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19 Different Types of Axes & Their Uses (With Pictures)



An ax is an ancient tool that we’re all familiar with, but it may surprise you to find out how many types of axes there are. From splitting wood to cutting shingles, axes are versatile tools. We’ve checked every source to compile an exhaustive list of axes and what you use them for, and you’ll likely see a few you’re unfamiliar with.

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The 19 Different Types of Axes & Their Uses

Here are the 19 types of axes we have compiled for you.

1. Adze Axe

The adze is an ancient cutting tool shaped like an ax with the blade perpendicular to the handle. It is been used since the Stone Age and comes in two styles. A shorter design is for smoothing and carving wood, while the other is longer and used for agriculture and horticulture.

2. Broad Axe

biber broad axe

The broad ax gets its name from its large head, and you use it for shaping logs and flattening a surface. It has one beveled side and one flat side to facilitate the hewing of the wood. Because there are two sides to the ax, you can only use it in one direction, and there are right-handed and left-handed models of the broadax.

3. Carpenters Axe

Husqvarna 20 in. Wooden Curved Carpenter Axe

The carpenter’s ax is a small tool that’s not much bigger than a traditional hatchet. It’s for woodworking and log building and usually has a finger notch to allow precise control. The poll or butt of the ax is used as a hammer, and some models have a notch to pull out nails.

4. Crash Axe

The crash ax is a small and lightweight tool designed to be wearable. The police and rescue teams use them for forcible entry and rescue, and the most common place to see one is on an airplane. One unique feature of these axes is that they are made entirely of metal.

5. Double Bit Axe

1844 Helko Werk Germany Double Bit Axe

A double-bit ax is a versatile tool that gets its name from its two blades, one on each side of the head. Each blade looks the same, but only one is sharp. The sharp side is for chopping trees, and the dull side is for splitting wood.

6. Felling Axe

1844 Helko Werk Germany Classic Expedition Felling Axe

The felling ax is the most popular type of ax in use today. This versatile tool is for cutting trees and splitting wood. It has a long handle that allows for more leverage and a more powerful swing. The blade is thin with a flared shape and is designed to cut against the wood grain.

7. Forest Axe

A forest ax is a large tool for cutting large trees into smaller pieces. Their extra-long handle and massive head make them perfect for big jobs but too cumbersome for light-duty work. Like the felling ax, the forest ax has a flared blade and curved tip.

8. Grub Axe

Fitool mattock grub axe

The grub ax is also known as a mattock, and it’s a hand tool used for digging and chopping. It’s very similar in appearance to the pickaxe, and you use it for grubbing in hard soil. Many consider it the most versatile hand tool for gardening. It can break up the ground, pull the soil toward the user, and create holes to place seeds.

9. Hatchet

Estwing Sportsman's Axe Camping Hatchet on wood

The hatchet is a small hand ax for cutting and splitting wood. One side has a blade, and the other has a hammerhead for hewing when making flattened surfaces. They are lightweight and can be used with one hand or even thrown.

10. Hudson Bay Axe

Council Velvicut Hudson Bay Belt Hatchet

The Hudson Bay ax is a medium-sized ax developed in Canada. It’s for chopping firewood in cold weather, and you can use it with one or both hands, depending on the task. It’s the perfect size for camping trips and small sporting events but unsuitable for large jobs.

11. Hunter’s Ax

Estwing Hunter's Axe

As the name suggests, the hunter’s ax is a hunting tool. It features a grooved handle for an improved grip in any weather, and it allows you to skin an animal without damaging the hide. The biggest downside to the hunter’s ax is that they’re rare, and locating one is challenging.

12. Miner’s Axe

Council Tool 3.5 lb Dayton Pattern Miners Axe

The miner’s ax is a small handheld ax with a short handle to work in a confined space. The cutting blade is about 5 inches long, and the butt is square. It is good for cutting and splitting but only suitable for smaller jobs.

13. Pickax


A pickax is a T-shaped tool with a perpendicular blade used for prying. Many pickaxes have one pointy side and one flat side, while others have two pointy sides, but one side is longer than the other. These tools date back to ancient times and could be among the first axes invented.

14. Roofing Axe

Estwing roofer axe

A roofing ax might also be called a roofing hatchet. This tool typically has a blade on one side used for cutting shingles and a magnetized hammerhead on the other used for pounding in nails. The blade also has a notch that you can use to place shingles evenly over the roof.

15. Splitting Maul Ax

A splitting maul ax is a large tool similar to a sled hammer with a pointed ax head. It typically weighs between 6 and 8 pounds and features a longer handle for better leverage. The blade is dull, and it splits the wood through sheer force. The splitting maul ax requires a high level of physical fitness to manage.

16. Tactical Ax

Smith & Wesson M&P Extraction & Evasion Tactical Axe

The tactical ax is a modern tool designed to be more useful and versatile. It is incredibly popular among law enforcement and soldiers because it’s lightweight and well-balanced. You can chop or split wood, shovel, pry, hammer, and use it as a close-range weapon. Its all-metal design is exceptionally durable and provides the power required for any job.

17. Throwing Axe

Ridge Runner 17 Survival Camping Tomahawk Throwing Axe Battle Hatchet

Ax throwing is an increasingly popular sport, and the type of ax used can vary from region to region.  Most throwing axes are small with a longer handle and a sharp blade. These tools must be durable to withstand being thrown many times. Since they are designed for a unique sport, they are often much more expensive than ordinary axes.

18. Tomahawk

tomahawk on wood
Image Credit: Pixabay

The tomahawk is a single-handed ax that’s similar to the hatchet. The Native Americans in the United States created it as a general-purpose tool that was often used in hand-to-hand combat.

19. Viking Axe

viking axe close up
Image Credit: Pixabay

The Viking ax is often called the bearded ax. The beard is a bit of metal protruding from the blade’s side, creating a large cutting surface that keeps the weight low. It is usually gripped right behind the blade so you can use it to shave or plane wood. There are several variations of the Viking ax; the only feature they have in common is the beard.

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We hope you have enjoyed our look into the various axes and found a few you have not heard of before. If you are looking for a type of ax to buy for your home, we recommend the tactical or felling ax since they are the most useful. However, if you have a specific task that needs to be completed, you should get the best tool for the job.

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Featured Image Credit: Pixabay


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