Ax vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk (All You Got to Know)

When you need to cut a piece of wood or a log, you need a tool to make your work easier. Depending on how much work you need to carry out, you’ll need to choose from a hatchet, tomahawk, or Axe.

Need to learn more about the tools and their differentiating factors?

Please read this article.

Axe vs. Hatchet vs.Tomahawk

An axe is a cutting tool with a metal wedge on one end and a long wood-made shaft. The wedge is sharp and has sharply tapered ages. 

Like an axe, a hatchet is a cutting tool with fewer modifications. It’s more compact and smaller than an axe. Moreover, it has heavier blades and smaller shafts with curves and grooves.

On the other hand, a tomahawk is a long single-handed axe with a shorter, narrower blade and a straight wooden shaft. It is thin and designed for axe throwing, hunting, and self-defense.

i). Axe


It is wedge-shaped with a V-like cut. Additionally, it has a heavy tapered head and flat-pole side, which enables it to cut rigid objects without much force.

metal axe blade in the wood

Image description: metal axe blade in the wood


A bit (or blade) binds the axe head at one end. However, some designs feature two bits opposite each other. The top of the bit (cutting edge) is the toe, while the bottom corner is the heel.

The Shaft

Ranges from 20 – 36 inches in length. Moreover, it is either of strong wood or fiberglass.


Weighs over three pounds.


The shaft is 120 cm long and made of birch bark. On the other hand, the blade is 17.4 cm long and made with Antigone.

Shaft Design

The shaft design is made of durable synthetic material. It is simple, straight, and has a circular cross-section. Additionally, the shaft has a curve for a better grip and to facilitate a better swinging action.

Furthermore, the shaft mounts to the head at the shoulder, which has an oval/rectangular cross-section.


It’s mainly used for chopping wood pieces, felling trees, and splitting logs.

Axe with a wooden handle.

Image description: Axe with a wooden handle.

ii). Hatchet


It has a less drastic, tapered, and streamlined head with a hammer on the opposite side of the bit. Not only is it used for cutting but also for striking.

The head is narrow and has a small tapered body and a large bit. Furthermore, the hammer poll side has a v-shaped cut.


Made of metal steel and connected to a wooden shaft larger than the head.


It is 12-18 inches long, curved, and designed for single-handed use. It is short, has a shorter cutting edge, and with a flat poll side. In addition, it can be of metal, wood, or fiberglass.


It ranges from 1 – 3 pounds. It’s heavier and closer to a hammer and Axe.  


It is small and compact, thus making it maneuverable. The Hatchet is half the size of a tomahawk; likewise, it is easier to handle and uses less energy.

Shaft Design

The shaft of the hatchet curves forward. Furthermore, it extends at a 90-degree angle toward the head of the Hatchet.


Used mainly for cutting saplings and small trees but not limited to cutting back bushes and other foliage. Camp lovers use it for removing small tree limbs and carving wood. Likewise, they use it for building simple shelters and hammering tent pegs. Additionally, you can use it to chop through built-up snow and ice. 

Ax vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk : woman cutting wood using a hatchet.

Image description: woman cutting wood using a hatchet.



It is thin, lightweight, and detachable. Moreover, it has one or two circles cut out in the middle of the head. It reduces the weight and enhances the effectiveness of the tomahawk.

Ax vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk : Native American tomahawk 

Image description: Native American tomahawk 


It is thinner and longer. It is 4 inches long with a spike or hammer at the opposite end. The head has a severe taper (loose triangle shape) between the spike and the bit.


It is short and less than 24 inches. Furthermore, it is straight with a well-balanced natural extension designed to make it as light as possible. Its length gives it more cutting leverage. If the sides were flat, it would throw wood chips less efficiently.

Ax vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk: Weight

The head weighs between 260 – 570 grams. In contrast, the shaft’s weight depends on the material used.

Ax vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk: Sizes

A modern tomahawk is less than 2 feet long.

Ax vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk: Shaft Design

Unlike a hatchet, the shaft design of a tomahawk is straight and extends a 90-degree angle towards the head.

Ax vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk : Tomahawk American Indians vector illustration

Description: Tomahawk American Indians vector illustration


You can use it for chopping, throwing, and self-defense in combat. 

3. Basic Differences Between an Axe vs. Hatchet vs. Tomahawk 


As we have discussed, a hatchet, a tomahawk, and an axe have different designs since they don’t have the same functions. The head, shaft structure, weight, usage, cutting edge, and handle structure are some factors that differentiate them.

Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.