pocket.

Wrapping Up and Parting Thoughts

Everyone deserves the best chopping, cutting and splitting tool in the market. However, because sometimes it is hard to come by something for the money. A dependable, in-depth, and professional review that samples and compares the best ax, hatchet and tomahawk is all one needs to make the right pick.

Thus far, this post by Morninghomestead is undoubtedly a huge relief to those who have been surfing the web with little or no success.

As always, please pass along this vital information to friends by hitting the social share buttons. Remember to check back for reviews like this. We would also love to hear from you in the comment section below.

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