The Best Wood Splitting Maul

If you’re like a significant chunk of the population, cooler temperatures and fall cleanups include preparing for winter fires. Having the best splitting maul to hand will ease your workload if you're using wood as your main source of heat.

Or maybe you just like to have the option for an honest-to-goodness fire in your fireplace.

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Either way, preparing wood for burning is a serious undertaking. You’ll want to be properly equipped before you start.

The right wood splitting maul, along with all the rest of the necessary tools, will make it less of a chore—and have you breezing through the task.

Looking For The Best Wood Splitting Maul?

If you’re unfamiliar with a splitting maul, it’s the long-handled, heavy, axe like tool used for splitting wood. It’s to be used along the length of the wood once it's been cut into rounds, generally with the use of a chainsaw.

Aligning the maul in the direction of the grain allows for fast and easy fracturing of a log.

Splitting mauls are generally heavy - the head alone weighing between 6 and 8 pounds.

The hefty weight helps make the splitting of the wood easier. One side of the metal head is blunt, like a sledgehammer, while the other side is shaped like an axe, often with a slightly convex shape to it.

You will find both sides come in very handy during wood splitting.

Sale
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
602 Reviews
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
  • Ideal for splitting wood (splitting face) or driving wedges and stakes (driving face)
  • Optimized blade geometry offers better penetration and blasts tough logs apart
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
91 Reviews
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
  • 5 1/2 ib. Head
  • Length with handle: 80 cm (31.5")
Sale
Husqvarna 32' Wooden Splitting Maul
1,595 Reviews
Husqvarna 32" Wooden Splitting Maul
  • Designed for splitting chunks of wood and poll is designed for driving splitting wedges
  • Hardened striking face in the neck and can therefore be used as a sledge or in combination with a splitting Wedge
Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
41 Reviews
Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
  • Forged in one piece
  • Handle length and weight give leverage

The classic shape of a splitting maul head is wedge-shaped, though there are other options available. The blunt side of the head is usually designed to work as a hammer with an independent wedge (or a stuck maul).

The wood splitting maul is sometimes referred to as a splitting axe, it’s tempting to think a regular axe can achieve the same job as a splitting maul.

Arguably, it could.

The heft and shape of the splitting maul, (often referred to as a maul axe) however, put the axe to shame when it comes to splitting wood. After all - that is what this tool was designed to do.

The extra weight helps the head sink into the wood, while the shape and width of the head help prevent it from becoming stuck in the wood. If you’ve ever wrestled with yanking an implement out of a log, you know why that’s advantageous.

The differences between the axe and the splitting maul don’t stop with the head, though. Generally, the handle shapes are distinct as well. Splitting maul handles are usually straight and long, and frequently used for swinging as well as levering.

Splitting maul handles have traditionally been made out of hickory wood. It’s not the only option, of course, and composite and fiberglass handles have become more readily available.

These handles can be more difficult to break than their wooden counterparts and tend to wear better.

While the splitting maul is the most common way to split logs - also known as “rounds” - into smaller segments, it is not the only way.

You may use a separate wedge head and hammer or a hydraulic log splitter for the same results. Each approach to splitting logs comes with its own negatives and benefits.

If you’re looking for a fast way to get through your rounds, a hydraulic splitter can be purchased or rented. You’ll need to do the prep work ahead of time and plan on making all the wood you’ll need at once. Renting the machinery can be expensive.

If you plan on chopping wood throughout the season, you’ll probably want to look toward a wedge or a splitting maul. Wedges can be a good option for the experienced splitter. You are more likely to have bouncing upon striking, though.

In terms of ease, the splitting maul is straightforward and simple to use. You have a single implement ready to do the work - when you are.

Be sure to see our review of some of the best Hookaroons and Pickaroons available today.

Our Top Splitting Maul Choices

If you’re looking for your first wood splitting maul, or you just need a replacement, we’ve got you covered. We’ve compiled a list of our favorite splitting mauls on the market.

Whether you’re looking for something heavy and hard-hitting, or need something easy to take on the road, we’ve got it for you. Read these reviews before you bring home your next piece of equipment.

Fiskars ISO Core 8-pound Maul

This Fiskars splitting maul is a great choice for your tool shed. It boasts an 8-pound head and an optimally designed wedge shape that improves performance.

In total, this splitting maul weighs in at just over 10 pounds. With the bulk of that weight in the head, this is a great option for larger rounds. Even your toughest logs won’t stand a chance with this Fiskars splitting maul.

Sale
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
602 Reviews
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
  • Ideal for splitting wood (splitting face) or driving wedges and stakes (driving face)
  • Optimized blade geometry offers better penetration and blasts tough logs apart

The heavy head is great for dealing with those tricky cuts but can prove fatiguing during long periods of use. If you’re looking to split only a few at a time, this is a solid choice. If you prefer to do many in a single go, you may want to look toward something that’s a little lighter.

The forged steel of the head is heat treated and rust resistant. Like other Fiskars products, this splitting maul comes with a lifetime warranty. You can expect the good quality that’s come to be associated with the Fiskars brand name.

The 36-inch handle is exceptional. Created out of the patented “IsoCore Shock Control System”, the handle helps reduce vibration by half and absorb shock successfully.

Splitting firewood can be tough on your back and arms. Now you can lessen the impact with this specially-designed system brought to you by Fiskars.

The handle on this splitting maul is long and straight but does offer a slight flare at the end. This helps keep the tool firmly in hand. An included insulation sleeve helps absorb additional shock before it makes its way to you. Your body will thank you.

The textured handle makes for a more comfortable log-splitting experience and also reduces blisters. If you’re looking for a high quality, performance-driven tool, this may be just what you need.

What’s Good About the Fiskars ISO Core 8-pound Maul

  • The Fiskars splitting maul sports a well-designed and efficient head.
  • The heavy head of this model packs an extra punch for even large and hard-to-split logs.
  • The patented handle reduces vibrations and shock, saving your back and shoulders from painful wear and tear that accompanies wood splitting.
  • A lifetime warranty means any failure or dissatisfaction with this product will be remedied by Fiskars.
Sale
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
602 Reviews
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
  • Ideal for splitting wood (splitting face) or driving wedges and stakes (driving face)
  • Optimized blade geometry offers better penetration and blasts tough logs apart

What’s Not so Good About the Fiskars
ISO Core 8-pound Maul

  • The heavy head and extra-long handle may make it more difficult for some people to use.
  • This handle is great for absorbing shock but can prove fragile if accidental contact is made during a strike.
  • The head of this splitting maul is cast, not forged, which more readily provides opportunities for defects.

Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul

Have you been trying out splitting mauls? Has the length or weight of them been excessive? This petite splitting maul option may be just what you’ve been looking for.

This splitting maul comes in at just over 31 inches long and with a head that weighs 5.5 pounds. The total weight of this maul comes in at 7 pounds. This product is great for those who need just a little less.

Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
91 Reviews
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
  • 5 1/2 ib. Head
  • Length with handle: 80 cm (31.5")

The head of this splitting maul has been forged, and the blade has been ground to a sharp edge. This maul is great for hard and knotty woods. It will give you a quick and clean cut while effectively splitting your rounds.

The blunt end of this splitting maul’s head is beveled and great for striking a separate wedge. The head sits on top of a metal collar that protects the handle from over striking and connecting with your intended target.

Having a collar won’t make your aim any better—but it will keep your maul in tip-top shape should you miss your mark.

This splitting maul is durable and built to last. The superior quality of construction and materials come with a higher price tag, but the improvement in performance is notable.

Every Gransfors Bruks splitting maul is hand made in Sweden. Each maul comes with a leather sheath to protect the blade.

What’s Good About the Gransfors Bruks
Splitting Maul?

  • At 7 pounds, this splitting maul is a great option for someone who’s going to spend serious time splitting wood.
  • The handcrafted, forged head is sturdy and sharp.
  • The metal collar helps protect the maul from accidental damage.
  • This maul is great on even hard or difficult wood types.
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
91 Reviews
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
  • 5 1/2 ib. Head
  • Length with handle: 80 cm (31.5")

What’s Not so Good About the Gransfors Bruks Splitting Maul?

  • Though built to last, the Grasfors Bruks splitting maul is a significant financial investment.
  • The quality of the wooden handle is not always the best.

Husqvarna 32-inch Wooden Splitting Maul

Husqvarna is known for its quality tools. This splitting maul isn’t any different. If you’re looking for a reasonably priced, great quality item, you may want to consider this Husqvarna option.

Husqvarna makes many different mauls. This one comes with a steel head that’s hand forged in Sweden. The blunt side of this head is designed specifically to use with a splitting wedge. The blade is sharp and angled well for log splitting.

Sale
Husqvarna 32' Wooden Splitting Maul
1,595 Reviews
Husqvarna 32" Wooden Splitting Maul
  • Designed for splitting chunks of wood and poll is designed for driving splitting wedges
  • Hardened striking face in the neck and can therefore be used as a sledge or in combination with a splitting Wedge

The wooden handle of the maul is made from hickory. The head is attached with wooden and steel wedges to ensure its security. The blade arrives sharp and can be maintained by sharpening as needed.

As the splitting maul has a wooden handle, you will need to be careful with how you choose to store it. Too much heat or moisture can impact the materials and cause deterioration or failure during use.

This piece of equipment is 32 inches long and the head weighs 6 pounds. The size and weight make it compatible for a large range of users. It’s not too large but sports the kind of heft needed in an effective tool.

What’s Good About the Husqvarna 32-inch Wooden Splitting Maul?

  • The hand-forged steel is great quality and the splitting maul is reasonably priced.
  • The size is convenient and versatile.
  • This unit is well-constructed and comes with a 90-day warranty.
Sale
Husqvarna 32' Wooden Splitting Maul
1,595 Reviews
Husqvarna 32" Wooden Splitting Maul
  • Designed for splitting chunks of wood and poll is designed for driving splitting wedges
  • Hardened striking face in the neck and can therefore be used as a sledge or in combination with a splitting Wedge

What’s Not so Good About the Husqvarna 32-inch Wooden Splitting Maul?

  • Some users have reported breakages in the head of the blade during use.
  • This lighter-weight splitting maul works best when used alongside a heavier- headed maul.

Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Tool

This splitting maul measures 14 inches and has been forged in a single continuous piece of metal. It weighs just over 4 pounds.

Small and mighty, this is a great option for slighter people or youth working with wood.

The size of this maul makes it the perfect piece to bring along with you when traveling. Lightweight and compact, it’s great to throw in a camper or take on a backpacking trip.

Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
41 Reviews
Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
  • Forged in one piece
  • Handle length and weight give leverage

That small size does come with a caveat, though. The short length of this splitting maul necessitates you work on splitting your wood at a significantly elevated height. If you don’t have a suitable tree stump, you’ll need to create a chopping space that works for you -without you needing to bend over.

This one is probably not the best choice for large or hard-to-cut pieces of wood. It lacks the weight and the force to really do a number on those pieces. This splitting maul is, however, great to add to your collection of wood-splitting equipment. It will come in handy for quick splitting stints of medium and small logs.

You may also find that the shorter handle has you using your forearms more than your shoulders and back. Long periods of use may leave you feeling sore, despite the lighter weight of the equipment.

Made in the United States, this is a well-crafted piece. The single continuous piece means you don’t need to worry about the head fracturing from the handle. The metal handle won’t deteriorate or be easily compromised, like a wooden handle can be.

What’s Good About the Estwing E3-FF4
Fireside Friend Tool?

  • The size of this maul is great for traveling and people with limited space.
  • Forged in a single piece, you’ll have little likelihood of separating the head from the handle.
  • A great option for those who are older, younger, or have back and shoulder limitations.
Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
41 Reviews
Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
  • Forged in one piece
  • Handle length and weight give leverage

What’s Not so Good About the Estwing E3-FF4
Fireside Friend Tool?

  • The limited length and weight mean harder-to-cut types of wood are off the table with the Estwing Fireside Friend Tool.
  • You will need to split your wood on an elevated platform.

Which Splitting Maul Is Right for Me?

It’s hard to choose just one splitting maul out of these to recommend. It’s obvious each one could be beneficial to you this year while prepping your firewood. This is another time where it’s really going to come down to what you need and who will be using the tool.

If I needed to select one to recommend over the others, though, I’m inclined to choose the Husqvarna 32-inch Wooden Splitting Maul.

I believe this one strikes the perfect balance between quality, craftsmanship, and cost.

The medium weight of the head and the hickory handle make it user-friendly to a wide variety of people.

Husqvarna is well-known for being good at what they do. This splitting maul is just another example of the knowledgeable background of the toolsmiths and designers who work with Husqvarna.

Hand forging is an art to be appreciated, but handcrafted items aren’t exempt from imperfections. Prepare to use your new tool heavily after acquiring it to determine if there are any issues with its construction.

That 90-day window will be more than enough to expose any deficiencies rendered during the forging process.

If you’ve been contemplating a new splitting maul this season, I hope you’ve found the information included here helpful. Bringing home a new piece of equipment can be stressful, but with the right information, you can be confident in your choice.

Sale
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
602 Reviews
Fiskars Iso Core 8 lb Maul 36 Inch, 751110-1001
  • Ideal for splitting wood (splitting face) or driving wedges and stakes (driving face)
  • Optimized blade geometry offers better penetration and blasts tough logs apart
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
91 Reviews
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul 31.50 Inch Wood Splitting Axe, 450
  • 5 1/2 ib. Head
  • Length with handle: 80 cm (31.5")
Sale
Husqvarna 32' Wooden Splitting Maul
1,595 Reviews
Husqvarna 32" Wooden Splitting Maul
  • Designed for splitting chunks of wood and poll is designed for driving splitting wedges
  • Hardened striking face in the neck and can therefore be used as a sledge or in combination with a splitting Wedge
Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
41 Reviews
Estwing E3-FF4 Fireside Friend Splitting Tool, 2-3/8-Inch Cutting Edge, 14-Inch
  • Forged in one piece
  • Handle length and weight give leverage

When and How to Use a Splitting Maul

Splitting mauls are usually used on lengths of a tree that have been cut into log segments. These rounds are placed on end on a prepared cutting place.

You can cut on the ground, but you may find doing so comes with some drawbacks. Without a flat surface, you risk instability for your log and wearing your blade on the ground. You’ll also reduce the force of each blow, as the ground will give and absorb impact in a way a hard, flat surface doesn't. 

Once your rounds are set where you plan to split them, you’ll use the splitting maul. Raise it up—never up over your head— and bring it downward with enough force to split the log down to the end.

Your splitting maul does have the potential to become stuck in the log. This frequently happens if the initial chop has not had enough weight and force behind it. 

You may also find such wedging happens when a maul head needs to be sharpened, or if the shape of the head is too narrow. A wider wedged head pries open the log, encouraging the wood to split apart. Temperature drops also make wood easier to split.

To avoid wedging your maul in logs, make sure you use adequate force with the first chop. Dealing with a larger log you know will be difficult to split? Aim to fracture it off-center and you’ll reduce the likelihood of the splitting maul becoming stuck.

In the event your splitting maul does become stuck in a log, the safest way to remove it is by repeating the swing—log and all. Upon impact with the striking stump (or suitable chopping surface) the maul will be driven further into the log. Repeat if necessary.

Another alternative to dislodging a stuck splitting maul is to use the blunt end of another maul as a sledgehammer. Bring that blunt end down just as you previously had the sharp end of the stuck maul. The force will push the stuck maul further into the log until the split is possible.

Safety First

Working with sharp implements always requires extra safety precautions. Add in substantial force and swinging arcs and the splitting maul is no exception to the rule. Safety should always be your number one priority when using your equipment.

Here are the things you need to remember when working with wood and your splitting maul.

  • Small children and pets should remain clear of the splitting area.
  • Face the direction people are most likely to come from.
  • If possible, position yourself so something solid is behind you, like your stacked wood.
  • Wear protective eye gear, as wood could splinter and tiny shards may go flying.
  • Split wood may tumble away from the block with some force—make sure no one is in danger of being hit by it.
  • Wear appropriate safety footwear.
  • Pay attention to how close you are to the log—many injuries occur from misjudging distance and connecting with your own feet.
  • Never raise the maul above your head.
  • Be aware the maul may connect and bounce—keep control over your splitting maul.

If you keep these safety precautions in play, you’ll be chopping wood quickly and safely in no time at all.

A Splitting Maul by Any Other Name

Commonly known as a splitting maul, you may also see this tool referred to by other names, such as “block buster”, “sledge axe”, “go-devil”, “hamaxe”, and “block splitter.”

Depending on your location, you can expect to hear the splitting maul called by one of these other names. Rest assured, they will all work in the same manner, no matter what it’s called.

What to Look for in a Splitting Maul

When comparing splitting mauls, these are the characteristics you want to look for:

  • A heavy head that’s at least 6 pounds—if you can stand a 7 or 8-pound head, going larger can make the splits happen more easily.
  • A true wedge-shaped head—narrowest at the point of the blade and widening significantly toward the top—will help the wood separate more readily.
  • A straight, long handle.
  • A wide butt—this will be helpful if your maul ever becomes wedged in the wood and needs to be struck with another maul to complete the split.
  • Avoid any wooden handles that have been varnished—a varnish will only encourage blisters and irritation for the user.

A splitting maul requires quite a bit of experience from its user. Make sure you choose a length and heft you’re comfortable with. This tool can quickly become dangerous for the inexperienced. Choosing the appropriately-sized tool is the first step to using the splitting maul correctly.

Last update on 2018-12-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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