Double bit axes are a classic axe design, valued by loggers and frontiersmen alike since it was introduced to America in the 1800s. This article is all about the best double bit axes you can get on the market today. So why a double bit axe, and what is its purpose?
The heavy head makes it a great choice for felling trees – at the same time, each of its bits (or edges) can be designed for or used for different purposes. Sometimes one edge is a bit thicker and wider, and is suited to splitting logs or rounds of wood. The other edge, meanwhile, is thinner and more suited for making deep cuts in standing or felled trees. Or the bits might be identical, but one edge is used for rough and dirty tasks that dull an edge quickly – for example, chopping through roots and the grit that they’re covered in.
Ultimately, a double bit axe gives you two cutting edges “for the price of one”, in the sense that you have double the bits on one axehead and handle. This top list will review the best double bit axes, with an in-depth review of each. In case you’re short on time, I’ve made a comparison table that you can see below – it contains the most important information about each double-sided axe. But if you’re ready to find out more about the best double bit axes for the money, keep reading!
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Table of Contents
Top 7 Double Bit Axes on the Market
1. Estwing Double Bit Axe
Estwing are known for their nearly-invincible forged steel axes – with axehead and steel handle fused together, you can be safe knowing that the head won’t go flying off or the handle – breaking. It is also proudly manufactured in the USA, and among the large double bit axes probably one of the best in terms of value and quality for the money you spend.
The only drawback is that, being a steel-handled axe, it is heavier than other axes that have wood or fiberglass handles. That, along with the fact that double bit axes are heavier by nature anyway, means that the Estwing is a hefty boy. Of course, if you want to really go at those trees and wood, the extra weight will add force and bite to your swing! Highly recommended if you’re ready to handle the extra weight.
2. Helko Werk Hinterland Double Bit Axe
The Helko Werk Hinterland is a high-quality German double bit axe, hand forged by one of the finest and oldest German axemakers – Helko Werk. Its axehead is made of premium-grade C50 high carbon steel, with a Rockwell hardness or HRC score of 53-56. The Helko Werk smiths select each handle individually for grain orientation and density, and the Hinterland comes with a full-grain leather sheath and a 1-ounce bottle of protective oil for the blade and head. With a handle length of 30 inches, an axehead weight of 3.5 lbs and overall weight of 4.75 lbs, the Helko Werk Hinterland is a serious axe for serious cutting – excellent for felling trees and other heavy work.
The main drawback is its price, which is not low, but then again – you get what you pay for, and what you pay for is German excellence. If you have the budget for it, the Hinterland is highly recommended – with care it’ll last you your lifetime and you’ll pass it down to your kids.
3. Council Tool Michigan Pattern Double Bit Axe
Another excellent double bit axe is the Council Tool Michigan pattern axe. Council Tool is an American company that hasn’t moved any of its production out of the country, instead choosing to keep all manufacturing stateside. The kicker? The axes they produce are consistently high quality, but also great value for the money. The Michigan double bit axe is big – it has a straight 36-inch handle, and its axehead is coated with red enamel, with the cutting edges covered with clear lacquer to deter rust.
The pros of this axe are definitely its quality in relation to the price, the fact that buying it supports an American business, and it’s size – it’s great for big jobs and tough trees. The downside is, again, the size – you might not need such a large axe. But if you do, the Council Tool Michigan is an excellent choice.
4. Hults Bruk Motala Double Bit Axe
Hults Bruk is a well-known and highly regarded axemaker based in Sweden. Along with Gransfors Bruks, it is one of the big two Swedish axemakers. The Motala is a 3-inch double bit axe with wide curved cutting edges. Although billed as a throwing axe (and you can certainly use it for that, or for historical Viking reenactments), the Motala is also sharp as a razor and suitable for proper cutting work.
It comes with a protective leather sheath and a booklet with instructions on care and maintenance. Although quite expensive, it is among the best double-bit axes on the market today.
5. Collins Double Bit Axe
The Collins double bit axe is an inexpensive workhorse with a sturdy fiberglass handle and a Michigan pattern axehead. At 34 inches in length, it’ll allow you to swing with force to take out stubborn branches, bushes, roots, and so on. The fiberglass handle comes with a rubber covering beneath the axehead and a strip down the length of the handle, with another full cover at the end, for improved grip.
The Collins is inexpensive and generally holds up well to serious work, the fiberglass handle is light and dampens the shocks from strikes, but you may have to do some work to give the edge the profile you want and sharpen it. The axe is manufactured in China.
6. Council Tool Velvicut Saddle Axe
The Council Tool Velvicut Saddle axe is more of an honorable mention, as it isn’t a “full-sized” double bit axe the way the rest of the models reviewed here are. However, it is excellent quality – belonging to the premium line of Council Tool axes – and with it’s 16-inch handle, makes for a great camp or bushcraft axe to take along with you on trips to the woods.
One edge has a 25-degree angle, while the other has a slightly wider 32-degree angle – perfect for using one to cut and the other to split. One edge can be used for jobs that need a sharp bit, while the other can be used to split firewood, remove roots from your camping area, and do other rough work.
7. Condor Tools Michigan Double Bit Axe
The Michigan double bit axe from Condor Tools comes in at a handle length of 24 inches (despite the product description stating that it’s 18 inches) and is a good medium-sized double-bit axe – smaller than the 30+ inch full-sized double bit axes, but larger than the 16-inch hatchet-sized Council Tool Velvicut Saddle Axe.
High carbon steel and the traditional American hickory handle, with 4-inch cutting edges, ensure that this axe has a mean bite. An excellent middle-of-the-road (size-wise) double bit axe for general use.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a double bit axe used for?
Double bit axes can be used for felling trees, cutting logs, splitting firewood, or landscaping. The advantage of a double sided axe is that each side of the axe head can be designed with different thicknesses and widths. The most common design has one side thinner designed for cutting deeper into the trunk when felling trees, with the other side thicker to force fibers apart when splitting firewood. Double bit axes are one of the most versatile tools in your garage.
How long should a double bit axe handle be?
Double bit axe handles can be anywhere from 18 to 36 inches in length, depending on their purpose. The longer the handle, the more power can be generated through the swing. The handle length also depends on the height of the user.
How heavy is a double bit axe?
Double bit axes are between 2.5 and 5 pounds in total weight, generally with a 3 to 4-pound axe head. This gives them enough weight to generate significant power through every strike and cut deeper into the wood. Due to the extra steel, the axe head weighs more than similarly sized single-bit axes.