Unsurprisingly, the overwhelming majority of firemen axes are inevitably sold to firemen as well as paramedics, EMTs, and other first responders.
These are the professionals that depend on these tools more than anything else and every high quality fireman’s axe has been designed with these experts in mind. At the same time, however, there is a lot of utility in this tool that non-first responders can make the most of – and that’s why we’ve put together this quick guide!
Working wonders to cut wood, break down demolition on a construction site, clear trails, or even be used in self-defense situations in a pinch there’s a lot riding on this investment. You want to be sure that you only ever get your hands on the best fireman’s axe available.
What to Consider Before Buying a New Fireman’s Axe
A lot goes into making a high-quality axe, but the most important features you’ll want to look for include the durability of the materials themselves, the design and safety features of the axe, as well as things like a manufacturer’s warranty and the reputation of the company behind this tool.
When purchasing a fireman’s axe, however, these are the details you’ll want to zero in on most.
The Axe Head
The best fireman’s axe is going to have a axe head that features a high quality steel with the perfect amount of carbon, a level that gives it strength, durability, sharpness, and a resistance to dulling and breaking.
Single or Double Bit
The overwhelming majority of single bit firemen’s axes are going to designed for home use, with double bit axes designed to be sharpened on both sides more commonly used by first responders and fire service professionals. Double-headed/double bit options are little more versatile than the single bit options – particularly since you can hone and sharpen each individual blade differently depending on how you want to use them.
It’s a good idea to look for a fireman’s axe that has a head weight of about 3 pounds or so, especially if you are just getting your hands on one of these tools for the first time. Heavier axes are available (from anywhere between 5 pounds and 7 pounds, or even more), but they can be a little bit more difficult to use and a lot more challenging to swing.
Even with amazing new advances in the world of synthetics the overwhelming majority of fire professionals look for axes that have been made with handles that use hardwood materials. Hickory and ash are big favorites, though you’ll need to make sure that the grain of the wood are running in the right direction (parallel to the bit) for the best strength and durability performance.
Synthetics might be okay you aren’t planning on using this axe in an emergency situation. They just can be a little bit more slippery than wood options.
A standard length fireman’s axe is going to come in at just about 31 inches. That’s perfect for folks around 6 feet tall, but if you are shorter than that you might want to reach for a 28 inch handle to have that perfect sweet spot of power, performance, and accuracy.
The bit design of your fireman’s axe will heavily influence the handle design. Single bit options can feature straight or more ergonomically designed handles, whereas double bit options are going to be straight handled only – which may or may not be comfortable for you.
Top 10 Fireman’s Axes
1. Nupla APC6E-36 Fire Pick Head Axe
Pretty much your prototypical modern fireman’s axe, though it is a little bit longer than what you see in fire departments around the United States today – measuring in at just about 36 inches long.
The head weight is a little bit heavy, too, and the entire axe is going to way and that just slightly over 6 pounds. This offers plenty of force when you add the leverage of the longer handle in, making this very much a two-handed beast.
- Synthetic handle has been treated with a no slip grip texture.
- Fiberglass material protects against weather, chemicals, insects, as well as high heat situations.
- Designed for battering, chopping, and heavy duty work.
- Certainly more than a little bit on the heavier side of things.
This product is best for anyone over 6 feet tall looking for a lot of leverage and a lot of power with each swing.
2. Nupla 06210 6 lbs Flat Head Fire Axe
This is a bit of a retro looking fireman’s axe for sure, but it’s also one of the better performing options on the market today and a choice of professionals all over the world.
The 28 inch handle offers a lot of flexibility and a lot of versatility for those 6 feet tall or shorter without sacrificing any leverage or power on each swing the head itself is a single bit, flathead configuration that can chew through would like nothing – and even does a number on commercial steel doors.
- Heavy duty and heavyweight, it is going to power through anything you hit.
- Flathead is blunted for extreme durability.
- Tempered steel guarantees that this has the strength necessary to deliver big blows with every swing.
- Sharpening the edge of this axe will take a belt sander and then some.
This product is best for those that want a fireman’s axe with a wooden handle and a blunted tip.
3. Nupla AP-6-32 Pick Head Fire Axe with Classic Handle
Another top-quality fireman’s axe, this features synthetic construction materials on the handle (including high strength fiberglass) as well as a double bit configuration that is half traditional axe head and blade and half emergency spike – making this one of the more versatile options on the market right now.
The half sheep’s foot handle as a little bit of power and control to the otherwise straight handle configuration while still allowing you to flip and reverse this axe depending on how you want to use it.
- 6 pound head weight is heavy duty enough to slam through most any material.
- Does a number on construction materials, logs and lumber, as well as commercial doors.
- Double bit improves the versatility of this fireman’s axe.
- Definitely one of the heavier axe options in this category.
This product is best for professional firefighters and emergency services that may need either of the two bit options at the end of this axe.
4. Off Grid Tools Trucker’s Friend Demolition & Multitool
Not exactly a traditional fireman’s axe, this multi tool was originally engineered for long-haul and professional truck drivers that may need to get themselves out of emergency accident situations where they literally have to bust out of the vehicle from the inside.
Made 100% in the USA out of high carbon steel that stays sharp, it features a rounded axe bit, a hammer with plenty of force and power, and a compact footprint that allows it to be wielded with just one hand.
- Hatchet style design allows this to be used with a single hand in tight quarters.
- Multi tool options provide a lot more flexibility and versatility.
- Specifically designed grip improves power stroke without sacrificing accuracy.
- Not as long, not as heavy, and not as forceful as your traditional fireman’s axe.
This product is best for anyone that wants to keep an emergency axe in their vehicle should they need it in a pinch.
5. SNOWMUS 45# Drop Forged Carbon Steel Forge Axe
The head of this fireman’s axe is drop forged for improved strength and durability, allowing it to slam through any material that you are trying to punch into with just a couple of swings.
That same head weighs in at 3.5 pounds which means it isn’t quite as heavy as some of the other options out there, improving its control and accuracy while also remaining heavy duty enough to be useful in emergency situations.
Slightly more than 35 inches long it offers extra leverage for a power stroke, with a fiberglass handle that is for the most part completely straight but has a sheep’s foot at the end for extra control.
- Traditional fireman’s axe design with a double bit, including a puncture spike.
- Blunted front edge allows this to wedge into all different kinds of materials without getting stuck.
- Extra long handle provides for even more force, speed, and power with each swing.
- Some may find the longer handle to be difficult to use or unwieldy.
This product is best for taller people that want a traditional fireman’s axe or shorter to average height people that are willing to sacrifice some accuracy for extra power.
6. Collins HP-3 1/2FD-C Pulaski Axe
Very well made, featuring high carbon steel that takes a razor sharp edge but also holds and maintains that edge even after repeated usage, this fireman’s axe has a head that weighs in at 3 ½ pounds that should be easy enough to wield for most anyone.
The handle is extremely long on this axe, however, measuring in at just slightly over 35 inches with the entire axe measuring in at over 37 inches. That’s more than 3 feet of axe you’ll have control over, giving you more leverage to blow through whatever it is you are striking in a hurry.
- Extra length improves leverage, speed, and power with every swing.
- Relatively lightweight axe head is easy enough to control even with that longer handle.
- Double bit features a traditional axe blade and on the opposite side you get a hoe style feature.
- Some durability questions remain with this particular option.
This product is best for anyone looking for both a traditional axe blade as well as a kind of flat adze in a single tool.
7. Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe
If you aren’t going to be blowing through doors, ripping apart walls, or digging into buildings that are partially or entirely on fire but instead want a axe that can chew through logs in no time at all this is going to be right up your alley.
Everything about this axe has been designed for maximum efficiency and power, helping you to generate as many one swing splits as possible.
The handle measures in at 36 inches long, the head is pretty heavy at just over 4 pounds, and the blade features a wedge design that splits would quickly without ever sinking and sticking.
- Purpose made for splitting wood.
- Long handle and heavy head tears through seasoned and green firewood.
- The balance on this axe is off the charts exception.
- Very much a “one trick pony”, this is great at what it does without a lot of versatility.
This product is best for people that want a log splitting axe above everything else that makes quick work of this seasonal chore.
8. Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe
Measuring in at just about 27 inches, with a 6 ½ inch traditional fireman’s style blade on a single bit configuration this is one of the more “old-school” fireman’s axes you’ll find on the market today – but it is incredibly popular because of the wooden handle.
Made out of high quality American hickory this handle is only going to get better and better with time as your natural oils from your hands are absorbed into the wood and add even more grip and texture. The ergonomic design has been carefully crafted to add extra power and leverage to each swing without sacrificing accuracy.
- Relatively lightweight, superstrong, and durable thanks to the hickory handle.
- Drop forged 1055 carbon steel holds and edge without rolling it or deflecting.
- Easy to swing even with a single hand without sacrificing power or performance.
- Not quite as “heavy duty” as some of the other overbuilt modern fireman’s axe out there.
This product is best for traditionalists that want something that just works the way it is intended to.
9. Estwing Camper’s Axe
This 26 inch axe is going to make quick work of anything you have laying around your campsite and can be used to quickly chop down trees, cut up logs, trim branches, split firewood, and prepare kindling – and that’s just the beginning.
Made 100% in the United States using only American steel, this is a well-built axe made out of a single forged piece of steel that holds and edge and has plenty of power. A rubberized grip has been attached to the bottom of the handle for extra control as well.
- Uses high quality construction materials while featuring a lifetime warranty.
- Forged steel construction guarantees that the head isn’t going to separate from the handle anytime soon.
- Designed with a single bit but has a secondary hammerhead on the reverse for little extra flexibility.
- Getting a second hand comfortably on this camp axe can be a little challenging.
This product is best for outdoors people and adventurers that want a relatively compact but still heavy duty axe close at hand when out and about.
10. Black Legion Firefighter Long Axe
Think of this as a modern reimagining of the traditional firefighter axe, featuring nothing but the highest quality construction materials and a very sleek almost all black design.
The axe had itself is made out of stainless steel for improved durability, and the 5 inch blade has been sharpened to a razors edge to make quick work of anything and everything you are chopping apart.
The handle measures in at just slightly under 28 inches and is rubberized from top to bottom so that you don’t have to worry about slipping when you swing this axe around. You get a little more control and a little more accuracy thanks to this addition.
- Super sleek and attractive look is tough to beat.
- Comfortable in the hand and is easy to get power swings and without losing accuracy.
- Stainless steel head construction material can take a real beating without signs of wear and tear.
- Can feel a little flimsy and “cheap” compared to some of the other fireman’s axe options.
This product is best for anyone looking to pick up a top-quality fireman’s axe without having to spend a lot of money along the way.