Reviews

Best Splitting Mauls (Review & Buying Guide) in 2021

Get that fire ripping with these top mauls.

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BY Hank O'Hop / LAST UPDATED ON April 1, 2021

A crackling fire in your favorite room of the home is one of the most incredible things to experience when temperatures drop. Or maybe you prefer gathering around a roaring bonfire. But if you're buying firewood one bag at a time, it can become costly. The most frugal way of ensuring that your stack of firewood is always well-stocked for when you need it is to cut your own. An added benefit to this is that you can even use it to take care of the mess that tree made when it was downed during a storm, clean up your yard, and get some free firewood.

 

While it is possible to do this with a standard ax, it is just simply not the right tool for the job. A proper maul will make all the difference in the process and is something you must invest in if you intend to take this route. Believe it or not, there's a lot to consider when selecting one. That's precisely what you have us here to help you with!

Best Overall
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe
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Summary
Summary

Superior design using a composite handle. This model is lightweight, affordable, and above all else, effective.

Pros
Pros
  • Composite handle reduces the overall weight of the tool
  • Material is also stronger than steel and wood
Cons
Cons
  • Hollow handle allows minor production flaws to create major failures
Best Overall
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe
Best Value
Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe
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Summary
Summary

Handy splitting tool that can function as an ax or a maul. It is the perfect choice for use while camping, but can be used at home as well.

Pros
Pros
  • Very affordable option, but still very durable
  • Ability to chop or split wood makes it a great tool to keep anywhere
Cons
Cons
  • Splitting performance is sacrificed to increase cutting capabilities
Best Value
Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe
Honorable Mention
Intertool Steel Splitting Maul
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Summary
Summary

This maul has a 32-inch fiberglass handle and a five-pound steel wedge-shaped head. You can use it to split wood and for landscaping and demolition.

Pros
Pros
  • Maul is precise and has enough leverage to split hardwood
  • Well-balanced and absorbs shock well
  • Feels good in your hands
Cons
Cons
  • Handle may break after a short period of use
  • Some users claim it's not heavy enough
Honorable Mention
Intertool Steel Splitting Maul
Splitting Maul Close Up
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Why Trust Us


Our reviews are driven by a combination of hands-on testing, expert input, “wisdom of the crowd” assessments from actual buyers, and our own expertise. We always aim to offer genuine, accurate guides to help you find the best picks.

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Benefits of Splitting Mauls

  • Split wood quickly. With proper form and a good maul, you can split wood exceptionally quickly. While it may not be as convenient as using splitting machines, it’s hard to beat a traditional maul for small jobs or for stacking firewood for a single home. Not to mention, they are far more affordable than machines. 
  • No power necessary. A significant advantage of mauls is that they do not require any power, just elbow grease. That means that no matter where you are, you can use it to get the job done. No power also means no noise. Which means they do not require you to wear ear protection during operation. 
  • Great exercise. Perhaps the best part about using a splitting maul is that it’s a great form of exercise. While there are risks associated with misuse, it’s still going to give you a great workout that other tools simply cannot. 

Types of Splitting Mauls

Standard vs. Short Handle

A splitting maul is a splitting maul, and there are not many variations in their design. However, size is a significant characteristic that is subject to change. A smaller handle and a lighter head are ideal for small projects or splitting wood in remote locations, such as a campsite. A longer handle and heavier head are better for long jobs or use for stocking up wood for your home. The more massive head and increased leverage will make quicker work of splitting logs, which is why you want these characteristics when it is feasible. 

Top Brands

Estwing

In 1923, Estwing entered the industry with a sole focus on creating the best possible striking and struck tools you can buy. It is headquartered in Rockford, Ill., and use its 100 years of experience to produce fine instruments such as the Estwing Fireside Friend Axe, Wood Splitting Maul and the Estwing Special Edition Camper's Axe.

Fiskars

Founded in 1649 and headquartered in Helsinki, Fiskars is Finland’s oldest company and one of the oldest companies in the western world. With more than 300 years of experience in ironworking, it's no surprise it is capable of producing excellent tools such as the Fiskars 751130-1001 Pro IsoCore 2.5 lb. Maul and the Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe

Helko Werk

Based in the Rhine Valley of Germany, Helko Werk has been in business since 1844. Right out of the gate, it acquired a reputation for developing premium-quality axes. After nearly 200 years, it's no surprise to find that products such as the Helko Werk Germany Vario 2000 Heavy Log Splitter still live up to the reputation.

Splitting Maul Pricing

  • Under $50: Basic and small splitting mauls can be purchased in this price range. While they are not as fancy as high-dollar options, they are still functional.
  • $50-$100: Better quality mauls with premium handle designs and unique characteristics typically exist within this price range. Synthetic handles are prominent.
  • $100 and up: Mauls priced at over $100 feature premium construction throughout. From a specially designed head to a carefully shaped handle, every inch of the maul is built to perform.

Key Features

Comfortable Handle

Keep in mind that the operation of a splitting maul is very dependent on a good grip. Not only because it will aid in performance, but for safety purposes as well. You should always make sure the model you select feels good in your hand. It should be something that you can hold onto easily and won’t cause any form of discomfort that might force you to release your grip on the tool.

Proper Size

A splitting maul may be used in various places. For camping or remote work, a smaller maul may be more desirable. But for prolonged jobs or situations that do not require you to carry it over a long distance, a larger model is desirable. You should also be sure that the model you purchase is of a weight you can easily control. If you are looking for something exceptionally easy to carry, you should review our picks for the best survival hatchets.

Sturdy Handle

Back to the handle, it must be sturdy. Of course, it must be able to withstand harsh impacts. Off swings or logs with a large knot can stop the splitter dead in its tracks. A poorly constructed handle may not be able to handle this type of impact and crack. This can be very dangerous to the person swinging the maul and anyone else who is nearby.

Other Considerations

  • Shock-Absorbing Grip. A maul will be dealing serious blows, and the force will be transferred to your hands. A shock-absorbent grip is highly desirable because of this. This is an incredibly vital characteristic to consider if you are going to be using the maul for prolonged periods. However, for short, intermittent use of a traditional wooden handle will suffice.
  • Sheath. A maul doesn’t have to be razor-sharp like an ax. Still, a sharp edge is essential to the tools function. A dual blade will slow the process and even impede it entirely. Therefore, it is worth protecting the sharpened edge whenever possible. Some models do come with a sheath to help you do just that.
  • Geometrically Shaped Handle. Most mauls feature a straight, tapered handle to help you get a good grip on the tool. However, there are many with a curved handle. This is used to help increase the accuracy of swings, but there is much debate over whether it provides results. However, it is still a superior design and is worth considering.

Best Splitting Mauls Reviews & Recommendations 2021

Best Overall
Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe

This is by far our favorite splitting maul because it is a simple, tried-and-true design that has been perfected to allow for more single strike splits. The 36-inch-long FiberComp handle is stronger than steel and will not bend. It features a textured non-slip grip that reduces hand fatigue and increases control. The power to weight ratio of this particular model and balance has been perfected to increase swing speed and multiply power. Its blade features an advanced bevel convex design and a proprietary grinding technique to sharpen the blade for cleaner cuts. It is also coated with a special coating that prevents sticking and reduces friction. The head is insert-molded to the handle, offering a visually unbreakable splitting maul that will last for many years.


The thing to be aware of with this model is that it uses a hollow shaft for the handle. And though this saves weight, a production flaw can cause the shaft to snap very easily. However, this is not a frequent occurrence.

Best Value
Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe

If you are someone who prefers the feel of a wooden handle over composite or rubber-coated steel, then this is the splitting tool for you. While it is designed to function as both an ax and a maul, its splitting capabilities are nothing short of respectable. It features a European-style head with a 4-inch blade and a 4 1/2-inch cutting edge. The handle is made of a durable straight-grained American Hickory and is formed to an ergonomic shape. The blade is made from drop-forged 1050 carbon steel for a long-lasting edge. It weighs just over 2 1/2 pounds and is easy to swing and carry, making it a good choice for the campsite. This ax was rigorously field-tested by Cold Steel’s owner on a month-long hunting trip in the Outback, where it over-performed.


Of course, because it is meant to split and chop wood, it will not perform quite as well as some of our other picks. However, it is an extremely affordable option we think many will want to consider.

Premium Pick
Intertool Steel Splitting Maul

The Intertool Steel Splitting Maul features a strong, steel, 5-pound, wedge-shaped head and a 32-inch fiberglass handle. Designed for heavy-duty use and tasks such as splitting wood, landscaping, and demolition, this durable splitting maul also serves as a sledgehammer. The handle provides excellent precision and leverage to tackle even the toughest hardwood. It also absorbs shock, and the rubber inserts minimize slippage. The head-to-handle joint of this well-balanced tool is secured with epoxy resin, and there's a hole in the end of the grip to hang it for storage. It also features a red and black color scheme, so you can easily find it in deep grass or underbrush. Overall, it feels good in your hands and is great for splitting medium-sized logs. 


One downside is the handle may break or crack after a short period of use. Some users also wish it was a little heavier.

Best Compact
Lexivon V18s Splitting Axe

What makes this our pick for Best Compact is its fiberglass handle. And while it may be listed as an “ax,” it still functions exactly as a maul would. The fiberglass handle makes for an extremely lightweight tool you can keep on your person as you travel to any remote location. Again, the use of fiberglass has other benefits, such as being stronger than wood, and it will not bend like a metal handle. The use of a rubber handle also makes this tool very comfortable to use. It provides a slight cushion that absorbs shock and ample grip through each swing. Despite being super small, the head still weighs in at just under 3 pounds. 


Of course, a small tool has its disadvantages. For one, your hand is much closer to the log, and you are more likely to injure yourself if you miss the piece you are cutting. Also, the fiberglass is a little risky, as the head can snap off completely.

Best Fiberglass Handle
Lexivon V28s Splitting Axe

Despite the fiberglass construction, this lightweight maul is more than durable enough for the most intense sessions. That’s because it features a reinforced spine that will take the beating the tool will face during its intended purpose. Fiberglass is an excellent alternative to wood because it is much stronger and less likely to crack. And though it may not be as strong as steel, it will not bend. This tool features a rubber grip that provides ample cushion to the hand and ensures you will have a perfect grip through each swing. Of course, the rubber also works to absorb much of the shock from impact. The head of the ax is also very lightweight and comes in at just under 3 pounds. Anyone of any stature should be able to easily control the head, even during prolonged chopping sessions.


Fiberglass may be advantageous in many ways, but it has one major flaw. If it fails, the head completely separates from the handle, and this can be extremely dangerous. However, it is avoidable by not subjecting the tool to work outside of its threshold.

Honorable Mention
Husqvarna 32 in. Wooden Handle Splitting Maul

This is one of the best high-end splitting mauls within a reasonable price range for most individuals. Although Husqvarna is better known for its power tools, mowers, and chainsaws (and even motorcycles), it also offers an extremely high-end line of axes. All its axes are forged from Swedish ax steel to help promote quality. This splitting maul is no exception. With a head that is designed to enter the wood quickly and a 32-inch, power-multiplying wooden handle, this splitting maul is perfect for splitting large logs. While it is not suitable for multiple jobs, it does make short work of splitting logs for firewood. It is best used for splitting thicker pieces of wood, which is a critical quality all mauls must-have.


Unfortunately, the lack of quality control is keeping this entry from competing with other premium options. Despite the higher than standard pricing, the edge is not straight on some mauls, and the head has a tendency to loosen.

Honorable Mention
Fiskars IsoCore Maul

If you are looking for a maul that is comfortable to use as it is useful, you shouldn't look any further. While this isn't the most expensive model on our list, it is still a premium tool entry everyone should consider. The specially designed handle on this maul transfers two times less than a wooden one. Even during short periods of use, this can make a significant difference. And it is undoubtedly what you will want when you are splitting wood for a good portion of the day. The head is also carefully designed to aid in blasting through even the most stubborn logs. It is also riveted into place to ensure it will not slide or snap off.


This is not the lightest maul out there, creating a mixed bag of results in terms of its reviews. At just over 10 pounds, it does take a certain level of physical strength to operate correctly. However, this weight is also advantageous in the hands of the right individual.

Honorable Mention
Gransfors Bruk Splitting Maul

This gorgeous hand-forged piece of equipment promises durability that many other models simply cannot. It even features a steel collar guard just beneath the head to protect it from those off blows that would otherwise snap the head clean off. It even comes with a 20-year guarantee to back up its superior reliability. The carefully crafted 5.5-pound head is exceptionally effective at driving through logs and is something that many users rave over. Despite having such a sturdy build and decently heavy head, the overall weight is right around 8 pounds and very easy to manage. It does feature a slender handle as well, which makes it easy for a person of any stature to properly grip the tool.


However, the price is something that will likely drive away many customers. This is not a budget-minded tool, but it offers superior performance and reliability, making it worthy of the investment.

Honorable Mention
Truper 12-Pound Splitting Maul

Many mauls use handle designs or carefully designed heads to improve performance. This model emphasizes weight, which is useful for driving through logs. This is a 12-pound maul, which is more than double the weight of most entrees on our list. This extra weight, paired with the 27-inch handle, helps deliver enough force to drive it through the toughest of logs in your pile. The handle is constructed of steel, which is a must when dealing with the impacts this tool will deliver. But it does have a rubberized grip at the base to ensure it will not slip out of your hand during operation. This grip will also work to absorb some of the shock that will be delivered to your body.


This weight is advantageous in the right hands but can prove challenging to handle in others. A person of small stature will not want to use this particular model because of the weight and the strength that is required to manipulate it properly.

Honorable Mention
Estwing Special Edition Camper's Axe

Here again, we find an ax in place of a true "maul" however, this model offers versatility and can be used for splitting wood just as a maul would. This is a camping ax that can be used for many jobs you will need to perform on any campsite. It is also very lightweight and easy to carry to any location. Despite being lightweight, it still relies on forged steel construction to provide maximum reliability. It also has a 26-inch handle, which is just as maneuverable as it is useful for working. It also features a signature shock-absorbent handle to reduce fatigue during prolonged tasks. This handle is also curved to conforms with your hand perfectly and provides a superior grip. The included sheath helps to protect the blade and yourself during transportation and storage.


Of course, this model is a little too light to perform as well as a true maul will for splitting wood. However, it is intended for multiple purposes, and sacrifices to some performance capabilities are to be expected.

Tips

  • A maul is not an ax and is not intended for chopping. Splitting is the intended purpose and all you should use a maul for. If you are looking for an ax, check out our review of the best survival axes.
  • Having good form and technique will impact performance more than any characteristic of a splitting maul. It is also the only way to prevent harming yourself or those around you.
  • You should always be careful not to select a maul that is too big to use. If you cannot safely manage the weight, you should not use it. Again, a camping hatchet may be something to consider in situations where a smaller and lighter tool is ideal.
  • Splitting wood is tiring work as it is very physical. Whenever you begin to feel fatigued or worn out, you should take a break; otherwise, you are creating a risk for yourself and others.
  • Before swinging a maul, be sure you aren’t putting anything of value or anyone at risk. Pieces of the log are bound to go flying, and there is always the risk of an accident.

FAQs

Q: What is the best splitting maul?

Our top pick is the Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe. Over 300 years of experience is hard to overlook when it comes to selecting any tool. However, there are many fantastic options on the market. So, it comes down to personal preference and budget. 

Q: Is a maul good for splitting wood?

A splitting maul is designed specifically for splitting wood. With that said, they are very good at splitting wood. 

Q: How do you replace a splitting maul handle?

Replacing a handle is a process that relies on the manufacturer’s design. However, it typically only requires some basic hand tools to perform. 

Final Thoughts

The Fiskars 378841-1002 X27 Super Splitting Axe is our favorite splitting maul on the market right now. That is because of its simple yet effective design. But we do know that the Cold Steel Trail Boss Axe is something many folks are more likely to consider because it’s a great price and exceptional performance. 

We want to know what you’re more likely to purchase! What is the reasoning behind your decision?