Ax-throwing contests have become something of a popular diversion lately. In many cases, it’s a hatchet you toss because of its compact size. But that doesn’t mean the weapon isn’t also a fantastic tool!! A hatchet can be a valuable tool for landscaping your property, too.
Not everyone is going to need a hatchet, of course. But if you have woods or thick undergrowth, it’s a good idea to have one. Even if you have only a few trees or bushes, you might consider one. And they’re great for splitting wood for the fire pit, as well!
What Is A Hatchet
You might think a hatchet is a miniature ax. Would it surprise you to find out that you are right? A hatchet is a smaller version of the full-sized chopping tool. And it’s used with one hand, where an ax almost always takes two.
Most hatchets have a single-sided blade. The handle measures around a foot-and-a-half long, and the whole tool weighs between 1.5 and 2 pounds.
Hatchets are great camping tools because they can clear underbrush as well as chop firewood. But they can be great around the yard, too.
Why You Need A Hatchet
If you have only grass around your yard, a hatchet will probably never come in handy. And a pruning saw can do many of the same tasks. However, a hatchet can serve many purposes.
For thick branches that hedge trimmers can’t handle, it’s a decent alternative to a saw. A saw is faster and uses less energy, though. But if you have a small amount of work, the hatchet can do the trick.
However, a hatchet can help you split small logs better if you’re interested in firewood.
It can also do double duty as a makeshift hammer. The back end of the head is thick enough to bang something back into place. Don’t use it this way consistently, but in a pinch, it does the job. However, you can also find dual-purpose hatchets that work as hammers.
What To Consider
One of the most important factors to consider in a hatchet is balance. Since this is a one-handed tool, that’s even more important.
It should be relatively comfortable to swing your hatchet. If the head is too heavy or the handle too long, it will be awkward to use. You won’t be able to get a good cut. And you’ll end up with a sore arm, to boot.
The weight and design of the handle are essential factors, too. There’s no one right material; however, you may find that one suits your preferences better. The most common are wood, metal, or fiberglass-coated.
A thinner blade is best for cutting. One that thickens fast works best for splitting wood. But since you won’t be using this often, you probably don’t want to lean too heavily one way or the other.
We already mentioned that some hatchets can serve as hammers. Another feature that you can find is a hook on the bottom side of the blade. These help you grab and tear vines and stems.
Reviews of the Best Hatchets For Yard Work
Want to buy a hatchet for all those times it will come in handy? There are some great ones available. Here are some of the strengths and weaknesses of the most popular ones.
We’ve said it often: Fiskars is a standout in almost every category when it comes to lawn and garden equipment. The X7 hatchet is sturdy, easy to handle, and makes a decent cut without breaking your arm.
Overall, it measures 16.5 inches long. It weighs about 1.4 pounds.
The handle is comfortable to hold, and a large knob at the end makes it more secure to swing. It’s formed from carbon fiber that won’t crack or break.
The end of the shaft not only goes through the head; it also wraps around it. The molded form makes it stable and unlikely to come loose.
It cuts well, although it’s a bit on the light side. That can mean you have to exert more force when chopping through thick branches or kindling.
The blade seems to hold its edge well, and overall it’s a quality tool. There’s always room for improvement, but Fiskars does offer a good-quality product here.
Like something with a more traditional look and feel? You’ll be on the cutting edge with this Husqvarna hatchet. It has a 13-inch wooden handle and quality construction that will have you confidently putting it to work.
At 15 inches overall and under one pound, it’s a lightweight tool. You don’t want to use it for any big projects; However, it’s good to keep it on hand just in case. Keep it with your other tools and pull it out when needed. It works wonders on woody vines and small branches!
The blade sharpens to a nice edge, so it cuts smoothly.
Overall, it’s a quality tool to toss in the bucket when you’re on your way out to do some trimming. You never know when it will come in handy!
Hults Bruk isn’t a widely-known company, at least on this side of the Atlantic. But they have a long and outstanding history going back several centuries! And they are an excellent choice now that they’re available in North America, too.
This hatchet measures 16.3 inches from end to end. It weighs 2.4 pounds – significantly more than the other hatches here. The extra weight helps it drive it through the cut better, although it can tire you out more quickly.
It has a traditional wooden handle and a forged steel blade. It holds an edge well in our experience. The blade shape makes it great for splitting small logs.
Here’s a hatchet that won’t get away from you – it’s even got a rope handle that you can slip over your wrist!
But that’s far from the best thing about this ax (although it might save you from scrapes if you use it in a blackberry patch).
Overall, it’s 12.5 inches long and weighs 1.4 pounds. It’s a great combination that makes it easy to swing, well-balanced, and ergonomic.
The black rubber grip on the handle is helpful but not fantastic. It should be comfortable no matter what size your hand is.
The back end of the head works well for lightweight hammering – the kind you would do on tent stakes. It’s not strong enough for metal nails. But if you need to bang a piece of wood into place, it does the trick.
Yet again, Fiskars come through. The Billhook Clearing Hatchet is the best multipurpose hatchet we’ve seen so far. It will chop, but it also lets you pull out vines and branches. With a good balance and construction, it comes in handy for a lot of chores.
The handle has a knob at the end to keep it from slipping out of your hand. But it’s also got a ridge below the blade to protect you while you’re swinging it. No more getting your index finger pinched against the log you’re cutting!
The tool measures 20 inches – the blade alone is 9 inches long! It weighs 1.8 pounds. Honestly, it looks like something you would see at 3 AM on cheap TV as your gift when you buy a kitchen knife set. But it belongs in the yard! It cuts and pulls wonderfully.
It includes a nice sheath with a single belt loop.
The biggest complaint we’ve seen is that it sometimes isn’t sharp right at the time of purchase. However, you can sharpen it yourself or have the job done for you.
Not everyone needs a hatchet, but it’s great to have when you deal with undergrowth and don’t want to deal with a saw. It’s also great when you want to split small logs for your fireplace or fire pit. Be sure to keep it sharp to get the most out of it!