A carpenters axe is a world apart from your traditional axe in that it isn’t used for felling trees or splitting firewood, but is instead used specifically for carpentry, woodworking, and roofing.
As such, these axes are usually a lot smaller and a lot lighter than your traditional axe – and usually even smaller and lighter than your traditional hatchet. The shape of the axe head itself is also quite a bit different compared to traditional option, giving it a lot of extra flexibility and versatility that a standard axe just doesn’t bring to the table.
Like almost every other tool designed for serious craftsmen and professional tradespeople you definitely get what you pay for, which is why it is so advisable to make sure that you are getting your hands on the best carpenter axe available!
What to Consider Before Buying a New Carpenters Axe
Carpentry is going to demand that you are focused on the task at hand and that you are using a tool that improves your capabilities as well as your efficiency.
The right axe is going to allow highly skilled carpenters to tackle the kinds of projects that they might not have been able to otherwise all while offering a lot of versatility and flexibility that makes this tool highly valuable on a jobsite.
To find the right carpenter axe you’ll want to focus on these core elements.
The first thing you want to look for in a new carpenter axe is that it is heavy enough to offer the kind of force multiplying effect you are looking for yet still lightweight enough to be accurately used and not to fatigue you – particularly since you’re likely going to be spending a lot of time with your hammer and lifting heavy construction materials.
New carpenters are probably going to want to start off with a carpentry axe that weighs less than 5 pounds. These are a lot easier to swing, lot easier to control, and a lot more flexible than heavier axes. More experienced carpenters can bump up beyond 5 pounds – though these are usually only used in demolition settings.
To get the most efficiency out of each and every swing you need to make sure that you are using a handle optimized for the task at hand, and that means finding the right length “sweet spot” for what you anticipate using your new carpenter axe for going forward.
If you’re looking to do heavy demolition work on a jobsite the longer your axe the better you’re going to feel with each and every swing, and the more force you’re going to be able to bring with every blow.
If you’re going to be doing things like splitting cedar shakes and shingles, for example, you’ll want something much smaller, much more compact, and much more accurate.
As we highlighted above, you are definitely going to get what you pay for when you buy a new carpenter axe.
Higher quality materials are going to be found in more expensive options, and while it can be difficult to open trigger on those higher price points initially when you consider how much utility you’ll get out of these better built and better made you realize how much money – and time – you’re saving with this investment.
Always look for options made of the highest quality steel, the highest quality handle materials, and with ergonomic designs that really let you multiply your force with this tool.
Top 10 Carpenter Axes
1. Husqvarna 20 in. Wooden Curved Carpenter Axe
Husqvarna is one of the most trusted names in the world of tools today and this carpenter axe that they have produced is one of the top options on the market – especially at the sub $100 price point.
Featuring steel forged in Sweden, high-quality Hickory sourced in the USA, and an ergonomically designed handle and head system that multiplies the force behind each swing without adding a lot of weight to the table – allowing for improved accuracy – you won’t regret snapping this axe up ASAP.
- Feels fantastic in the hand.
- Lightweight with incredible accuracy.
- Durability rating is off the charts.
- Wooden handle needs to be oiled up on a regular basis for about six months until it “breaks in”.
This product is best for carpenters and roofers that want a relatively lightweight, highly accurate, and durable carpenter axe.
2. Husqvarna 576926501 19” Wooden Carpenter’s Axe
At 19 inches in length (slightly smaller than the option we highlighted above), this is essentially the exact same axe and better suited to roofers that are going to be climbing up and down ladders or scaffolding time thanks to its improved portability.
You get the same high quality forged in Sweden head, razor-sharp and super straight cutting-edge, and a thin blade that allows for improved accuracy. You also get the same ergonomically designed hickory handle that is durable and lightweight but offers a lot of control with each swing, too.
- Perfect for roofers that need extra portability.
- Recessed head component that allows your hand to snuggle right up against the cutting surface for improved control.
- World-class construction materials and durability.
- Again, the hickory handle needs a little bit of TLC until it feels broken in and comfortable.
This product is best for carpenters and roofers that are going to be up and down ladders or scaffolding all the time.
3. Gransfors Bruks Carpenter’s Axe
This carpenters axe is about 22 inches long from top to bottom which gives you a lot more leverage with each and every swing, as well as a lot more force and power behind every blow.
The head on this axe has been forged in Sweden by small family-owned operation that has been making axe heads for decades. They also hand sharpen and hone each individual axe head that they send out, guaranteeing that it gets to you ready to rock ‘n’ roll on a jobsite straight out of the box.
There’s an inward curve from the heel of the head to the lip that allows you to snug your hand right up against the base of the axe head, allowing for improved control when you aren’t looking for full windup strikes.
- Blade on this axe is razor-sharp and ready to go as well as easy to maintain.
- Opposite the blade is a poll that has been ground down to double as a framing hammer in a pinch.
- At just slightly under 2 pounds it’s easy enough for any carpenter to control.
- Straight blade face as opposed to rounded corners may not be applicable for all tasks.
This product is best for carpenters and craftspeople that want a top-tier axe and aren’t afraid to splash a little extra cash to get their hands on one.
4. Vaughan RB 28-Ounce Rig Builders Hatchet
Manufactured 100% in the United States and made using only US sourced construction materials, this carpenter axe is relatively inexpensive and provides a more traditional hatchet profile for those that want a multipurpose tool to keep on the jobsite.
Designed with heavy construction in mind, the blade on this carpenter axe is quite a bit duller than some of the other options we’ve highlighted – but it’s duller on purpose. This is more of a striking and demolition hatchet than anything else, something designed to pierced through construction material, wedge through obstacles, and then rip and tear anything and everything in its way out.
Opposite the blade is a rounded off framing hammerhead offering even more versatility than some of the dedicated carpenter axe options on the market right now.
- 17 inch handle allows for extra brute force when you really need to get behind a strike.
- Blunted face works wonders when blowing through material like plywood.
- Notched blade allows you to rip and tear more efficiently with this carpenter axe.
- Wooden construction material on the handle feels pretty slick for a couple of months of use.
This product is best for carpenters that anticipate doing a lot of demo with their new axe.
5. Ruthe by Picard 3012564019 Axe
When you are looking to go through a lot of demolition material with an axe in hand, this is the one you’re going to want to reach for more frequently than not.
This axe measures in at just about 28 inches long, ways slightly over 4 pounds, and is going to really bring the noise when you start swinging it around on a jobsite. Not at all useful for “finish work”, this is a big bruiser that you’re going to want to turn loose when old framing and sheathing has to be torn down in a hurry.
- Ergonomically designed handle with a sheep’s foot at the bottom really allows you to get into each and every swing with improved efficiency.
- The fireman’s axe head is perfectly optimized to rip and tear through almost any construction material you can bump up against.
- High quality carbon steel stays sharp but remains durable and will not deflect the way that lower quality steals might.
- This is a big, meaty carpenter axe that is not intended for use outside of demo and other heavy duty jobs.
This product is best for anyone on a jobsite that has to blast through construction materials in a hurry and wants to be able to use both hands to multiply their force on every swing.
6. Condor Tool & Knife Greenland Pattern Axe
Sometimes called a roofers best friend, the cool thing about this axe is that it is about the same size as a traditional finish hammer with the same kind of weight and the same kind of heft behind it.
Not exactly the kind of carpenter axe you’ll want to use during demo days, but a perfect axe to use when splitting cedar shakes, tackling roofing projects, or just taking a little bit off some of your cut material without having to go back to a chopsaw, this is a versatile and easy to use axe for sure.
- 16 inch hickory handle is ergonomically designed with efficiency in mind.
- 1045 high carbon steel gets razor-sharp and holds its edge.
- Relative lightweight allows for very accurate strikes.
- Relative lightweight allows for very accurate strikes.
This product is best for carpenters that want to keep a axe in their toolbelt even if they aren’t using it all the time.
7. Estwing Carpenter’s Hatchet
It’s impossible to step on a jobsite anywhere in the United States and not find a dozen or more Estwing hammers in toolbelts. This incredibly popular brand based out of Rockford, Illinois also produces some of the best carpenter hatchets money can buy – and this is one of their preferred models.
At 13 inches long it is even smaller than your average framing hammer which means it’s lightweight, easy to handle, and very accurate. It features top-quality construction materials from top to bottom (all of which are sourced and then manufactured in the USA) and it comes with the same legendary lifetime warranty that everything else from this tool company includes.
- Half hatchet half framing hammer in one relatively compact form factor.
- Designed with craftsmen (professional craftsmen) in mind.
- Synthetic grip at the bottom of the handle is durable, comfortable, and long-lasting.
- Will not take or hold a razor-sharp edge the same way that some other carpenter axe/hatchet options might.
This product is best for Estwing fans that love and trust the hand tools that this company has been making seemingly forever.
8. Vaughan SH2 22-Ounce Carpenters Half Hatchet
Another relatively compact carpenter hatchet, this one is also 13 inches long but features a handle made out of flame treated hickory that has been mated to a forged high carbon steel blade and hammer combo head.
Lightweight at just 22 ounces (right about what you get out of a framing hammer), you’ll be able to get quite a bit of force out of this hatchet but it’s really designed for more accurate strikes and tackling smaller projects. Roofers in particular really like everything that the manufacturer has to offer with this tool.
- Beveled nail “hatchet eye” makes this an even more versatile tool.
- High carbon steel takes and holds a razors edge pretty well without deflection.
- Flame treated hickory handle is designed for heavy duty and durability.
- The oversized and crowned hammerhead is a little bit overkill for everything but the roughest framing work.
This product is best for carpenters and roofers that want a lightweight hatchet style axe that can deliver heavy duty blows but still works well with lightweight accurate work, too.
9. Estwing MFG Co E2H Carpenter’s Hatchet
Almost identical to the Estwing carpenter hatchet that we highlighted just a moment ago, the only real difference between the two tools is the fact that this one uses a hand wrapped leather grip as opposed to the fully synthetic option that we made mention of above.
That leather grip offers improved strike dampening and some find that it softens up over time and allows for improved control compared to the synthetic option that won’t “break in”. It really all comes down to your personal preferences between this option and the one above, as otherwise they are true twins.
- Leather grip looks and feels more comfortable than synthetic option for some.
- Fully polished and forged single piece of solid steel made in the USA.
- Same legendary carpenter hatchet design with finish hammerhead opposite the blade.
- Some will find the leather grip to “high maintenance” compared to the synthetic grip and rip option.
This product is best for carpenters that like the old-school aesthetics and grippiness that the leather wrap on this hatchet bring to the table.
10. Estwing Camper’s Axe
Not your traditional carpenter axe, this is a axe instead designed with campers and outdoors people in mind but it still works wonders for those that need a two-handed beast to chop down bigger projects, to chew through tougher material, or to tackle bigger demolition projects that a one-handed hatchet won’t handle as well.
This big axe is 26 inches long and was designed with splitting firewood in mind. That means it’s going to make quick work of construction lumber. The handle is reinforced with a synthetic grip that dampens the vibration of each blow, and the entire axe itself is made out of a single piece of forged US steel.
- Ergonomic design with sheepsfoot handle feels comfortable in hand and is easy to maneuver and manipulate.
- Synthetic grip isn’t going to wear and tear of the same way that more traditional materials like leather might.
- Heavy duty enough to tackle anything on a jobsite and then some.
- Overkill for pretty much everything outside of serious demolition work.
This product is best for anybody that wants to get to hands into each swing when tackling demolition on a jobsite without feeling the vibration down their spine with each blow.