Axes are quite handy, but the problem is that not everyone can afford an heirloom-quality axe. That’s why we set out to find some of the best budget axes in the market.
You’ll find this list useful if you’re a serious camper, outdoor enthusiast, hunter, prepper or bushcraft enthusiast, who needs an affordable but dependable axe.
Our guide consists of a variety of axes, so you’re definitely going to find one that will meet your needs. Before checking out the axes, let’s have a look at some of the things you need to consider when making your selection.
How to Buy a Budget Axe
To get the right kind of axe, you need to consider the following:
You’ve probably come across axes with wooden, synthetic, and metal handles. Metal handles are durable but their downside is that they don’t provide the best shock absorption. Most synthetic handles are light and have features that add to their grip. However, you’ll no longer be able to use your axe when a synthetic handle breaks because they are not easy to replace.
A lot of experienced axe users prefer hickory wood handles. If you get an axe with such a handle, you’ll need to inspect the width and quantity of its growth ring. A strong wooden handle has numerous tight and narrow growth rings.
The grain direction of the wood is also something that you should check out. A quality wooden handle’s grain should run parallel to the axe bit. These types of handles are much stronger. Your axe is likely to snap if its grain runs perpendicular to the bit. Since we’re going to look at budget axes, you shouldn’t expect too much when it comes to their grain orientation. However, you’ll still get a few axes with near-perfect grain orientation.
You’ll also need to look at how well the handle is mounted or hung to the axe head. To do so, you should lay your axe on a flat surface with the bit facing downwards. The end of the handle and the middle of the bit should both touch the surface. The center of the knob and the bit should align when you look at them from the top of the axe.
Try and avoid varnished wood handles. Most of them are slippery and even riskier to handle in wet conditions. An ideal axe handle will offer a good grip for better control.
Single Bit or Double Bit
Single bit axes have one cutting edge, while double bit axes have two. Single bit axes are lighter, making them beginner-friendly alternatives. Such axes will enable you to cut faster, and you’ll find them easily portable because of their weight.
Even though most common household axes have a single bit, some people still prefer double bit axes. Where less experienced users would struggle with a double bit axe, an experienced user might find its swing more balanced. Some would argue that a double bitted axe provides more accuracy because it doesn’t wobble as much.
Your skills and experience should help you determine whether you should get a double or single bit axe. If you end up with a double bit axe, make sure you have more situational awareness and that you’re more conscious of your safety.
The Weight of the Axe Head
A heavy axe head will provide you with more cutting force. However, such axes aren’t ideal for everyday use. Not everyone can handle those kinds of axes. That’s why you should opt for axes with heads that weigh less than five pounds.
You risk losing the accuracy in your swing and straining yourself if you’re an inexperienced individual who’s struggling to use an axe with a heavy head. Experts recommend axes with 2 to 3lb heads, so you can start with axes within that range as you work your up to heavier axe heads with time.
The Length of the Handle
The handle length you select should also be determined by how you intend to use your axe. Axes with long handles are great for heavy forest work, lumberjack competitions, and tasks like splitting firewood because they’ll provide you with more force. You should go for short handles if you’re looking for something that you can use for precision-based tasks and controlled cuts.
Handles that are neither too long nor too short will offer a compromise between force and accuracy. You’ll be able to swing your axe with enough control and efficiently carry out activities outdoors and at home.
10 Best Budget Axes
1. Husqvarna 13" Wooden Hatchet
The Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet has a head made from hand-forged Swedish steel. The axe is small, making it easily portable. It’s also light so you’ll have an easy time handling it, especially when it comes to tasks that require some precision.
The axe has a hickory handle with a light linseed oil finish. The handle design is also ergonomic, so it won’t quickly tire you out. You can use this axe for hewing, branching timber, carving, campsite wood processing, and a multitude of other tasks.
- Has a leather edge cover.
- The axe is well-hung.
- Holds an edge.
- Some users reported a few quality control issues.
This product is best for people who want a top of the line axe at an affordable price.
2. Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe
From clearing roads and trails, to cutting down medium-sized trees, this axe offers a lot of chopping power with every swing. Extensive field tests were carried out to prove the axe’s dependability and it did not disappoint. It has a European style head made of drop-forged 1055 carbon, and it features a 4 ½ inch cutting blade.
The axe also has a sturdy and durable American Hickory handle, with straight grain orientation. The handle is ergonomic and has some swelling for additional grip when swinging. Its weight and length make it a great all-round axe. It’s light so you’ll be able to cut faster and it’s also thick enough to split firewood effortlessly.
- Securely seated head.
- Great edge retention.
- Doesn’t come with a sheath.
This product is best for people who want a portable axe that bites with authority and has great ergonomics.
3. Fiskars Super Splitting Axe (36")
This splitting axe has a superior blade design. It will provide you with clean cuts, and its blade stays sharper for an extended period. Its low friction coating and advanced bevel convex blade geometry help prevent its head from getting stuck, by making it easier to remove it from wood.
It’s a great splitting axe because of its power-to-weight ratio. The axe has excellent weight distribution that helps increase the speed of its swing, resulting in more power during impact. Its design is extremely efficient, that’s why you should expect a lot of one-strike splits.
It comes with a lightweight FiberComp handle that’s surprisingly stronger than steel. The handle design helps users improve their control, and it also reduces the strain on one’s hand.
- Textured non-slip grip.
- Lifetime warranty.
- Hardened forged steel blade.
- The handle isn’t easy to replace.
This product is best for tall people who want an axe for splitting medium to large-sized logs.
4. CRKT Woods Kangee Tomahawk Axe - Camping Axe with Spike
This CRKT axe comes with a spike on the other end. One edge exceptionally cuts through timber, while the other will help you split tough wood knots. You’ll end up with two tools in one convenient unit.
The axe has a rock-solid head that consists of hot-forged 1055 carbon steel. It has flat ground primary and secondary edge bevels and a precise blade curve that enables it to make deep cuts into hard wood.
- Thick Tennessee hickory wood handle.
- Lacquer coating for durability.
- Designed by Ryan Johnson – a specialist.
- CRKT sells the sheath separately.
This product is best for people who could use both an axe and a spike for various tasks.
5. Estwing Camper's Axe
The Estwing Camper's Axe is best known for its outdoor versatility. It can split firewood, make kindling, and chop small trees, logs, and branches. It's crafted using the finest American steel and forged in one piece for durability. The axe handle is comfortable and provides a good grip because its hand sanded and lacquered.
- Comes with a heavy-duty nylon sheath.
- Made in the USA.
- Has a genuine leather grip.
- Some users reported that their axes were slightly damaged on arrival.
This product is best for people who want a durable striking tool.
6. Marbles Hunters Axe
You should try out this Marbles axe if you’re looking for a budget hunting axe. It has a 1045 high carbon steel head and a 3.5-inch cutting edge. The hand-forged axe also has a good quality hickory handle, with great grain orientation running parallel to the axe head. The axe is light as well and will feel good in your hands.
- Comes with a flashlight keychain.
- Has a brown leather sheath.
- The handle has a lanyard hole.
- Takes some time to sharpen.
This product is best for hunters who want a budget axe that they can use to quarter game meat.
7. Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
This axe benefits from Gerber’s decades of experience and Bear Grylls’ adventure knowledge. It’s a powerful axe that comes in a compact size and has a slim profile. You can use it for a variety of challenging tasks, thanks to its durable stainless steel full-tang construction.
The axe features a double duty head. It has a crosshatched striking surface that adds to its versatility. You’ll be able to feather kindling, strip bark, straighten backpack stays, tenderize meat, and carry out other camp activities.
- Mildew-resistant nylon sheath.
- 3.5" blade for swift, precise cuts.
- Non-slip rubber grip.
This product is best for people who are looking for a wilderness tested survival axe.
8. Council Tool 2.25 lb Boy's Axe
Council tool’s boy’s axe has an axe head with a 48-55 Rockwell hardness. It exceeds ANSI standards since it was drop-forged and tempered. To deter rust, the axe head is also coated with lacquer. You’ll find that it works exceptionally well when it comes to light cutting and splitting tasks because of its hand sharpened and tapered bit.
- Hydraulically seated axe head.
- Dried hickory handle.
- Curved handle shape.
- Can’t handle 4-inch diameter logs.
This product is best for people who want an axe with a handle that offers a good compromise between portability and chopping power.
9. Schrade SCAXE2 Small Axe
One of the things that make this axe stand out is its ergonomic black rubber grip. You won’t have to worry about it slipping because you’ll have a secure hold over the axe. The axe also features a hammer pommel and comes with a quick and easy access sheath.
- Comes with an extra-large ferro rod.
- Has a 3Cr13 Titanium Coated S.S. blade.
- Has a cold-resistant flexibilizer handle.
- Poor quality sheath.
This product is best for people who want a small axe for camping, outdoor survival, and everyday tasks.
10. SOG Camp Axe
This SOG axe is one of the most versatile budget axes on this list. It’s useful for backpacking, camping, survival, bushcraft, and wood splitting, among other things. The axe also features a textured GRN handle for comfortable handling and a better grip.
- Made in the USA.
- Offers light yet heavy-duty chopping.
- Can be used for precision cutting.
- Comes with a flimsy sheath.
This product is best for people who want an axe that doubles as a reliable hammer.
The Best Budget Axe
You can trust that the axes in this guide will provide you with excellent value despite their budget prices. There are quite a few options that can compete with high-end axes as well.
We recommend the Husqvarna Wooden Hatchet because it’s a quality budget axe that’s hand-forged in Sweden, using Swedish axe steel. The axe is durable, and it’s also known for its exceptional performance.