Double-Bit Axe- 5 Factors to consider when choosing a double-bit axe

There are various axe variations, and one of the rare types is the double-bit axe.

So what is its primary use, and what advantages does it have over the single-bit type? Let’s explore. 

What Is a Double-Bit Axe?

An antique double-bit axe. 

It’s an axe featuring two cutting edges on either side of its head.

Often, woodworkers sharpen one edge for cutting applications while the other remains dull, primarily for splitting.

This setting ensures the double-bit axe is more versatile than its single-bit counterpart. 

What are Double-Bit Axes Used for?

A close-up of a double-bit axe. 

The axe is essential in chopping down trees and splitting firewood, although you can still use it for cutting wood.

In addition, you can use the double-bit axe for clearing the bush or chopping meat. 

In addition, we also have specialty double-bit axes that are handy for particular applications.

Their examples include the following: 

Hand Axes

Typical hand axes are essential in low-scale woodworking applications such as splitting wood and chopping down small trees. 

Felling Axes

They help chop down trees. 

Splitting Maul

A splitting Maul. 

A splitting Maul. 

While the felling axe is useful in cutting applications, the splitting maul is valuable for splitting firewood.

Thus, the maul features a more blunt edge than the typical felling axes. 

Forest Axe

It is a lumberjack’s favorite axe, helpful in cutting down large trees. 

Pickaxe and Miner’s Axe

A Miner’s Axe. 

A Miner’s Axe. 

They are double-bit axes with characteristic long bits.

The pickaxe is a versatile gardening tool suited to rocky areas, while the miner’s axe is essential in mining works. 

Advantages and Disadvantages Of Double-Bit Axes

A double-bit axe on a tree stump. 

A double-bit axe on a tree stump. 

Advantages of Double-Bit Axes

  1. It is a dual-purpose tool that you can use for cutting and splitting at the same time. 
  2. Secondly, the axe is relatively more durable than a single-bit axe. This is because when you use each of the bits alternately, you limit the overreliance on either. 

Disadvantages of Double-Bit Axes

  1. We can regard the double-bit axe as having two heads. Thus, it is heavier than the conventional single-bit axe. 
  2. Also, the double-bit axes are less available than the single-bit axes. So, you may not find one easily at your local store. 
  3. Further, the axes pose a safety issue, especially if you sharpen both bits. Thus, they can easily injure an inexperienced user. 
  4. Lastly, the axe is a sort of specialist tool. Not anyone can comfortably use it. 

How To Choose The Best Double-Bit Axe?

A Double Bit Axe for chopping/splitting wood. 

A Double Bit Axe for chopping/splitting wood. 

Below are the key considerations you must make when choosing the best double-bit axe for your task. 

Axe Length

An Old double-bit axe head.

An Old double-bit axe head.

The axe length is a significant consideration as it determines the force you must apply when using the tool.

It also influences the torque you’ll generate from swinging the axe.

Notably, a long axe may be uncomfortable to work with initially, but it yields more significant force than a shorter one. 

When choosing an axe length, the overarching guide should be the task.

Choose a long one for complex and large-scale undertakings such as cutting down wood and splitting masses of firewood.

But, if you’re working on a small project, a short axe will come in hardy. 

For optimal performance (irrespective of the scale of your work), an axe measuring approximately 30 inches long is the best. 

Axe Weight

A heavy axe. 

Again, like the length, an axe’s weight will impact the energy you need to apply and the swing’s output.

If you choose a relatively heavy axe, you’ll have to use more force to swing it. 

As mentioned earlier, most double-bit axes will weigh more (often between 3 and 5 pounds) than single-bit ones.

So, remember you’ll use more energy with a double-bit axe, although its overall output supersedes a single-bit axe. 

Axe Materials

An axe with a composite handle. 

An axe with a composite handle. 

Most double-bit axes feature a steel head and a wooden handle.

However, lately, there have been some with composite handles.

Also, you may come across axes featuring forged steel handles, but they often have rubber padding in the holding areas. 

Wood handles are the best as they are easy to replace and customize.

But, you may have to discard your composite (fiberglass) handle axe if it breaks.

So when investing in a double-bit axe, it is imperative to consider the ease of replacing the handle. 

Axe Manufacturing Mode

A double-bit axe on a tree stump. 

A double-bit axe on a tree stump. 

All the axes you’ll come across are either machine-made or hand-forged.

Machine-made axes are easier to manufacture, although most people consider them lower quality than handmade ones.

Also, most of the axes you find in stores are machine-made. 

On the other hand, hand-forged axes are of better quality than machine-made axes.

Primarily, this is due to the attention to detail that makers put in during the manufacturing process.

Their downside is that they take quite some time to manufacture. They are also pricier than machine-made axes. 

Axe Price

A red fire axe. 

On average, a double-bit axe will retail between $50 and  $250.

The price will depend on the length of the axe and the overall weight. Thus, if your axe is lightweight and short, it’ll be less costly. 

Again, axes with a wooden shaft and a steelhead will be pricier than those with a composite handle.

Lastly, handmade axes are more expensive than machine-made types. 


Considering the above factors, picking a double-bit axe can never go wrong.

That’s all for now, but if you have any queries, contact us anytime.