What Kind of Axe to Cut down a Tree: Complete Guide

What Kind of Axe to Cut down a Tree? Axes are the most common tool people use when cutting down a tree. 

However, figuring out what kind of axe to use can be challenging. And that is, considering the many different types of axes available in the market. 

This article will discuss what axe is best to cut down trees. Moreover, we’ll also give you some handy safety tips to help you the next time you go out tree-cutting. Let’s begin!

What Kind of Axe Is Best for Cutting down Trees?

A felling axe is the best axe for cutting down trees. Its broad, razor-sharp edges cut deep into wood fibers. And its handle provides power with each swing.

Although an all-purpose axe can cut down trees well, the process will be longer. With time being such an important factor, a good-quality felling axe is the best choice.

The hatchet on the display cabinet

(The hatchet on the display cabinet)

How to Choose a Felling Axe?

There are a few significant aspects to consider when selecting the appropriate axe. Usually, the price of the axe is the most common. However, the axe’s material, length, and weight are essential too.

Length & Weight

The length and weight of an axe hugely affect the amount of force one needs for each swing. These two features correspond in that axes with longer handles usually weigh more.

The best axes for cutting down trees should have longer handles, which means they are slightly heavy. 

a heavy long wooden handle

(a heavy long wooden handle)

Size of a felling axe

A falling axe is a big axe. However, the balance between power and accuracy must be essential to maintain reasonable control. That said, always choose an axe that can swing comfortably. 

The Small Axe

You can use a small axe with one hand or both hands. And this is because its handle is about 20 inches long, and its head is light. Considering their length and weight, small axes are perfect for bush activities. 

a hatchet

(a hatchet)

All-Purpose Axe

Simply put, this is a larger version of the small axe. It also goes by the name Boys axe. The handle is almost 28 inches long, and the head is slightly above 2 lbs.

The Felling Axe

A felling axe is the best axe for cutting down trees. Its 30-inch handle and thin razor-shape blades help to cut deep into the wood.

It can cut through massive trunks since it weighs slightly above 4 lbs making it very applicable.

a felling axe

(a felling axe)

Materials & Craftsmanship

handle Materials

Usually, axe handles are made from wood or fiberglass (composite materials.) An axe handle made from wood is the best choice since you can replace the wood in case of damage. However, fiberglass is different.

Axe’s head Materials

In addition, the steel on the axe’s head is also a critical element in the axes. The alloy on the steel and the cutting edge are significant features. They determine how sharp the blade is and how long it can hold into the wood. Each shows how often you’ll sharpen your blade and how well the axe chops.


Lastly, the manufacturing process of an axe hugely determines its price and effectiveness. Some axes are machine-made, while others are drop forged. 

Note: The drop forging method pays more attention to detail, whereas machine-made axes contain many imperfections.

Different axe handles

(Different axe handles)

The Price

The length, weight, and material greatly affect the price of an axe. Considering all these factors, there is a huge difference in price ranges. Axes with low price ranges are effective. However, you must pay a little more if you need quality.

an axe with a fiberglass handle

(an axe with a fiberglass handle)

Different trees need different axes.

The size of the tree to cut determines the axe type.

Felling Small Trees

Usually, a small tree is any tree under a height of 15 feet. Therefore, a feeling axe can perfectly do the work. 

Felling Medium Trees

Medium trees are trees between 15 and 30 feet tall. Any axe with a longer handle can work for these trees, provided the blade is sharp.

Felling Large Trees

Large trees are higher than 30 feet. For large trees, especially ones with thicker trunks, only big axes can penetrate them easily.

Also, ensure the steel quality on their blades is of high quality and the blade is slightly thick. A thicker blade works better on thicker wood.

using an axe to cut down a tree

(using an axe to cut down a tree)

Chainsaw or Axe for Cutting down Trees?

A chainsaw should be your priority if you’re working on a big tree since it’s fast. But before using a chainsaw, ensure you know all the dangers you can encounter. It would be best if you were careful when handling a chainsaw.

An axe is a good option, too; however, it’s very slow and tiresome. Axe’s only advantage over a chainsaw is that the axe is cheaper. Also, the element of danger is way less in an axe.

a chainsaw cutting wood

(a chainsaw cutting wood)

Tree Felling Tips

When cutting down trees, you have to do the following:

  • Pick the direction your tree is going to fall
  • Begin to chop on that side but ensure you get a 45-degree angle on the cuts
  • Use a high-to-low, then low-to-high cutting method. Doing this will create a notch fastening the process.
  • Once you are ⅓ into the tree, you should stop.
  • Move to the opposite side and cut a section slightly higher than the 45-degree cut.
  • Cut until you are halfway through. The tree will start to lean on the original cut side. A little push should make the tree fall.
Tree Felling

(Tree Felling )


Axes are undoubtedly some of the best tools for cutting down trees. With the confusion and variety in the market now, we hope our guide has helped you learn your axes. You can now select the right axe for you.