How Heavy Should An Axe Be?

If you are choosing your first axe for your bushcraft adventures, you might probably be wondering about how heavy should an axe be.

An axe should weigh between 3.5 and 5 pounds, depending on the applications, because it will allow you to complete a variety of activities. However, there are some hefty axes available, but they will be difficult to transport for extended periods of time and aren’t appropriate for everyone.

The rule of thumb is that, the longer the axe handle, the heavier the axe head can be. When it comes to finding the correct weight axe for your needs, there are a lot of things to consider.

In this article, I’ll tell you exactly how heavy should an axe be for various applications along with the pros and cons. After reading this article, you will be able to choose one confidently without any issue at all.

So if you are interested, then keep reading!

How Heavy Should An Axe Be?

Does Weight of the Axe Matter?

Being a beginner, the first thing you might probably be wondering about is whether the weight of the axe matter or not.

The answer is, it depends on what you are looking for. If you need an axe for chopping down trees or splitting logs, then the weight of the axe will definitely matter. A heavier axe will make your work easier as it will require less effort from you to chop down a tree.

On the other hand, if you need an axe for carving or shaping, then the weight of the axe won’t be that important.

You can easily work with a lighter axe as it will provide more control and precision.

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Now that you know whether the weight of the axe matters or not, let’s take a look at how heavy should an axe be for various applications.

How Heavy an Axe Should Be: According to the Job

The most important thing to consider while choosing an axe is its handle length. It is directly proportional to the weight of the axe head. A longer handle will be able to support a heavier axe head without breaking or becoming difficult to control.

However, a too long or too heavy axe can be difficult to carry around and might not be suitable for everyone.

The next thing you need to consider is the weight of the axe head itself. A heavier axe head will require more effort to swing but will generate more power. It is perfect for chopping down big trees or splitting logs.

On the other hand, a lighter axe head will be easier to swing but won’t generate as much power. It is better for smaller tasks like carving or shaping wood.

The following table will help you to choose the right axe head weight and handle length according to the job:

JobHandle LengthAxe Head Weight
Chopping down big trees24-36 inches3.5-5 pounds
Splitting logs20-32 inches3-6 pounds
Shaping wood16-28 inches2-3 pounds
Carving12-24 inches1-2 pounds

You can see the handle length and axe head weight are directly proportional to the job you need to do.

Are Heavy Axes Better?

The answer to this question is both yes and no. It all depends on your needs and preferences.

A heavy axe will be more difficult to swing but will generate more power. It is perfect for chopping down big trees or splitting logs.

On the other hand, a lighter axe will be easier to swing but won’t generate as much power. It is better for smaller tasks like carving or shaping wood.

So, if you need to do big jobs, then a heavy axe is the way to go. But if you need to do smaller jobs, then a lighter axe will be better.

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What Are the Different Types of Axes?

There are various types of axes available in the market, each designed for a specific purpose.

The most common types of axes are:

Splitting mauls:

These are heavy-duty axes with a blunt end and are used for splitting logs. Splitting mauls are the best-suited axes for splitting firewood and logs because of their amazing design and shape.

The heavy blunt side of the axe provides extra weight and helps in the generation of more momentum; thus, it will be easier for you to split the wood.

Felling axes:

These are slightly lighter than splitting mauls and have a sharpened edge. They are used for chopping down trees. The best thing about felling axes is that they can be used for both, chopping down the tree trunk as well as for cutting branches.

However, felling axes are not suitable for splitting wood. If you try to split wood with a felling axe, the axe will most likely get stuck in the log and will be difficult to remove.

Shaping axes:

These are the lightest axes and have a very sharp edge. They are used for shaping wood. Shaping axes are known for their amazing precision and control.

With a shaping axe, you can easily create different shapes and designs on the wood. However, they are not suitable for chopping down trees or splitting logs.

These were some of the major types of axes available for several different tasks. Let’s take a look at different weights and sizes of axe and see which one would be the best for you.

What size axe do I need for splitting wood?

You might be wondering what size of axe do I need for splitting the wood in the wilderness.

The answer is that you need a long handle and a heavy head for this job. A 24 to 36 inches long handle with a 3.5 to 5 pounds axe head will be perfect for the task.

Apart from that, as I mentioned earlier, there are some heavy-weight axes and people actually do use them for log splitting.

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However, I personally don’t recommend them for bushcraft situations because they are difficult to carry and way too tiring.

What size axe do I need for chopping down trees?

Again, the answer is the same. For chopping down trees, you need a long handle and a heavy head.

A 20 to 32 inches long handle with a 3 to 6 pounds axe head is just perfect for this job. This will allow you to chop down the trees efficiently without putting much strain on your arms.

In addition, the handle length of the axe will generate enough momentum combined with the heavy head of the axe. This will make the tree felling job much easier as compared to an axe with a shorter length.

What size axe do I need for shaping wood?

This time you don’t need a long handle or a heavy head. In fact, a long handle will make the task more difficult because you need more control while shaping the wood.

A 16 to 28 inches handle with 2 to 3 pounds axe head is just perfect for the job. This will give you enough power to shape the wood without making it too difficult. Most of the time, even a small hatchet or a tomahawk can be enough for the job.

Last Minute Thoughts!

If you’ve made it this far, you will have got an idea about the different types of axes available in the market as well as what size axe you need for different wilderness tasks.

Besides that, you also learned how heavy an axe should be, what are its pros and cons, and what will be the best weight and size for you.

So, what are you waiting for? Go ahead and get yourself a good-quality axe for your next bushcraft trip.

I hope you found this article helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, feel free to leave a comment below.

Happy Bushcrafting!

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