21 Types of Axes: the Right Tool for Every Task & Situation
Author: Chris Miller | Editor: Omar Alonso
Review & Research: Jen Worst & Chris Miller
Still an essential tool for camping and different outdoor purposes, finding a suitable axe first means knowing what types of axes are even available.
There are different patterns of axes available on the market. You need to figure out precisely what type of pattern would serve your purpose better.
Dayton axes are suitable for outdoor works, Michigan axes are good for chopping down trees, while Connecticut axes are ideal for usual copping duties. But even if you’ve chosen the pattern- you need to pick the right type of axe, and we’re here to help with this list of axes.
21 Types of Axes
We have done extensive research on the types of axes used over the ages, and we’ve come up with a list of the most notable ones — time for you to go through them.
Tactical Axes are what we call a fusion of tradition and technology. It is a multi-tool that can be used in a lot of things other than wood chopping.
Also known as tactical Tomahawk — it can be used as a shovel, a pry bar, a weapon, or a hammer. If you’re planning to go into the woods for camping, then having a tactical axe is a must.
These axes are steel-made in general, so endurance and durability are ensured with them!
This is a type of axe that excels in chopping woods and felling trees — as the name suggests. Generally, the head of such an axe should weigh between two to four pounds.
The handle is long and sturdy to ensure you can give it a powerful swing. Felling down large trees is no easy job; hence both the handle and the head must be strong. These can be used to notch a tree and then finish it off. That's how well they perform.
Its blade usually has a flared shape alongside a sharp, thin tip. The sharp tip ensures you can cut through the grain of the wood easily. Felling types of axes are great for chopping down trees but not a good option for splitting woods.
The forest axe is another robust and heavy-duty axe that is mainly used for felling trees and chopping branches (like for building a wattle fence, for example, in the past). If you’re out in the woods to do some professional tree-felling work — then you’ll require this.
As opposed to a felling axe, a forest axe can be used for dropping trees with a bit more effort (less weight to them, but they're effective in doing much more like clearing brush , removing branches, splitting wood, and other forestry related tasks.
It’s way too heavy to carry around when you’re just camping. These axe types have long handles and a sharp blade with a curved tip. An axe like this is enough to bring down big forest trees.
This is a different type of axe. Its main feature isn’t wood chopping or felling large trees down — it excels in rough grubbing terrains and compact soils. You'll see these called an 'axe head mattock', too.
If you like gardening, then a grub axe would relieve you of a lot of pressure. Grub axe is also called ‘cutter mattock,’ specializing in digging holes in hard soils to set another plant.
For people who seldom require an axe, A hatchet axe can be a good deal. It’s an all-purpose axe that excels in doing light jobs that you can do in the backyard.
The prices of these smaller, different types of axes differ significantly, considering their quality and brand. These are relatively smaller axes with a weighted head, chunky handle, and flared shape. Hatchets are usually well-balanced axes that make the job easier for you.
Hudson Bay Axe
If you’re going out camping nearby, then a Hudson Bay axe can be your ideal companion. It’s a medium-sized axe that can do almost everything possible with an axe.
It’s not as small as a hatchet, but it’s not very large either. This ideal shape makes it a piece of perfect camping equipment. It excels in relatively smaller splitting and chopping jobs.
You can guess its specialty from the name already — this is the best type of axe for splitting wood. These axes are explicitly designed for splitting logs into different shapes of kindlings.
The outlook of this tool is quite similar to that of a felling axe — but the swinging technique makes all the difference.
Splitting mauls don’t cut against the grain; it cuts with the grain — hence the wood is split instead of getting chopped. It's one of the quintessential fire pit tools to keep around.
Expectedly, it has a super-heavy head, weighing on around 8 pounds. Its head has one blunt and one sharp end, although the sharp end doesn’t need to be sharpened frequently.
Also known as ‘hewing axe,’ these types of axes are a favorite among carpenters. Hewing means turning round-edged lumbers into flat-edged timers.
It’s not a very easy task, and hence the use of a broad axe is essential here. One side of the hewing axe is flat, and the other side has an edged blade to ensure chopping. It’s common amongst carpenters only.
There was a time miners used specialized axes to mine for metals like silver and copper. The whole mining process has evolved a lot ever since, and these axes have become obsolete.
But still, to this date, they are a status symbol among workers — especially the miners. They have short handles and long heads and are still a handful if you want to do some mining all by yourself!
Now we have axe types that are specialized for woodworking. Carpenters can’t function well without it, and this craftsman tool is only suitable for carpentry — not for chopping woods.
It’s a small axe, almost as small as a regular-sized hatchet. In general, they’re supposed to have a straight-edged sharp blade alongside a flat butt. The straighter the blade — the better its cut would be.
Moreover, the modern carpenter’s axes have additional grooves for removing nails and a handle notch for better grip. Carpentry has become much more technology-based now, but a good old-fashioned axe still has its value here!
You all know about the mighty Vikings and how they used customized axes to defeat enemies in battle back in the day.
These are lightweight and well-balanced axes that are swift to use and come in pretty handy in close combats. The double-handed Viking axes are relatively bigger, with as long as 55-inch handles.
Since Viking blades were mostly used in battles, the tips of them were very sharp while the heads were heavily bearded.
The head of such axes was generally iron-made and was very durable. Apart from antique collectors — nobody uses them now. But to date, original Viking axes bear great historical value.
Double Bit Axe
These types of axes come with a couple of blades on either side of its head. While they look symmetrical, if you look from the front — in reality, one of the blades would be a bit more blunt.
Both blades are necessary — as you can use one to fell trees or chop woods while the other can be an excellent option for splitting the woods. It's a good choice to go wild with when trying to kill a tree stump.
These are rare axes that are only required by lumberjacks. It’s hefty to carry and work with — but it saves time because it can work as two different axes.
Although the new generation recognizes Tomahawk as a type of steak — it is actually a very famous axe that is originated from North America.
Native Americans used it in battles, especially in the American Revolution. Tomahawk is a relatively smaller-sized axe with a straight handle and excellent balance.
But they’re not just used in battles — these axe types are still used in parts of America for digging, chopping, prying, and splitting.
They’re now a fashionable camping tool because they’re multi-functional and can be useful for different bushcraft activities and knife throwing competitions.
If you’re no stranger to roofing, then you should know about roofing axes or roofing hatchets — an excellent craftsman’s tool designed for roofing. It is a multi-purpose tool that has two heads and could be argued is one of the types of hammers, too.
One is a sharp blade for cutting roof shingles, and the other is a hammer for pounding the roofing types of nails. In many cases, the hammerhead is magnetized to attach the nails. These are different kinds of axes with a very specialized purpose that you may never need.
The pick axe is a T-shaped hand tool for landscaping and gardening. It’s usually used to break up hard soil, concrete, and rocks.
One of the two sides of its double metal head is a pointed pick, and the other side is generally a chisel. This chisel usually serves as a makeweight to make sure the axe is balanced, and the momentum of the pick is enhanced.
The hunting process doesn’t just require the typical tools of the trade — you need a hunter’s axe to set the whole thing up. Different types of axes like these serve as a dual-purpose blade that can chop wood and meat simultaneously.
It has a grooved handle to give you a better grip in all situations. Apart from occasional wood chopping, this axe specializes in skinning animals as it comes with a flay poll.
In the medieval ages, throwable axes were a powerful weapon in battle. But in recent times, it has become a sport, and it’s pretty popular in many regions of the world. The axes used in these competitions are solid and durable and are expectedly lightweight.
Known by names such as the pick head axe, firefighter's axe, and simply just a fire axe, what sets these apart from others is that the side opposite of the blade is shaped like a mining pick.
This implement allows firefighter's to swing the butt of the blade to pierce doors, windows, and walls to help unlock doors or gain entry to save lives. The axe's poll is the defining feature.
Usually, these axe types will come painted in bright colors, with stripes and other designs to make them easy to see during an emergency when time is of the essence and every second counts.
A crash axes is a short and lightweight, one-handed axe meant to be used in emergencies much like the fireman's axe. You can find them in cockpits of airplanes. The handle often features a pry bar, too.
All of this is so the pilots and other flight crew members can quickly chop into cabinets or doors to gain access to a fire and put it out, or to pry open the doors to let out the passengers in the case of an emergency landing.
These types of axes are very well designed. Some have hollowed out designs to make them lighter (since every bit counts in terms of fuel). Some are even electrically insulated so you don't have to worry about wires running in the walls or doors you need to bring down.
Used in hiking and climbing, whether on dry land or in ice, these multi-purpose axes help along the entire journey.
At the simplest they can act as walking sticks, in the coldest terrains they can be buried upside down and used as anchors to lift gear (or more carefully to help trailing climbers ascend).
But the main purposes are to cut footsteps and pigeon holes to place your feet, scoop out bucket seats, to act as anchor to help get a grip, or to act as an ice axe belay.
We finish the list with technically the most ancient axes of all time. First built in the stone age, Adze was used for basic woodworking.
It used to be an excellent option to carve out woods and smooth them. The blade is generally super sharp to do refined woodwork.
The adze is divided into two groups — the hand and the foot adzes. Hand adzes can be swung with one hand as it comes with a short handle, whereas foot adzes have a longer handle, so you might require two hands to swing it.
Types of Axes for Every Situation
So, this was our brief discussion on the different types of axes in the world. Some are obsolete now, some are history, and some are still used as an essential tool. Pick the axe types that suit your purposes best.