Different Types of Axes and Their Uses

Published on: January 7, 2022
Written by Eric Devin / Fact-checked by David Rowan

Axe is recognized as one of the ancient tools now available with modern versions to accomplish our day-to-day multi-purpose tasks including cutting and splitting wood, felling trees, harvesting timbers, hunting animals, and using them as weapons, etc.

In today’s world, there are various types of axes available in the market with different versatile features serving different purposes. Therefore, when you plan to buy your axe, you must consider your intended purposes as different types of axes are designed for specific tasks.

different types of axes

Also, some other key aspects related to axes you need to consider are their weight, size, handle, and materials before buying as they greatly influence the quality of the axes. 

However, I have compiled the list of twelve axes to discuss through this article, underscoring the types of axes and their uses. 

Tactical Axe

Tactical axe, also commonly known as tactical tomahawk is one of the smart multitasking tools. Though it’s too heavy to carry compared to a fixed-blade axe, the designs of the most tactical tomahawks are jagged and they are hardly breakable because of their steel body and other brilliant features. 

Tactical axes are widely used by law enforcement agencies, armies, security staff, and survivors etc. It’s basically made from steel to absorb the massive shock while dealing with the multi-tasks. It offers a number of benefits including cutting, breaching, close combating, forced entry, self-defense, soldiers’ hand-to-hand combat application, and light to medium around-the-house destruction.

Though the key function of this axe is splitting, it’s also potential to deal with the close-range defense as a weapon like a shovel, hammer, or a pry bar. It’s a pretty smart tool to serve the camping stay as it helps a lot in digging holes, chopping firewood or cooking tasks. 

Grub Axe

Grub axe, also known as cutter mattock, is assembled with a head having an axe on one side and the edge on the other side. The axe’s blade is designed with a vertical angle while the edge blade, a little longer than the axe’s blade, is made horizontally. It’s named “grub axe” as it’s potential to grub in compact soils and bristly territory. It serves outstandingly in the garden as they are ideal for digging earth or breaking up sturdy roots of the old plants. 

Felling Axe

Felling axes are mainly designed to fell trees and cut logs. This robust axe made of hickory wood is a little heavier weighing between two and four pounds. It’s a wide sharp blade, thin tip and a long handle at the end of the axe enable the operators to produce a more vigorous swing with greater autonomy for achieving a precise cut. The unique feature of this tool is its intense ability to fell and chop small trees and branches. It’s not favorable for splitting as its blade is more likely to get stuck in the wood.  

Hudson Bay Axe

Hudson Bay axe is a medium-size all-purpose axe primarily designed for chopping firewood and all other cutting tasks. This medium size axe is pretty easy to use even with a single hand and absolutely perfect for a lighter type of chopping and splitting. It’s just great for camping chores. Heavy-duty tasks are strictly prohibited with this tool.    

Forest Axe

Forest axe is another versatile tool for felling trees. It’s recognized as one of the heavy-duty axes that could be a great choice for cutting large trees. It’s assembled with a longer handle and a wide sharp blade with a curved tip which is extremely beneficial for the heavy-duty cutting tasks. It’s not ideal to carry during a camping trip because of its heavy-duty features. 


Hatchet is another popular axe among the users, primarily designed for light-duty tasks, but interestingly it functions tremendously for all-purpose tasks. Its excellence lies in its smaller size, chunky handle made of hickory wood, flared-shaped sharp-tipped blade. Another excellence is its adequate balance that allows the operators to produce faster and accurate strikes and cut woods with enough leverage. It mainly works for chopping and splitting logs.    

Splitting Maul

Splitting Maul is primarily designed for splitting logs into firewood. This tiny size tool, unlike the felling axe assembled with a long wooden handle, is used to provide a good swing. Professionals advise to apply a downward swing rather than a sideways swing. It produces a cut against the grain of the wood and cuts with the grain too.

The weight of the head of the splitting maul is quite heavier at around eight pounds than a felling axe while its shape is the same as a chunky wedge having one sharp end and one dull end. Weight and shape primarily matter for this tool, not its sharpness to perform most tasks. 

Broad Axe

Broad axe, is also called hewing axe because of its primary hewing task like turning the round-edge log into flat-edged lumber. This traditional tool was widely used before inventing the saw mills. It’s designed with one side flat and the other side with a broad angled edge blade that works perfectly for chopping wood. This medium-sized hand tool is still popularly used by the woodworkers and barely used by others.

Carpenter’s Axe

Carpenter’s axe, also known as carpenter’s hatchet is exclusively designed for fine woodworking, not general use like felling or chopping wood. This handy tool, slightly bigger than a standard hatchet assembled with a straight-edged sharp blade with a flat handle is quite efficient to produce a professional-grade performance in the carpentry work.

The quality of the blade is a key factor while choosing this tool as the straighter edge is considered to be a much higher quality axe which can produce the most accurate cut. Modern versions of this tool assembled with a groove can also efficiently remove nails from wood. Its notch on the handle allows the users to have a wider grip and more control for precise cutting.

Double Bit Axe

This double bit axe is too heavy to carry outside the workshop. It’s designed with two blades;   one on either side of the head is usually symmetrical from the front. Between the two blades, one is sharp while the other is blunt.  The sharp blade is mainly used to chop wood or fell trees while the blunt one splits the wood into smaller pieces of kindling for fire. Its double bit axe is an added advantage in terms of money and two-in-one features in a single axe.


Pick-Axe, a “T” shaped hand tool is designed with a wooden or fiberglass handle and double metal head at the top. The modern version of the pick-axe is modified with a pointed pick of one side of the head while the other side is assembled with a chisel. The pick ends either curve or completely straight could be absolutely perfect for gardening and landscaping. It’s frequently used for breaking up compact soils, concrete and rocks, etc. while the chisel is used for prying open gaps between rocks or splitting in the earth.  

Crash Axe

Crash axe made from metal recognized as an emergency tool is usually used in the event of an aircraft crash landing.  It’s assembled with a short handle and extremely sharp-toothed blade.  This blade has the potential to slice through the metal sheet to have access inside the aircraft from the outside or make a hole in the craft from the inside to have an exit path in case the exit of the craft is blocked somehow due to accidents. 

Crash axe also serves to pry gaps open, and chop interior walls, and overhead cabinets. Some models of the crash axe are assembled with a notch upon the blade which allows hooking onto the metal sheet while other models may have a separate head with a pick on it. 

The Purpose of a Splitting Axe

The purpose of a splitting axe is to split logs into firewood. It is designed with a wide, flat head that helps it to drive through wood more easily than a regular axe, making it easier and faster to use. Splitting axes usually have a long handle which gives the user more leverage, allowing them to drive the axe head through thicker logs.

The Uses of a Felling Axe

1. Felling trees: A felling axe is used to fall trees by cutting into the trunk to make a notch in the direction of the fall of the tree.

2. Chopping logs: A felling axe can be used to chop logs into smaller pieces for firewood or other uses.

3. Clearing brush: A felling axe can be used to clear away brush and small trees from an area.

4. Splitting firewood: The wide blade of a felling axe makes it the perfect tool for splitting logs into firewood.

5. Building shelter: A felling axe can be used to build a shelter by cutting logs and branches for walls, roofs, and floors.

6. Hunting: A felling axe can be used to prepare a game such as deer by skinning, quartering, and butchering.

What Are the Similarities and Differences Between Throwing Tomahawks and Other Axes?

When comparing throwing tomahawks to other axes, it’s essential to consider the top features for tomahawks. Both are designed for striking and cutting, but tomahawks usually have a lighter and more balanced design, making them better for throwing. Additionally, the blade shapes and handle lengths are different between the two.

Final Notes

I hope this compilation of the axes would give you a general understanding of the considerable aspects, their various functions, quality issues, etc. If you plan to purchase your axe from the market, you must consider those factors so that you can grab a perfect one for your intended purposes. 

You are strongly advised to take care of all safety protocols and train yourself on the operation of the axes to avoid unanticipated accidents. 

Knowledge management is extremely vital to stay updated about current information and technology in the related field. Always try to get associated with the associations and professionals in the relevant field for your progressive development. If you are DIYer, it’s strongly recommended to work under professionals to be trained on the operation and maintenance of the tools at the initial stage, particularly in case of dangerous tools. 

I would love to hear from you about your feedback and comments as usual. Also, it would be nice if you kindly share this article with people around so that we could be able to share our expertise and consultation to serve more people through online and offline service packages. 

Relevant Resources:

Rate this post

About This Writer

author eric devin

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Hi, I am Eric Devin and I am a professional interior architect. Since childhood, I've always enjoyed DIY projects! And, I have loved to solve simple household problems using essential tools and equipment. I have also acquired a lot of information about basic household tools settings by working with contractors.

Leave a Comment