Battle axes have existed for thousands of years. These common weapons were used by civilizations around the world to protect themselves and expand the borders of their own communities.
As with many other polearm weapons, battle axes strike a balance between sharpness, weight, and length. These three factors come together to make the battle axe a formidable weapon that is capable of dealing some serious damage. As an added bonus, those weapons could often be used as basic tools in a pinch.
The battle axe has evolved dramatically over the years - thousands of tweaks and improvements have been made over the years and there's now a staggering range of battle axes available on the market.
While this is great from the perspective of variety, it can be incredibly difficult to make your choice. This is why we've put together a battle axe buying guide to help you find the best battle axe of 2021. Let's jump in.
How to Buy the Best Battle Axe
If you're going to really find the best battle axe out there, you're going to need a strategy. You should identify the key traits of battle axes that are important to you and compare the potential options against those criteria.
Here's a closer look at some of the key traits that you're going to want to look out for.
Battle axes are fascinating items that helped to play a large part shaping the world that we live in. These weapons were cheaper and more easily accessible when compared to swords and it was the key weapon in many battles.
You should make a decision about the level of historical accuracy that you're going for. Do you want to find an item that really emulates an old design to pay homage to the historical importance of the battle axe? Or are you hoping to get a modern iteration on the classic battle axe that offers you a functional experience?
Answering this question first and foremost will help you to narrow down your search into one of two large camps.
A battle axe handle has to be comfortable and natural while remaining sturdy and tough. Most battle axes are held in a single hand and they are swung at incredible speed - this means that the handle has to help you retain your grip effectively. It's no good if your battle axe slips from your hand!
In the confusion of combat, accuracy is also difficult to achieve. It was not uncommon for warriors wielding battle axes to miss their intended target and instead strike them with the handle - the material has to be durable and tough enough to stay together.
Of course, the handle was often used as part of the weapon itself. In a pinch the battle axe could be reversed and the bottom of the handle became an effective bludgeoning tool. In fact, some battle axes make specific design choices on the handle to make it particularly effective.
The Head Design
There are lots of different designs when it comes to the head. You will find that most many battle axes have a narrow and sharp blade on one side, given that the battle axe is intended for combat rather than chopping wood.
Some battle axes will also have a pointed piece of metal on the opposite side and the top. Those points were intended to help warriors wielding a battle axe to stab and pierce the plated armor of their foes.
There are an essentially infinite number of designs when it comes to the battle axe head. You should pay careful attention to your particular needs and think about how each potential item is going to meet your needs. Take the time to perform research and really familiarize yourself with the options out there.
The weight is perhaps one of the most important factors out there. You're going to want to find an axe that is heavy enough to deliver power and help you achieve accuracy while being light enough to carry and swing without fatigue or losing your balance.
It's a really difficult balancing act and a great sense of balance is a sign of a truly premium item. It's a very subjective aspect of a battle axe, though, so you should be sure to take your own weight and height into consideration.
The blade itself is very important. A narrow and slicing blade is the most common when it comes to a battle axe, given that these weapons were intended for slicing into flesh as opposed to wood and other materials.
These blades are capable of creating deep cuts and the lighter nature of battle axes mean that multiple blows could be delivered within a shorter time.
Of course, it's very important for you to define the purpose of your battle axe and what it's going to be used for: are you looking for a functional axe that can help you to chop wood, for example, or do you simply want a replica piece that will look great upon your wall?
The answer to this question will have a huge impact upon the type of item that you purchase and the final look that you decide to go for.
Top 10 Battle Axes
Now that we have our criteria outlined, let's take a closer look at the very best battle axes out there.
1. Damascus Steel Log Splitter Axe
This hand-forged battle axe is 14.5 inches long and it can be comfortably wielded with a single hand. It is made of Damascus steel that is incredibly tough and a rose wood handle also adds a touch of quality. The wedge shape of the head would create wounds that are wide and deep.
- Thick cow hid leather sheath.
- Tomahawk axe design.
- Great craftsmanship.
- Basic head design.
This product is best for people who want a high-quality battle axe without the frills.
2. Orleans Battle Axe
This Indian-made battle axe has a classic Medieval look and feel. It has a wide and narrow blade with two accompanying spikes that would have been used against plate armor and other tougher materials.
- Incredibly sharp.
- Classic design.
- Synthetic materials.
This product is best for history enthusiasts who want their very own medieval battle axe.
3. Condor Valhalla Axe
With a burnt American hickory handle and a high carbon steel blade, this offering from Condor will last for many years to come. It has a classic Scandinavian look and feel that really is beautiful.
- A battle axe with an authentic look and feel.
- Viking design work adds the finishing touch.
- Includes a leather sheath.
- Some reports that the handle is too thin.
- Concerns about the durability of the hickory handle.
This product is best for customers that want an item that is as decorative as it is functional, given its beautiful look and feel.
4. Medieval Archer's Battle Axe Replica
This battle axe replica captures the look at feel of a 14th century European archer. This weapon was carried by archers as a close-up weapon and it has a lot of features that were very practical for their use.
- A tempered steel head.
- Hardwood shaft that is durable.
- A piece of history.
- No sheath included.
- Perhaps a little small.
This product is best for history enthusiasts who want their very own archer's battle axe.
5. Viking Bearded Axe
The viking bearded axe was a fearsome weapon that was wielded by some of the toughest warriors the world has ever seen. This no frills battle axe aims to capture the spirit of the classic weapon.
- Basic, minimalist design.
- Hardwood shaft.
- A little too heavy to be a battle axe.
- Complaints about the workmanship.
This product is best for history buffs who would like to have their very own bearded axe.
6. Viking Saga Traditional Wooden Battle Axe
Most excavations discovered that the majority of viking axes were simply normal wood chopping axes. This beautifully authentic battle axe is made from forged iron steel and has a darkened finish. Its distinctive handle is truly unique.
- An authentic design.
- Very comfortable handle.
- Final product may vary.
- Could be better to purchase a regular wood chopping axe.
This product is best for viking enthusiasts who want an authentic axe that has a distinctive and rustic handle.
7. SZCO Supplies Viking Battle Axe
This item is a showpiece that does not really have any type of practical use. It looks incredible, though, with its large looping blade and long handle. It's a display piece but it could be modified for practical use.
- Looks great.
- An interesting centerpiece.
- Workmanship issues.
- Blade is prone to dislodging.
This product is best for battle axe enthusiasts looking for an interesting item to hand upon their wall.
8. Death's Head Skull Fantasy Battle Axe
This ornate battle axe looks like something straight out of a Games Workshop store. The large axe has two impressive 9-inch steel blades that complement the outlandish and unique aesthetic perfectly!
- Includes a wall-mountable display plaque.
- A comfortable steel handle.
- No practical use.
- Blades are surprisingly sharp.
- Somewhat difficult to hand.
This product is best for fantastic and battle axe enthusiasts that want to marry their two passions together with a fun display piece.
9. Repliace Medieval 17th Century Viking Battle Axe
This authentic reproduction battle axe is very detailed and features an authentic-looking handle. Again, this is a display piece and as such, the blade cannot be sharpened and it has no practical use.
- A great look.
- Perfect for display or cosplay.
- Interesting designs.
- The head is sometimes loose.
- A cheap handle.
This product is best for battle axe enthusiasts looking for an ornate and interesting item to hang upon their wall.
10. Black Legion Battle Axe
Another ornate display piece, this piece brings the battle axe into modern times with a flowing and ornate design. At 35 inches in overall length, this is an impressive piece that will look brilliant on a collector's wall.
- An ornate design.
- Long and imposing.
- Tempered blades.
- Shipping methods are poor.
This product is best for fantasy enthusiasts looking for a simple display item that can be hung upon a wall and marveled at for years to come.
The Best Battle Axe
As you can see, there are a huge range of battle axe options out there on the market. There is everything from authentic and functional axes that give you powerful functionality to ornate and faithful replicas that look great upon a wall.
For our recommended axe, we are going for one of the authentic options: the Damascus Steel Log Splitter Axe.
This axe isn't only beautiful and faithful to the traditional battle axe, but it's built from some really impressive materials that will ensure you get the results that you're hoping for. The size and weight are perfect, making this a nicely balanced axe that has been given an excellent heat treatment to keep it as functional as possible.
If you're looking for a useful axe that will last you for many years to come - and help you to feel like a real viking - then this might well be the option. The inclusion of a cow hide leather sheath is another positive and puts this quality item heads and shoulders above some of the others.
We hope that this closer look at the best battle axes out there has been useful for you. As you can see, there are lots and lots of options out there just waiting to be discovered! Take your time and really wait to find the option that's perfect for your needs.