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Whether you’re practicing your axe-throwing skills or you need to cut enough wood to last for an entire winter, buy only the best axes made in the USA. Our list features USA-made axes that are durable and strong, plus they last forever.
About USA-Made Axes
My daughter-in-law attended an axe-throwing party and was immediately hooked on the sport. Believing she wasn’t very good at it, she asked someone to build a practice board for her at home. After buying her first axe and honing her throwing skills, she’s become an axe-throwing machine!
Although axe-throwing venues remain relatively new, axe-throwing competitions are not. Neither is the axe itself.
The axe has been around for literally thousands of years, and it arguably remains a household staple tool. From cutting small tree limbs to chopping wood, making campfire kindling to downing trees and more, look for the best-made axe that caters to the way you’ll be using it.
Handle: Look for an American hickory handle. American hickory wood makes the strongest, most durable handles.
Head: The head, where the blade is, should be made from American forged carbon steel.
Weight: For the newcomer, the axe handle should weigh around three pounds, and you can work your way up to heavier weights.
Size: Handles come in two lengths: full-size (also known as the felling handle), and the shorter handle, also known as the “boy’s axe.” Choose shorter handles for more efficient cutting; that means around 31 inches for a long handle and 28 inches for the boy’s axe, based on someone whose height is around six feet.
Common Types of Axes
Dozens of types of axes are made for a variety of uses, but this article focuses primarily on household uses.
Hatchet: A small hand axe used for throwing. It’s also used for cutting and splitting wood.
Felling Axe: A long-handled axe used for splitting wood. This is one of the most popular axes today.
Forest Axe: A large tool for cutting larger trees into smaller pieces of wood.
Grub Axe: Similar to a mattock, this hand tool is used in gardening.
Hudson Bay Axe: A medium-sized axe used for chopping firewood. It’s also an ideal size for taking on camping trips.
Hunting Axe: A specialty axe used for cutting both wood and meat, including the process of skinning an animal.
Splitting Maul: A heavy, long-handled splitting tool with a sledgehammer on one side of the head and a concave-shaped axe on the other side. It’s used for splitting wood along the grain.
Tactical Axe: A versatile, lightweight axe used in a variety of situations.
Throwing Axe: A small axe with a longer handle that's used in throwing games.
Tomahawk: A general-purpose axe originally made by North America’s indigenous peoples. It’s lighter than a hatchet and also has a more streamlined head.
If we don't feature one of these types in our list below, head on over to the company's website to see whether or not they make it.
Why Buy An Axe Made in the United States
Axes made from mass production are inferior in quality because, by nature, they're not assessed individually. Hand-forged axes, on the other hand, are quality tools that last a lifetime.
The highest quality axe costs more because it's made better and is made with the best materials. Spend a little extra upfront and buy an axe you’ll have forever as opposed to buying an axe that’s going to break.
The best steel is high carbon steel made in the USA. Many of the less expensive versions made overseas have heads made from products made of lesser-quality steel. The steel may have originated from other products, such as vehicles or equipment.
The best-made axes have handles made from hickory wood, whereas big box stores carry plastic handles. The wood’s grain should run parallel to the axe head.
Also, the handles should be plain, not varnished, and cared for by rubbing linseed oil. Varnished and painted handles tend to reduce friction and increase slippage. You don’t want your axe to slip out of your hands!
American Tomahawk is located in Tennessee. These tomahawk heads feature a 4.1-inch blade on one side and a hammer on the other side. The blade also showcases topographical map artwork. The wooden handles come from Tennessee hickory. Choose from utility tomahawks you can use for camping, backpacking, throwing, and more serious cutting and slicing.
While Best Made Axes closed its New York doors during the pandemic, you can find its axes today at Duluth Trading. Best Made Axes use USA, drop-forged steel and premium hickory from Appalachia to make its axes. Check out Best Made’s Hudson Bay axe where you can choose from six different painted handles. Note: Not everything Duluth Trading Co. offers is made in the USA, nor is everything Best Made sells made in the USA. Read each product description to ensure you're buying American made.
BLADED specializes in throwing tomahawks and axes for the competitive thrower. These are well-balanced and made from strong American hickory and steel. You can also use BLADED as multi-function tools for hunting, backpacking, camping, and chopping. Find BLADED online at Hatchets and Axes, or Amazon carries select BLADED products.
Brant & Cochran makes its axes in Maine. Check out the Allagash Cruiser, or pictured, the Dirigo Belt Axe. Both are made from American-sourced 1050 steel with ash and hickory handles, respectively. The Allagash is modeled after the traditional Maine wedge axe. The Dirigo Belt Axe is made for camping, canoeing, or splitting kindling. Shop the Brant & Cochran website, or shop select products at Forestry Suppliers, Huckberry, and Outdoor Gear Exchange. The company began in 1940.
Council Tool makes its premium axes in Lake Waccamaw, North Carolina. The company has been around since the late 1800s, formed by John Pickett Council, and is still going strong. Council Tool was tapped by the forestry service in the 1930s to make forest fire tools. Search all its axes, or filter your search for specific uses. We’re showing the Camp Carver axe. It measures 16 inches long and weighs 1.7 pounds. This is a multi-use axe with a premium hickory handle and a steel head. Shop this axe and more on the Council Tool website or on Amazon.
Although ECHO is a subsidiary of Japan’s Yamabike Corporation, the company manufactures a number of felling axes, hatchets, and splitting mauls, along with well-known power tools, in the USA. Actually, we discovered Council Tools makes a number of these products. The axes are made with 1060 carbon steel and hickory wood handles. Pictured is the HA-1282 limbing axe. The fawn handle is 28 inches long.
Illinois is home to Estwing’s main manufacturing facility, where the Estwing family and team make around 20 everyday use axes and tomahawk axes. It’s best known for its handles that have a shock reduction grip. Estwing forges its axes in one piece, making them durable. Estwing has been around since the 1920s. Pictured is the limited edition Sportsman’s Axe made completely from American steel. It has a leather handle and measures 13 inches long. Find this axe on the Estwing website, at Home Depot, or on Amazon. Find an Estwing hatchet at these same sources.
Forestry Suppliers carries a number of USA-made axes, including selections from Council Tool and Brant & Cochran. We’re highlighting the Council Tool sport utility Hudson Bay axe. It weighs two pounds and has an 18-inch curved handle made from hickory.
Started by two brothers in 2010, Hardcore Hatchets is housed in Hillsboro, Illinois. The founders also own Hardcore Hammers. The company prioritizes made-in-the-USA materials and employment. Hardcore Hatchets makes and carries a very nice selection of axes and tools. We’re showcasing the Give Me Liberty Axe, not only for its great name but also for its quality. Choose from the three-pound Raptor axe or the four-pound Ranger axe. You can also choose either 28-inch or 36-inch American hickory handles. This axe is ideal for chopping and splitting firewood. Shop the Hardcore Hatchets website or shop select products on Amazon.
Search “Made in USA” on the Hatchets and Axes website to find axes made from American brands such as BLADED, Snow & Nealley, and Council Tool. You’ll also find replacement handles made in the USA. Pictured is the Snow & Nealley single-bit axe. It comes in a 30-inch long handle and is ideal for felling a tree or splitting wood.
When you shop at this popular online store, be sure to enter “axes made in the USA” for American-made axes. Lehman’s carries its own brand of high quality axes, along with the Snow and Nealley brand. Although you’ll find several types of axes, pictured is Lehman’s Lumberman’s Axe with its long 28-inch hickory handle and forged carbon steel head. Lehman’s storefront is in Ohio.
Forged and manufactured in Maine, Snow & Nealley is a popular and premium made-in-the-USA axe brand. This company was founded by Charles Snow and Edwards Nealley during the 1860s logging boom. Each hickory axe handle comes from Tennessee, the heads are forged of U.S. steel and tempered in Maine, and the leather sheaths are also made in Maine from U.S.-tanned leather. The company’s signature tool is the Penobscot Bay axe, small enough to carry, and strong enough to split some serious wood. Since Snow and Nealley is an Amish-owned company today and doesn’t have its own website, shop online at the only authorized dealer, The Working Axes, owned by one of Snow & Nealley’s sons.
Once known as Vaughan and Bushnell Manufacturing, Vaughan is owned by toolmaker Dasco Pro located in Illinois. The company focuses on making quality axes, saws, and other hand tools. Most of its axes are made in the USA and are clearly marked as such. Pictured is the Supersteel Camp Axe. The hickory handle measures around 13 inches. Note: Several other popular retailers carry Vaughan axes, but many of these are not made in the USA. Shop the Vaughan website to ensure you’re buying a top quality, American made axe.
Tammy Tilley is a southern transplant living in the Midwest. Growing up in the West Virginia hills, she was surrounded by family and friends who made things with their hands, from a penny whistle carved from the backyard tree’s branches to the hand-hewn wooden cradle gifted to her when her firstborn arrived. As an adult, she continues to be fascinated by the small cottage businesses the Amish and Mennonite communities cultivate in Northern Indiana. Tammy holds a B.A. and M.S. in English/Education.