6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 2

6 Best Survival Axe of 2023

Axes are one of the most ancient and widespread tools used ages ago and has gone through revolutionizations ever since. Although axes are one of the more useful and multifunctional tools out there which should be possessed by survivalists, many modern preppers tend to forego it.

I personally do feel that there are more pros than cons when it comes to adding axes to a survival kit, which is why I always have at least one handy.

These tools are extremely effective against hard and solid materials such as wood (obviously), and metal. The wedged shape of the blade enables maximum force to be exerted with minimal energy used. These traits support the use of axes for survival and could really come in handy during emergency situations.

Suitable for almost all outdoor activities, such as camping, trekking or just surviving, rest assured that the axe could get you to pitch a tent and a campfire to warmup but also as a weapon, especially if you’re out alone.

In this article, I would be reviewing some of the best survival axes which you should consider getting for your next trip into the wilderness or even as a protective measure during your trekking adventures. Some relevant information is also peppered in for novices in learning the art of survival.

Axes and Their Derivatives

In ancient times, weaponry or tools with a wedged head attached to a long handle are called axes. However, now the term ‘axe’ has many subsets in it, which are mainly – the common axe, hatchets and tomahawks.

These tools all resemble the similar structure of an axe but with some slight differences. The terms are just used to be more specific if you are referring to an item with a unique characteristic. So, let’s quickly go through them.

The common axe retains its name from its origin in terms of size. The handle is usually full length and is wielded with two hands for heavy jobs such as log chopping.

Axes commonly have their blades slightly bigger than the body and hence adds to the overall weight, but this is what provides the chopping power. The shaft design is also usually straight but may also be redesigned with a more ergonomic and comfortable feel.

Hatchets or termed as hand axes are much smaller in size than the common axe. It could be easily held single-handedly and is suitable for smaller scale cutting jobs.

Furthermore, hatchets generally have a smaller head and body but could possess a large blade length. A smaller head contributes to a much lighter feel of the tool. The handles are also slightly curved.

Tomahawks are known to be light and more aerodynamic than hatchets. Their use is more focussed on tactical battling and combat compared to generic chopping jobs. Some even consider tomahawks to be throwing axes.

They have thinner, flatter blades and a straight handle which promote it being flung easily as a throwing weapon.

General Uses of Axes

In my opinion, I feel that having an axe could do so much more than a knife and the wide uses of this tool clearly justifies that. Handling the head of the axe with your palm could mimic that of a knife, and hence encompass all jobs a knife is capable of. This single primitive tool could enable you to do the following, everything in between and so much more.

  • Self-defence
  • Build shelters
  • Hunt animals
  • Open bottles
  • Start a fire
  • Wood carving
  • Digging hard ground or snow

What to Look for in a Good Survival Axe?

Weight Distribution

One of the most crucial criteria which should be considered is the weight distribution of the axe. Most of the weight should be carried by the head to produce adequate chopping power.

In terms of weight balance, it is dependent on the height of the user and strength. The best way is to physically test it out by swinging it with both hands. However, purchasing it online would greatly depend on the technical specifications provided and self-gauging the ‘feel’ of the axe.

Choosing an axe or hatchet boils down to personal preference, especially if the axe is intended to be carried around frequently, you may opt for a lighter model. But this could come at an expense of slightly poorer chopping performance.

Head Shape

The shape of the axe head is the determining factor for the axe’s performance. Different axe head shapes work well with certain materials so it would be great to know the proposed application beforehand.

If you plan to take it into the wilderness, a flat-edged or slightly curved axe blade would work great against wood and other natural matter such as branches, vines and soft stems. A flat edge provides a wider chopping area with each stroke, making it more effective.

Curved or crescent-shaped edges work well with flat solid surfaces such as doors. Flat-edged axes are more likely to get caught in these surfaces and are difficult to remove.

Head Thickness

The axe head thickness greatly determines the chopping force. Axes with a wider head could split materials with ease, using opposing pressure instead of slicing forces. Wide-headed axes are suited for splitting small logs into firewood.

On the other hand, thin-headed axes are similar to knives in terms of the way it cuts materials. They also work well with carving and smaller-scale chopping jobs. From a survivalist’s perspective, I would opt for a more heavy-duty axe with a thicker head, as I can foresee myself chopping large chunks of wood in the wilderness.

Poll Shape

Yes, the shape of the other end of the head matters too as a secondary tool. In general, the poll (back of the axe head) comes in two shapes, either hammer or spike.

Hammer polls work better for survival as it could be used as a tool for pitching tents. Furthermore, without any sharp ends, it is safer as a carry-on.

Spike polls could double as a digging tool through rocky grounds. It is also effective as a demolition tool and is widely featured in tomahawks nowadays.

Handle Length and Grip

The length of the axe’s handle is also an important characteristic which would be taken note off. A different handle length changes the chopping style of the axe.

With that in mind, there is a compromise between mobility and chopping power. Although a longer handle generally means improved chopping performance, it wouldn’t be the most convenient to carry around. Therefore, there needs to be a balance between a portable axe which is mobile but at the same time packs a punch.

Referring to the handle, the appropriate length would be when the tail could provide you with a secure grip. If it slips off, not only it is dangerous, you may risk damaging your axe or even the poll if it is sharp.

The tail should be covered with a material which provides a good grip. Some models have a rubber grip, while some have polished or lacquered wood grips. Textured tails provide better friction handling so that’s a good thing, while some may require some DIY tape layers.


It is vital that the axe that you are about to purchase would be able to withstand its application. This boils down to the material it is made up of. This could range from carbon steels for the heads, to wood for the handles.

Usually axes forged in single solid pieces of steel are stronger than those where the head and handle are detachable.


With technology, comes innovation, and with that comes multifunctionality. Axes are now more than it meets the eye. Some unique models contain additional tools stuffed in the handle such as a mini saw, combat knife, fire starter or even flashlights.

These add-ons are perfect for emergency situations and making these modern models an all-in-one tool which is something you do not see every day.

Best Survival Axe Comparison Table

ImageBrandNameWeightLengthMaterialPriceAdditional FeaturesBenefits
6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 36 Best Survival Axe of 2023 4Off Grid ToolsOGT-SA100 Survival Axe Elite1.60 pounds (0.72 kg)11.8 inches1055 Carbon Steel$$30 additional
features which
include hex
sockets, bottle
opener, pry bar
and 6-inch blade
Click For Latest Price6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 5Excellent novelty
and could replace
the conventional
swiss army knife.
Lightweight and
versatile for any
6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 66 Best Survival Axe of 2023 7EstwingE45A Camper’s Axe3.40 pounds (1.54 kg)26 inches1055 Forged Steel$$$Shock reduction
handle grip
Click For Latest Price6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 8Comfortable grip.
Axe head and top
portion of handle
are made from a
single steel piece
which resists
6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 96 Best Survival Axe of 2023 10FiskarsX17 Splitting Axe3.3 pounds (1.50 kg)27 inchesForged Steel$$Shock-absorbing
FiberComp handle
Click For Latest Price6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 11Suitable for heavy
duty use, superior
strength and grip
6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 126 Best Survival Axe of 2023 13GerberGator II Axe Combo1.78 pounds (0.81 kg)15.6 inchesForged Steel$$Built-in saw blade in
axe handle, Gator
grip handle
Click For Latest Price6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 14Lightweight and has
2-in-1 tool
6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 156 Best Survival Axe of 2023 16Cold SteelTrial Boss Axe2.70 pounds (1.22 kg)26 inchesDrop Forged 1055 Carbon Steel$$$NoneClick For Latest Price6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 17Rustic and
traditional axe
design. Design for
performance for
heavy duty usage
and good weight
6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 186 Best Survival Axe of 2023 19WilFiksChopping Axe2.64 pounds (1.20 kg)15 inchesForged Carbon Steel$Shock-absorbing
anti-slip grip
Click For Latest Price6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 20Economical and
compact in size.
Excellent for
carrying around
and good

Best Survival Axe – Technical Review

OGT-SA100 Survival Axe Elite by Off Grid Tools

6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 21

It doesn’t get any better than this when multifunctionality comes into play. This survival axe from Off Grid Tools come with 30 additional features which prepares you for every possible outcome you could think of out there.

The design consists of an all-steel head and tang with nylon handles. The hatchet edge could be sharpened and is great for small cutting jobs. The other edge has a claw and hammer which could come in handy to either extract or pound nails or pegs for your tent.

On the other end, there is an integrated, retractable and replaceable 6” saw blade which was deemed strong enough to cut through metal. The hatchet also has hex sockets of several standard sizes for twisting nuts and bolts. There is also a gas valve shut off wrench with a bottle opener, along with a pry bar and nail extractor.

The nylon handle provides a comfortable grip and has some additional features stored. The back end of the handle has a seat belt cutter and a steel glass breaker in case of emergencies or accidents that happen within a vehicle (automobile safety).

What to Look Out For

It is important to keep in mind that this axe is mainly for survival purposes and not for leisure (as some might think of it as a throwing axe). Tomahawks are more suited for throwing. With so many additional functionalities, the axe performance might be slightly weaker as the focus is distributed across so many other tools and is poor in weight distribution.

Despite the small size, the weight might be a repelling factor for some. Some survivalist might find the product slightly heavy in their bug out bag, but that is based on personal preference

My Take

I personally like the novelty of it. I view it like a large army Swiss knife with a myriad of functionalities. The size of the tool is great, as it could comfortably fit into my INCH bag if disaster strikes.

However, if you know what you’re going to expect, such as chopping down large blocks of wood, then this tool may not be suitable for you. The small hatchet blade would require more force and time to get the job done. You should invest in a full-fledged axe instead.

Technical Specifications

Item Weight1.60 pounds (0.72 kg)
Dimensions11.8 x 5.0 x 1.8 inches
Material1055 Carbon Steel (Tang), Glass-reinforced Nylon (Handle)
Blade EdgeCurved
VariationsHandle comes in black/red or black/green colours
Additional FeaturesHex sockets (3/8 in., 7/16 in., 1/2 in., 9/16 in., 3/8 in.), wire twist, nail puller, pry bar, box cutter, can opener, hammer and claw, gas valve shutoff wrench, bottle opener, seat belt cutter, hardened steel glass breaker, replaceable 6” Milwaukee Sawzall blade
Product WarrantyLifetime Warranty
Country of OriginUSA
Compact in sizeSmall hatchet blade could underperform for large jobs
Has an array of other functionalities which could come in handySome features may not be essential for survival
6” saw blade could be useful for smaller and more precise cutting jobs 
Lifetime warranty 

E45A Camper’s Axe by Estwing

6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 22

This camper’s axe is one of the more popular products from Estwing. The 26” camper’s axe is suitable for almost all situations, such as camping, hunting, farming and of course for survival.

The axe is made from solid high-quality steel which is hand polished and sharpened. During processing, the head also undergoes drop forging and tempering to increase its durability.

This axe also comes with a shock-reduction grip to absorb vibrations up to 70%. This reduces the strain on the hands when striking and more comfortable to hold.

With a weight of about 200 grams, it is very light weight and every set also comes equipped with a nylon sheath with a belt loop so that is easier to carry around.

What to Look Out For

It is important to consider that this axe is suited for light to medium-scale applications and not super heavy-duty chopping jobs. The axe could underperform if use repeatedly with high swinging forces and may potentially cause the handle to bend.

My Take

As a survival axe, the  aspect of mobility is important. With a lightweight feel of this axe, it is suitable to be a survival tool as super heavy-duty chopping is not expected. A balance between power and comfort should be considered for survival tools.

The head of the axe was shaped ideally for log chopping and for cutting firewood. Though highly versatile, I still feel that it sits within the realm for non-heavy duty applications.

If you are looking for a reasonably priced survival axe for light applications, rest assured you totally got yourselves covered.

Technical Specifications

Item Weight3.40 pounds (1.54 kg)
Dimensions26.0 x 7.0 x 1.0 inches
Material1055 Forged Steel (Axe Head), Steel (Handle)
Blade EdgeSlightly curved
Blade Length4.0 inches
VariationsSpecial edition (E45ASE) with black powder coating
Additional FeaturesShock reduction handle grip
Product WarrantyManufacturer Warranty
Country of OriginUSA
Has a shock reduction grip to reduce vibrational impactMay not be suitable for super heavy-duty applications
Constructed from high-quality steel 
Relatively lightweight 

X17 Splitting Axe by Fiskars

6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 23

This axe is mobile and easy to handle, with best applications in splitting small and medium-sized logs. The X-series from Fiskars combines excellent weight distribution, advanced blade shape as well as a super sharp edge to make every swing worth it.

Design of the X-series has gained the “best of the best” product design award in the garden category in 2010, where outstanding design quality is recognised. The unbreakable design makes chopping wood 3 times deeper and one-strike splits, making jobs a breeze.

The FiberComp handle which is stronger than steel has a vibration-absorbing chamber at the end which reduces strain of the user’s hands. Furthermore, the hardened, forged steel blade was deemed to not chip or break and inseparable from the handle due to its innovative PermaHead design.

What to Look Out For

Although slightly heavy, you can be assured that each swing of this axe is powerful and could possibly split logs in seconds. It is also important to note the handle length from the Fiskars axe/hatchet collection as they have various measurements, styles and applications to suit a plethora of users.

With every new axe, there is some sort of coating on the head which improves the axe’s performance through tough logs. This axe is no different and comes with a low-friction coating which prevents the axe from getting stuck.

The handle has decent grip in both dry and wet conditions. However, I feel that it would be better if the handle is wrapped with tape or paracord for extra protection.

My Take

In my opinion, this axe seems to be great representative from the extensive collection of cutting tools from Fiskars. The design seems flawless and with innovative technology, most of the checkboxes for an ideal axe is ticked. It is also reasonably priced for a full-length axe with exceptional Finnish quality.

However, if you are looking for something compact, you could consider the hatchet collection from Fiskars.

Technical Specifications

Item Weight3.3 pounds (1.50 kg)
Dimensions27.0 x 7.8 x 2.0 inches
MaterialForged Steel (Axe Head), FiberComp (Handle)
Blade EdgeFlat
Additional FeaturesShock-absorbing FiberComp handle
Product WarrantyLifetime Warranty
Country of OriginFinland
FiberComp handle was claimed to be more durable than steelThe steel head may rust over time if not oiled
Advanced bevel convex blade geometry adds power and makes the blade easier to remove from woodThe axe is quite heavy
Lifetime warranty 

Gator Axe II Saw Combo by Gerber

6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 24

Not only you get an axe, but even a saw as well with this combo. What a deal! Secretly hidden in the handle of the axe, never underestimate its function during emergency situations. The saw is strongly held in place using magnets in the axe’s handle.

This Gerber axe has a slightly curved blade which could easily chop through any type of regular wood. It was also deemed to plough through anything around 4 to 5 inches in depth. A regular axe which is easy to carry and does its job well.

What to Look Out For

This axe is on the ‘lighter’ end of the spectrum in terms of weight. This may be a put-off for some users as they may be sceptical about the saw being the core of the handle and is thus somewhat hollow. This makes the handle more prone to fracture if used to chop extremely hard materials or thick logs.

Another item to note is the saw blade that comes with it. The teeth of the saw may be too rigged and deep to saw wood but may be ideal for vines and branches. The deep rigged edge would cause it to be stuck in large logs and could damage the blade entirely.

Although it was deemed that the saw would be held securely by magnets in the handle, I do recommend removing the saw out of the axe before you start chopping. This eliminates the risk of the saw flinging out which would be a hazard.

Both the axe and saw handles have a Gator-textured grip material which improves grip and provides friction to the user for safe handling in both dry and wet conditions.

My Take

If you are going to get this tool as a gift and for its novelty, sure go for it. I do not recommend this saw for heavy duty chopping duties as it is not meant for that.

As a survival tool, you probably need as much help as you can get so the multifunctionality with a built-in saw could outweigh some small disadvantages depending on the situation. In terms of mobility, this is one of the best as it is extremely lightweight due to its hollow core

Technical Specifications

Item Weight1.78 pounds (0.81 kg)
Dimensions15.6 inches (overall axe length), 6.10 inches (saw length)
MaterialForged Steel (Axe Head), Glass-filled Nylon (Handle)
Blade EdgeFlat
Blade Length2.70 inches
Additional FeaturesA built-in saw blade which is stored in the handle of the axe, Gator Grip material on handles of axe and saw
Product WarrantyLifetime Warranty
Country of OriginUSA
2-in-1 tool functionalityHollow core of the handle which houses the saw blade
Gator Grip handle material improves grip in dry and wet conditionsInternal laminate for the handle is not full till the axe head
Extremely lightweight and easy-to-carryInternal saw blade could discharge if not held securely
Lifetime warranty 

Trail Boss Axe by Cold Steel

6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 25

Time for the big guns. This Trail Boss Axe by Cold Steel is a 27-inch full-fledged axe which really packs a punch.

With a European style head with a 4.5 inch cutting edge, you could be assured that it does serious damage with every swing. The durable straight-grained American Hickory handle provides sturdiness and strength to plough through any and every situation.

Although this is just a plain axe with no additional features, it could really do its job exceptionally well.

What to Look Out For

There was some confusion about the place of manufacture of the axe. Cold Steel Inc. is an American bladed tool manufacturer and dealer. They have manufacturing plants in USA, China, Taiwan and even India. Though there might be variations in place of manufacture, you could be assured that the quality preserved.

Similar to most but not all axes, the head and handle are two separate pieces which are more prone to fracture if the swinging force is too great. However, the craftsmanship of this axe is commendable and the chance of it breaking is minimal.

My Take

The weight distribution of this axe is great and could result in a deep bite into thick tree trunks or logs. Though slightly large at 26 inches in length, it is still mobile and could be strapped on to backpacks and INCH bags.

I do recommend this axe for outdoor use as I did have a trial run with this before. It is great for demolishing small to medium sized shrubs, bushes and logs. The axe is light and is not a burden to carry around. The length of 26 inches is ideal for me, considering my height and it provides enough momentum for maximum chopping force.

If you are looking for a traditional-styled axe without any additional features because you feel that it is redundant, this is an axe which you could opt for.

Technical Specifications

Item Weight2.70 pounds (1.22 kg)
Dimensions26.0 x 8.0 x 2.0 inches
MaterialDrop Forged 1055 Carbon Steel (Axe Head), American Hickory (Handle)
Blade EdgeSlightly curved
Blade Length4.5 inches
Additional FeaturesNone
Product WarrantyConditional Manufacturer Warranty
Country of OriginUSA
Stout straight-grained Hickory handleThe axe does not come with a sheath (cover)
Great head weight and overall weight distribution for maximum chopping performance 

15” Chopping Axe by WilFiks

6 Best Survival Axe of 2023 26

With a bright green finish, this chopping axe could easily chop off firewood, logs, twigs, branches and so much more. The axe is also designed for kindling so technically, this is all you need to start a bonfire, how great is that?

The axe head is made from durable forged carbon steel which improves its weight distribution, overall density and feel when chopping. This resharpenable blade makes the axe more durable and produces smoother as well as cleaner chops with a long-lasting performance.

Along with other trending axes, this axe also comes with an anti-slip grip and a fibreglass handle to resist fracture. Overall, the axe is comfortable and easy to handle, whilst providing maximum strike strength.

What to Look Out For

Although the axe comes with a rubber protective sheath for the axe blade which ‘should’ be pre-sharpened before shipping, there are cases where customers received chipped or damaged blades. If that happens, immediately report and return as it is protected under conditional manufacturer’s warranty. You should get be getting a replacement.

The handle comes with a textured rubber anti-slip grip. However, the texture is not deep enough and may not be long lasting due to wear-and-tear. So, my advice is to wrap the handle with an extra layer of tape or rubber grip for extra safety.

The rubber protective sheath only covers the blade part of the axe and not the whole axe head. This makes the whole axe head exposed and may be prone to damage, so you might want to DIY it or get it somewhere else.

My Take

The size of 14 to 15 inches is compact and just right in my opinion when it comes to mobility. I could strap it around my backpack, and would be ready to explore the wilderness. Slightly longer axes are fine if there is some sort of transport around (such as in a van or camping SUV). So, this axe is right up my alley.

I personally feel that this axe is quite versatile and durable for its price. It really is a bang for your buck. The material of the axe head and handle is strong and could withstand harsh conditions in the wilderness (all the help we need for survival). Good choice for beginners or intermediate users.

Technical Specifications

Item Weight2.64 pounds (1.20 kg)
Dimensions15.0 x 3.9 x 0.9 inches
MaterialForged Carbon Steel (Axe Head), Fibreglass (Handle)
Blade EdgeSlightly curved
Additional FeaturesShock-absorbing Anti-slip Grip
Product WarrantyConditional Manufacturer Warranty
Country of OriginUSA
Compact sizeTextured grip is shallow
Low in costProtective rubber sheath only covers blade and not the whole axe head
Axe blade can be resharpened with a file 

Final Thoughts

With that, I have reviewed 6 of the most promising contenders in the ‘axe’ category for survival. Although there are many more choices in the ‘hatchet’ and ‘tomahawk’ category, I tried to restrict the scope to full-fledged axes the best I can, however the optimal choice would highly depend on your application and scale of work.

I would personally get the 15-inch chopping axe by WilFiks on top of what I already have. The axe is economical so the is not much harm in adding this into my tool collection. The size is also compact, therefore there is not much trouble in adding this to my carry-on.

Hopefully these critiques could serve as a promising guide for you survivalists the next time you are looking for this versatile tool. So, chop-chop and get your axes ready!

Stay safe out there!

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