Splitting Axe vs Splitting Maul: Which to Choose

If you’re new to splitting wood, or simply still wondering about the best way, you’ve often thought about using either a splitting maul or a splitting axe.  In past decades there have been more quality tools available making cutting wood much easier. But if you still need to chop wood yourself then there are two options for you. You can either to use a splitting axe or splitting maul.

In fact, wood chopping and wood splitting are a bit different terms. Lots of wood is wasted in the form of chips if it is chopped with an axe. Splitting wood with a maul results is much less waste. Here a question arises that whether there is some difference between a splitting axe and a splitting maul?

Yes, both are entirely different from each other in various ways. In this write-up their differences are briefly discussed to help you understand more precisely that which tool is better for splitting wood. Before discussing the axe vs maul you should know what is a splitting maul and what is a splitting axe?

The Splitting Maul

Splitting maul is a tool that has a metal head weighing nearly 6-8 pounds. It’s main purpose is to split wood. Some of the modern mauls have conical head, swivelling sub-wedges or wedge shaped head. The head of a maul is wider than an axe which helps in splitting the wood better than an axe.

The slightly convex shape of the maul head does not allow it to stick in the wood while splitting it. The design of its handle also makes it more functional than an axe. Handles made of fiberglass, plastic or hickory are good for swinging and levering.

The Splitting Axe

Splitting axe is a tool with tapered metal head weighing 3-6 pounds. It splits wood along its grains to break it apart instead of cutting the grains across like traditional axes. It splits the wood by the force of its head produced while swinging the axe down.

Normally wooden handles are used in splitting axes. In some cases composite materials like fiberglass is also used. This is to increase their durability. The overall weight of an axe is greatly influenced by the weight of its handle.

Difference Between Maul and Axe

There are a few differences between a splitting axe vs a splitting maul. Here are the main differences you’ll find when comparing the two.


Splitting mauls are heavier than splitting axes as the head of maul weighs between 6 and 8 pounds whereas that if axe weighs between 3 and 6 pounds. The heavy weight of splitting mauls make them efficient for splitting wood whereas lighter weight of splitting axes allows you to use them for various purpose without any fatigue.

Design of head

The design of the heads of both the tools is considered as the biggest difference between them. Tapered head of splitting axes have sharper blade like edge so that it can be used for various purposes along with splitting wood.

The head of a maul is a bit blunt and fat to make it efficient while splitting wood with its wider wedge and your right technique. For this reason splitting wood with an axe is far easier than a maul as the later needs more effort and technique than former one.

Material and design of handle

Handles of a maul and an axe also make them different from each other. The handle of a maul is a bit longer to allow its wedge to go down into ground instead of towards your feet, after splitting the wood. In this way it eliminates the risk of injuries.

The handle of a splitting axe is a bit shorter to split or chop the wood efficiently without getting into the ground. The length of your arm is considered as an approximate measure for the handle of a splitting axe. You will find that the handle of a splitting maul will be a bit longer than your arm length.

The handle of splitting axe is normally made of wood or composite materials whereas that of a splitting maul it is usually made of composite materials like fiberglass, hickory or plastic.

Our Conclusion

Thus after going through splitting axe vs splitting maul it can be said that both are equally good for splitting wood. Choosing one of them depends on your personal choice and strength. The maul can split bigger piece of wood quickly. But it will also exhaust you due to its size and weight. An axe can be better option if you have to split smaller chunks of wood or you have to use it for shorter time.


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