5 best hatchets to use around your farm and homestead


A hatchet can be used for a variety of tasks on a farm or rural homestead, from helping with kindling for the fireplace or fire pit to clearing small trees and trails to cutting twine or netting. I keep a hatchet both in my pickup and in my shop so that one is handy whenever the situation calls for it — and especially going into chillier seasons, where I’m doing more with wood and needing more hay bales opened, I find that having the best hatchet right at my fingertips saves me a lot of grief.

Like with their larger cousins, the ax, hatchets come in a few different head styles, so some hatchets may be better suited for a particular job than another kind. A lot of times, you’ll see hatchets employed by camping and bushcraft folks, and they can find a myriad of uses for these tools. We’ll get into a few different styles here, so that hopefully you can narrow down the kind of hatchet that will suit you best.

As with any bladed tool, be sure to keep your edge sharp. A dull edge is a dangerous edge, as it can be more prone to slipping during a cut. These are serious instruments, after all, so be sure to treat every hatchet with respect. If you do need to hone your edge a bit, be sure to keep a good-sized sharpening stone handy, like this one. Many stones will be dual grit, though it’s less likely you’ll be aiming for the super-fine blade edge like you’d create for a pocket knife. And a perk about sharpening stones is that they’re mobile and don’t require an outlet, so you can take them far away from the shop or barn if you have a project out that way. 

Here’s a video that explains some key safety tips when using a hatchet:

Most importantly, as with any tool, find the blade that’s right for you and for the majority of your tasks. I have some wooded land, burn firewood throughout the winter, and go camping often, so I have countless uses for a the best hatchets I can find — and over the years, I’ve tried (some with little-to-no success) at least a dozen different hatchets and brands. Most of all, I zero in on blade material, craftsmanship quality, handle length, and handle comfort. All of these elements can combine into some truly beautiful tools.

Here are my picks for the 5 best hatchets that can be used around your farm, rural home, or other property:

Best premium hatchet


Hults Bruk Almike

I’ll come right out of the gate and say it: I haven’t used a better ax or hatchet than one made by Hults Bruk. This is a premium line — and rolls in at a premium price. But in terms of edge retention and the feel of the hatchet in your hand, Hults Bruk checks all the right boxes. This is a Swedish-made brand that dates back to the 17th century and reigns in this space for their tool precision and mobility.

The Almike’s Turpentine pattern has a finger notch near the neck for precision carving, while it serves the user well in the wilderness, around campsites to drive tent pegs, or even in gardens. Each axe is made from high-quality Swedish axe steel, tempered to hold a very sharp edge even after repeated sharpening.

The Almike hatchet weighs in at 1.75 pounds (1 pound is the head weight), and the curved handle is 16 inches long and made of American hickory. 

Best bang-for-your-buck hatchet

council tool hatchet

Council Tool Sport Utility Flying Fox Woodsman Hatchet

Council Tool delivers a really nice mix of high-quality craftsmanship with a fairly affordable price point, making their products a desirable option for folks who maybe don’t want to pay Hults Bruk prices but also want more durability than what a Task Force hatchet from Lowe’s would deliver.

The Flying Fox hatchet is a multi-task tool, and does everything you’d expect in terms of chopping ability from a good hatchet. But, it’s also designed as a throwing ax, which means it may be a way to have some fun out in the woods or against a wooden board. Council Tool says that this ax has an overall design that “takes elements found in vintage hatchets from the mid-20th century, and gives modern affirmation to those hatchets from yesteryear.” It also includes a hardened poll, which can be used as a hammer to drive nails, spikes, and other fasteners.

The 16-inch handle swings really well, and the head weighs in at 1 pound, 11 ounces. It comes across as one of the best “jack of all trades” hatchets you can find — it’s the one I use most often.

Best smaller hatchet


Gränsfors Bruks Hand Hatchet

If any company plays on the same premium level as Hults Bruk, then it has to be fellow Swedish company Gränsfors Bruks. And despite the small size of this hand hatchet, it packs a wallop — not to mention being particularly easy to carry.

The handle is only 9.5 inches long, which is tiny in comparison to the 1.3-pound head. This hand hatchet is perfect for things like scouting and camping, because despite its short handle, the ax can be used to fell small trees. It is also great for limbing and for splitting kindling and firewood.

Best production hatchet

husqvarna hatchet

Husqvarna Wooden Handle Hatchet

When it comes to the mass-produced hatchets and axes more commonly available in big-box and local hardware stores, no one does it better than Husqvarna. The brand (another Swedish manufacturer) is well known in the industry for the quality of its blades, which are affordable and accessible. 

The company’s 19-inch hatchet is ideal for firewood, camping, and garden and farm work, and it’s outfitted with a 1.32-pound hand-forged ax head. And the hatchet’s head is attached to the handle using both a wooden and a steel wedge to secure fastening.

Best affordable hatchet

fiskars hatchet

Fiskars Hatchet

Fiskars is probably better known for its pruning shears, but if you think about it, it makes perfect sense that the company would also excel at other small wood-related tools, such as hatchets.

The X7 Hatchet is unlike any other ax on this list, both in terms of looks and materials. It has a very distinguishable shock-absorbing FiberComp handle that is lightweight and works to prevent overstrike damage, and the company claims to have a proprietary blade-grinding technique that provides a sharper edge for better contact and cleaner cuts. The X7 Hatchet is ideal for chopping kindling and small- to medium-sized logs, looking to combine perfected weight distribution, advanced blade geometry, an ultra-sharp edge, and virtually unbreakable design. If all goes according to plan, that means this ax can do more with less effort than most other similar blades.

The X7 Hatchet measures in at 16.5 inches total length, with a 14-inch handle, and 1.4-pound weight.

What to look for in the best hatchets

Comfort is king, and that means that the best hatchet should have a sturdy and comfortable grip, have ideal balance to limit fatigue during swinging, and be made of a steel that is tough and unlikely to dull easily. Hickory wood handles are popular because of their strength, while our list helps to show just how prominent Swedish design and craftsmanship are to the top-of-the-line options out there.

How much do I pay for a hand hatchet?

The price of big-box store hatchets are typically going to run from about $12 up to around $40, and beyond that, anything up to about $100 is likely going to be a good mid-range price point. Some of the more premium axes will top $130, especially when it comes to getting some of the longer-handled versions. But for those higher-end ones, you do get what you pay for, and a premium blade is going to last for generations.

Editor’s recommendations

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