types, types, what to look for


7 min 397

First, we divide the entire segment of the axes into several categories. Each type of ax looks a bit different and is suitable for different uses. Next, we will focus on the size of the axes and how to choose the right tool for your height. You can also take your body constitution into account when choosing the right ax weight, because if you choose one that’s too heavy, you probably won’t be able to work with it for long.

Ax types

Even such a simple tool as an ax can be divided into several categories. They differ in size, but above all in the way the instrument is used.

How to choose the right ax

tourist ax

Camping or hiking axes are the smallest you’ll find in stores. Their dimensions are small, so they can be easily packed for car trips or even hiking. It weighs no more than one kilogram, and the length of the rod is from 30 to 40 centimeters. Their blades are longer and flatter than other types. You will use them especially for cutting small branches, for example, when starting a fire, tapping pegs from a tent, etc. For these purposes, a model with a plastic shaft is definitely better.


A typical splitting ax has a shaft about 45 cm long and weighs about 1.5 kg. But there are also two-handed models, which will be almost twice as large and can handle larger logs.

The dimensions of these axes are incomparable with others in the selection. These are the largest models capable of handling even the largest logs. They have a wedge-shaped blade that is flattened at the back, so you can hit with a hammer and cut really wide pieces of wood that way. The length of the shaft reaches one meter, and at the same time the price increases.

carpenter’s ax

It will serve not only carpenters, but also, for example, people working at a construction site. Their blade is longer and cuts over the shaft so you can grab the tool right there and be as precise as possible in your work. Most often, the length of the rod is about 50 cm, but there are both shorter and longer options.

Universal ax

The last type is the universal axes. They are similar to carpentry, only adapted for domestic use, for small carpentry and building work or other garden work. In terms of weight and length, the shaft is similar to the classic splitting models, but their blade is not so thin.

In addition to these common types, there are various “axe features”. At higher price points, you will find, for example, double-sided or throwing axes (for example, the tomahawk, which served as a weapon of war for the Indians).

How to choose the right ax

The size

Once you have decided what purpose you are looking for, it is also important to determine the size of the axe. It is designated by letters from S to XL, as, for example, clothes. The idea is that the bigger the ax, the better it will work. But this is not always the case. It is much more important that the tool lies correctly in the hand. Thanks to this, you do not have to spend a lot of your energy.

So how do you know the correct size? The handle should not be longer than your arm, which can be checked with a simple test:

  • hold the ax just below the blade
  • equip your outstretched hand with an ax so that its shaft runs horizontally with your hand and points to your shoulder
  • judge how far the ax handle goes.

If it already touches your shoulder, we recommend using a shorter version. On the contrary, if your bootleg ends somewhere at the elbow, this model is too small for you. Of course, this test does not apply to camping axles, which are intentionally smaller. If you’re buying an ax online and don’t have the ability to physically measure it, measuring the length of your hand and comparing it to the dimensions of the ax can at least help you.


Weight is naturally related to the size of the tool, but the materials used also matter. The wooden rod will be slightly heavier than the plastic one. The lightest camping axes weigh about two hundred grams, the S category tool weighs about 1 kg. The XL category tools exceed 2 kg, and the largest axes – about 4 kg.

A heavier ax can develop more power with the right swing, but at the expense of your strength. Therefore, it is important to find a compromise. If in doubt, we will recommend a small test.

An ax has the correct weight if it can only be lifted with the wrist from an outstretched hand. If this movement is a problem for you, choose an easier option for your own benefit. Even if it doesn’t seem like it, you’ll end up doing a lot more work with it in the end.

How to choose the right ax


The most important part of the axe. Its quality determines how easily it passes through the wood and how much effort you have to make. It is important that it be forged and not just ground to give it a sharp shape. They also fade very quickly. Ideally, if the blade is forged or, at best, hardened and ground steel. It can also be coated with Teflon or Xylan. After such treatment, it will become more resistant to high temperatures and corrosion.

From time to time, you will need to remember to care for and sharpen the blade. The frequency of sharpening will depend, among other things, on the quality of the material.


While the blade does most of the work, even in the case of the handle, it’s important not to underestimate the choice. You can choose from two basic materials, each with its own characteristics:

A wooden shaft is very pleasant to the touch, and also a cheaper option. It is made of hard woods such as oak or beech. The blade is attached to a wooden handle with a wedge, which causes it to loosen from time to time. Working with it is not so accurate and in exceptional cases there is a risk that the blade will fly out completely, which smacks of injuries. It is also important to pay attention to care with this material – do not store the wooden tool in too high temperatures and lubricate the wedge area from time to time.

Plastic shaft – most often made of laminate or other composite material. In this case, the blade fits snugly into the shaft, so there is no danger of it being released. On the other hand, if your laminate rod breaks, you can’t just replace that part as you would with wood. In this case, maintenance is practically not required. Another benefit is that manufacturers can shape the shaft however they want, creating various curved options and rubberized handles on the ends. Thanks to these settings, you will be more confident with a relatively dangerous tool, and the risk of it accidentally falling out of your hand will be much lower.

How to choose the right ax


Axes are simple devices and do not require many accessories. However, there are a few things that will make working with an ax more enjoyable.

Case – usually leather or textile. Its main task is to wrap the blades and prevent them from being cut, for example, when carrying a tool.

Sharpeners and files – greatly facilitate maintenance. Many options are available, some of which resemble kitchen knife sharpeners, others are shaped like a hockey puck.

Gloves – do not belong to the equipment without which the ax could not work, but with frequent and prolonged mowing, they are an indispensable accessory. For the same reason, some manufacturers offer work kits containing gloves in addition to tools. A high-quality working model with protection for the thumb and forefinger is ideal.


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