What’s the best hatchet on the market? That’s an excellent question, but before go into the products identify if you need a hatchet or some other kind of tool like an axe.
Then we will identify some qualities that make a hatchet excellent. To top it off, we will give you our thoughts on some of the best hatchets in the market.
**Below, you’ll see more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices and read customer’s reviews on Amazon.
Best Backpacking Hatchet 2018
One of the best selling hatchets in the market is the Fiskars X7. It’s one of the best options for backpacking, hiking, camping, and hunting, especially because of its lightweight construction.
At 14 inches long, it weighs only around 1.4 pounds! It’s ideal for cutting kindling and small to medium logs.
The Fiskars X7 has a hardened forged steel blade with low friction coating. This allows it to cut through wood easily and prevents it from getting stuck. The composite handle boasts of shock-absorbing properties that are lighter and stronger than steel.
It has a non-slip grip for better handling and control. The Fiskars X7 comes with a sheath and lifetime warranty.
It is lightweight, making it a great option for backpacking, camping, and hiking.
- The FiberComp handle combats damage from overstrikes.
- The non-slip grip feels very good and safe.
- Great value for the money.
- The bright orange color is pretty smart because it’s easy to spot.
- The blade gets dull quickly.
Gerber is one of the best brands in the knife and tool industry. Together with Bear Grylls experience and knowledge of the outdoors, they’ve created a great example of their craft, the Bear Grylls Hatchet. It’s a 9.46-inch hatchet with a 3.5-inch blade and weighs only 1.3 pounds.
The Bear Grylls Hatchet is made of a high carbon steel, with much of the weight applied to the head, so it bites so easily into wood. The high carbon steel is very sharp chops wood easily.
It has a fiberglass handle with rubberized non-slip protection that gives a lock-tight grip on your hand, giving you more control of the tool.On the opposite end of the blade, it has a crosshatched striking surface which you can use to pound tent stakes and other campsite needs.
- Very compact design, at only 9.46 inches in length.
- The non-slip handle works great even in wet conditions.
- Great for carving because it’s very light and the short handle makes it easy to control.
- The handle is typically shorter than most hatchets.
- If you’re looking for a bigger one, this one is not it.
Husqvarna is a reliable brand for lawn, gardening, and construction tools. That said, you should consider their 13-inch hatchet.
It’s has a very simple design with a hickory handle, but the quality and sharpness of the head are what makes it very great. It’s hand-forged in Sweden, and it uses steel and wooden wedges to secure on the handle.
- Hand-forged steel and great blade quality.
- Hickory handle looks and feels great.
- It comes with a nice fitting leather sheath.
- The grip on the handle is not so good when wet.
- It also has a shorter lifespan than other handle materials.
The first thing that I thought when I saw the Schrade Scaxe2 is that it looks so bad-ass. After examining it even closer, it lived up to its looks.
The 11.8-inch hatchet that weighs 1.37 pounds has a titanium coating on the 3Cr13 stainless steel head. It has a 3.8-inch sharp blade with a textured hammer pommel on the opposite end.
The handle is a black glass fiber-filled PA with a rubber grip for better control.
If you want a longer handle, there is a 15.7-inch version. Whichever size you choose, it comes with a thermoplastic belt sheath and a Ferro rod with a lanyard that you can store in the handle.
- Great look and construction.
- The short handle is great for backpacking purposes.
- It comes with a Ferro rod (fire starter) that fits into the handle.
- Textured hammer at the back of the blade is great for pounding tent stakes
- Short handle is not for everybody.
- Head is not as durable as other options.
- It dulls faster and prone to chipping.
The last, but not the least hatchet on the list, is a Swedish company, Gransfors Bruk. It has a simple yet sophisticated look, with an American hickory handle and carbon steel blade that stays sharp like a dream.
The head balances well with the handle, giving you great swings and powerful impacts. Even with minimal effort, it cuts very well. The blade is razor sharp. The size also offers great control for carving.
When you get this hatchet, you will also get a sheath that covers the poll and edge, so it doesn’t cut through your bag.
- Looks great and works great too.
- Top notch blade; it’s doesn’t get dull easily.
- Great balance for powerful impacts.
- This hatchet is great for carving.
- It’s expensive.
Hatchet vs. Regular Axe
Hatchets and axes are both tools that have been used by humans that are designed to split, cut, and shape wood. The two are often mistaken for each other, but there are few differences between them.
Shaft Size and Handling
The most visible difference is probably the size of the handle. An axe has a longer handle than a hatchet. Since an axe is used for larger wood, it will require more power and leverage which you can get from a longer handle.
It will also require more effort that needs both hands. On the other hand, a hatchet can be used with just one hand.
An axe head is larger than that of a hatchet. The hatchet has a head with a small body and large cutting blade. You can also find hatchets designed for specific purposes. For instance, you can have a hammer head on the back of the axe head.
A hatchet is designed for light splitting or chopping, such as small limbs or branches. For this purpose, the head is much lighter than that of a regular axe. A regular sized axe is designed for cutting wood of all sizes, so they have a much larger and heavier head.
Both are primarily used for chopping or splitting wood, but you can use them for other things as well. A hatchet is sometimes used as a weapon against animals.
Since it is much lighter than a regular axe, it’s often the chosen tool for camping. It’s also easier to use for carving since you’ll have more control of the short handle than a long one. For car camping and other situations that don’t call for lots of carrying, you can go for an axe.
Important Considerations When Choosing a Hatchet
Whether you are buying an axe, a hatchet, or a maul, one of the main things you have to consider is the head material. The head is what digs into the wood, so it needs to be strong enough to do so.
The best axes or hatchets use forged steel with a cutting edge made of high carbon steel. There are stainless steel axe heads, but they are not as good as the forged steel.
Shaft Design and Material
The shaft or the handle can be made of different materials, depending on the manufacturer. In the olden times, the handles were usually made of wood. Now you can find handles made of fiberglass or composite material.
The advantage of wood is that it looks great and it’s comfortable to hold. However, unlike fiberglass, it can rot. It doesn’t do so well with some environmental factors.
Fiberglass is much lighter, has better durability, and it also gives a good grip even when.
Another common issue related to the handle is the vulnerability against impact. Many manufacturers are addressing these issues by offering anti-shock construction. They will also design handles with non-slip grips to prevent slipping.
Sharpness and Maintenance
An axe or hatchet needs a sharp edge. Otherwise, the work will be much harder for you. The longer it stays sharp, the better. However, you will eventually need to sharpen the blade so have an axe sharpener with you too.
There are many hatchets in the market with varying prices depending on the manufacturer. Not all cheap are bad, and not all expensive ones are worth it.
Compare different products and their features and read reviews from other users to see if it’s worth the cost.
Safety Tips For Using a Hatchet
- Keep the edge sharp not just to make the work easier, but also because a dull hatchet or axe can be dangerous. They can bounce off the surface, instead of biting into the wood. If it bounces, it can potentially bounce back to you and hurt you.
- Never use a hatchet when you are too tired, sleepy, or drunk. This is not only a risk to yourself but those around you. Make sure you are mentally alert before you use a hatchet.
- Wear protective clothing like safety goggles, close-toed shoes, and gloves.
The bottom line is that a hatchet is a great option if an axe is too big for your needs. It’s more compact, making it a better companion for camping and hiking. It’s also a great survival tool.
The best hatchet is not the same for everyone, but overall, it should have a great head material and blade, a durable and shock-absorbing handle, all while maintaining a reasonable price.