Not all hatchets are created equally. A hatchet is a big investment, and you need to understand what you’re buying before you hand over your hard earned cash.
You need to make sure you’re getting a hatchet that will work the way you need it to work.
Finding the Best Hatchet for The Money
Hatchets can be somewhat expensive.
Cheap hatchets might seem like a great deal, but if they break shortly after you buy them, they weren’t really worth the money at all.
When you’re seeking the best hatchet for the money, you need to consider all the components of the hatchet.
If they’re all durable and built to last, the hatchet is worth your investment.
Full tang hatchets are better for weight distribution, and they’re also less likely to break.
Wooden handled hatchets are rarely full tang, but they’re also designed to balance well. If you’re getting something with a plastic handle or a coated grip handle, you want to make sure that the hatchet is full tang.
It’s less likely to split.
Some people strictly prefer wooden handled hatchets. It’s a timeless design, and they’re always balanced well.
Hatchet handles can’t be made out of any kind of wood – they require very hard woods which are often expensive.
Expect to pay more for a wooden handle, but expect the quality that comes with it.
If you’re getting something with a plastic coated handle, make sure the grip is good for all weather conditions and that the hatchet is full tang.
There’s nothing wrong with a plastic handle as long as it has great interior support.
The Best Way to Sharpen a Hatchet
Hatchets dull very quickly, even if they’re excellent hatchets. Before you buy one, you need to make sure you know how to take care of it.
Trying to use a dull hatchet will cause it to chip and break prematurely.
Filing a Hatchet
Filing a hatchet is a beginner friendly technique. While holding the handle between your knees or clamping it in a vise, follow the bevel of the hatchet with a mill file.
Use the same amount of strokes on each side. Check periodically to make sure the bevel is even on both sides.
It’s a long and slow process, but it’s really hard to mess up. If you’re not comfortable with tools, this is the best way to do it.
Filing only really works for touchups. If the blade has gone completely dull, grinding is your only option.
Grinding is a little more difficult, and you might want to practice it on old tools before you test it with your new hatchet.
Grinding a Hatchet
Grinding wheels will get the job done fast, but they require a higher level of skill to use properly.
You’ll need safety goggles and gloves, because sparks will fly. Turn on the grinding wheel, and follow the bevel down on both sides, drawing it back and forth.
Only do a few passes at a time – it’s easy to grind more if you need it, but you can’t undo it if you grind too much.
The Best Hatchet Brands & TOP 10 Reviews 2019
So who makes the best hatchet?
That’s up to you to decide. There are plenty of great hatchets out there, but they’re only great if they’re the right kind of hatchet you need.
When you’re looking for the best backpacking hatchet, you’ll want something durable and portable.
When you’re looking for the best camping hatchet, power and weight are probably a little more important.
You need to consider how you plan to use your hatchet, and work backwards from there.
Fiskars makes all kinds of blades – everything from household scissors to camping axes.
They’re a brand you can trust whenever you need to cut something. They use ergonomic, consumer friendly designs that appeal to just about everyone.
Everything they make is affordable and easy to use. If you’re out for the best hatchet for the money, you’ll find that many of the Fiskars products fit the bill.
Fiskars X11 Splitting Axe, 17-Inch
This small splitting axe is reasonably priced, and perfect for processing wood at a campsite or building a small shelter.
It’s the midpoint between an axe and a hatchet. It has the power of an axe, but the compact portability you would expect in a great traditional hatchet.
- Comes in four sizes, and the largest size comes in an axe and hatchet combo kit. If you like the style of this model, you have plenty of options.
- Slightly larger size makes this the best camping hatchet for long term campsites.
- Non slip grip with a shock absorbing handle makes it almost impossible to break this tool.
- A little larger than most camping hatchets.
Fiskars X7 Hatchet 14 Inch
If budget is a concern, this is the best cheap hatchet you can find. It’s designed to be wielded like a baseball bat – the strength ratio comes from a perfectly balanced weight, and the reliable cutting head is ideal for kindling and small trees.
The size is nice and compact, and the reinforced plastic coated handle prevents splintering or shattering.
- Powerful, but easy to carry. This is the best hiking hatchet for people who want to pack light.
- Low friction coating on the blade keeps it sharp and prevents chipping.
- Insert mounted head is inseparable to prevent breaking.
- Since this hatchet is light and compact, it can’t be used for large cutting tasks.
Gerber is well known for their hiking, camping, and survival tools.
They’ve collaborated with adventurous experts to create the kind of specialty tools that outdoor enthusiasts really need.
All of their designs are intuitive, and most of their tools are multifunctional. You can carry less when you choose a Gerber tool – it serves so many purposes.
Gerber Bear Grylls Survival Hatchet
If you’re looking for the best survival hatchet, give this one some consideration.
It’s designed for ultimate portability, with its compact size being able to easily fit into a backpack or onto a tool belt.
The 3.5 inch blade is perfect for most campsite tasks, like building a shelter. In a pinch, it’s even the right size and shape to clean a fish.
- Nonslip rubber grip makes it easy to use this hatchet in wet environments.
- Comes with a mildew resistant nylon sheath for safe carry.
- Full tang hatchet is made of high carbon steel – it’s not likely to break.
- Handheld size tool isn’t ideal for large swinging motions, like a regular axe.
Gerber 14-Inch Hatchet
This slim hatchet can get the job done. Despite its compact size, it’s built to last. This is the best backpacking hatchet for people who need to assemble campsites or clear brush.
The composite handle is designed to absorb shock, saving your wrist when you’ve been chopping all day.
Combine that with the friction resistant coating on the blade, and it’s never been easier to process wood.
- Comes with an easy to use blade guard, preventing you from accidentally cutting yourself or your supplies when you carry this hatchet.
- The same model comes in 5 different sizes, with the smallest being 9 inch. If you need to save space, you can always go smaller.
- Hefty enough for some light bushcraft work, but light enough for a camping bag.
- Since it’s made for forged steel, it might take a while to sharpen properly.
Schrade makes a full range of campsite tools.
They cater to every market, from hunting gear to tactical weapons. They know construction well, and they can make anything out of steel.
They offer the highest quality tools for a fraction of the price that their competitors charge.
Though some of their offerings are a little more expensive, you can be certain that you’re always going to get the best hatchet for the money when you choose a Schrade.
Schrade SCAXE5 Tactical Hatchet Full Tang
This is an incredibly versatile full tang hatchet. It’s any tool you need it to be – even a weapon for hunting.
This is the kind of hatchet you’ll want for a long trip. It’s the best backpacking hatchet, especially because of all the functions it offers.
Build a campsite, clear the path, and cook a meal with this tactical hatchet.
- Full tang means this hatchet’s head won’t split off. If you need it for a heavy duty job, you can count on it to come through.
- The nail pull and pry bar are nifty little bonuses. You’ll find as many uses for this hatchet around the house as you will around the campsite.
- Glass filled nylon handle gives you the weight you need for powerful swings.
- Blade is stainless high carbon steel, so it takes a while to refine the edge.
Schrade SCAXE2G Survival Hatchet
This hatchet is very simple, but it delivers as far as quality is concerned.
The phosphorescent green handle makes this hatchet perfect for a campsite, where you need your tools to be easy to find after you’ve set them down.
The ergonomic shape makes this hatchet easier to use, relieving hand and wrist strain with its intuitive design.
- The ergonomic handle is glass filled and coated with a rubber grip. It won’t slip out of your hand, and it has the weight you need to cut efficiently. The hatchet does all of the work – not your wrist.
- Comes with a strong leather sheath to protect the blade. This sheath makes it easy and safe to travel with the hatchet.
- There’s a very large ferro rod stored inside the handle, and it’s easy to pull out by the lanyard. Use your hatchet as a fire starter.
- The overall length of the hatchet is less than 12 inches. While this is good for carry, it doesn’t offer a far reach.
Husqvarna is one of the best hatchet brands.
It’s a well known fact that Swedish steel is one of the highest quality materials for cutting tools.
All of Husqvarna’s steel is hand forced in Sweden, and that says a lot about the reliability and durability you can expect when you buy a Husqvarna hatchet.
This brand makes every kind of hatchet and axe you can imagine, so you’ll never have a tough time finding the right one for your next camping trip.
Husqvarna 13-Inch Wooden Handle Hatchet
This is a traditional style tool. So many hatchets these days have metal or plastic coated handles.
This one is wood – the way all of the classic sportsman hatches used to be made.
The curved handle fits perfectly into the hand, and the hickory wood is heavy and reliable. The hand forged edge is almost impossible to match in terms of quality.
- Comes with a durable leather sheath to protect the blade edge for storage and travel.
- Swedish steel will hold up, even after being sharpened dozens of times.
- The total weight of the hatchet is 2.4 pounds, making it easy to transport in an overnight camping bag or hiking backpack.
- Since the handle is all wood, there is no nonslip grip. Be careful when using this hatchet in wet environments.
Husqvarna H900 13″ Composite Hatchet
This composite hatchet is a hiker’s dream.
The plasticized and rubber casing on the handle provides a superior grip in wet conditions, so you can safely use the hatchet no matter the weather conditions.
The head is treated with a friction reducing coating for a smooth chop. The balance point in this hatchet is located close to the head, giving you ideal balance and more power when you swing.
- The back edge of the hatchet functions as a hammer, giving you two tools in one.
- Weatherproofed and designed specifically for hikers and outdoor workers.
- Bright orange color of the handle makes it easy to spot this hatchet outdoors. You won’t lose it at the campsite.
- Hammer end can’t be used with steel splitting wedges – they’ll damage the hatchet.
Gransfors Bruks is a brand you probably haven’t heard of before, but they’re the absolute kings of camping tools.
Swedish steel and hardwood handles are used to create some of the most high quality tools on the market.
Though most casual campers will consider these tools to be little pricey, serious camping enthusiasts will understand the value in paying more for tools that are designed to last an eternity.
Gransfors Bruks Hand Hatchet
This is a mini hatchet that’s easy to pack in any bag. It’s 9.5 inches long, and it comfortably fits in the hand. It can be used to carve and chop just about anything.
The hardwood handle is thick and curved to fit perfectly into the hand. The head is forged from a special kind of Swedish steel that can last decades without chipping as long as its properly maintained.
- Short length and thick ergonomic grip make this the best hatchet for carving. It can also be the best hatchet for bushcraft if you have intricate tasks to tend to.
- Comes with a custom fitted leather sheath to protect the blade when you’re out and about.
- This is a one-handed hatchet, which offers you ultimate control.
- It is rather pricey for a short hatchet.
Gransfors Bruk Wildlife Hatchet
This is it! This is the classic woodsman hatchet, exactly like an old time lumberjack would use.
All Gransfors Bruk improved on the age old design, using sturdier wood and harder steel than most companies used in the past.
Nothing has ever been more reliable than this hatchet. It’s probably just like the one you grandfather used, but even better.
- 5 inch length gives you a good reach, but also optimum control.
- Comes with a tanned vegetable leather blade sheath – it’s tough, and it won’t snag or rip while you travel.
- The handle is oil finished, rather than varnished. It won’t get slippery when it’s wet.
- This is a very expensive hatchet, because it’s made with the highest quality materials.
Deciding On The Best Hatchet For Your Next Trip Outdoors
Hatchets aren’t always simple.
The best hatchet for backpacking will always be something easily portable, and the best hatchet for camping might need to be a little larger.
Think about what you need from your tool and how much money you’re willing to spend before you make a purchase.
Just remember that some hatchets are definitely worth the splurge – they’ll last an eternity.