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Splitting Mauls and Axes – 4 Basic Differences

Axes and Splitting Mauls may seem pretty similar, but there are some key differences. Back in the day, wood chopping meant countless hours of work. But those days are gone, and now there are many tools available to get the job done more efficiently and productively. Now we have some better wood chopping tools.

The biggest different between the two is that an axe is more of a general chopping tool, while a splitting maul is much more focused on splitting.

This video by Wranglerstar does a great job of showing the differences between the two.



An axe weighs 3 to 6 pounds, in general. The axe can cut the wood grains across. Force comes from the head while swinging the axe down.

Axes originally had wooden handles, but these days some composite materials such as fiberglass are used as well. This increases the durability of the axe. The weight of the axe depends on the handle’s weight.

Splitting Maul 

A splitting maul weighs around 6 to 8 pounds. The main work of the maul is splitting wood. You’ll see that a maul head is a bit bigger in width than that of an axe. This has a great bearing on splitting wood and improves its performance.

The specialty of a splitting maul is its slightly convex head shape, as it doesn’t let the head get stuck to the wood during splitting. The design of the handle is also more functional. Handles are made from plastic, fiberglass, and hickory and are ideal for levering and swinging.

Differences between Axe and Splitting Maul 

Axe Vs Splitting Maul

There are several differences between an axe and a splitting maul. Below, we’ll talk about some of the major differences:


The overall weight of the splitting mauls is more than the axe. And the head of a splitting maul weighs from 6 to 8 pounds while it is 3 to 6 for an axe. The heavier weight of the splitting maul is perfect for cutting wood with more ease and efficiency.

On the other hand, an axe is great for using for longer hours without feeling any fatigue, thanks to its comparatively lighter weight.


The main difference between an axe and a splitting maul is in the design. An axe’s head has a blade-like edge. This is why this thing can be employed for several purposes. A splitting maul head will be a bit blunt. As there is a wider wedge, you need to apply the right technique while working with a splitting maul.

Moreover, the difference in the design of the head is the reason why cutting wood with the axe is a lot simpler than with a splitting maul. With a maul, you need to put greater effort and apply the right technique.


The handles are also different for an axe and a splitting maul. There are differences in the length and the material. The axe handle is a bit shorter in length compared to a splitting maul. This helps in chopping up the wood easily. An arm’s length is the right size of the handle of the axe.

And the handle of a splitting maul is a bit longer. This is to allow the wedge to go down into the ground, not towards your feet. The risk of injuries is eliminated when using a splitting maul.

Now, an axe handle is made from wood in general, or sometimes from composite materials. As for splitting mauls, the handles are usually made from composite materials such as plastic, fiberglass, and hickory.


The price difference is not exactly clear cut when it comes to an axe and a splitting maul. But if you compare a splitting maul costing $50 to an axe costing the same, the maul will be of lesser quality for sure. So, a splitting maul is pricier than an axe.

How to Choose between Axe and Splitting Maul 

This is completely dependent on your own preference. The type of woodcutting you have in mind can be the decider for you.

Quantity and size of wood you want to work with are very important factors to think of while deciding between the two. For example, for super large chunks of wood, a splitting maul is a good choice, since the heavier weight will give you more power.

Your build is another important factor while choosing between the two. For smaller users, it is better to get an axe as a splitting maul is heavier. But keep in mind that it will take you more time to get the same amount of work getting done with an axe.

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