Best Carving Axes 2020 – Reviews & Buying Guide
For the last several months, we’ve been neck-deep in the carving axe market (a process not quite as dangerous as it sounds). Our purpose? To connect you with the best products out there. To do this, we tested hundreds of different products for all the factors that matter to you when you are on the job: sharpness, durability, feel, and effectiveness.
There are a lot of good options out there, but we’ve narrowed them down to four. Whether you’re looking to get a sweet deal or spend as much as it takes to get the most effective tool on the market, there is something out there for you. All that’s left now is to enjoy some carving axe reviews!
|Top Pick||Gränsfors Bruks||
|Best for the Money||Husqvarna 13”||
|1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland||
4 Best Carving Axes (Reviewed in 2020)
1. Gränsfors Bruks Hand Carving Ax – Top Pick
The Gränsfors Bruks Hand Hatchet is an aesthetically beautiful tool that will appeal to buyers who want something that combines the rustic legacy of the carving axe with all the modern touches that have gone into perfecting the tool.
The short wood handle fits perfectly in your hand for ease of use. The compact size means you can easily keep it in a backpack for a hike, or even in your car to use as needed. The package comes with a handy blade sheath that further simplifies the process of traveling with it.
It’s also just a good tool. The build is lightweight enough that you won’t get tired while using it for extended periods of time, but that doesn’t take any of the bite out of it. It’s sharp, durable, and easy to maintain, making it a good all-purpose axe.
Despite looking like an axe from the past, it comes with a very modern price tag. This thing is expensive, which means that unless you plan on using your hatchet frequently, you’ll be better off looking for something a little more affordable.
2. Husqvarna 13” Wooden Carving Axe – Best for the Money
Husqvarna makes some of the best yard equipment in the world. It’s admittedly most known for its motorized equipment (lawnmowers, weed whackers, etc.) but it honors its own reputation with this impressive and affordable hatchet.
As our best for the money pick, the Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet will be the axe for buyers on a budget. With a small head on a short hickory shaft, it’s a handy, lightweight tool for getting through branches, splitting small logs, and so on. It even comes with a nice leather slipcase that covers the blade and makes it safe to transport.
Durability is something of a tossup. The blade is fastened to the shaft quite well, secured by both a metal and a wood fastening so it’s locked in completely. On the other hand, the metal does get scratched and dinged up very easily. No axe will look factory-new for too long, but the wear and tear does show quite a bit with the Husqvarna.
If you can get over the fact that this axe won’t be eye candy for very long, you can still enjoy a high level of quality at an affordable price.
3. 1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Carving Hatchet
The 1844 Helko Werk Germany Rheinland Hatchet features a handmade blade that comes straight from Germany. The handle is also handmade and comes from Switzerland. Though it’s pricey relative to most axes, it is fairly reasonable for the handmade tool market.
The lightweight build, compact design, and high-performing blade make it ideal for various chopping and carving tasks. We also appreciated the tool’s aesthetic: rustic the way you want a carving axe to be. In fact, the manufacturer even advertises that it’s made in the spirit of the same axes used by settlers who were carving villages for the first time centuries ago.
The look is completed with a tan leather sheath that protects the blade. There are a couple of issues that might actually come from the fact that it’s a handmade tool. One such issue is that the blade itself doesn’t align quite right on the shaft. The tool we interacted with skewed slightly to the right, and other users have reported the same experience. This is a relatively small problem, but it does affect the accuracy of your work somewhat. It will be a bigger issue for carving than for chopping.
It also gets nicked up fairly easily. The blade will deteriorate over time.
4. CRKT Freyr Tactical Ax
The biggest selling point for the CRKT Freyr Tactical Axe is the price tag. It’s one of the lowest-priced options on our list, which may help compensate for some of the major issues that affect the user experience with the blade.
The carbon steel blade is forged to be very sharp, but it’s not very durable and will chip over time. It also tends to become wobbly, to the point that many users may eventually become uncomfortable with using it at all.
The hickory handle also seems to have not been treated well and will warp upon exposure to moisture—a shame, as this is one of the more elegant components of the axe’s design concept.
This tool is by no means a complete wash, but it doesn’t look so good when stacked up against the other three options we’ve seen on this list.
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Undoubtedly, our carving axe reviews have shown you just how elegant and beautiful this simple tool can be. If you’re having a hard time selecting the right option for your needs, it makes sense. While we would never try to tell you what to buy, there are a couple of suggestions worth bearing in mind.
If you just want the best tool you can get, go with the Gränsfors Bruks Hand Hatchet. However, if you want to save a little bit of money, you’ll be better off with our best for the money pick, the Husqvarna 13″ Wooden Hatchet.