Update September 28, 2015
Axe Reviews:An axe is a key tool that any homeowner should own. Whether you are chopping wood in your backyard or using it to split up kindling while camping, an axe is very versatile. I own both a splitting axe and a small hatchet - as both are necessary to me. I have never felled a tree in the woods, but a solid chopping axe is the tool of choice for projects like that. I have owned my axes for almost a decade and the blades can get a bit dull unless you have them sharpened periodically. I found a contact through Home Depot where a guy brings his sharpening machine to their parking lot and does all the axe sharpening for a small fee. Much like a set of cooking knifes, an axe can be more dangerous the less sharp it is. What should you look for in a new axe? What should it be made out of? Where to buy an axe?
Choosing an Axe - Unless you have ever shopped for an axe, you are probably not aware of all the various types that exist. Types of Axes - You have chopping, splitting, hand, camp, forest, double bit, and brush axes. The forest, splitting and chopping axes are the largest and designed for heavier use. The smaller axes, often referred to as hatchets, are best used for things like breaking up kindling for fires or chopping out roots that are growing along your lawn and causing issues. Every few years I walk my lawn area and feel for roots that have popped near the surface and then proceed to hack away at them. Materials - You may think that all axes are made with wood handles and steel blades, but that is not the case. Many axes we found have metal handles, some even have fiberglass handles. Blade - Those with the best reviews have hardened forged steel blades that will remain sharper longer than traditional blades. Non stick blade coatings are also something to look for as they will help the axe power through wood much better. The shape of the axe head will also make a difference as some are designed for clean splitting. Handle - The longer the handle, the better for duties like heavy chopping. Look for handles that are 25 inches or longer for the best results of chopping or splitting wood. The shorter handles are better for control and exact chopping/splitting. A solid grip is helpful as you will be swinging the axe with power and speed at times. Prices - Small hatches might cost you $25 while the larger, customed designed axes will go over $100. The price shouldn't be that much of an issue as axes tend to be very durable and reliable for a decade or more. Brands - Gerber, Fiskars, Estwing, Cold Steel, Ames True Temper, Gransfors, Graintex. We found many of these manufacturers listed on Amazon.com and you will also see them in Lowe's, Home Depot, Ace Hardware and speciality outdoor shops for camping or hunting. Axe Reviews - We found some dated material on Popular Mechanics for axes, but the best source out there is Amazon.com with dozens of models reviewed by actual owners who use them all the time. Get feedback, comments, and opinions on the website with pros and cons to help you make an informed buying decision. You can browse the best selling axes online here.