Best Hatchet 2017
In this well researched buying guide, we will give you all the information to choose the best hatchet for bushcrafting, camping, survival, log splitting or whatever needs you may have.
Best Hatchet (Comparison Chart)
|Picture||Name||Price||Our Rating Out Of 5||Approximate Length||Approximate Weight|
|Husqvarna Logger Forest Axe||$$$||4.4||26 Inches||2.7 Pounds|
|Hults Bruk Aneby Hatchet||$$$$||4.9||19 Inches||3 Pounds|
|Gränsfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet||$$$$$||4.8||13.5 Inches||1.5 Pounds|
|Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet||$$||4.6||9.5 Inches||1.4 Pounds|
|Estwing Sportsman's Axe||$$||4.6||14 Inches||1.9 Pounds|
|Fiskars X7 Hatchet||$||4.7||16.6 Inches||1.4 Pounds|
|Husqvarna Carpenter's Axe||$$$||4.5||21 Inches||2.2 Pounds|
|Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe||$$||4.8||17 Inches||2.2 Pounds|
|SOG Tactical Tomahawk||$||4.5||16 Inches||1.5 Pounds|
|Gränsfors Bruk Hand Hatchet||$$$$$||4.7||9.5 Inches||1.5 Pounds|
Top Rated Hatchets
Here is a list of the top rated hatchets with their most popular uses and price range. We have also included a short review of their specifications and actual comments from real buyers to help you decide on which model would work best for you.
First on our list is the New Husqvarna Forest Axe. This is technically a multi-purpose axe rather than a hatchet in the strictest sense. But It is only two inches longer than the ideal hatchet so it’s still an option worth your consideration.
The longer handle also makes it easier to deliver more cutting force. This multi-purpose axe is suitable for tasks such as falling small trees, clearing bushes, trimming branches and limbing and splitting logs. This handy tool also comes with a leather edge cover sheath.
People who bought this Husqvarna were satisfied with its performance finding its thin bit to be useful for effective chopping. They also liked the handle’s fine and tight grain which makes using this axe with just one hand easy.
However, they unanimously thought that Husqvarna could still improve on its blade sharpness as some users who needed a razor sharp hatchet had to sharpen the tool before using it, even for the first time.
This next tool is from one of the best brands on the market which is evident in the quality of this hatchet. Undergoing certified processes such as the hand grinding of the head and tempering of the steel allows this axe to hold a very sharp edge. This is an heirloom-quality hatchet coming in at a higher price point than some of the other models on this list.
Users of the Hults Bruk love the blade’s razor-like sharpness. One owner even tried shaving his arm hair with it and succeeded. They also liked its beautiful handle and have used it for a variety of purposes from camping to woodcarving and bushcrafting.
With its small size, outdoor enthusiasts had no problem fitting this hatchet inside their backpacks for bush crafting and splitting all types of logs.
Some owners even used it for chopping vegetables! This hatchet has a 13.5 inch hickory handle thus making it versatile and it weighs only 1.5 lbs, which is only half as heavy as the previous hatchet we reviewed. And if all this isn’t enough to convince you, Grandfors Bruk gives a 20 year guarantee for this tool.
Users particularly liked the tool’s almost flawless finish with excellent grain in the wooden handle. It also has a super durable steel blade. Owners of this hatchet also mentioned how its head geometry makes for great limbing and carving.
Not to mention the hatchet’s beautiful appearance which buyers also loved. It’s only apparent downside is its fairly steep price.
Best Survival Hatchet
If you’re at all familiar with Bear Grylls then you probably know what this hatchet is marketed as. This hatchet is wilderness-ready with a 3.5 inch blade which is perfect for swift and precise cutting.
It has a non-slip rubber grip for safety and handling. Finger notches near the head enable you to grip the tool securely for a firmer control when stripping bark or doing similar tasks.
This survival hatchet is well-liked by users because of its solid blade made of 3Cr13MoV steel. However, some outdoor enthusiasts said that they won’t be choosing this particular hatchet as their backpacking companion as they didn’t find it to be versatile enough to perform the full range of tasks they expect a ‘good’ survival hatchet to do, opting instead for a high-end model.
Best Camping Hatchet
This Estwing is advertised as being the tool of choice for most outdoorsmen. Its main distinguishing quality is that it is forged as a one-piece unit with the blade being almost inseparable from its body.
This 14-inch hatchet is also equipped with a leader grip that is ‘sanded and lacquered for a beautiful finish’ and a 3 ¼ inch cutting edge for efficiency. It is also affordable being on the lower-end of the hatchet price range.
One user confirmed this hatchet’s durability by owning the same model since he was just 12 years old. People who bought it commented on how this model has a narrower head than typical hatchets making it great for making deep cuts. Most users recommend this tool for chopping small firewood and not so much for fine woodworking.
Best Backpacking Hatchet
Marketed to be ‘unbreakable’, this Fiskars model is made of nyglass and fiberglass reinforced composite. It also promises a durable head attachment made by a process called ‘insert molded design’.
Owners attest to this product’s durability given the name and reputation of the 365-year old Fiskars brand. This model also comes in at a low price point making it ideal for buyers on a budget.
Users commented on this hatchet’s chopping ability which they said compares to even larger axes. One owner attributed this great performance to the tool’s wedged-shaped head. They also appreciate the comfort that the rubber handle brings while working. Not to mention this tool’s very light weight of just a pound.
Owners say that this is a fine for a tool for its price range, but would still prefer the wooden, Swedish counterparts for the higher price.
Best Bushcraft Hatchet
It comes with a classic hickory handle but differs with a straight cutting blade which makes it suitable for whittling and carving. It is categorized as a mid-price range tool. It is relatively heavier than other tools on this list, primarily because it is more of a small axe, and weighs 2.2 lbs.
One user bought this model specifically for a week’s long bushcrafting course and has since made this tool a staple in his outdoors backpack. With the help of this hatchet, the user was able to efficiently craft four good quality long bows. Thus, proving how this product lives up to its promises.
However, some complain of the relatively heavy head which they thought was too much for the wooden handle.
Best Hatchet for Splitting Wood
This hatchet is described as being the perfect tool for secondary quick jobs, this model can easily be used with just one hand for splitting small logs or clearing pathways. It offers an ultra-sharp edge and an ‘unbreakable’ design as with all tools in Fiskars’ X-series.
The X11 is a good choice for heavy cutting work, but its longer length can cause fatigue when used by shorter people.
The X11 seems to live up to its promises according to the reviews from people who have bought and used it. One user commented how the X11 splitting through wood sent splinters flying with each strike.
This hatchet requires less momentum and energy from the user as well. However, some warn that using this tool is best for people who are or above six feet tall as the tool’s relatively lengthy handle of about 17 inches may be too much for shorter users.
Best Hiking Hatchet
This hatchet’s main selling points is that it is ‘faster, lighter, more agile and easier to carry’. It features a blunt edge for hammering and a chiseled edge for extraction making it the perfect hiking and outdoor companion.
This Tomahawk hatchet is also very affordable being on the lower end of this list’s price range. And if that deal isn’t enough, it comes with a lifetime limited warranty for your peace of mind.
Most users found no problem with the product’s sharp blade but weren’t the biggest fans of its handle. They didn’t like how the slight curve of the handle made it occasionally slip out of their hands. However, they still would recommend this hatchet for those looking for a good bargain and a portable tool for when you’re on the go.
Best Small Hatchet
Also called the Kubben, this Hatchet has a super short handle of about 9.5 inches that is matched with a very hefty edge and a 3 inch bit. But you don’t need to worry about it being a little heavier, as this weight is very well balanced and carried by a sturdy and thick hickory handle.
Due to its tiny size, this hatchet can easily fit in backpacks and belts making it portable for camping trips or short hikes. As with other Gransfors Bruks tools this model is a bit on the expensive side. But this is backed up with outstanding quality and a 20 year guarantee.
Some users compared this small, handy hatchet to a ‘fine wood carving chisel’ making it worth every penny.
People have used this tool for roughing wood carvings and kindling and for camping trips in the woods. They also love its amazing balance and ‘beyond razor-sharp’ blade which feels almost weightless.
Hatchet Buying Guide
If you’re an outdoorsy type of person then you’ve most likely heard of, occasionally used or already own a hatchet. In simplest terms, hatchets are described as smaller versions or variations of axes; the main difference between the two is that hatchets are smaller and can be swung easily with just one hand.
They are mostly used as alternatives to survival knives by campers and are used to chop or split small firewood and low hanging tree branches. Due to their small frame and light weight (of around 1.5 – 2 lbs.), they may be carried on a belt and can also fit easily into backpacks.
Aside from their use in the great outdoors, hatchets are the go to tool for axe throwing and rudimentary wood carving. The tool is also a popular fixture in a homeowner’s tool shed because of their relative affordability and range of uses.
Hatchets are very simple tools. Like regular axes, they only have two main parts: the head and the handle making their maintenance easy. But their simplicity does not mean these tools are harmless. Due to their heavy and sharp blades, hatchets may be dangerous especially at the hands of a beginner or someone who’s had a little too much jungle juice.
On a serious note, utmost care must always be taken when using this tool. Make sure to swing a hatchet from a low point. This will center your balance and lower the chances of you chopping at your body parts if you accidentally miss your intended target.
You should also always ensure a target point before swinging your hatchet for a similar reason. Of course, these tips do not apply if you are playing a game of hatchet throwing. However, you must still ensure that the blade is firmly attached to its handle to avoid accidents. And most importantly, make sure your hatchet is well out of the reach of children.
Things To Consider When Buying A Hatched
The Hatchet Head
There are a number of factors you need to consider before buying your first hatchet (or replacement hatchet if you’re already an outdoor survival veteran). As mentioned before, hatchets have two main parts. The factors we will discuss will revolve around these.
First thing to look for in a hatchet is a sharp edge and a thin bit which is the area behind the cutting edge of the tool. It goes without saying that you want your hatchet to be sharp so it will be efficient.
However, there is another factor often overlooked by beginners which can greatly affect a hatchet’s performance: the thickness of the bit. A thick bit may give you a harder time penetrating wood or clearing your way through undergrowth, even if your hatchet is as sharp as a razor.
Some enthusiasts recommend looking for a hatchet with a thin bit of around a 20 degree angle. Another contributor to a hatchet’s penetrating or chopping ability is the smoothness of its ‘cheeks’ or the sides of the blade. It’s best to look out for abrasions and imperfections in these areas when purchasing a hatchet.
The Handle Of Your Hatchet
Hatchets are made with a variety of handle materials from wood to metal and even fibreglass. Each has its own merits but most tool experts recommend a hatchet made with a wooden handle as it helps absorb vibration and protects the tool from being easily damaged.
Wood is also much lighter than steel or metal. Not to mention wood’s repairability. If you’ve set your eyes on a wood-handled hatchet, then you should consider the orientation of the wood’s grain. The grain should be vertical and should line up with the bit. This is what tool experts believe makes a handle strong.
Since hatchets are basically small axes, the length of the handle is also important. You want a portable and easy to carry tool especially if you’re taking it with you camping. Most people prefer a length from 15 inches to 24 inches and with a head weighing around 1 pound to 1.75 pounds.
Price is also a factor you’ll want to consider. You can get a respectable hatchet for around $50 to $60. But there are also some models which retail for less than that (around $20 to $30). If you’re looking for a sure and long term investment, known and tested brands like Hults Bruk and Gransfors Bruks are more expensive but very reliable hatchets selling for around $100 to $150.
Of course, how you look after the hatchet will also play a role in how long it lasts despite its price tag. With that being said, here are a few tips for keeping your hatchet in tip top shape.
Some compare hatchet maintenance to that of knives’. In order to retain the sharpness of your blade you can use a sharpening stone when needs be. You should also use linseed oil on wooden handles so that they don’t dry up over time. Finally and most importantly, make sure that the metal parts of your hatchets are always dry in order to avoid rusting. You won’t be wanting a dull, rusty hatchet.
Being simple tools, deciding on which hatchet to buy is also simpler than buying other more complex tools. All you have to remember is to find one based on your preferences on the blade and bit size, handle length and material, and grain orientation. price points aren’t much of a problem as good models come in low, mid and high end prices.
Thank you for reading our best hatchet guide and we hope we have been of great help in another one of your tool-related buying decisions. Feel free to drop us a line if you need any further information.
Categorised in: Hand Tools