Maul vs axe

Maul vs axe

Some people get confused when they hear that a  axe is very different from a splitting maul because what should be the variation when they are both used for splitting wood? That’s why we better start the topic splitting axe vs maul because we ought to know what each tool looks like and how do they differ for their purposes. In so much for these, our grandfathers called the maul a maul and now you will know why.  

Let’s start with the wood splitting axe – 

The wood splitting

If you want to produce some firewood for your stove and you got yourself some small logs or pre-cut pieces of woods done by a mechanized log splitter, you should use a splitting axe. A splitting axe is a kind of axe that is bigger than a chopping axe. It has a large, heavy and thick tapered head and at the bottom of the head is the blade which is sharp (or should be kept sharp in that manner).

Approximately, the head of a splitting axe weighs ranging from 3 to 6 pounds unlike with the ordinary chopping axes that weigh between 4 and 5 pounds.  Compared to the felling axe, the design of the splitting axe is made larger and heavier so that it can split wood with force and your target will be along the grain of the wood to break its fiber apart.


Maul vs axe

A felling axe is also a large, long-handled axe but its head is thinner and designed for swinging horizontally so that it can cut or chop “across the grain” while the splitting axe is designed for swinging vertically so that it can cut “along the grain” of the wood. 

The Splitting

MaulWe can easily get fooled seeing a splitting axe to be a maul or vice versa because of its size. But if you strike a log with a splitting axe and let it stand there and then you strike a maul near it to see the distinction of their heads, you can quickly see their physical differences.

A maul has a thicker and wider head and usually, the top of its head is rounded like of a sledgehammer. This design makes the maul to become very heavy that’s why mauls can weigh between 5.5 to 8 pounds.

From the very top head of the maul down to its tapering part and into the bottom part, this part is made to be blunt and not as sharp like with the splitting axe. So basically, this part is actually more of a wedge. But why it was designed to be blunt? This is for certain purposes.

The design of the maul is what makes it more powerful in splitting wood or logs. Rather than making it sharp and getting the metal stuck in the wood, the wedge was made to be blunt so that this can crack open a log by means of its sheer weight and the force you put into it.

Here how this splitting thing happens –

mauling woodThrough the maul’s weight and the momentum it gathers as you swing the maul, you can create a small crack once the maul landed on the wood. As another blow comes down right on the crack, the gap becomes bigger. Another blow and the log will come apart. So with brute force and by utilizing the heft of the maul, a log doesn’t stand a chance of keeping itself whole and this is why we call the maul a splitting maul.

If you still want to know the difference between the maul vs axe , you have to look closely on their physical attributes and other factors.

To quickly know the differences between the two, why not we make a summary based on the description we have discussed above and expounds it for better understanding. 

Maul and Axe

  • Weight

The weight of the maul is unusually heavier compared to the splitting axe and this is based on how they are being used.

The weight of the splitting axe is just right for the blade to go through the wood fiber that’s why the splitting axe relies both on its weight and its sharpness. On the other hand, the weight of the maul’s head is about 1.5 times or twice heavier than the splitting axe.

The advantage of this, however, is that the maul has a better potentials to split the log by force while preventing the blade to go deep. So in essence, mauls are made for bigger splitting jobs and the heavier they get the better it can split heavier logs. 

Mauls are generally preferred by physically-abled people who can swing these tools with greater momentum. With just a few strikes they can break a whole log apart. However, these tools though are very effective wood splitters can easily get you tired because of their weight and the effort you must put into it.

Splitting axes, because they are lighter, can be used by less physically strong individuals but can only be good when splitting chunks of wood  small to medium-sized logs. 

  • Handle

 When it comes to maul vs axe with regards to handle, you can define their handle differences in terms of length and the materials used. Although both use composite materials and wood handles, the splitting axe manufacturers tend to prefer the wood handles over the composites because accordingly, wood is replaceable, easily available, lighter and you can change the handle design like the curvatures based on your preference. Splitting axe handles range between 28 and 31 inches in length.

The splitting mauls generally have long handles up to 36 inches in length. This is to make the maul more accurate in hitting its target as you swing it from the ground up and down to the log. The longer the handle, the more precise the maul can hit its target and also the longer the handle, the more energy you can add to the weight of the maul as you swing it.

So if you look at it, if you can’t swing the maul high and utilize the length of the handle, your strike won’t be effective in splitting a log.    

Splitting mauls have a variety of materials for their handles. World-renown axe and maul manufacturers prefer wood handles like hickory because they still follow the traditional way of creating these tools. But the modern splitting mauls today have composite handles like fiberglass and PVCs and these are usually covered with shock-absorbing rubber. That’s how some manufacturers sell their products today – by revolutionizing their tools’ handles and making them more convenient to use.   

  • Axe Head Design

Obviously, the design or shape of the head is what makes the axe differ greatly from the maul. The splitting axe head is more like of an axe but thicker. It has a tapered head going down to a sharp blade for the purpose of splitting wood by directly targeting the top part of the wood or log. 

Maul vs axe

Mauls have bulkier head going down to a wedge for the purpose of splitting wood by using its sheer weight and the force you put into it. The most distinct design you can see on mauls, however, is its top head which is usually rounded like the bit of a sledgehammer. This is why some people call the maul a “sledge axe”.

  • Price

When it comes to  axe vs maul in the price category, we should consider some factors first. For example, we could deduce that because the maul is larger than the splitting axe, has more metal in it and there were lots of work done to produce it, we could assume that this will naturally be more expensive than the splitting axe. But this is not always the case because sometimes the price of each tool is dictated by the quality of the metal used, how the metal was forged, who makes the tool and how popular the manufacturer is in the world of the tool manufacturing industry.

Product Quality GraphThis is why many people assumed that if the price of a maul or a splitting axe is extraordinarily high, the tool is surely packed with the great qualities that an expensive tool should possesses. But did you know that there are also inexpensive mauls and splitting axes that are just around the corner?

Check our blogs about the wood splitting axes and splitting mauls and you’ll see some of the world-class items including the most reliable inexpensive ones that we are sure would benefit you more.     

If you are still having second thoughts about which to choose between a maul vs axe for the purpose of producing firewood, here are the basic things to remember. 

Which is Best for Making

How Long Does a Cord of Wood Last

Let’s say you have small sized logs in your backyard or you have bought some pre-cut firewood which you need to split into small pieces for your small stove, then the best tool to use is a wood splitting axe. It could be a bit heavy than a chopping axe but splitting the wood or the log can be much faster.

On the one hand, if you are faced with huge logs that need a huge wood splitter to crack it apart, the best choice is a maul. A maul is designed for a larger piece of logs which the splitting axe can take some time to split. You can use a splitting axe on a large log, by the way, but you have to chip it from the side just like slicing it off bit by bit and that would be a very inconvenient work on your part. 

So this is how a splitting axe and a maul can be very useful if you need to come up with firewood. Or if you prefer, you can also buy your own log splitter. Such machine can make your wood splitting fast, easy and you do not have to put much effort that might hurt your back, arms or hands.

We can now buy electric log splitters or the standard gas-powered splitters at affordable costs. Check our blog for these machines and we can assure you these can make your life easier and more relaxed. 

Maul vs axe
All Purpose Axe Click Here
Felling Axe
Splitting Maul Click Here


Now that you know where it leads you if you are to feat maul vs axe, you now have the basic idea which to choose according to the size of wood you want to split.

Splitting axes are more handy and you can produce lots of firewood given that you’ll be dealing with small to medium-sized logs.  Women can use a splitting axe or if you are a middle-aged person and physically challenged, you can do a little with the splitting axe.

Splitting Axe vs Maul

Mauls are for stronger and taller people. But even though you have to be strong using them, you can’t go on using it for a whole day because eventually, you’ll get tired quicker because of its size and weight. That’s why it’s better to choose which of these tools would better fit your strength and capability to produce for you the firewood you need to warm your home.

On the other hand, we see some people getting physically fit using mauls starting off with the splitting axe. Accordingly, they need to upgrade their tools so they can deal with bigger logs which the splitting axe wouldn’t do. And the upgrade has brought them the advantages. They have become stronger, fitter and more agile.

So here is a tip. If you already have a splitting axe and wants to upgrade to using a bigger wood splitter, why not try the maul? Don’t think that because you have a small frame and you are not used to hauling heavier tools, there’s no way you can use a maul.  

As long as you are physically able, you can use the maul. There are affordable mauls you can find at Amazon and you can check the lighter mauls, say the 5-pounders to start with. Also, check our blog for the best wood splitting mauls and you can choose your maul from there. 

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *