Concept of Splitting Axe vs Splitting Maul

Splitting Axe vs Splitting Maul: Which to Choose

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Colleen Roberts

Expert writer

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If you’re new to splitting wood or still wondering about the best way, you’ve often thought about using either a splitting maul or a splitting axe. More quality tools have been available in past decades, making cutting wood much easier. But if you still need to chop wood, you have two options. You can either use a splitting axe or a 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 in much less waste. Here, a question arises whether there is some difference between a splitting axe and a splitting maul.

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

The Splitting Maul

Splitting maul on wood log

Splitting maul is a tool that has a metal head weighing nearly 6-8 pounds. Its main purpose is to split wood. Some modern mauls have conical heads, swiveling sub-wedges, or wedge-shaped heads. 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 of fiberglass, plastic, or hickory are good for swinging and levering.

The Splitting Axe

An axe splitting wood log for firewood

A splitting axe is a tool with a tapered metal head weighing 3-6 pounds. It splits wood along its grains to break them apart instead of cutting them 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 are 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

Concept of 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 the maul weighs between 6 and 8 pounds, whereas that axe weighs between 3 and 6 pounds.

The heavyweight of splitting mauls makes them efficient for splitting wood, whereas the lighter weight of splitting axes allows you to use them for various purposes without any fatigue.

Design of Head

The design of both tools’ heads is considered the biggest difference between them. The tapered head of splitting axes has a 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 latter needs more effort and technique than the former.

Material and Design of the Handle

The 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 the 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 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’s length.

The handle of a splitting axe is normally made of wood or composite materials, whereas that of a splitting maul 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 pieces of wood quickly. But it will also exhaust you due to its size and weight. An axe can be a better option if you have to split smaller chunks of wood or use it for a shorter time.

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