Best Felling Axes 2019 – Top Picks & Reviews

Last Updated:

felling wood with an axe

Felling is a strange word, not one that is used every day. So what is a felling ax and why would you want one?

Most people think of an ax for chopping wood. When cutting wood, you are splitting the piece of wood with the grain of it. The blade is thin at the edge and quickly gets fatter to become a wedge that divides the wood apart. A felling ax is entirely different.

A felling ax is used to cut down a tree; meaning that it cuts across the grain, rather than with it. Since your goal is to chop the tree down, not split the wood, a felling ax has a very sharp, long thin blade that is made to sink deeper into the tree with each stroke.

We have reviewed many felling axes and compiled a list of our top six choices for you. We want you to know what you are getting before you actually make your purchase so we will share some pros and cons of each one for you. Keep reading to learn more.

A Glance at the Winners of 2019

ModelPriceLengthEditor Rating
Husqvarna 26” Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
Husqvarna 26” Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe
(Best Overall)

Check Price
26"4.9/5
1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Forester 3.5 lb Felling Axe
1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Forester 3.5 lb Felling Axe

Check Price
31"4.7/5
Fiskars 375581-1001 Chopping Axe, 28-inch
Fiskars 375581-1001 Chopping Axe, 28-inch(Best Value)

Check Price
28"4.65/5
Hults Bruk Kalix Felling Axe
Hults Bruk Kalix Felling Axe

Check Price
28"4.4/5
Snow and Nealley 3.5 lbs.
Snow and Nealley 3.5 lbs.

Check Price
30"4.2/5
Ruthe by Picard 3012564019 Axe
Ruthe by Picard 3012564019 Axe

Check Price
36"3.9/5

6 Best Felling Axes

1. Husqvarna 26” Felling Axe – Best Overall

Husqvarna 26” Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe

The Husqvarna 26” wooden multi-purpose ax is our number one pick because it can do anything that you would want an ax to do. If you fell trees for a living, we would definitely recommend that you get a felling ax. We like this Husqvarna ax for the average homeowner, though, because it can handle all of your cutting needs. You don’t need to have three different axes for three different jobs.

Most multi-purpose tools don’t excel in any one particular area. This ax fits that bill too. It has a carbon steel blade that is attached to the hickory handle with wood and steel fasteners. The blade falls in between the thin felling ax and the thicker splitting ax. It will do either job effectively, just not as efficient as the ax that is made specifically for that particular job. This ax does come with a leather blade cover, though, for your protection.

Pros
  • Multi-purpose
  • Carbon steel blade
  • Well hung/attached
  • Hickory handle
  • Leather sheath
Cons
  • Head not centered on the handle
  • Poor quality handle

2. Helko Werk Forester Felling Axe

1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Forester 3.5 lb Felling Axe

The 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Forester felling is a great tool. It is constructed with German C50 carbon steel and a heat treated & oil hardened, 31-inch, sturdy hickory handle. The handle is a little fat, though so you may need to shave it down for your comfort.

It is lightweight, coming in at 5 ½-pounds making it easy to use for more extended periods of time. The bit on this ax comes with a strange lacquer finish that will really need to be removed before you used it. It also isn’t perfectly centered on the handle, though, which can make it a little more challenging to manage.

Pros
  • German C50 high-quality carbon steel head
  • Strong hickory 31-inch handle
  • Lightweight
  • Linseed oil finish
  • Leather sheath
Cons
  • Not properly balanced
  • Thick handle
  • Lacquer on bit

3. Fiskars 28-inch Felling Ax – Best Value

Fiskars 375581-1001 Chopping Axe, 28-Inch

It seems that most blades are pretty dull when they are taken out of the box; no so with the Fiskars 28-inch chopping ax. It has an incredibly sharp edge that could skin the hair off of a cat. You do need to take extra caution when using this ax as it would be easy to overswing and cut yourself. You will also need to take care where you store this ax, as it doesn’t come with a protective sheath.

The hardened forged steel that makes up this bit holds a good edge and will stay sharp longer than your average steel blade.

The Fiskars chopping ax has a hollow fiberglass handle that makes it lightweight and easy to use. Though this has perfect balance and has a sturdy and robust construction, it is not made for everyday use. When you are doing smaller jobs, you really don’t feel much shock on your arms at all. The large jobs, though, seem like there is no shock absorption in the handle whatsoever. It can be tough on the arms if you have a lot of larger wood to cut through.

Pros
  • Very sharp blade
  • Chops 3 times deeper
  • Perfect balance
  • Sturdy construction
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • No protective sheath
  • High shock on short jobs
  • Short handle
  • Not for daily use

4. Hults Bruk Kalix Axe for Felling

Hults Bruk Kalix Felling Axe

The Hults Bruk Kalix felling ax is a lightweight and well-balanced ax. It is made with a solid Swedish steel bit and an equally solid hickory handle. The 28-inch handle makes it easy to take with you wherever you need to chop something down, or out of your way, but it isn’t sharp when you first get it. You will have to sharpen it yourself before using, but once it is sharp, it cuts like a charm.

Though the handle is made out of high-quality wood, at 28-inches it is a little short if you have larger jobs that you want to use it for. It will do any job that you ask it to do, just not as quick or efficient as a better quality ax would do.

Pros
  • Solid Swedish steelhead
  • Sturdy hickory handle
  • Well balanced
  • Lightweight
Cons
  • Requires sharpening
  • Insecure seating of head
  • Short handle

5. Snow & Nealley 3.5 lbs Axe

Snow and Nealley 3.5 lbs.

The Snow and Nealley 3.5 pound ax works if you really can’t afford a better quality one. It does have a carbon steelhead, but the steel is soft and requires sharpening straight out of the box. It is hard to get a good edge on this ax because the steel is too soft. It does come with a sheath to protect the blade once you do have it sharped, but it is cheaply made and doesn’t do a very good job.

This ax also has a handle that is made out of hickory, but it is made with the grain perpendicular to the head of the ax. The perpendicular cut is not as strong as the parallel cut so this handle will split easier than most. It is also very thick, requiring most people to have to reshape it to get a comfortable fit.

Pros
  • Carbon steel blade
  • Hickory handle
  • Leather sheath
Cons
  • Soft steel
  • Requires sharpening
  • Perpendicular wood handle
  • Thick handle
  • Cheap sheath

6. Ruthe by Picard Felling Ax

Ruthe by Picard 3012564019 Axe

The Ruthe by Picard 3012564019 ax is an okay ax for the money. It has a carbon steel blade and a hickory handle like most other axes, but the quality of both items are not very good.

There are soft spots on the bit that allow it to bend easily. It is also hard to sharpen, which will be required as it is not sharp when it comes out of the box.

The handle of the Ruthe ax is really thick. Even though we know that everyone is different and has different expectations, we have found that most people will have to shave it down to get a comfortable fit.

The 28-inch handle makes it easy to carry this ax with you into the woods, but it is too short to handle larger jobs without maximum effort on your part.

Pros
  • Carbon steel blade
  • Hickory handle
Cons
  • Soft spots on steel
  • Requires sharpening
  • Handle needs to be shaved
  • Too small

Buyer’s Guide

When you are looking to purchase a felling ax, there are a few things that you want to look for:

1. Head:

When you are looking to purchase a felling ax, there are a few things that you want to look for:

Another thing to consider is if you want a single cutting blade or a double-sided one. The only real advantage to having a double-sided cutting blade is that you can extend the life of your ax by using both sides. That is important if you cut down trees for a living, but for the average person who is just cutting down a few trees every now and again, a single-sided blade will do just fine.

2. Head Weight:

Felling axes come in many different weights. You will want to be careful about which weight you buy. If you are new to felling trees, you will want to start out with a lighter weight, about three pounds, so that your arm doesn’t get too tired before you cut all the way through your tree.

Another reason to be mindful of the head weight is accuracy. While it is true that heavy axes deliver more power than the lighter ones, they also aren’t as accurate in trying to hit your mark.

3. Handle Length:

The length of your handle determines the force and control that you have over each swing. A standard handle length is 36-inches, but you will have an easier time cutting if you use an ax with a  28-inch or 30-inch handle instead. The shorter handle helps the ax go where you want it to go.

4. Handle Material:

Wood handles are better than plastic ones, as wood is stronger than plastic. When looking to purchase an ax, you will want to take a good look at the handle. The wood grain in the handle should run parallel to the ax head, for maximum strength. You also want to pay attention to the growth rings that are in the wood. The farther apart they are, the weaker the handle will be. You want to look for a handle that has a lot of growth rings that are very narrow.

5. Handle Shape:

The shape of the handle that you get really depends on the type of head that you have on your ax. If you have a single-sided blade, you will want a curved handle since they have a more natural feel to them. If you have a double-sided head, however, you will want to get a straight handle so that it is comfortable when swinging in either direction.

6. Varnish:

Varnish will make your ax handle slippery. If your ax comes with a varnished handle, it is better for you to sand it off than it is to take a chance of it flying out of your hand. You may want to wear gloves, though, to aid in not getting blisters from the unvarnished wood.

Conclusion:

So now that you know what a felling ax is and what to look for when shopping for one, let’s quickly review our top six picks for you.

  1. Husqvarna 26” Wooden Multi-Purpose Axe – Top Pick
  2. 1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Forester 3.5 lb Felling Axe – The Runner-Up
  3. Fiskars 375581-1001 Chopping Axe, 28-inch – Best for the Money
  4. Hults Bruk Kalix Felling Axe
  5. Snow and Nealley 3.5 lbs.
  6. Ruthe by Picard 3012564019 Axe

Hopefully, we have given you a good idea of the different types of felling axes that are available, and you feel more confident in knowing which ax will be best for you. Just remember that control is vital. You want an ax that is heavy enough to give you the power that you need, yet light enough that it hits your mark every time.

About the Author Adam Harris

Hi there! My name is Adam and I write for HealthyHandyman. I have a great passion for writing about everything related to tools, home improvement, and DIY. In my spare time, I'm either fishing, playing the guitar, or spending quality time with my beloved wife. You'll also often find me in my workshop working on some new project!