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Best Splitting Maul of 2017

by | Jun 13, 2017 | Reviews

So, you’ve gotten your hands on a bunch of chopped up logs, yet they’re just too damn big to put on your fire in one go, what do you do? The answer is a splitting log, and unlike its camping cousin, is designed to cut along the grain of a log, rather than chop through it.

A decent maul has a heavier head than a simple axe. This allows you to split entire sections of log in one smooth hit and makes the creation of firewood easy. They also have much longer handles, allowing you to use more leverage as you swing.

In this round up, we’ve looked at 5 of the best splitting mauls out there. There’s everything in our guide, from smaller splitting axes, to huge 36-inch splitters for the heaviest logs!

Summary Tables




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Helko Vario


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ISO Core

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"Fireside Friend"

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MaterialSteel/Plastic HandleC45 HCS/Wooden HandleSteel/Plastic HandleSteel/Rubber GripSteel/Wooden Handle
Weight5.85 lbs8.5 lbs10.3 lbs4 lbs7 lbs
ProsA well-priced maul that does exactly what it should. It’s also well-made and should provide years of solid use.Beautifully crafted piece of equipment with every piece working as it should.As close to wood as you’ll get as far as shock absorption goes. It’s also well priced and comes with a lifetime warranty.The cheapest maul on review and the smallest, perfect for camping trips.Absolute quality, perfect maul head and great feel.
ConsIt’s not a traditional wooden axe handle but a metal/polymer creation. The head is medium weight at most.You’ll pay for the privilege of using such a nice item.Cannot compete with the Helko for quality, then again, these axes compete at wildly different price ranges.Everything else is a compromise, you really want something bigger for home firewood use.Even more expensive than the Helko, the Gransfors is an investment piece for those who split logs on a daily/weekly basis.

Summary Tables

The Best Splitting Maul of 2017!

1. Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe

17-36 inches

Our Rating:   (4.8/5)
Virtually Impossible to Break  
Axe Material  Steel
Weight  5.85 lbs

The great thing about the Fiskar X27, is that the handle is indestructible. We’ve heard accounts of pickup trucks running over the X27 – without a scratch!

Like most splitting mauls, it features a more convex blade at the tip. Most quality splitting mauls have this design and the Fiskars is no different.


· Size options including 17-Inches right up to 36.

· You can purchase an optional knife sharpener with the maul.

· Lifetime warranty

· Virtually unbreakable

In Use

I gotta say, I’m far more impressed by a solid wooden handle than a metal one. Unfortunately for me, the Fiskars is solid steel with a tactile coated finish and orange rubberised handle.

Even so, the maul feels nice and weighted in use, and while the head isn’t that heavy, it’s just enough to give you a decent chance of a “one strike” cut. Whilst in the subject of cuts, it does manage to make short work of most logs, even knot filled and nasty ones.

The handle is nice to hold and even after an hour’s use didn’t leave any blisters or sore spots.

2. Helko Vario 2000

Made in Wuppertal, Germany

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Material German C45 High Grade Carbon Steel
Length 36 Inches
Weight 8.5 lbs

The Helko is a wonderfully made, wooden handled splitter that’s manufactured in Germany. Whilst it’s probably not “pickup truck proof” in the same way as the Fiskars, it’s still a brilliant piece of craftsmanship to behold.


· Blade manufactured from C45 grade stainless steel.

· Swiss made American Hickory.

· Curved, one piece handle shaped ergonomically.

· Leather sheath, made in the USA from cowhide leather.

In Use

The first thing to know about the Helko, is just how much of a beauty it is! It’s extremely well balanced with a heavy 6-pound head, just about perfect for log splitting.

I managed many one strike cuts with the Helko, and as the head blade is both convex and heavy, I always felt confident I’d have a decent chance of getting through even tough logs easily.

As for the handle, it’s perfect! Made from a single piece of American Hickory that’s been curved to give that traditional axe handle look, it really feels nice in the hand. If you’re planning on doing a lot of chopping, this is probably the maul you want by your side.

3. Fiskars ISO Core

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Material Steel
Splitting Face  
Weight 10.3 lbs

Another splitting maul from Fiskars, this time it has a full 35-inch handle plus a much larger head, weighing in at 8 pounds.

As you’d expect from Fiskars, the quality is right up there and this maul comes with some cool features.


· 36-inch steel/polymer handle.

· 8-pound convex head, wedged to allow perfect one hot cuts.

· IsoCore anti shock system stops the vibrations from transferring to your body during use.

· Lifetime warranty.

In Use

If the X27 is the lower side of the Fiskars range, then the ISO 36 is at the higher end. Everything here gets a solid upgrade, from the better design of handle, higher quality head and a more solid feel.

You can feel the quality of the design whilst using it. The head is nice and heavy, which gives you confidence when trying to take a one strike cut. The IsoCore shock control sounds like a gimmick on paper, in use it really does dampen vibrations from reaching your body. For anyone who has used a cheaper metal axe that causes a mild version of “vibration white finger”, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The Fiskars ISO 36 really does stop this from happening, even more so than the X27.

If you’re looking to get away from wooden mauls, yet want to keep some of woods natural shock absorbing tendencies, the ISO 36 is not a bad maul to buy.

4. Estwing “Fireside Friend”

with Shock Reduction Grip

Our Rating: (4.8/5)
Material Steel
Forged in One Piece  
Weight 4 lbs

I know what you’re thinking, “this isn’t a maul”. Yes, that’s true, yet we felt it was worth including a smaller camping axe for those who need to store their maul when on the move.

The Estwing managed to pack in similar features to the Fiskars above, yet in a smaller and cheaper package.


· 4 Pound head, not a bad weight for a smaller maul.

· Nylon shock absorbing handle.

· One piece forged.

· Extremely strong steel, almost unbreakable.

In Use

At just shy of $30, the little Estwing cannot hope to compete with some of the other mauls reviewed. It does however perform reasonably well, working as a splitting maul and general chopping axe.

The head is a half-way house between a true, wedged splitting design, and a much sharper cutting blade. This jack of all trades design sort of works, yet by trying to be all things to all men it really ends up doing both jobs “okay enough”.

The weight of the head is too light to take any one strike hits. I found myself automatically taking more hits to split logs, which proved to be quite tiring when clearing many logs.

Whether you choose the Estwing really comes down to space. Be warned though, this maul is a compromise in every way.

5. Gransfors Bruks

Total Length: 31.5″

Our Rating: (4.2/5)
Material Steel
Cuts Like Butter  
Weight 7 lbs

Nice! We get to review another solid quality wooden maul with a wonderfully weighted head (8 pounds). This splitting maul offers a one piece wooden handle, amazing quality convex cutting blade, plus it also has the second heaviest head in our review.


· One piece wooden handle, sculpted in a traditional way.

· 20-year guarantee.

· Made in Sweden.

· Leather holster, made from vegetable tanned leather.

In Use

The most expensive maul in our review, this puppy comes in at almost $190, $20 more than the Helko. The most important question we wanted to answer with the Gransfors, was where that cash has gone!

One thing we cannot deny with the Gransfors, is the sheer quality of the tool. The handle is even better quality than the Helko, plus the head is ever so slightly heavier.

In use, the axe feels solid, and I could dispatch logs with extreme ease. In this way, you can easily compare the Gransfors with the Helko, they really are similar beasts.

Getting back to the head, the Gransfors is only slightly heavier than the Helko, yet this small upgrade makes a huge difference. I could take one strike hits with consistency and of all the mauls we reviewed, this was the one I would keep returning to time and again.

Round Up

The absolute winner, ignoring price, must be a straight up fight between the Helko and the Gransfors. Both are extreme quality items and probably what a seasoned outback guy would want to purchase.

Of course, not everyone has nearly $200 to throw down on a maul, so the question is, which axe balances the cost with a decent built quality and user experience.

If you want something that will last the test of time and provide a decent cut, then the Fiskars ISO 36 is what you’ll want. It’s metal handle provides shock absorption that’s as close to a wooden maul as you’ll get, plus you benefit from the sheer strength and longevity of a solid steel unit.

For the campers out there, you really need to try and free up some space for a 36-inch maul before settling on the Estwing. I use the word “settle”, because that’s exactly what you’ll be doing.

It’s cheap, small, yet not that cheerful!

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