Post updated: 25 Feb 2023
Fiskars axes get a pretty hard time from some areas in the axe community. One aspect is the hard-line purists who maintain axes should have a wooden handle and be made somewhere in Scandinavia!
I’ve used many axes over the years – cheap ones, expensive ones, long, short, heavy, new and old you name it. Some have impressed me, some have really disappointed!
But one thing I’ve learned is that ‘less expensive’ doesn’t necessarily mean worse.
The popularity of Fiskars products can’t be denied, and there are many, many happy woodchoppers out there who have only ever used Fiskars axes and are perfectly content to do so. And why shouldn’t they be?
For general purpose wood splitting for firewood, a Fiskars axe is extremely reliable and surprisingly capable at a very affordable price. The lightweight plastic handle makes it easy to swing and the enclosed axe head design ensures the head never comes loose.
Related Article: Best budget felling axes under $100
With regular honing of the bit a Fiskars axe will last for many years – if used properly. Are Fiskars axes any good?.. Absolutely!
Yes, some people appreciate the feel and craftmanship of a hand-forged axe from the likes of Swedish master forgers Gransfors Bruks or Hultafors, and others just want a reliable workhorse that does the job at a reasonable price.
Are Fiskars axes any good and can they really compete with these heavyweights? Lets take a look…
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
- Where are Fiskars axes made?
- Fiskars Axe Sizes
- What are Fiskars axe heads made of?
- What are Fiskars axe handles made of?
- Fiskars axe performance
- A primer on axe grinds
- Best value for money – Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe
Straight to the point – Are Fiskars axes any good?
Fiskars axes offer a very competitive alternative to other axe brands. The design is modern, the affordability cannot be ignored for the average axe enthusiast, and the performance is well above expectation. For a budget axe, Fiskars are great!
Where are Fiskars axes made?
Originally Fiskars products were made in the village of Fiskars, Finland where their products were initially manufactured. Established in 1649 the factory moved in the early 1980s to the nearby village of Billnäs where they continue to produce their award-winning Xseries axes.
The main design feature of a Fiskars axe is the orange and black handle, and an enclosed axe head within the handle material. It looks cool, that’s a given:
I have an X27 Splitting Axe, I also have a Gransfors Bruks forest axe… More and more nowadays I reach for the Fiskars first!
Fiskars Axe Sizes
To determine if Fiskars axes are any good, lets take a look at Fiskars’ range of performance X series axes which provide an option for the smallest pruning and chopping jobs right up to heavy-duty log splitting. Its a nice looking set of tools for sure.
There are 8 axes to choose from in this range, and your choice will pretty much depend on how big the wood you’re working with is. Here’s the lowdown of each axe from smallest to largest:
XXS axe for splitting small logs, cutting branches up to 3 cm in diameter and cutting small wood for the fireplace, BBQ or campfire. Also suitable for camping, hiking, bush craft, survival and outdoor activities.
Length: 11in. Weight: 1.2lbs
XS axe ideal for chopping kindling and small to medium-sized logs up to 10 cm in diameter.
Length: 14in. Weight: 1.4lbs
Small universal axe for splitting and cutting logs up to 10 cm in diameter. Also suitable for woodwork and construction, ideal for camping, hiking, bush craft, survival and outdoor activities. Can be used one or two-handed.
Length: 17.5in. Weight: 2.2lbs
Small splitting axe for logs with a diameter of 20cm or less. Also small enough for one hand use. Ideal for splitting kindling for campfire or as additional splitting tool to partner the X21 or X25.
Length: 17in. Weight: 2.4lbs
5. X15 Chopping Axe
Medium sized chopping axe for trees with a diameter of 20 – 30cm. Handy size for chopping smaller trees and limbs or for occasional use.
Length: 23.5in. Weight: 3.6lbs
Large splitting axe for logs with a diameter of 20 – 30cm. Beefed up version of the X17 for tougher jobs.
Length: 28in. Weight: 3.5lbs
XL splitting axe for large logs with a diameter of more than 30cm. Thicker blade profile provides more momentum for thicker logs.
Length: 30.5in. Weight: 5.3lbs
XXL splitting axe for large logs with a diameter of 30cm and above. Heavy-duty model with an extra long shaft to provide maximum swing force.
Length: 36in. Weight: 5.7lbs
If you’re looking for the ultimate Fiskars splitting tool, take a look at this comparison between their Super Splitting axe vs the Fiskars 8lb maul. It’s really impressive what these budget tools can do to huge logs…
Video Comparison: Fiskars Super Splitting Axe vs Fiskars 8lb Maul
What are Fiskars axe heads made of?
The axe head itself is made from drop-forged medium carbon steel. It also has a non-stick coating to prevent the head from getting stuck in the wood during chopping.
The steel used in Fiskars axes is relatively soft, meaning it can be more easily chipped or dulled than premium grade steel used in higher-end axes, so it will require regular honing. Also due to the enclosed head design of the axe, replacing the head is a bit of a problem.
With a traditional axe, much like a broom, you can replace the handle or head whenever necessary – not with a Fiskars I’m afraid. However, Fiskars pricing is so hard to beat that this is almost irrelevant!
For full details on Fiskars axe head steel, the thesis published online from 2011 titled “Induction Quench Hardening of Carbon Steel Axe Blades”, by Henrik Lund, Arcada University, Finland, gives a complete breakdown of the whole process.
What are Fiskars axe handles made of?
Nearly all Fiskars axes are equipped with a fibreglass reinforced plastic handle called ‘FiberComp’. This is Fiskars’ patented ‘stronger than steel’ handle material that allegedly will not break regardless of how hard you swing that sucker.
The advantage of a plastic axe handle is obvious: It’s durable, weather-proof, and it’s cheaper than hickory. Though a bit of parawrap or hockey tape might be a good idea for more grip.
The advantage of a synthetic handle is, if you miss the target with the axe head, the handle will take the force of the blow which could potentially split, crack or even break a traditional wooden axe handle.
I did some research on this and was surprised to see there were a small number of returns from purchasers that reported the head snapped clean off while chopping up some regular sized wood!.. but this equates to about 1% of feedback on Amazon so I’d put this in the very rare category.
I’ve never personally snapped the haft of a Fiskars axe and I’ve seen videos of people driving a truck over the handle to try and break it!
Fiskars axe performance
Are Fiskars axes any good? If an axe does what it’s supposed to do or even surpasses the users expectations I’d say that’s a pretty good indication of quality, right? Lets dive into some details on performance.
According to Fiskars: ‘…Our axes are crafted with a proprietary grinding technique that provides a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts. They also stay sharp longer and include a low-friction coating…’
Hmm, sounds like sales patter to me… Yes, when you receive your shiny new Fiskars axe, it is pretty damn sharp out of the box. But the coating soon disappears and the blade will dull quickly due to the grade of steel used in all Fiskars products. Regular honing required!
This pull-through axe sharpener was specifically designed by Fiskers for their Xseries range of axes. I advise you get hold of one of these and just run your axe through it a few times before use to keep the blade sharp. Alternatively a good quality pebble puck will do the trick.
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Video Review: Fiskars X15 Chopping Axe
The Outsider has a great review of the Fiskars X15 chopping axe:
If you take a look on the BushcraftUSA forum, you’ll find many comments on the performance of Fiskars axes from people who are really serious about wood chopping!
The overwhelming consensus is that Fiskars splitting axes are pretty darn good, while their chopping axes just don’t quite ‘cut it’ – (Sorry, that was bad)
But opinions are like belly buttons – everybody’s got one! There are an equal amount of users who swear their budget Fiskars chopping axe actually out-performs the ‘proper’ axes!
A primer on axe grinds
Naturally, Fiskars chopping axes have a thinner blade than their splitting axes which is normal. However, they use a full flat grind which some users have singled out as a big failing in the design.
The flat grind is the simplest and most basic profile and does not produce the most durable edge. So a chopping axe with a flat grind is not optimal. A convex profile makes an axe a good all-rounder – very generally speaking of course.
The important thing to remember is regular maintenance. I haven’t owned an axe that doesn’t need regular care – but give a little more attention to the Fiskars axe and it’ll serve you well.
Best value for money – Fiskars X27 Splitting Axe
At around 6lbs in weight with a 36in. handle, the Fiskars X27 is a full-sized splitting axe. The ample wedge profile of the head combined with the long but lightweight handle provides a formidable swing force that will split logs over 30cm in diameter.
The fixed head ensures it will never loosen under stress and overstriking won’t result in a broken shaft.
This is by no means a perfect axe, the steel is an inferior grade which will require regular honing to keep the bit sharp, but for a fraction of the price of some high-end competitors it’s really hard to find any reason to knock it.
- Outstanding value for money
- Almost unbreakable handle
- Performs better than some competitors at 3x the price
- Solid, permanently fixed head – will not loosen over time
- 36in. shock absorbing handle for monster swinging!
- Full lifetime warranty
- Softer axe head steel than premium axes
- Reverse of axe head can’t be used as sledgehammer
- Doesn’t have the appeal of a beautiful Swedish hand-made axe
I will always advocate a Gransfors Bruks forest axe over a Fiskars due to longevity and overall performance. I also appreciate the craftsmanship that goes into this particular axe.
But for those folks looking for an everyday splitting tool for basic firewood prep I would wholeheartedly recommend the Fiskars X27. I’m surprised how good it actually is, so to echo my initial statement – don’t let the price fool you… cheaper doesn’t always mean worse. Are Fiskars axes any good?.. Absolutely!
For smaller jobs or for a solid camping or hiking tool, the Fiskars X10 is a great little axe for the money. I keep one of these in my pack every time I go hiking or camping and it’s never let me down!
Please leave comments below on how this article can be improved or with any questions you may have, I’d be happy to help!