The tomahawk is one of the most versatile tools and a must-have for every outdoors person. Its shape is similar to that of a hatchet (which is also similar to an axe) except that the tomahawk is lighter. This feature of the T-Hawk means it can have more tactical functions while still maintaining some of the cutting and chopping functions served by a hatchet or axe.
How to Buy the Best Tomahawk
Being one of the earliest tools to be used by man, a lot of variations have cropped up through the times and many companies are now producing unique designs to appeal to people's preferences. However, there are only 2 factors you need to consider when shopping around for a tomahawk:
The Head and the Blade
The head includes the blade and the poll of the tomahawk, which has historically been flattened. Nowadays, though, many tomahawks have a sharpened poll that is turned into a spike which can have varying uses especially for breaching. A good tomahawk should make use of great quality materials for the head if it should stand a chance against heavy use as some may intend.
The blade length will depend on the use of the tomahawk, where longer blades are more effective for chopping and shorter blades better for throwing and breaching. Its weight will also determine how the product will be used for the same reasons as the blade length.
This is probably where you should put most of your focus once you are sure that you have the type of head and blade you need for your purpose.
First, the length should be considered based on how the tool is going to be used. Longer handles provide a lot of striking force and such tomahawks are ideal for chopping wood, felling trees, camping, and other similar activities.
Meanwhile, shorter handles will be found on more tactical or throwing tomahawks. Sometimes, you may want to find a balance between the two to serve multiple purposes, but in so doing you never really get the best for either function.
Materials used should also be a primary consideration because the handle experiences the most impact and absorbs most of it.
Wood is great at absorbing shock, so it's no wonder most tomahawks will be made of the stuff. Hickory is the most common wood species used here for its strength and long wood grain properties, but you can't dismiss some other species like ash.
Steel is very durable, but it doesn't absorb any shock and that might hurt the user unless they wear gloves or the product has a handle. The best, though, is fiberglass but it is more expensive than any other material.
Design, Finish, and Manufacturer
Tomahawks come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important measure is how good one feels in your hand. Although the aesthetics may not affect the product's effectiveness, it doesn't hurt to have something you are proud to look at. Ergonomics, on the other hand, are crucial especially for someone who will be using the product for long hours and doesn't want their hand to be fatigued. Then there is the question of the most popular manufacturers who are known to have quality products and offer great deals, for example, in terms of the warranty.
Keeping all these in mind, you will definitely find the best tomahawk for you.
Top 10 Tomahawks
Of the hundreds of tomahawks in the market, these are the 10 best to choose from:
1. CRKT Kangee Tomahawk with Sheath
The Kangee T-Hawk is meant to do be tough, effective and stylish as you can tell from the overall 13.75-inch design. The blade and handle are all made from a single piece of SK5 carbon steel with a sleek black finish. To improve the cutting and splitting abilities, the 2.93-inch blade is tapered off at the edge so that it can be extremely sharp and remain so even after sharpening. On the other side of the blade is a spike to be used for more targeted force.
No one would enjoy holding this steel blade directly while working, so it's handle has been covered with glass-reinforced nylon handles on either side. These have been further checkered to improve on the grip and a sheath included to make sure it is Molle compatible. All in all, an excellent product weighing 1.53 pounds with the right balance of features you would expect from a tomahawk.
- High quality steel build maximizes the strength for the product.
- Comfortable to use with the ergonomic design of the handle and materials.
- Light enough to make usage easy while being long enough to create enough force for cutting, etc.
- The edge of the blade gets easily damaged upon use.
This tomahawk is best for people want a lightweight axe that has plenty of power.
2. CRKT Rune Tomahawk with Sheath
Most of the already successful design features of the Kangee T-Hawk were used on this Rune Tomahawk, but this variant is a bit shorter. This one comes in at 12 inches open length but still maintaining the same 1.5-pound weight. The blade and handle are still one piece of SK5 carbon steel and the handles made from glass-reinforced nylon. Its signature black finish is achieved by using a black powder that, aside from color, reduces corrosion. What's different about the Rune is the longer blade length of 6.69 inches up from 2.93 inches on the Kangee, which provides a larger cutting surface.
- Larger blade for better more effective cutting.
- Great quality materials ensure durability and comfort.
- Molle compatible.
- Shorter handle means less power delivered in every swing.
This tomahawk is best for people who want an axe for making quick, short swings.
3. Browning Shock N' Awe Tomahawk Knife
For those who want a tomahawk with a rugged, outdoorsy look without compromising on quality, this is it. The first this you notice about the 'hawk is that it's so simple you assume not a lot of work went into the design, but it did. The product is made from one 10.5-inch, forged 1055 high carbon steel that has been hand wrapped on one end with nylon paracord to form the handle. The blade itself has a 2.75-inch length and the poll has been formed into a curved spike to puncture holes. Carrying this tomahawk is easy with the provided sheath and belt clip that fit into the lanyard hole with ease.
- 54 Rockwell hardness steel indicates the steel is strong enough to handle any impact.
- Easily portable from the sheath attached that is also Molle compatible.
- Comes in a great package.
- Has a warning from California's Proposition 65 for containing chemicals that may cause harm.
This tomahawk is best for people who want an axe that’s easy to carry around during outdoor excursions.
4. Browning Shock N' Awe Tomahawk Tan
Except for the change in color and a slight difference in design, this product should be exactly the same as its black counterpart. The size is the same at 10.5 inches in length and weight, and so is the overall design in the form of a single 1055 high carbon steel material. The design is only slightly different on the nylon paracord that has been hand wrapped to form the handle, but the difference is only slight and should not affect your decision. The only real difference is the color that is now in a desert tan matte finish.
- Strong steel material that would last decades before being damaged.
- Light for maneuverability and portable from the Molle compatible sheath provided for free.
- Very effective thanks to the sharp blade and poll.
- Contains harmful chemicals.
This tomahawk is best for people who want an axe that’s easy to carry around and has a sleek asthetic.
5. Smith & Wesson Extraction and Evasion SW671 Full Tang Tomahawk
Sometimes you just need a sturdy tool for getting through barriers, and this tomahawk serves just that purpose. It weighs a total of 2 pounds and 11 ounces due to the certified 1070 HC steel used to make the entire product. It's longer than the previous ones at 15.9 inches and this means a lot more force can be produced. The blade is 3.9 inches long and on its opposite is a pick that could be used for breaching.
- Its weight and length mean you can create a very powerful swing to break through obstacles.
- The materials used here are very strong and durable.
- Can be used for multiple purposes especially given the very sharp edges.
- It is quite heavy and may not be efficient for camping or hiking.
This tomahawk is best for people who want a heavy duty axe for bigger jobs.
6. SOG Outdoor Survival Hatchet and Tactical Tomahawk
An all-you-need tool for the outdoorsman that can serve multiple purposes from chopping wood, survival and even hiking. It is 12.1 inches long and only 19.5 ounces heavy but it still packs a punch thanks to the 3-inch stainless steel blade. Its handle is made from glass-reinforced nylon for extra durability and comfort regardless of the use.
- Light enough to be used for throwing yet strong enough to chop down branches.
- Long handle and blade increases cutting surface.
- Materials used here are durable and of good quality.
- Excellent survival tool with claw spike and ferrocerium fire starter.
- Weight and length make it unsuitable for tactical purposes.
This tomahawk is best for people who want an axe that has powerful strikes, but are also willing to compromise on portability.
7. SOG Tomahawk Pack of 3 Throwing Hawks
A set of 3 throwing tomahawks from SOG might be the best gift you can ever give someone. They would get to enjoy high quality made and finished stainless steel made to last for generations. In length, these tomahawks are each 11.1 inches long and weigh about 2 pounds in total. They come in one sheath but the individual tomahawks are secured by velcro straps. The user can also wind their own handle using the glass-reinforced paracord handle to suit their style.
- Sharp blade and pic ensure the thrown tomahawk hits its mark and sticks.
- Strong materials mean that the tools will be in use for years to come.
- SOG provides warranty for properly maintained tomahawks.
- Contains materials that are harmful.
These tomahawks are best for people who want more bang for their buck, since you get a three pack.
8. SOG Tomahawk Tactical Hatchet
SOG delivered all you would ever need in a tomahawk in a single tool with this product. It is 12.5 inches of solid steel in length and weighs 23.1 ounces that is light enough to be used for throwing but still being able to cut wood chunks and as a backpacking tool. The blade is satin polished to reduce friction and the poll has been made into a spike while the pommel can be used as a hammer if need be.
- Has got multiple uses because of its size and weight.
- Package includes a ballistic nylon sheath that can be quickly slung for quick and easy access.
- SOG provides a warranty as long as the product is properly maintained.
- Known to contain products harmful to health.
This tomahawk is best for people who want an all-around reliable axe that won’t wear down quickly.
9. Columbia River Knife & Tool
Created in the classical style of a tomahawk, this product doesn't compromise on quality. It has a 19.13-inch length from end to end and a heft of 1.59 pounds. The head is about 3.5 inches long and is made out of 1055 carbon steel that has been hammer-forged into shape to increase its density. Meanwhile, the handle is solid Tennessee hickory treated with a lacquer coat for durability in addition to the comfortable feel in the hand.
- A simple and classical design which is very effective for chopping wood.
- Strong and durable materials ensure a lifetime of use with proper care.
- The limited warranty covers flaws in design and materials.
- Too long to be used for anything other than chopping and splitting wood.
This tomahawk is best for people who are looking for an axe primarily for chopping wood.
10. United Cutlery Apocalypse Tactical Tomahawk
Are you in need of a lightweight tomahawk with huge striking potential? Then look no further than this. The blade is made from stainless steel that has been coated by black oxide for the finish and to reduce corrosion. This is subsequently attached to a fiberglass reinforced nylon handle with a paracord wrapped grip by two bolts. In total, it has a length of 15 inches and a weight of about 2 pounds.
- It is light enough to handle but not so much that it cannot be used for chopping wood or for breeching.
- Materials are strong and sturdy for most purposes.
- Delivered with a free sheath to maintain the blade's sharpness and durability.
- The handle is prone to breakage and may need repair after extensive use.
This tomahawk is best for people who want a lightweight and affordable axe and don’t plan on putting too much stress on it.