A hatchet is one of those tools that has so many uses that you cannot have it and not use it. From cutting firewood into small pieces to trimming branches in the garden, there are just so many uses for this tool. Nowadays, some even use them for throwing as a form of fun. For whatever reason you need one, the idea is to help you get the best one so that you're happy with the purchase.
How to Buy the Best Hatchet
If you are looking for a good hatchet, there are 2 basic things to consider:
A hatchet is comprised of two parts - the head and the handle. Each of these can be made of a different material or the same material. The most common material for the head is steel to facilitate the cutting while the handle is usually made of wood. Most manufacturers improve the effectiveness of the head by including carbon in it and some even add low friction finishes. All these improvements are supposed to increase the ease at which the hatchet is able to cut through the wood.
When it comes to the handle, manufacturers can also opt for other materials like steel or fiberglass.
When steel is used, the whole hatchet can be made of a single piece to increase durability and strength.
Fiberglass is an improvement to both steel and wood but this improvement comes at a higher cost.
Plastic and composite handles are uncommon, but these are less durable than any of the other materials. The choice of wood is also pertinent, with hickory being the most common species used in hatchets and even axes. Ash is sometimes used and so is walnut or birch but the latter two are not as durable.
Size of the Hatchet
A hatchet is supposed to be a smaller version of an axe so that it can facilitate one-handed use, but how small it is made matters a lot. Long-handled hatchets range between 13 and 15 inches in length while shorter ones can be as small as 9 inches.
The length of the handle is what determines the force delivered on the target, so longer hatchets can cut through larger chunks of wood compared to their shorter counterparts. However, the shorter hatchets provide a lot more flexibility and accuracy because of the control you have over the blade and this is useful for more targeted tasks like limbing branches or gardening.
This is why the size of the hatchet matters a lot because you only get the right fit if the hatchet is meant for the purpose you have in mind. That being said, keep in mind that it is still possible to change handles whenever you need.
Top 10 Hatchets
After considering the above factors, these are the 10 hatchets available in the market worth a mention:
1. Estwing Sportsman's Camping Hatchet
This hatchet from Estwing is entirely made from steel to ensure maximum durability and force delivered to the wood. Coming in at 14 inches in total length and 1.7 pounds in weight, this hatchet delivers all you would ever need from a hatchet.
It is all made in one piece of high-quality American steel that is hand polished to maintain balance for the perfect strike. Meanwhile, the handle is covered in leather to reduce the shock and enhance grip on every swing. You can always keep this hatchet close on your belt with the belt loop and the blade sharp with the nylon sheath attached in the package.
- Delivers good balance by using a single piece of steel
- Steel design is very durable for years and even generations
- Made in the USA with American steel
- Small design means it would be ineffective for large chunks of wood
This hatchet is best for the outdoorsman.
2. Gransfors Bruks Mini Belt Hatchet
The mini belt hatchet is a simple but effective tool for all purposes from splitting wood to limbing branches. Its design is simple with a head made of steel and a handle made from wood.
Just like the larger axes, this hatchet is made out of good materials for both the handle and head meaning it can deliver great results despite the smaller size. This one, in particular, weighs 11 pounds and is 10.25 inches long end to end. The handle itself is 8 inches, so you have enough room for both hands if need be.
- Hand made for the perfect finish
- Quality materials for durability
- Comes with a sheath and 20 years warranty
- Unsuitable for larger pieces of wood
This product is a classic hatchet that does not let you down regardless of the need you have for it.
3. Gränsfors Bruks Hand Hatchet
This is probably the first picture you get in your mind when you think of a hatchet - a mini axe. This hand hatchet from Gränsfors Bruks is especially unique in this category because of its short and curved handle bringing the total length to 9.5 inches and weight at 1.3 pounds.
Like all Gränsfors Bruks products, this hatchet is hand made from the best materials that ensure it lasts for years and you may even pass it on to your children. This is what justifies the seemingly high price of the product.
- The short stature of the hatchet gives you maximum control of the tool
- Durable materials mean you get to use it for decades with proper care
- Comes with a 20-year warranty and a free leather sheath
- Not suitable for larger chunks of wood
- Might be a bit pricy than others in the market
Get yourself this hatchet if you are a regular hiker and need a tool that can be easily carried in your bag or rucksack.
4. Gransfors Bruks Wildlife Hatchet
An alternative to the hand hatchet described, this hatchet has a longer handle that brings the total length of the product to 13.5 inches but maintaining the weight at 1.3 pounds.
The materials used here are also the same, but the design increases the power delivery so that you can cut larger branches, firewood and even felling a tree. It is the go-to product for scouting and camping because you can even use the poll as a hammer.
- Use of high-grade hickory for the handle means longer durability of the handle
- Hand made steel head is forged to perfection to avoid any possible damage from the impact
- Free vegetable-tanned leather sheath protects the blade and your rucksack as you carry it
- Wooden handle requires a lot of care to last long
For all scouting and camping purposes, get yourself one of these products and you won't regret the decision.
5. Hults Bruk Jonaker Hatchet
Weighing in at 1.8 pounds, this product is a competitor to the belt hatchet from Gränsfors Bruks in terms of design. The head alone weighs 1 pound and is made by hammering to create a tempered design that is denser than a forged head.
This design also ensures the blade is always sharp through multiple sharpenings. Holding this head is a 9.4-inch handle made from high-quality American hickory that has been polished for the smooth finish and treated with linseed oil for durability.
- Gränsfors Bruks includes a leather sheath to protect the blade from damage also your rucksack
- A complimentary storage box is included to protect against the elements and increase longevity
- High-quality steel for the head and hickory for the handle ensure great results
- Small in size and unsuitable for larger wood chunks and trees
As long as you're only tackling small branches and firewood, this hatchet should get the job done effectively every time.
6. Helko Werk Germany Classic Pathfinder Hatchet
With a slightly longer handle of 15 inches, this hatchet can deliver more power in the swing to take down a larger obstacle. It wouldn't be possible without the 1.25-pound head made from carbon steel certified in Germany and hand-forged by drop hammer to achieve ultimate hardness.
The handle is made from American hickory manufactured in Switzerland to absorb any shocks from impact.
- Strong and quality materials ensure the product can be used for years with proper care
- Free sheath and axe guard protective oil help maintain the condition of the materials
- Longer length provides enough force to cut larger pieces of wood
- Not ideal for felling trees or splitting rounds
This product is best for anyone who needs a smaller version of an axe to complement it.
7. Hults Bruk Tarnaby Hatchet with Sheath and Duluth Pack Axe Holder Bundle
Weighing 2.5 pounds with a 1.25-pound head and 15-inch handle, you won't have any trouble carrying this hatchet around. The manufacturer chose to include an axe holder made of leather that fits well with your belt to make access and portability even easier.
It is the perfect product for working in the garden or clearing branches on a hike or camping site.
- Long 15-inch handle can deliver sufficient power for larger wood chunks
- Axe holder and sheath included in the package for free
- Ergonomic design and craftmanship make using the hatchet more comfortable
- Too small to be used for rounds or felling a tree
This product has everything you would ever need in a hatchet.
8. Schrade SCAXE5 Full Tang Tactical Hatchet
Unlike previous hatchets, this one has a unique and sleek black design from the materials used. The head is 3.1 inches long and is made of carbon steel while the handle is made of nylon fiber and made into an ergonomic design comfortable in the hand and also safer.
Its total length is 12.8 inches falling in between the hand and belt hatchets from Gransfors Bruks.
- High carbon steel head and nylon fiber handle are more durable and resistant to the elements
- Designed to include additional features for other uses beyond what a typical hatchet can do
- Comes with a nylon belt sheath for easier carrying while protecting the blade and your rucksack
- It is too short and thus does not have enough power to cut larger chunks of wood
This product is best suited for someone who wants a handy tool for clearing branches and limbing branches with a sleek and effective tool.
9. Prandi German Style Hatchet
This hatchet is a bit longer than 15 inches from the handle to the tip of the blade, placing it in a similar category with the camping hatchet. It sports a head made of steel and a wooden handle to support everything.
- The wide wooden handle can absorb the shock from impact even for long use
- Good quality materials prevent damage to the blade or handle and increase durability
- No sheath or additional products included in the package
It is a simple hatchet that can be depended upon to get the job done as it was supposed to.
10. SOG Tomahawk Tactical Hatchet
You can't miss this hatchet with its unique design spanning 12.5 inches. The head is made of steel that has been satin-polished to increase durability, strength, and resistance to corrosion. To minimize shock, a glass-reinfored nylon handle is used for grip.
Although small at the base, it drops low and extends to create a 2.5-inch blade with a lot more cutting power. What stands out, though, is that it can be used for multiple purposes beyond cutting firewood and limbing branches. The poll is sharpened to a spike and the pommel can be used as a hammer that may come in handy in some situations.
- All materials used are of high quality for durability and effectiveness
- Can be used for multiple purposes
- SOG may consider repairs and replacements if you maintain the product
- comes with a nylon sheath for easy carrying and access
- The head and handle are joined by screws and not a single piece of steel
This product is great at many purposes but may not be the best hatched there is as there are better hatchets that do only one job.