5 Best Splitting Mauls of 2018

Sep 3, 2018 | Camping, Reviews

So, you’ve got your hands on a bunch of chopped up logs, yet they’re just too big to put on your fire in one go, what do you do? The answer is a splitting maul, 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 roundup, we’ve looked at 5 of the best splitting mauls out there. There’s everything in our guide, ranging from smaller splitting axes to huge 36-inch splitters for the biggest logs.

Top 5 Splitting Mauls

NameWeightMaterial 

Fiskars

5.85 lbs

Steel/Plastic Handle

Check Price

Helko Werk

8.5 lbs

C45 HCS/Wooden Handle

Check Price

Fiskars

10.3 lbs

Steel/Plastic Handle

Check Price

Estwing

4 lbs

Steel/Rubber Grip

Check Price

Gransfors Bruks

7 lbs

Steel/Wooden Handle

Check Price

Fiskars

Weight

5.85 lbs

Material

Steel/Plastic Handle

Check Price

Helko Werk

Weight

8.5 lbs

Material

C45 HCS/Wooden Handle

Check Price

Fiskars

Weight

10.3 lbs

Material

Steel/Plastic Handle

Check Price

Estwing

Weight

4 lbs

Material

Steel/Rubber Grip

Check Price

Gransfors Bruks

Weight

7 lbs

Material

Steel/Wooden Handle

Check Price

1. Best Overall

Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Sizes range from 17 to 36 inches
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Virtually unbreakable

The great thing about the Fiskar X27 is that the handle is indestructible. We’ve heard accounts of pickup trucks running over the X27 and leaving it 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.

I gotta say, I’m far more impressed by a solid wooden handle than hollow plastic one. Unfortunately for me, the Fiskars is still solid which breaks our mindset.

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. While 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.

Pros and cons

  • A well-priced maul that does exactly what it should. It’s also well-made and should provide years of solid use.
  • It’s not a traditional wooden axe handle but plastic. The head is medium weight at most.

2. Best Value

Helko Werk Splitting Maul

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • Blade manufactured from C45 grade stainless steel
  • Swiss made American Hickory handle
  • Curved, one-piece handle shaped ergonomically
  • Leather sheath, made in the USA from cowhide leather

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

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.

Pros and cons

  • A beautifully crafted axe perfect for splitting logs
  • Expensive

3. Best for Arthritic Hands

Fiskars Iso Core Maul

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • 36-inch steel/polymer handle
  • 8-pound convex head wedged to allow perfect cuts
  • Lifetime warranty
  • IsoCore anti-shock system

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.

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 while 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.

Pros and cons

  • 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.
  • Cannot compete with the Helko for quality, then again, these axes compete at wildly different price ranges.

4. Best for Camping

Estwing Fireside Friend Axe

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • 4-pound head
  • Nylon shock absorbing handle
  • Cold steel blade
  • Strong durable steel

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.

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”.

Whether you choose the Estwing really comes down to space. Be warned though, this maul is a compromise in every way. However, if you are camping, it’s the perfect compromise.

Pros and cons

  • The cheapest maul on review and the smallest, perfect for camping trips.
  • Everything else is a compromise, you really want something bigger for home firewood use.

5. Best in a Singular Piece

Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul

Our Rating

CHECK PRICE

Features

  • One piece
  • 20-Year Guarantee
  • Made in Sweden
  • Leather holster, made from vegetable tanned leather

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 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.

Getting back to the head, the Gransfors is only slightly heavier than the Helko, yet this small upgrade makes a huge difference. You can 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.

Pros and cons

  • Absolute quality, perfect maul head, and great feel.
  • Even more expensive than the Helko, the Gransfors is an investment piece for those who split logs on a daily/weekly basis.

Conclusion

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 plastic/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.

Clarence McCall

Editor for Survivalgearexperts.net

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