gHeader image courtesy of SourceFed. Check out their YouTube video below if you want to know why wood chopping is one of the manliest activities you can partake in!
The 7 Best Splitting Mauls of 2020
Unless you’ve got a high-powered hydraulic splitter, the best wood splitting maul is a much better tool for chopping than a regular old axe. We’ve compiled these top choices of splitting maul for you to compare, review at your own pace, and finally pick the best splitting maul for your needs. Check out the full reviews to help make an informed choice and pick the right one for you!
Updated: March 9 2020
1. Gransfors Bruks
|Undisputed Best Choice|
|Premium Swedish manufacturing,
|Maul Head: 5.5lbs|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
The Gransfors Bruks wood splitting maul is undoubtedly one of the most capable axes on our list. This Swedish made axe is the clear favourite among most folks. The brand is well known in the industry as a premium manufacturer.
It is an incredibly well forged splitting maul and has a beautifully shaped and sharpened head and blade. The blade comes The handle is made of hickory, a good and sturdy reliable wood. The 31 inch handle is a perfect length, ergonomic and well-shaped to fit perfectly in your hands.
The head weighs 5.5 pounds, which is a little smaller than some of the other mauls on our list, but it is more than capable of chopping large logs with ease. The lighter head allows you to generate more speed during your swing, translating into a greater force on the log.
Another great feature of this splitting axe is the Overstrike Collar. The overstrike collar is the metal collar wrapped around the handle directly below the head. If you strike the log too close to the center, you may bash the handle directly on the log if your swing does not fully split the log.
The overstrike collar protects the handle from this abuse, which helps reduce damage to the handle, providing you with a longer lasting product. A wooden handle does require slightly more maintenance than a fiberglass or plastic one, but the look alone in our opinion is worth it.
The axe also includes a leather sheath to protect the wedge while storing and prevent dulling or other such damage. Plus it’s got a lifetime warranty to back it up.
Although the Gransfors Bruks splitting maul can be on the expensive side, you are paying for quality. You can check out what the forum users have to say, and Amazon reviews. This is undoubtedly the best splitting maul you can buy – if you’ve got the dough.
2. Helko Vario 2000
|Best for the Money|
|Legendary German manufacturing
Ergonomic contoured Hickory wooden handle
C50 High grade Carbon Steel
Leather sheath included
|Length: 36 inch|
|Maul Head: 6.7lbs|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
In the second spot on our list is the Helko Werk Vario 2000 splitting maul. This heavy duty maul is German-made with the highest quality materials – from the steel head to wood handle.
The handle is 36″ long compared to the Gransfors’ 31.5 inch handle. If you want a premium wood handled maul that’s longer, so you can generate more force, then you may want to consider the Helko.
Not only is it longer, but also heavier. It clocks in at a total of 8.5lbs, nearly 2lbs heavier than the GB maul, with a 6.7lbs head. The head is forged from high grade C50 carbon steel. It’s mounted to the handle in a unique way, making it less likely to break over time, and withstand many strikes.
The carbon steel head is also the only negative we could find with this maul, as carbon steel is prone to rust, vs stainless steel or other composites. But – carbon steel is also stronger and more durable, so as long as you care for it properly, it will perform better over time. Helko includes some oil to condition the blade to avoid rust, and you just need to make sure you give it a quick wipe, and store it inside.
The hickory handle of the Helko wood splitting maul is well finished, giving you a smooth surface to hold on to. It’s got a great contoured shape that’s ergonomic and easy to swing, so you won’t tire out quickly. The 36 inch handle may be longer than some shorter folks would like, but it’s also better for generating more force.
Overall, this is an awesome product, one of the best splitting mauls you can buy, and on our list as the best for the money since it’s often available at a cheaper price than the Gransforks Bruks.
3. Fiskars IsoCore 36″
|A Close Second|
|Length: 36 inch|
|Maul Head: 8lbs|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
The Fiskars Splitting Maul is the first non-wood handle model on our list of reviews. This axe features Fiskars’ patented IsoCore Shock Control System in the handle. The handle is constructed of thick plastic, with a steel-reinforced fiberglass core for extra strength.
The inside of the IsoCore Shock proof handle is also insulated to reduce shock and force to your hands while splitting. It’s clear that Fiskars put a lot of thought into the design of this tool. The handle is contoured, fitting comfortably in your hands, and is also textured for a better grip – great for that extra grip when your work gloves or hands get a little wet or sweaty.
Less slipping means less blisters. Fiskars also has include their version of an overstrike collar at the top of the Iso Core handle. The handle directly below the wedged head is a thicker, durable plastic which functions to protect the main handle of the splitting maul from damage – an overstrike collar.
The Fiskar features an 8lbs head that is made of heat-treated forged steel and a rust-resistant coating. The head has more than enough weight to generate the force required to split most logs. It can be a bit heavy for some, which may cause some folks to tire out a bit quicker.
The back of the axe has a hammer-head end, which can be used to use a secondary wedge to split those really stubborn logs. The Fiskars is also one of most affordable of the axes on our list, so if you’re looking for an effective, powerful wedge on a budget, this is a great choice if you’re looking for the best wood splitting maul you can buy.
4. Fiskars X27
|Third Choice is the Charm|
|Reinforced isocore handle
|Maul Head: 4.5lbs|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
Not surprisingly, Fiskars is on our list twice, this time with the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe. This model is sort of like a hybrid of an axe and a splitting maul. The head is smaller and more narrow than the IsoCore maul, but it still provides ample torque and weight to split your wood quickly and efficiently.
While the edge of the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe is said to be razor sharp, it’s not like an axe would be, it still is slightly on the blunt side, making it easier to split wood. The blade is covered with a special coating that reduces friction which allows for easier splitting once you connect.
The handle of the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axedoes not have the core technology like the other Fiskars, but is still made with their FiberComp technology which provides so-called “stronger than steel” performance. It also lacks an overstrike collar which would provide extra strength on the shaft right below the maul head. We have seen these break in that spot, particularly in very cold weather after 2+ season of use.
Replacing the handle on a maul isn’t too difficult for wooden ones but can be a little more difficult for these synthetics. But, the lifetime warranty should take care of any similar issues, however. Online reviews are extremely positive as well of the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe.
The 36 inch shaft of the Fiskars X27 Super Splitting Axe may be a bit long for some users, but if you’ve got large, wet logs to get through you want that extra torque. Taking the price point into account, you can’t go wrong with this model. It’s one of the best splitting mauls on the market, especially considering the lifetime warranty that goes along with it.
5. Husqvarna 32″
|A Good Budget Option|
Premium wooden handle
No overstrike collar
|Maul Head: 6lbs|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
Husqvarna is a well-recognized name across various industries. Husqvarna is a Swedish manufacturer of various types of tools, and the brand is well-respected, and well accepted to make great quality products. Their splitting mauls are no exception, though it doesn’t quite compare to a more premium brand like GB.
This splitting axe has a 6lbs maul head for a total weight of around 7lbs, making it one of the lighter options on the list. Weight is one of those things that is a trade-off. A heavier maul is sometimes more desirable as it produces more force. But, a lighter maul is easier to maneuver and for a wider variety of people to use. If the wood you need splitting isn’t extremely hard, twisted and knotty, this 6lbs maul head should do just fine.
Plus, the head of this maul has been reinforced using a hardening forge technique, so for very difficult pieces you can use a sledge hammer to hit the back of the ax to get through those stubborn logs. Unfortunately, this model does not feature an overstrike handle, which is another downside to this axe. If you’re missing your target a lot, it can place a lot of stress on the handle directly below the head of the axe, so many axes thicken the material or place a collar on it to disperse the force.
Otherwise, the handle is your standard hickory, and after some linseed oil treatment and a little elbow grease it should condition itself into a beautiful handle over time.
A handle of 32 inch length is a great versatile size, as it’s comfortable for almost everyone to use. Overall, this isn’t the best splitting maul on the list, but for a reasonably affordable, lighter, wooden-handled model, Husqarna proves itself to be a safe choice, as expected.
6. Estwing Fireside Friend
|The Best Small Maul|
|Forged in One Piece
Heavy Duty Sheath Included
Genuine leather handle
Made in the USA
Perfect for camping and by the fire
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
The Estwing Fireside friend is a perfect companion for any situation where a full sized maul is not convenient. This might be camping, sitting by the fire, or before you’re bringing in wood for a wood burning stove or furnace.
At just 4lbs, it’s easy to use with a single hand. But, it’s still got enough weight to making splitting a breeze. The large, wide wedge maul head is designed specifically for splitting wood. It’s forged from a single piece of metal, making it incredible durable.
Because of the metal unibody construction, Estwing applied a shock absorbing leather handle to their splitting mauls making it comfortable to use, even if you’re working on wetter, harder woods. You’re not going to get the same kind of power or splitting action as a dedicated maul with a 30″ handle, but that’s not what this is for.
In that regard, the Estwing Fireside friend is pretty self evident what it’s best for: quick splitting when by the fire. It made our list of the best splitting mauls due to the needs that it satisfies. It’s an affordable option, and perfect for when you need wood for the fire, fast.
7. Wilton Tools 36″ BASH
|Good Budget Choice|
|Refinforced steel handle
2 year 300% warranty (more on that below)
|Length: 36 inch|
|Maul Head: 8lbs|
|CHECK PRICE ONLINE|
The Wilton Splitting Maul is another synthetic handled model that is really making a name for itself in the wood chopping community. Wilton has manufactured this axe with “unbreakable technology”.
They’ve actually reinforced the handle with steel rods to eliminate any risk of cracking or breaking like a wooden handle would, even when over striking. Wilton is actually so confident in their unbreakable handle, that they offer a 2-year, $1000 warranty should the handle break from regular use. That’s right, if the handle breaks from regular wear and tear over 2 years, Wilton will give you $1000.
They’ve tested the Wilton to 25,000 overstrikes, so you know that this tool can really take a beating. The handle is also covered in a non-slip vulcanized rubber grip, which eliminates any hand slip, which could lead to blisters or more dangerous injuries.
Similar to the Fiskars, this Wilton features an insulated shock-reducing handle that absorbs the vibrations that would normally make your hands and arms shake – especially from the steel rods being struck.
The bright green recognizable hi-visibility wedged maul head is an 8lbs crusher that will easily handle any log you put it in its way. It’s definitely on the heavier side, due to the 8lbs maul head and steel handle, but that only makes it easier to split the logs once you get it swinging. The Wilton is an excellent choice for most situations, holding its own against the best splitting mauls of 2020.
Need More Information?
Did these wood splitting maul reviews help you choose the best wood splitting maul for your needs? If you’re still unsure, here’s some more information about what to look for when choosing a splitting maul. You will learn the difference between an axe head, and a maul head, how to chop wood effectively with good technique, and more.
Choosing the Best Splitting Maul and What to Look For
When choosing a wood splitting axe, there are a few things to consider. Will you prefer a handle made of wood or synthetic and metal materials. Synthetic material such as a fiberglass/steel combo handles function to reduce shock and may be more resilient than wood handles. How heavy of a wedge maul head do you want? Synthetic/metal handles tend to be heavier than wood handles since they are reinforced with steel. A heavier wedge will provide greater force, but it will be more tiring to use. You should also ask yourself how much are you willing to spend. Some chopping axes can seem expensive; however cheaper models will also be manufactured from cheaper materials. You really do get what you pay for and if you plan on using your axe for a while, the investment will be worth it.
Still not convinced? Maybe this video will help.
What is a Wood Splitting Maul?
While most people may think that the most often used tool for splitting logs is an axe, they are likely just confusing axes with mauls. It is the preferred tool in most cases when splitting. While a traditional axe and a splitting maul have many common features, they are two distinct tools with different ideal uses.
The Difference Between an Axe and a Splitting Maul
An axe and a splitting maul are two extremely similar tools, and to most people they may not know the difference – everything to them may just look like an axe. But, axes and splitting mauls differ widely, and mostly in three distinct ways:
- Head size: a splitting maul’s head is often much broader and larger than an axe’s. The wider, broader head allows it to more smoothly split between wood fibers to split the wood. An axe is designed to chop, not to split.
- Weight: a maul is often larger and heavier than an axe. This also provides better splitting capabilities – often associated with the larger, wider head, a heavier head produces superior forces up on the wood.
- Sharpness: a maul usually has a thick and blunt edge while an axe’s blade is sharp and honed. This is because the axe is designed to slice fibers perpendicular to the blade, while the maul doesn’t need to be sharp, and would just get stuck in the fibers during splitting. The duller blade allows the maul head to take the path of least resistance down the long fibers of wood.
Again, while both tools are quite similar, their unique design features make them best suited for different tasks.
Ideal Uses for An Axe:
Because of an axe’s design, with its sharp blade and thin head, it is best suited for chopping wood, not splitting wood. In other words, axes should be used to cut down trees and the resulting logs into smaller pieces. The sharp edge of an axe cut through wood fibers and as the axe travels through the wood, the rest of the thin blade slices through deeper fibers. Once the blade begins to thicken near the broad head, it separates the wood and allows wood chips to escape the incision area. Because the force of your swing when using an axe is focused into a thin, sharp blade, when chopping wood you will find that the blade will sink deeply into a log but perhaps not effectively split the log.
Ideal Uses for a Splitting Maul:
In the same way that trying to split wood with an axe is like swimming upstream, trying to chop (cut) wood with a splitting maul is equally difficult. Because of the thick and blunt edge of splitting mauls, trying to cut wood with one would be extremely arduous.
But, we’re not looking to chop with a splitting axe, we want to split! And for that, it’s the perfect tool. Swinging the large heavy heads of splitting mauls will produce a great force focused into the blunt V-shaped head. The dull blade of splitting mauls is still thin enough to find its way in between the strands of wood and with the thick head of the maul – combined with the downwards force of your swing – will push apart the log effectively along the grain, splitting wood with much greater ease.
The best splitting maul will have a large, heavy wedge-shaped maul head. The splitting axe uses its large weight and momentum to crush wood and split logs along the grain. The timestamped clip below also gives a good example of an axe vs maul, despite his bad English!
Technique for Splitting Wood
When splitting wood with a splitting axe/splitting maul, it is important to use proper technique as to not injure yourself. Injuries could result from improper handling of the maul (hitting a finger, foot or leg) or just from not ergonomically using the tool, hurting your back, arms, shoulders, neck and more.
Replacing a Splitting Maul Handle
Over time, and after hours of use, you may find that the handle of your splitting maul has broken or needs replacing. Many warranties do not actually cover broken handles, so this may be something you need to learn to do. It’s actually pretty easy to do on your own, and we wrote up a great guide on how to replace a splitting maul handle which you can check out for directions.
How to Maintain Your Splitting Maul
Even the best products require some maintenance to keep them in tip-top shape, and splitting mauls are no different. The most important thing to remember is to keep the maul dry and under cover when not in use. Although many splitting mauls have stainless steel or rust-resistant heads, some are carbon steel that will rust. Water damage can also affect wood and synthetic handles. You can check out this article if you want to learn more about maintaining your splitting maul.
We hope this article helped you pick the best splitting axe for your needs! Comment below with questions, and let us know which one you ordered!